Tradeshow Talks with nal von minden Ltd

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first_imgApr 30 2018 Tradeshow Talks withnal von minden LtdBooth A30Can just tell us about the company and why you’re at Health GB this year?Related StoriesResearchers map virulence factor of influenza A virus in real-timeNIAID announces two awards for the study of influenza immunity in kidsStudy shows how elderberry fruit can help fight against influenzaNal von minden Ltd is a German company. We set up a UK subsidiary in March 2017 and we are here at Health GB to promote our UK presence and to grow our business in this territory.Can you tell us about the products you are promoting this year at Health GB?We are promoting our full product range this year at Health GB. Our new products are fully mobile based on mobile phone technology.  They are one of the first on the market.How can your range of products help the healthcare industry?One of the largest applications for our products is in combating things like antibiotic resistance. So, we have a number of tests for things such as influenza and strep A. This means that clinicians can pre-screen their patients and they can determine from our rapid test whether they do have influenza or not. Then they can use that as justification for prescribing or withholding antibiotics.Where can our readers go to learn more?Please visit our booth A30 at Health GB or visit our website www.nal-vonminden.delast_img read more

WVU professor working to predict prevent a major cholera outbreak in Yemen

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first_img Source:https://wvutoday.wvu.edu/stories/2018/08/27/wvu-professor-part-of-international-effort-to-predict-where-cholera-will-strike-next Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Aug 28 2018Antar Jutla, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at West Virginia University, is part of a British-led humanitarian team that is working to predict and prevent a major outbreak of cholera in war-torn Yemen.Cholera is a waterborne disease that can cause severe watery diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and even death if untreated. It is caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with a bacterium called Vibrio cholera. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than 2.9 million cases of cholera occur worldwide on an annual basis and is responsible for about 95,000 deaths each year.Working with NASA satellite data, Jutla, along with researchers from the University of Maryland, have developed a model to predict the distribution of pathogenic cholera bacteria. The model looks at the interactions between cholera bacteria and things like temperature, precipitation, organic matter and salinity in water through the lens of civil infrastructure. Jutla’s research is funded by NASA’s Applied Sciences Program/Health and Air Quality Applications program.In 2017, in proof of performance testing, the model was proven to have a high accuracy rate at a district level in areas identified as high risk of a cholera outbreak in Yemen.In an effort designed to turn theory to reality, aid experts at the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development are using Jutla’s model in tandem with one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers at The Met Office, the UK’s national weather service, to predict where and when cholera will spread.Last year, Yemen suffered the worst cholera outbreak in its history with more than 1 million suspected cases. Starting in March 2018, DFID began using this data to work with UNICEF to prevent the spread of the disease ahead of the rainy season. This allowed for the targeted delivery of such items as hygiene kits, clean water, cholera treatment kits and medical equipment to areas predicted to be at greatest risk.Related StoriesBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairGrowth problems in preterm infants associated with altered gut bacteriaThe effort is working.During the last week of June, there were 2,597 suspected cases and three deaths, down from 50,825 suspected cases and 179 deaths at the same time last year. Despite the predicted risk of cholera in Ibb – a governorate on the frontline of the conflict – being just as high this year as last year, there were only 672 suspected cases of cholera in July 2018 compared to 13,659 in July 2017.”There aren’t a lot of us doing this type of work yet,” Jutla said. “But we have an opportunity to understand how these different factors create conditions favorable for the proliferation of water-related diseases like cholera and what their impact will be on society.”If we can ensure safe drinking water and sanitation facilities, we can control this disease.”Julta has earned a prestigious CAREER award from the National Science Foundation for his research.While officials note there are a number of other factors that could have contributed to a lower number of suspected cholera cases this year, i.e., a later rainy season, greater immunity against cholera and a change in national guidance for the recording of suspected cholera cases, it is clear that the new actions taken as a result of the predictions are saving lives and reducing suffering.”The conflict in Yemen is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, with millions of people at risk of deadly but preventable diseases such as cholera,” said DFID Chief Scientist Charlotte Watts. “DFID has brought together experts from around the world to predict where the risk of cholera is highest so that aid workers can act before it’s too late. By working joining up international expertise with those working on the ground, we have, for the very first time, used these sophisticated predictions to help save lives and prevent needless suffering for thousands of Yemenis.”​last_img read more

Tugging pushing deep within Earth may explain mysterious earthquakes

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first_imgMost earthquakes occur along plate boundaries, where thick slabs in Earth’s crust rub against one another. But quakes also occur in the middle of relatively quiescent continental plates, and it’s a mystery why regions, such as the U.S. Mountain States, receive more than their fair share of shaking in seismic hazard maps (pictured). A new model says that those earthquakes could be caused by changes more than 100 kilometers down, as mantle rock tugs at or pushes up on the overlying rock in the crust. Researchers used a model of the slow-motion upwellings and downwellings in the gummy rock of the mantle. They found that the rate of change of those movements was a good predictor for earthquakes in the Mountain States. The team, publishing online today in Nature, suspects that these mantle flows stress the crust, putting it into a critical state that is primed for an earthquake.last_img read more

Mother of all apes—including humans—may have been surprisingly small

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first_imgFrom sturdy chimpanzees to massive gorillas to humans themselves, the living great apes are all large-bodied, weighing between 30 and 180 kilograms. So for years most researchers thought the ancestral ape must have tipped the scales as well. But the partial skeleton of an 11.6-million-year-old primitive ape may force scientists to reimagine the ancestor of all living apes and humans. With a muzzle like a gibbon but a large brain for its body size, the ancient primate has traits that link it to all apes and humans—yet it weighed only 4 kg to 5 kg, according to a report today in Science.The ancient skeleton was found near Barcelona, Spain. If that seems strange, that’s because a bewildering number of extinct apes once roamed far and wide across the forests of Europe, Asia, and Africa during the Miocene Epoch, 5 million to 23 million years ago. After the ancestors of apes and monkeys split into two groups roughly 25 million years ago, apes underwent a remarkable florescence, evolving into more than 30 different types. About 17 million years ago, these early apes diverged into two distinct groups—the “lesser apes,” small-bodied, tree-living creatures represented today by gibbons and siamangs, and the great apes, which include chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, orangutans—and humans.Until recently, most researchers assumed that the fossils of small Miocene apes were the ancestors of gibbons or extinct lineages of little primates, whereas the larger bodied fossil apes were the forebears of greater apes and humans. “For decades, the small stuff was thought to be related to gibbons and the big stuff was thought to be related to great apes,” says paleoanthropologist John Fleagle of the State University of New York at Stony Brook. And many researchers have thought that a large-bodied, 18-million-year-old ape called Proconsul from Kenya offered the best model for the ancestor of all apes. This neat split is now being challenged by a strange new Miocene ape—Pliobates cataloniae, named for the province of Catalonia in Spain. In January 2011, a team of paleontologists monitoring bulldozers excavating a landfill 50 kilometers northwest of Barcelona found 70 crucial pieces of an ancient primate skeleton: the cranium (the top of the skull), chunks of the upper jaw and muzzle, plus arm, hand, and hind bones, all buried in a layer of sediment reliably dated to 11.6 million years ago.The bones of the skull were crushed against each other, so rather than trying to break them apart, paleobiologists David Alba and Salvador Moyà-Solà of the Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont in Sabadell, Spain, and their colleagues scanned the entire chunk of skull and rock using computed tomography. Then they created a 3D reconstruction of the skull. They noted that this fossil had primitive traits, such as a monkey-size brain, small teeth with sharp cusps, and eye sockets that telescoped out, similar to those of a gibbon. But it also had more modern or derived traits that link it to great apes, including a short, wide cranium. What really caught the team’s attention were elbow and wrist bones that would have allowed Pliobates to rotate its wrist and forearm for climbing and clambering in trees. Great apes including humans have these traits, but lesser apes do not.This unusual mosaic of primitive and modern traits suggests that Pliobates didn’t launch itself from branch to branch like gibbon apes, but instead climbed relatively slowly in the trees, moving atop the branches carefully to eat fruit. Given its mix of characteristics, the authors suggest Pliobates was related to both lesser apes and greater apes. “I could imagine something with the face of a gibbon but moving much more slowly than a gibbon, like a slow loris atop the branches … eventually being able to suspend below them,” Alba says.But Pliobates lived too recently to be the actual common ancestor of all apes and humans, Alba says. Instead, his team proposes that it was a late-surviving, relatively primitive descendant of that ancestor, a creature that provides our closest glimpse yet of the original apes. If so, Pliobates knocks Proconsul from its perch as the previous closest ancestor and suggests “the last common ancestor of great apes and lesser apes looked nothing like chimpanzees or gorillas,” Alba says. That would mean it was the great apes, not the lesser ones, which diverged most from their ancestral petite body plan. “We should be careful about discounting small-bodied taxa as the last common ancestor,” Alba says.Fleagle agrees: “You can’t ignore all the little guys.” Paleoanthropologist Terry Harrison of New York University in New York City, who has been a lone voice suggesting that the last common ancestor was small, thinks that the Spanish team has made a “compelling” case that Pliobates represents a primitive ancestor of apes.Not everyone is convinced:  Paleoanthropologist David Begun of the University of Toronto in Canada still thinks the relatively large Proconsul is the closer relative, because the new fossil’s teeth and cranial base are so primitive that they “outweigh the derived attributes of the limbs.” Regardless of where Pliobates sits on the primate family tree, it “will shake things up, fuel new debates, and allow us to rethink what we thought we already know,” Harrison says. Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwelast_img read more

A computerized early warning system for students in academic trouble

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first_img By John BohannonFeb. 19, 2017 , 11:45 PM Email Students rarely ask academic advisers for advice at the right time. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) BOSTON—Academic advisers on university campuses face a common problem: Students rarely ask for advice at the right time. “They’re either the high achievers who don’t need much help, or students who are already failing out of their classes,” says Allison Calhoun-Brown, a political scientist who oversees advising at Georgia State University (GSU) in Atlanta. “What we need is an early warning system,” she adds, a system that can flag a student who needs advising, perhaps long before the student is aware.It took 4 years to build and test, but that early warning system now exists. GSU’s Vice Provost Timothy Renick debuted its results here Saturday at a session of the annual meeting of AAAS, which publishes Science. “We’ve done over 200,000 interventions,” he says, referring to the meetings between GSU’s advisers and undergraduate students. In each case, it was a computer rather than a human that noticed that the student needed help. And the predictions were often based on signs so subtle—getting a B- rather than a B+ in a particular course—that a human might never have noticed. The data that power these predictions came from GSU’s 32,000 undergraduates themselves. By tracking the students’ progress and comparing the test scores and grades of those who graduate on time with those who don’t, GSU created a statistical model of academic success. It became clear early on that certain combinations of indicators, such as difficulty in certain courses that were critical for later ones in the degree, were strongly correlated with the risk of graduating late or even dropping out of school.  Sean M. Ayres/UC Davis/Flickr center_img A computerized early warning system for students in academic trouble 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 Advisers began to act on those patterns, inviting the students to meet and discuss their academic life. “Sometimes the student has just chosen the wrong courses or taken on too much at once,” Calhoun-Brown says. “Or sometimes we found that they needed extra help with writing or math skills. Some needed help with time management.” But did those early interventions work? Four years ago, GSU had achievement gaps similar to other urban universities with low-income students, with graduation rates about 10% lower for “at risk” students. “Today we have no achievement gap,” he says. And the number of students graduating with science-related degrees has doubled among black students. The boost came from better retention of those students rather than changes to the student body, Renick says. “Over the same years that we were seeing these huge increases in STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math] graduates, we only increased the size of our admitted freshman and transfer classes by about 4%.”Other universities are signing up. With a $9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, 11 institutions are now launching randomly controlled trials of the GSU system on their own campuses. And administrators from South African universities are now exploring ways to collect similar data to help their students, who face some of the largest racial achievement gaps in in the world. During a press conference earlier in the day, Renick faced some pointed questions about protecting the privacy of the students and even about their “grit.” An unnamed questioner asked whether GSU’s intervention system might be robbing students of the benefit of making mistakes on their own. But Renick was bullish. “That’s like asking people to not get help from tax accountants because they should just learn from their mistakes.”Calhoun-Brown says that GSU students are embracing the idea that a computer is watching their progress and alerting their advisers. “They’re used to getting recommendations based on data from using Amazon and Netflix. They expect it. And now we have the data to share with them.”Check out our full coverage of AAAS 2017.last_img read more

Top stories The true cost of cash bail tuft cells and a

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first_img Email The function of tuft cells, the turf-topped cells scattered among various parts of the body, has eluded researchers for decades. Some contain the same chemical-sensing surface proteins that act as taste receptors on the tongue. But they appear in the lining of structures such as the intestines, lungs, and urethra that have no apparent need to “taste” anything. Now, research reveals these oddball cells serve as sentinels along the body’s invasion routes, relying on their sensory capabilities to detect pathogens and allergens trying to infiltrate the body.This Australian farmer is saving fossils of some of the planet’s weirdest, most ancient creaturesWhen a rancher purchased the Nilpena cattle station in South Australia 30 years ago, he suddenly became the unexpected steward of some of the world’s oldest fossils. The ranch contains about 60 species from the Ediacaran, the period when Earth’s first multicellular creatures arose some 560 million years ago. Recent financial troubles had some worried about the site’s future, but on 28 March the state government of South Australia purchased about half of the station, which is almost singular in its preservation of entire communities of ancient Ediacaran organisms.New neurons for life? Old people can still make fresh brain cells, study findsOne of the thorniest debates in neuroscience is whether people can make new neurons after their brains stop developing in adolescence—a process known as neurogenesis. Now, a new study finds that even people long past middle age can make fresh brain cells, and past studies that failed to spot these newcomers may have used flawed methods.Duke University settles research misconduct lawsuit for $112.5 millionDuke University will pay $112.5 million to the U.S. government to settle a lawsuit brought by a former employee who alleged the university included falsified data in applications and reports for federal grants worth nearly $200 million. The university will also take several steps “to improve the quality and integrity of research conducted on campus,” including the creation of a new advisory panel that will provide recommendations to the president, the Durham, North Carolina, institution said in a statement released earlier this week. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Does jailing people before trial make cities safer? Not always, new research suggestsCities and states across the United States are moving to ease cash bail and other pretrial detention policies that critics say are unfair, counterproductive, and contribute little to public safety. The reforms are contentious, but relatively little hard evidence informs the battle. Now, social scientists are launching studies to find out whether pretrial practices such as cash bail really do result in higher appearance rates and safer communities. Results published last month, for example, bolstered reformers’ case that cash bail is ineffective, at least in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.Closing in on a century-old mystery, scientists are figuring out what the body’s ‘tuft cells’ do By Alex FoxMar. 29, 2019 , 3:20 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 (Left to right): UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI IN ST. LOUIS/ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO/CAROLINA HIDALGO; V. ALTOUNIAN/SCIENCE; JASON IRVING Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Top stories: The true cost of cash bail, tuft cells, and a fossil-saving Australian farmerlast_img read more

Adversity Scores Questioned After SATs Racist Origins

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first_imgThe golden standard of standardized tests for high school testing was reportedly set to get a makeover with the socio-economic statuses of test-takers in mind. But after an existence that has spanned more than a century and yielded results that overwhelmingly favor white students, there were some questions about how effective the Scholastic Aptitude Test’s (SAT) new “adversity scores” could be given the test’s racist origins. DC Metro Says Shamed Employee ‘Was Doing No Wrong’ By Eating On Subway SAT , Standardized tests The Evolving Relevance Of ‘The Talk’ Unpacking Mayor Pete’s ‘Douglass Plan’ For Black America It’s like an episode of Black Mirror. While I’m proud to attend a test *optional* college, it’d be absurd to pretend the SAT doesn’t affect admissions. And I’m heartbroken for high school students today, where a “not for profit” will pretend to know their background and struggles pic.twitter.com/32UJDGlQXr— Adit Damodaran (@AditDamodaran) May 16, 2019“There are a number of amazing students who may have scored less (on the SAT) but have accomplished more,” David Coleman told the Journal. “We can’t sit on our hands and ignore the disparities of wealth reflected in the SAT.”With that said, the College Board has effectively sat on their hands in recent decades as the SAT achievement gap steadily widened along racial lines. That was arguably by design, according to the National Education Association (NEA), which explained “the racist beginnings of standardized testing” in a news article. The new adversity score given to students who take the #SAT to “capture their socio-economic background.” I’m not here for it. Let’s add more labels to brown and black kids who will be disproportionately impacted by this new additional score. #standardizedtest #students #SES pic.twitter.com/JaSKIP8o24— Just Call Me Rel (@DAMariposaRoja) May 16, 2019center_img “As the U.S. absorbed millions of immigrants from Europe beginning in the 19th century, the day’s leading social scientists, many of them White Anglo-Saxon Protestants, were concerned by the infiltration of non-whites into the nation’s public schools,” the NEA wrote.Despite the existence of affirmative action, it appeared that white people benefitted most from it in the form of legacy and donor admissions.It’s definitely a good sign that the College Board was finally taking measures to, in theory, address the racial achievement gap for the SAT. But only time will tell if the “adversity scores” (a loaded term if there ever was one) will have the desired effects, whatever they may be.SEE ALSO:Baytown Police ‘Are Lying’ About Pamela Turner, Benjamin Crump SaysMaleah Davis’ Mother Confirms Her Husband Talked About Murder And Dumping A Body According to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported on Thursday the pending changes to the SAT, adversity scores will be “calculated using 15 factors including the crime rate and poverty levels from the student’s high school and neighborhood.”The decision came on the heels of the recent college admissions scandal that involved wealthy white people paying bribes to get their children into schools.It was unclear what exactly would be accomplished with the scoring system that a small handful of colleges used last year on an experimental basis. The Journal reported that a student’s race would not factor into the score, but the chief executive officer of the College Board said the racial discrepancies in SAT scores were too much for his organization to ignore. More By Bruce C.T. Wright Everything We Know About Sadie Roberts-Joseph’s Murder Investigation D.C. Metro Station last_img read more

Fairstein Tried To Control When They See Us

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first_img Central Park 5 , Linda Fairstein , Manhattan District Attorney’s Office , When They See Us Entertainment, News and Lifestyle for Black America. News told by us for us. Black America’s #1 News Source: Our News. Our Voice. A Disturbing Timeline Of 4-Year-Old Maleah Davis Going Missing After Being Left With Her Stepfather Fairstein denied that she tried to control the scripts.In great news, TMZ confirmed Dutton, her published, terminated their relationship with the crime novelist. She has written 14 books for the company. Since “When They See Us” aired, there has been an online boycott, which clearly worked. That said, her literary agency, ICM Partners, has not commented.The 72-year-old told The Daily Beast on Wednesday that she had no fear of being dropped by her publisher. “My publisher is fantastic,” she claimed.Fairstein retired from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in 2002, the same year that Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam and Korey Wise were exonerated because a fellow inmate came forward to confess. Fairstein — along with our current president — still says they are guilty.Watch the powerful trailer for “When They See Us” below, which is available on Netflix.SEE ALSO:‘It’s Above Me Now’: Hotel Clerk’s Video With Racist Guest Goes Viral‘Who Said I Can’t Say Ni**a?’: Blackface Video Of High School Student Sparks OutrageMeet Jogger Joe, The Man Who Took Racist Cue From BBQ Becky In Tossing Homeless Man’s Clothes SUBSCRIBE Derion Vence, Maleah Davis, Brittany Bowens See Also: A Timeline Of Dallas Cop Amber Guyger Killing Botham Jean In His Own Home“She insisted that we look at the transcript of the case, which obviously was part of our research,” Tribeca Enterprises CEO Jane Rosenthal said during a panel on Sunday. “She also had been under a gag order during the [Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon] doc and couldn’t speak, but she stated to us that she was getting many offers and that perhaps she wanted to talk to us because she had other offers.”Rosenthal continued, “She was also concerned that we were talking to the five men. So her point of view was clearly that she didn’t want us talking to the five men if we were talking to her.”Fairstein reportedly didn’t respond to TheWrap’s request for a comment on this story.Last week, DuVernay said when she reached out to Fairstein, she actually wanted control over the script.“I informed them that I was making the film, that they would be included, and invited them to sit with me and talk with me so that they could share their point of view and their side of things so that I could have that information as I wrote the script with my co-writers,” DuVernay said. “Linda Fairstein actually tried to negotiate. I don’t know if I’ve told anyone this, but she tried to negotiate conditions for her to speak with me, including approvals over the script and some other things. So you know what my answer was to that, and we didn’t talk.” A$AP Rocky Being In A Swedish Prison Will Not Stop Her From Going To The Country That Showed Her ‘So Much Love’ Thanks for signing up! Get ready for Exclusive content, Interviews,and Breaking news delivered direct to your inbox. Get ready for Exclusive content, Interviews,and Breaking news delivered direct to your inbox. More By NewsOne Staff Meghan McCain Whines That She Can’t Attack llhan Omar Because Trump Is Too Racist Anyone who followed the so-called Central Park Five case knew that Linda Fairstein was one of the key figures who wrongfully locked up Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam and Korey Wise. However, with the release of Ava DuVernay‘s “When They See Us” on Netflix, we are getting an even deeper in look into this woman’s psychosis. Producers are claiming she would only talk to them if they didn’t talk to the Exonerated Five men, according to TheWrap. Gov. Cuomo Slams Mayor Bill De Blasio For The Eric Garner Case But He Also Failed The Familylast_img read more

Medical Examiner Maleah Davis Was Intentionally Killed

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first_img AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisMoreShare to EmailEmailEmail A$AP Rocky Being In A Swedish Prison Will Not Stop Her From Going To The Country That Showed Her ‘So Much Love’ Meghan McCain Whines That She Can’t Attack llhan Omar Because Trump Is Too Racist A Disturbing Timeline Of 4-Year-Old Maleah Davis Going Missing After Being Left With Her Stepfather Derion Vence, Maleah Davis, Brittany Bowens Brittany Bowens , Derion Vence , Maleah Davis More By NewsOne Staff Davis was last seen alive on April and Vence is denying any responsibility, even though he was being held in jail on related charges.“I would never do anything to hurt her. That’s not me,” Vence, 27, told ABC’s Texas station KTRK in an interview earlier thus month. “Ask anyone who knows me, and they’ll tell you I’m not that type of dude and I was good with the kids. I ain’t no killer, bro.”Police claim Vence led them to Maleah’s body but he somehow was still maintaining that he had nothing to do with her death.Vence remains jailed on charges of with tampering a corpse, but he has avoided more serious charges. He originally told Sgt. Mark Holbrook of the Houston Police Department’s Homicide Division that he, Maleah and his two-year-old son were on their way to George Bush Intercontinental Airport to pick up Bowens, who was flying in from Massachusetts the night of May 4. Vence said he heard a “popping noise” and pulled over. He said a blue pickup truck pulled up behind his vehicle and two Hispanic males got out and hit him in the head. He said he lost consciousness and woke up at 6 p.m. the next day. He said Maleah was missing but his son was still there. Vence claimed he then walked to a hospital, received treatment and then reported Maleah as missing.As for her mother, Bowens seemed to be avoiding any legal repercussion for her actions, or inaction, surrounding her daughter. Even Bowens’ former representative had his doubts about Maleah’s mother. Quannell X severed ties with Bowens because he said she was defending Vence even though she admitted her husband beat Maleah so severely she required brain surgery. The cause of death of 4-year-old Maleah Davis has finally been released. It is determined she died by homicidal violence.See Also: Company Claps Back At Disgraced Author, Lawsuit Over D.C. Subway-Shaming As Debut Novel Is Called TrashABC reports, medical examiners ruled she died from “homicidal violence.” There are not other details about her death and no one has been charged with her murder. However, 27-year-old Derion Vence, her mother’s boyfriend, has remained the lone suspect. Rest in power, Maleah Davis.SEE ALSO:Company Claps Back At Disgraced Author, Lawsuit Over D.C. Subway-Shaming As Debut Novel Is Called TrashA History Of Racist Policing In America, From Slavery To Jim Crow To Now Gov. Cuomo Slams Mayor Bill De Blasio For The Eric Garner Case But He Also Failed The Familylast_img read more

Anything faster than a brisk walk on this martian moon could send

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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 Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Joshua Rapp LearnNov. 15, 2018 , 3:25 PM Walk, don’t run, on the martian moon Phobos. A new study finds that traveling faster than about 5 kilometers per hour on some regions of the Red Planet’s largest satellite could shoot you straight off into space.Phobos (pictured) is an odd duck among our solar system’s moons. It’s tiny (a fraction of a percent the size of our own moon) and is shaped like a potato; that weird shape draws gravity to different places, depending on where you are.All these features make Phobos a challenge to travel on, researchers report in Advances in Space Research. In some places, moving any faster than 5 kilometers per hour would be enough to free you from the moon’s meager gravitational pull, sending you off into space where you’d likely be captured by Mars’s gravity and end up orbiting the Red Planet. The fastest you could travel anywhere on Phobos would be about 36 kilometers per hour, or a little faster than a golf cart, the team finds. Anything faster than a brisk walk on this martian moon could send you spinning off into space The findings could pose problems for planned missions to Phobos. Several Russian missions have already failed to reach the moon, though one attained martian orbit in the late 1980s before contact was lost. A Japanese landing mission slated for the early 2020s will involve observing the moon and extracting samples.The authors say traveling on the moon will have to happen in slow motion in some places in order to keep contact with the surface. Meanwhile, anything driving on the surface or hovering nearby may need autonomous navigation and control systems to adapt to the wonky spin rate and Phobos’s gravity, to avoid being lost in space. Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country University of Arizona/JPL-Caltech/NASA last_img read more

Researchers embrace a radical idea engineering coral to cope with climate change

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first_img By Warren CornwallMar. 21, 2019 , 2:00 PM Many corals spawn by releasing bundles of eggs and sperm into the ocean in synchronization with neighbors of the same species. The eggs are fertilized in a kind of underwater spawning blizzard, as the buoyant bundles rise to the surface, creating spawning slicks up to 5 kilometers long. Researchers wanting to cross-breed corals have to wait for the rare moment of spawning. A once-a-year breeding frenzy 1 Breeding for a hotter world The term “coral” encompasses an entire microcosm. Scientists are working to alter each part, hoping it will enhance the entire system’s heat tolerance. A complex partnership Spawning driven by lunar and seasonal cycles Wanted: super corals Email Ocean surface Acropora loripes Acropora tenuis Cross-breeding could create hybrids that thrive in warmer seas. Researchers also rear corals in hotter water to see whether offspring inherit adaptations and manipulate genes for heat tolerance. 3 Adapting algae 2 Manipulating the microbiome To help corals resist bleaching and other stresses, scientists are trying to evolve new bacterial mixtures (below). They are also exploring genetic engineering of coral bacteria. Raising symbiotic algae in hotter conditions could create heat-tolerant strains that help prevent bleaching. Researchers are also altering algae DNA, a potential step toward genetic engineering. Polyp Zooxanthellae (algae) Microbiome Mouth Tentacles 2 mm Gut Exoskeleton Corals release eggs and sperm. Gametes form zygotes. The coral biology world has undergone a radical transformation over the last 5 years. To avoid disrupting the spawning of light-sensitive corals, researchers wear red headlamps as they work. One major attraction is the National Sea Simulator, a $25 million facility nestled in eucalyptus-lined hills on the shore of the Coral Sea, which was opened in 2013 by the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). Here, in dozens of seawater tanks where conditions can be precisely matched to those of the ocean today or in the future, Van Oppen and other scientists are tinkering with creatures that are the very cornerstones of reef ecosystems. Imagine ecologists cultivating whole new breeds of trees to restock a devastated wilderness. In the minds of some researchers, the work could help shape the future of some of the world’s richest underwater places. But the endeavor will first have to overcome formidable technical challenges—and concerns that such interventions could bring new problems.Van Oppen and others are re-engineering corals with techniques as old as the domestication of plants and as new as the latest gene-editing tools. And the researchers are adopting attitudes more common to free-wheeling Silicon Valley startups than the methodical world of conservation science. Just as tech entrepreneurs are urged to “fail fast, fail often,” scientists are pushing to quickly test ideas and ditch the least promising ones in the hunt for results that can be moved from the lab to the ocean. THE NATIONAL SEA SIMULATOR IN TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA—The rush starts at sunset, just before the first tiny pearls of egg and sperm rise from chunks of coral resting in tanks here at this sprawling marine science center. Figures scurry past in the fading light, their red headlamps casting a lurid glow. The thrum of pumps and gurgle of water drown out the cicadas trilling on a sweltering November evening. Researchers huddle around the tanks, their lights turning the pools into pink lanterns as they watch for signs of spawning.Amid the controlled chaos, coral geneticist Madeleine van Oppen stands like a coach directing her team. A doctoral student from Van Oppen’s lab at the University of Melbourne in Australia approaches with an update. One species of coral appears ready to spawn sooner than expected. “That’s not helpful,” Van Oppen declares. She strides to a large aquarium, reaches in up to her elbows, and lifts out a basketball-size piece of coral. “Move,” she orders, marching past to deposit her load into a small bucket of saltwater, in order to isolate the coral and to avoid accidental cross-breeding.That imperative—to move, and move fast—is now the mantra for an entire field of coral research and for Van Oppen in particular. The relentless rise of global temperatures is imperiling coral reefs around the world. Just 75 kilometers offshore from the research center, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef—the world’s largest—has been battered by a string of marine heat waves that have killed half its coral. The threat has transformed Van Oppen into a leading advocate for something considered radical just a few years ago: creating breeds of coral that can withstand underwater heat waves. And it has helped make Australia, which recently committed a hefty $300 million to coral research and restoration, a global magnet for reef scientists. Coral researchers Line Bay (left) and Madeleine van Oppen (right) want to figure out how to help corals adapt to warming seas, before it is too late. Sea floor Warmer water Selecting for heat tolerance Testing in coral 27°C ~1 year Heat- tolerant algae 30°C 31°C 33°C A. tenuis A. loripes Hybrids Purebred Purebred Sample tray Experimental treatments Heat stress Corals moved to hotter or colder conditions. Microbiome adapts to new environment. This lab has drawn other researchers pursuing their own approaches. While Van Oppen stirs together sperm and eggs, in a nearby building Phil Cleves, a postdoctoral student at Stanford, hunches over a microscope, gazing at a row of newly created coral embryos lined up in a small petri dish. Using a joystick, he guides the glass tip of a needle less than a micron across until it punctures an embryo’s outer membrane and delivers new genetic material.Last year, Cleves became the first to report successfully using the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool on coral. CRISPR is often touted as a method for making genetically modified species. But Cleves says he isn’t interested in creating new kinds of coral. Rather, he sees CRISPR as a tool for deciphering the inner workings of coral DNA by knocking out, or disabling, genes one by one. He hopes to identify genes that might serve as “master switches” controlling how coral copes with heat and stress—knowledge that could help researchers quickly identify corals in the wild or in the laboratory that are already adapted to heat.Once Cleves has punctured an embryo, a puff of air injects a droplet filled with the RNA and enzyme molecules that snip the DNA. The researchers will later expose those knockout embryos to different temperatures; if embryos that have had certain DNA sequences removed die at higher rates, the researchers could be a step closer to identifying key resilience genes. Tonight, however, Cleves is essentially a one-man assembly line, manufacturing genetically modified coral. He’ll process a thousand embryos by 2:30 in the morning.Engineering resilienceAlthough Cleves is not focused on engineering new corals, some of his collaborators are thinking seriously about how genetic modification could help blunt the climate threat. One is Line (pronounced “Leena”) Bay, a coral geneticist at AIMS who is also heading a committee advising the Australian government on how to spend $70 million it has committed to research into coral adaptation and restoration.The committee has been weighing a smorgasbord of potential interventions, many outside the realm of genetics. Some applicants want to try to dim the sun over reefs by spreading a thin sun shield over the water or by spraying saltwater into clouds so that they reflect more sunlight. Other researchers are looking at corralling coral spawn and steering it to reefs most in need. Some researchers envision creating an entire aquaculture system—essentially coral farms—to raise hardier strains created by work like Van Oppen’s, which could then be transplanted to ailing reefs.Genetically engineering corals to make them better able to withstand heat and resist bleaching is among the possibilities, Bay says. She concedes that the idea will face resistance, like all proposals to release modified organisms into the environment. But that doesn’t mean it should be shelved, she says. “The worst thing that we could do is ignore the genetic engineering because it’s frightening for some people, and then get 10 or 15 years down the road and realize it’s the only option.” 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 1 Rising ocean temperatures and ocean acidification pose major threats to the planet’s coral reefs. If temperatures rise 2°C above preindustrial levels by 2100, virtually all coral reefs will be wiped out, according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Recent heat waves have already taken a major toll, killing more than half the coral on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Now, scientists are trying to help reefs adapt by altering coral biology in the laboratory. Polyp (below) 2 Steve Palumbi, Stanford University At about 6:30 p.m., the A. loripes starts, setting off a frenetic ballet of technicians and researchers. “It’s gonna be chaos,” one declares gleefully.Plastic cups and mixing bowls are the low-tech tools of the trade. Van Oppen leans over a tub, headlamp shining, gently dips a cup into a carpet of fresh spawn, and carries it into the fertilization room. Whereas the darkened spawning tubs have an atmosphere of awe and mystery, the fertilization room is all business. Under glaring fluorescent lights, Van Oppen pours the cup’s contents into a small tube ending in a filter, which catches the bound-together eggs and sperm. She gently rinses the bundles to break them apart, separating the sperm into a bowl and leaving behind eggs resembling pink grains of sand.”It’s quite relaxing, actually,” Van Oppen says, as she stands still for a moment, quietly bathing the eggs in saltwater again and again. She will pour the eggs into a bowl, one of many in a row, each filled with a swirl of floating eggs and marked with a code denoting the particular hybrid she’s creating. The sperm goes into a large glass bottle with a spigot, to await fertilization later that night. When the time is right, Van Oppen will pour sperm from one species into bowls of eggs from another and thus start a new generation.Some of her early work with hybrids has been promising. Last year, her team reported that one group of A. loripes-A. tenuis hybrids tolerated hotter, more acidic water better than purebred A. tenuis, with survival rates 16 to 34 percentage points higher. Now, the researchers are waiting for the hybrids to mature to see whether their offspring are also viable and resilient. Meanwhile, in the Hawaiian lab founded by Gates, scientists have found that they can create corals that fare better in warmer water by crossing variants within a single species.The Laurel and Hardy of reefsIn past years, Gates would have kept tabs on the spawning. But not tonight. Just a month earlier, in October 2018, Gates died at age 56 from complications during surgery for diverticulitis, an intestinal inflammation. She also had cancer that had spread to her brain.Van Oppen and Gates were a bit like the comedic duo Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Gates, stocky and with a showperson’s flair, was a natural as the public face of coral science. She appeared in the 2017 Netflix documentary Chasing Coral and spoke to the United Nations, the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado, and many media outlets. “She was such a sharp mind, and also she was such a fabulous science communicator,” Van Oppen says. “It’s a huge loss.”Van Oppen is more reserved and slight, speaking in quiet tones, her English softened with traces of her native land, the Netherlands. The lab, it seems, is her natural habitat. “I’m actually quite an introverted person,” she says.Gates’s death has reinforced Van Oppen’s sense of urgency. And it has helped push her into the spotlight, replacing Gates as the most prominent spokesperson for assisting coral evolution. During spawning, a cluster of journalists surrounded her, like pilotfish hovering around a shark.Despite her reserve, Van Oppen is a whirlwind of energy, says her longtime mentor and former Ph.D. adviser Jeanine Olsen, an expert in marine genomics retired from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. “When I see how productive she is, and her ability to bring people together and go after this kind of grand challenge question, it takes my breath away,” Olsen says.CRISPR coralBreeding new coral hybrids is just one strategy Van Oppen is pursuing. In another room at the lab here, tiny vials filled with a brown-tinted liquid sit in stainless steel chests resembling refrigerators. Each holds samples of the symbiotic algae. In one experiment, new generations are exposed to progressively warmer temperatures, in hopes of selecting for strains that better tolerate heat.The simulator also houses large tanks in which corals themselves are exposed to similar stresses: water temperatures and carbon dioxide levels mimicking what’s expected later in the century. Van Oppen—who still holds a research position in the Townsville lab even though she is based in Melbourne—is curious to see whether creatures raised in those challenging conditions will adapt by turning up or down certain genes and then passing on some of those “epigenetic” changes to their offspring. Cooler water Researchers embrace a radical idea: engineering coral to cope with climate change CAMERON LAIRD At the sea simulator, entire research projects hinge on what transpires over the next 10 hours. Coral spawn only once per year, releasing the genetic material that is the foundation of this work. On this night, 5 days after a full moon, much of the coral that researchers have collected offshore and moved to the lab appears ready to release thousands of bundles of eggs and sperm. The spawning will set off a frenzy of scooping, mixing, and testing. The eggs will die within hours if not fertilized by sperm, and this chance won’t come again for another 12 months. The feeling is electric, caffeinated, like the start of an all-night marathon for computer hackers. It’s only fitting, because many of the people here are bent on trying to hack coral.A ticking clockAs Van Oppen works, she can hear the clock ticking for coral reefs. In the past decade, heat waves have turned vast swaths of reef from multihued oases to algae-coated deserts. Reef-building corals—really a mutualistic pairing of an animal that builds a hard skeleton with a single-celled plant that lives within the animal’s cells—show few signs of adapting to the rapid change. If global temperatures rise by 2°C, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has concluded, reefs as we know them will be virtually gone worldwide. Today, the planet is on course to crack 3°C by 2100. Then there is the added threat of ocean acidification. The sea’s absorption of carbon dioxide lowers the pH of seawater, making it corrosive to the calcium carbonate shells that corals and many other marine creatures build. Van Oppen has a habit of punctuating the grim news about coral with a strained laugh. “We’re really trying to repair what humans are destroying,” she says, and then laughs.Seven years ago, at a conference, Van Oppen sat down with Ruth Gates, a renowned coral biologist and conservation advocate from the University of Hawaii (UH) in Honolulu, to discuss whether they could give coral reefs an artificial advantage in the evolutionary race against climate change. Van Oppen, then a full-time scientist at the lab here, had already tried to breed coral that could withstand higher temperatures. And Gates was a pioneer in understanding why corals evict their tenant algae when stressed, a process known as coral bleaching. The two wondered whether, with a little coaxing, they could make both organisms more resilient.It was an idea on the fringe. Coral conservation has traditionally focused on minimizing damage from insults such as water pollution, invasive starfish, and destructive fishing or tourism. In the Caribbean, some conservationists have worked to “replant” damaged coral. But Gates and Van Oppen had something more intrusive in mind. They wanted to try to alter the genetics of coral or the microbes that live on it. They dubbed the effort “assisted evolution.” 3 1 When the duo promoted the idea in a 2015 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it was still outside the mainstream, says Steve Palumbi, a marine biologist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, who chairs a National Academy of Sciences committee studying ways to help coral. “They were ahead of the curve for sure,” Palumbi says.Then, two things happened. Later that year, the charitable foundation of the late Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft, gave Van Oppen and Gates $4 million over 5 years to pursue the work. And an epidemic of heat waves severely damaged coral reefs around the world between 2014 and 2017. Suddenly, the idea of intervening to help save coral seemed less far-fetched. “The coral biology world,” Palumbi says, “has undergone a radical transformation over the last 5 years.”A hybrid solution?Coral’s most remarkable characteristic—being an animal that is part plant—is also its Achilles’ heel in a hotter world. Normally, coral polyps—the individual coral organisms, which resemble a sea anemone the size of a pinhead—live in harmony with their algal partners, which help feed the polyps and give corals their bright colors. But during heat waves, the relationship sours. Overheated polyps perceive the algae as an irritant and eject them like unwanted squatters. The coral is left bleached, bone-white and starving. If the heat persists, the coral won’t take in new algae and can die.The bond between coral and algae is complicated, however, and still not fully understood. Just 25 years ago, for example, researchers believed that coral housed just one variety of symbiotic algae. Now, they have identified hundreds. And they are just beginning to examine the role played by the coral’s microbiome, the menagerie of bacteria that inhabit a coral polyp.But the complexity also offers multiple paths for scientists trying to forge a less fragile bond between coral and algae. Today, four major lines of research exist: One involves cross-breeding corals to create heat-tolerant varieties, either by mixing strains within a species or by crossing two species that would not normally interbreed. The second enlists genetic engineering techniques to tweak coral or algae. A third tries to rapidly evolve hardier strains of coral and algae by rearing them for generations in overheated lab conditions. A fourth approach, the newest, seeks to manipulate the coral’s microbiome.On this November evening, one of Van Oppen’s main experiments is to develop new hybrids. The candidates for this night’s matchmaking are pale brown chunks of the small, spiky, and ubiquitous corals Acropora tenuis and A. loripes. Although those coral live side by side on the Great Barrier and other reefs, A. loripes spawns several hours after its cousin, effectively keeping the species separate. But Van Oppen can overcome that in the lab by mixing their spawn by hand.Before the mixing can begin, however, Van Oppen’s team has to collect the eggs and sperm, and coral are fussy spawners. Shifts in water temperature and even bright light can stop them—hence the red headlamps. But if all goes well, a tiny bundle of egg and sperm will emerge from the mouth of each of the thousands of polyps that make up the chunks of coral sitting in the tubs. The buoyant spheres rise through the water, like an inverted snowstorm. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Some scientists are already taking the first steps. In 2018, a team of scientists from the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia reported successfully altering the genome of chloroplasts inside symbiotic algae, noting that the technique could help reveal the mechanisms behind coral bleaching. And Van Oppen recently received a $2 million grant from the Australian government to delve further into the coral’s microbiome and explore the potential for genetically engineering the microbes to help coral become more resilient. Her team is also examining the properties of different microbes as a first step toward creating bacterial cocktails othat could help their coral hosts by absorbing molecules released during heat stress.Palumbi sees the potential for such efforts to accelerate evolution. But he’s betting that nature might offer solutions faster. Working on reefs in the South Pacific, he has found that colonies of a single species of coral can show different levels of heat tolerance depending on their location on the reef. Finding out what makes existing corals more heat resistant could guide efforts to propagate the most resilient strains. “It’s easier to find climate-resistant corals than it is to make them,” he says.Either way, such efforts to re-engineer coral reefs make people such as David Wachenfeld, chief scientist for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority here, uneasy. The authority is supposed to protect the reef and regulate activities there. In the past, that meant a hands-off approach. Now, he concedes that “it is almost inconceivable that we’re not going to need these tools.” But, he adds, “That doesn’t mean I’m happy about any of this. This is crisis management.”He ticks off a list of potential difficulties. Scientists focused on breeding heat-loving coral have to avoid weakening other key traits, such as coping with cold. Introducing a new coral on the scale needed to make a dent on a network of 2900 reefs spanning an area half the size of Texas is a daunting challenge. Even in its damaged state, the Great Barrier Reef still contains hundreds of millions of corals—enough to swamp the genetic impact of new coral species.Then there’s the “cane toad” question. In Australia, the toad looms over talk of introducing any new organism into the nation’s territory. First released in Australia in 1935 to combat beetles that damaged sugarcane, the cane toad quickly morphed into a toxic pest that poisoned native wildlife and showed little appetite for the beetles. Could some kind of “super coral,” as some researchers have dubbed them, also run amok in delicate coral ecosystems?Wachenfeld says that comparing engineered corals to cane toads is probably a stretch. For corals, scientists are working with the same basic organisms, often taken from the Great Barrier Reef, and not aiming to introduce a new predator. “That said, of course there are risks, and we must proceed with caution,” he says.The issue is also sensitive in Hawaii. There, a researcher in Gates’s lab says state regulators discouraged researchers from seeking a permit to release some corals created in the lab by breeding two groups of the same species—one that resisted bleaching and another that didn’t. “That is not a very genetically scary organism at all,” compared with other modified organisms, says Crawford Drury, a coral ecologist at UH. “But there is a baseline level of discomfort.”A first testAustralian regulators appear slightly less reluctant. In early March, Van Oppen got permission to move cross-species hybrids to the open ocean for the first time. Last week, her team took baby hybrid corals growing on terra cotta tiles out to the Great Barrier Reef and installed them on underwater racks, skewered on steel rods like oversized shish kebabs. Researchers will monitor the corals’ survival and growth in the coming months. To ease concerns that the exotic organisms might spread, she will remove them before they are sexually mature.For Van Oppen, moving forward with such tangible studies makes the frenzy of spawning nights worthwhile. In November 2018, after a long night scooping and stirring coral spawn, she seemed relaxed as she ate lunch at the laboratory’s café. The coral had spawned on cue, so a new year of experiments was underway. She planned to stay up late again for another reason—to raise glasses of champagne with her research team and toast a successful spawning season.Still, she feels the pressure to keep moving at a breakneck pace, even though solutions are a long way off. “Since we started this work, we’ve lost well over half of the Great Barrier Reef—at least—and lots of other reefs in the world,” she recalled. It’s humanity’s fault that corals are in hot water. Now, she says, it’s up to humanity to help the corals keep up. CAMERON LAIRD A researcher at the National Sea Simulator in Townsville, Australia, prepares coral samples used in experiments aimed at improving the resilience of reefs to warming seas. 2 C. BICKEL/SCIENCE Larvae consume plankton. Heavy larvae settle. Young coral populate reefs. Mature reef CAMERON LAIRD Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)last_img read more

Bringing FiveStar Service to the North

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first_imgShareTweetSharePinCREAD’s MSME Business Advisor, Elijah LeblancIn anticipation of the opening of the luxurious Kempinski Hotel in October 2019, the north areas of Dominica and its people are ensuring absolute readiness to serve guests with five-star quality.The Climate Resilience Execution Agency for Dominica (CREAD) in partnership with the Ministry of Commerce, Enterprise & Small Business Development; Ministry of Tourism and Culture; Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) and the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) recently held a three-day two-component workshop in Portsmouth – Delivering Quality Service by CTO’s Joan Leacock and Business Development by CREAD’s MSME Business Advisor, Elijah Leblanc.The workshop which ran from June 17 – 27 was split into four groups with the business development module around the central theme – Creating and Sustaining a Five-Star Mindset – while concentrating on the intricacies of business development including: Formation of a Business, Accountancy, Supply Chain Logistics and Risk Management; while Delivering Quality Service focused on several customer centric and tourism related topics.Attended by 91 small business owners and operators from Portsmouth and neighbouring northern villages, the interactive workshop provided practical training and encouraged a high level of interface. Participants, most of whose businesses, were adversely impacted by Hurricane Maria lauded organisers for the workshop and the areas expertly and thoroughly explored.A workshop participant known as the “Cassava man” Joan Connor who owns a craft shop said: “I learnt how to be more resilient and five-star ready. It was very beneficial to me.” These sentiments were echoed by Anastasia Thomas who lost her laundry equipment to Hurricane Maria: “I took away that I must be more approachable and that I definitely need signs for my business.”Nennette Daniel-Baptiste who owns a small restaurant and bar in Portsmouth also lost everything to the hurricane but has since rebuilt and reopened said: “I got a lot out of the workshop, especially, the record keeping part.” Familiarly known as The Cassava Man, Glenworth Cyrille, had this to say: “I always want to grow my business and myself professionally as well, so I seek knowledge always. You cannot put a price on this session. I am eager to pass on what I have learnt to my staff also.”These were just a sample of the rave reviews received from attendees who were all presented with a certificate of completion at the closing ceremony which was attended by Minister of Tourism and Culture, Honorable Robert Tonge; Minister for Trade, Energy and Employment Honorable Ian Douglas; Minister for Commerce, Enterprise and Small Business, Honorable Roslyn Paul; Mayor of Portsmouth, Titus Francis, as well as, Permanent Secretary (ag) Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Roland Royer who chaired the proceedings. Permanent Secretaries Careen Prevost and Gloria Joseph were also in attendance.Each minister and the Mayor spoke to the importance of such a workshop to Portsmouth and the surrounding areas, especially considering the impending opening of an international hotel in the north. They also applauded participants for recognizing the importance of the sessions and making a special effort to attend.Leblanc facilitated the workshop in collaboration with Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce, Enterprise & Small Business Development, Esther Thomas who both remarked on the level of commitment, interest and engagement displayed by all participants.last_img read more

NC will not allow changes in JKs demography Farooq Abdullah

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first_imgBy PTI |Srinagar | Published: July 6, 2019 9:11:12 pm Related News 2 Comment(s) LiveKarnataka floor test: Will Kumaraswamy’s 14-month-old govt survive? Advertising Virat Kohli won’t have a say in choosing new coach Advertising He underscored the need of having a popularly elected government in the state.“How can a few advisors of SAC rise up to the expectations of the people of the state? Today, we see how miserably the common population is being treated. The disdain with which the people are being treated speaks volumes about the contempt the incumbent governor administration has for the local population,” he said.Referring to the restrictions on the movement of civilian traffic on a stretch of the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway from Nashri to Qazigund for over five hours due to the Amarnath Yatra, Abdullah said on one hand, the governor says the yatra would not have been possible without the active support of the local population, but on the other hand, the same lot of people “is subjected to collective detention through highway curbs”.“Nowhere in the world is the civilian population treated in such a discourteous manner. Had there been a civilian government in place, situation would have been much different today. Today our institutions, our very identity, the territorial integrity of our state is under threat from forces as have traditionally wanted to obliterate and dissolve our special character,” he alleged. Farooq Abdullah: Modi cannot remove Article 370, 35-A from J&K Best Of Express After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan farooq abdullah, jammu and kashmir, former jammu and kashmir chief minister, dr farooq abdullah, amarnath, amarnath yatra, india news, Indian Express National Conference president Farooq Abdullah said, “Any attempt to dilute the unique identity of the state will be resisted tooth and nail.” (Express file photo)National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah Saturday said his party would not allow changes in Jammu and Kashmir’s demography and any attempt to dilute the unique identity of the state would be resisted tooth and nail. Dialogue only way forward for peace in J&K: Farooq Abdullah Farooq Abdullah hits back at PM Modi: If my family wanted to break India, there would have been no India Abdullah, while addressing a public gathering in Nowpora locality of the city in Srinagar, claimed that the Muslim character of the state has troubled those forces that are inimical to the very identity and integrity of the state.“There are forces whose sole agenda is to dilute the very pluralistic fabric of our state. The NC won’t allow any changes in the demography of the state. Any attempt to dilute the unique identity of the state will be resisted tooth and nail,” he said.The MP from Srinagar, while hitting out at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), claimed that the party “allowed the fascists to make inroads in our state”. More Explained Taking stock of monsoon rain Abdullah said the annual budget announced by the government Friday had nothing in its kitty for the state and turned out to be a “damp squib”.He asked the people of the state to show unity and not get overwhelmed by the prejudices of cast, creed or sect. “Unfortunately, such forces as are inimical to the identity of our state are using local henchmen to pursue their agenda. The mushrooming of political outfits in the valley is also suggestive of the nefarious agenda of such forces as want to demean and divide the voice of the people, particularly the Muslims,” the NC president claimed.He said it was unfortunate that no powerful Muslim voice “was allowed to surface on the political landscape of India and what is happening in Kashmir, cannot be singled out”.“Sher-e-Kashmir (NC founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah) had prophesied that after his death, the one man political outfits will be propped up in every nook and corner of the state. The main agenda of the right wing extremists is to eliminate the powerful voice of the Muslims in the state,” Abdullah said.Pointing towards Governor S P Malik-led state administrative council (SAC), he said “today we see a group of people at the helm of affairs in our state that are not representative in character”.last_img read more

Irans foreign minister says short war with our country is an illusion

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first_img Related News Hassan Rouhani says Iran ready to talk to US if sanctions lifted By Reuters |Dubai | Updated: June 27, 2019 10:37:03 pm Post Comment(s) Iran, Iran US, US Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Donald Trump, Donald Trump Iran, Iran Us, Indian Express Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. (Reuters)Iran’s foreign minister said on Twitter on Thursday that US President Donald Trump’s view that a conflict with Iran would be a “short war” was an illusion and that his threat of “obliteration” amounted to threatening “genocide”.Misconceptions endanger peace @realDonaldTrump:– Sanctions aren’t alternative to war; they ARE war– “Obliteration”=genocide=war crime– “Short war” with Iran is an illusion– Whoever begins war will not be the one ending it– Negotiations and threats are mutually exclusive— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) June 27, 2019“‘Obliteration’=genocide=war crime,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter “‘Short war’ with Iran is an illusion.”Trump said on Wednesday he was “not talking boots on the ground” should he take military action against Iran, adding that “I’m just saying if something would happen, it wouldn’t last very long.” He threatened on Tuesday to obliterate parts of Iran if it attacked “anything American”. UK says seized Iranian oil tanker could be released With Iran deal teetering on brink, Europeans assess next steps last_img read more

PowerSharing Deal in Sudan Took Shape at a Secret Meeting

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first_imgBy New York Times | Updated: July 6, 2019 10:25:48 am Until recently, the Saudi and Emirati rulers had openly backed Sudan’s generals, pledging $3 billion in aid to help bolster their forces. The Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, and his Emirati counterpart, Mohammed bin Zayed, had welcomed Sudan’s generals in their capitals.The Saudi and Emirati rulers were also driven by a desire to protect their war efforts in Yemen. Since 2015, Dagalo has commanded a large force of Sudanese soldiers who are fighting on the side of the Saudi-led coalition against Yemen’s Houthi rebels.But as the death toll rose after the massacre in Khartoum in early June, Saudi and Emirati officials claimed to be aghast at suggestions that they had greenlighted the violence. They quietly joined Western diplomatic efforts to find a negotiated solution to the crisis.While the meeting at the businessman’s house brought the two sides together, it was not guaranteed to succeed. The meeting broke for a recess, and before it could reconvene, Dagalo’s troops raided opposition offices in Khartoum. All bets were off again.But the following day, a stunning display of people power changed the dynamic.Hundreds of thousands of people — by some estimates as many as 1 million — filled the streets of Sudan on Sunday, for the first time since the bloodshed June 3, in a cry of anger against military dominance. Western officials said that Sudan’s generals were taken aback by the size and intensity of the crowd.At least 11 people were killed, but the show of popular support demolished claims by the generals that the protests were waning or appealed only to a fraction of the population. Dagalo was forced to talk.On Wednesday, protest leaders agreed to drop their preconditions and open a 72-hour window for talks, several officials said. The talks were limited to the status of the transitional council.In the early hours of Friday, the African Union mediator, Mohamed El Hacen Lebatt, announced they had come to a deal. A cacophony of car horns erupted across Khartoum as residents celebrated in the streets, relieved the crisis had abated, at least for now.The full details are yet to be codified in a written agreement, which is still being drafted and is expected to be signed early next week. Western and Sudanese officials say they expect that the leader of the transitional council, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, will be appointed as Sudan’s interim leader.A technocratic government will be appointed to work under the ruling council, but previous proposals for a civilian-dominated legislative body have been shelved.Much is still unclear. The military has not yet said when it will restore internet access, a key protester demand. There is confusion about whether a promised impartial investigation into the June 3 killings will be conducted by an African Union human rights body or a local Sudanese one. Thousands demonstrate in Sudan to mark 40 days since deadly crackdown Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield Sudanese man shot dead during protest as sides wrangle over transition Sudanese demonstrators march during anti-government protests in Khartoum, April 22, 2019. (NYT)By Declan Walsh A month ago Sudan’s pro-democracy movement was battered and in disarray. Protesters were in hiding after paramilitary troops rampaged through the main protest area, looting, raping and shooting dead scores of people. The internet had been shut down. Bodies were being dredged from the Nile.Then this week the protest leaders and their military foes did something unusual: They sat down in the same room, face to face, and within two days hammered out a power-sharing deal to run Sudan until elections can be held in just over three years.Although the details are still being finalized, the agreement offers the people in one of Africa’s largest and most strategically important countries the fragile hope of a transition to democracy after 30 years of dictatorship under former President Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted in April. Until then, the Saudis and Emiratis had openly backed Sudan’s military in its standoff with the civilians, apparently worried the revolution could set a dangerous precedent for their own autocratic rule. U.S. and British officials openly supported the protesters and their push for democracy.But last Saturday, the diplomats came together to host a secret meeting at the Khartoum mansion of a Sudanese tycoon, a gathering aimed at breaking the ice between two sides whose differences were written in blood.Tensions were high. Protest leaders found themselves sitting opposite Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the paramilitary commander accused of ordering the vicious rampage through Khartoum on June 3 that traumatized the protest movement. In the weeks since then, Dagalo has become a focus of protester hate, even as his troops have spread out across the city to underscore his growing authority.Western and Sudanese officials, who could not be identified because of the sensitive nature of the negotiations, provided details of the meeting, which was first disclosed by the U.S. envoy to the region, Donald Booth, in an interview with an Emirati newspaper Monday. Advertising The protest leaders involved in the negotiations did have to make a significant concession: An army general will run Sudan for the first 21 months of the transition, followed by a civilian for the next 18 months. But many had been skeptical the military would share power at all. Now, the ruling council will have five civilians, five military leaders and an 11th member jointly agreed on.While African Union mediators brokered the final power-sharing deal, the agreement was set up by a momentous week of raw street power driven by public rage at military brutality and a round of intensive backroom diplomacy brokered by an unusual coalition of foreign powers that had previously been at odds over the fate of Sudan.The agreement started to take shape at a secret meeting.Diplomats from the United States, Britain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates convened Sudan’s military and protest leaders for their first meeting since the military led the June 3 massacre in which at least 128 people were killed, according to doctors. More Explained Sudan’s military rulers say coup attempt thwarted Advertising Related News Advertising After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan Post Comment(s) Taking stock of monsoon rain Best Of Express It is uncertain what will happen if the investigation implicates Dagalo in the killing, an outcome that could potentially throw the political process into turmoil. His troops have reduced their visibility on the streets of Khartoum in recent days, but few doubt he remains firmly in control. Cabinet asks finance panel to consider securing funds for defence last_img read more

New chapter in climate change politics begins with simultaneous House hearings

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first_imgA bipartisan pair of governors—Roy Cooper (D–NC, left) and Charlie Baker (R–MA, right)—shake hands after testifying on climate change before the House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources today. Email Read more… Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country By Nick Sobczyk, E&E NewsFeb. 6, 2019 , 3:45 PM New chapter in climate change politics begins with simultaneous House hearings Democrats, unsurprisingly, talked about the issue in broad strokes, at times comparing it to the moon landing and the nation’s other great scientific and technological challenges.”In the 1960s, our government and our nation’s best rose to the Sputnik challenge by sending a person to the moon. Today, our course remains unclear,” said Representative Paul Tonko (D–NY), chairman of the E&C subcommittee. “How our committee responds at this inflection point will define our nation for the next half century and beyond.”But more notable was the response from Republicans on both committees. Instead of the denial and skepticism of science that has defined their stance on climate change for a decade or more, Republicans largely acknowledged the planet is warming and focused instead on industry efforts to meet emissions goals and technological advancement.The tone shift wasn’t universal, but it was surprising, even though the party still overwhelmingly opposes carbon pricing and other more ambitious solutions proposed by climate advocates.Republicans also honed in on the “Green New Deal,” an interesting point of focus, since even Tonko and full Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D–NJ) have expressed skepticism about the progressive policy platform.Subcommittee ranking member Rep. John Shimkus (R–IL) lamented that climate activists often push for “top-down” solutions to climate change and ignore the importance of nuclear power. He noted that U.S. Energy Information Administration projections suggest fossil and nuclear energy will remain dominant in the power sector until at least 2040.Full Energy and Commerce Committee ranking member Rep. Greg Walden (R–OR) similarly acknowledged that climate change is “real” but asked for a “longer conversation about the Democrats’ Green New Deal.””We have heard about general tenets of the plan for the U.S., such as all renewable electricity generation by 2030, all zero emission passenger vehicles in just 11 years, a federal job guarantee and a living wage guarantee,” Walden said. “We have serious concerns about the potential adverse economic and employment impacts of these types of measures.”To put a finer point on the rhetorical shift, Rep. Diana DeGette (D–CO) at one point asked every witness before the subcommittee if they believe climate change is happening and primarily driven by greenhouse gas emissions. Every witness—brought by both Republicans and Democrats—answered “yes.””That in itself is a revolutionary step for this committee,” DeGette said.On the Natural Resources panel, meanwhile, Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D–AZ) pushed to go beyond the “innovation” rhetoric that was so common this morning among GOP members.”Today we turn the page on this committee from climate change denial to climate action,” Grijalva said in his opening remarks. “We need more than innovation. We need good policies.”Ranking member Rep. Rob Bishop (R–UT) didn’t touch much on climate science but said he would rather tackle public lands issues more directly in the committee’s jurisdiction.Grijalva has dubbed February climate month for the committee, but Bishop questioned whether Democrats are really trying to craft bipartisan legislation on issues such as carbon capture and sequestration or if the hearings are simply for the reporters in the back of the room “so that they can write cute stories.””I know you have made February as climate change month,” Bishop said. “I appreciate the fact you picked the shortest month of the year to do that.”“They’re delusional”The Energy and Commerce Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee will do much of the work in developing climate legislation in the coming years, but questions this morning from lawmakers were scattershot, with members focusing on issues that affect their districts or specific areas of interest.Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R–WA) questioned Rich Powell, executive director of ClearPath in Washington, D.C., on the benefits of hydropower, which she called a “clean, reliable, affordable” source of energy. Walden directed his questions about forest management and wildfires, a perennial problem in his district, to Brenda Ekwurzel, director of climate science for the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, D.C.On the Democratic side, Rep. Scott Peters (D–CA) probed Michael Williams, deputy director of the BlueGreen Alliance, based in Washington, D.C., on the best way to craft a carbon pricing bill, while Rep. Nanette Barragán (D–CA) questioned the Rev. Leo Woodberry, pastor of Kingdom Living Temple in Florence, South Carolina, about environmental justice issues.Pallone focused his questions on addressing climate change in an infrastructure bill, likely the first opportunity Democrats will have this Congress to press the issue in bipartisan legislation.Putting climate provisions in a major infrastructure package would be the thing “we can most likely do on a bipartisan basis and get Trump to sign,” Pallone said.The Natural Resources Committee, too, touched on a massive range of issues without much depth, including energy storage, solar, deepwater wind and offshore drilling.Both parties touched on the need for resilient infrastructure in a discussion with Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (R) and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D).While it’s clear there could be areas of bipartisan cooperation on climate in the coming months, Republicans are still resisting any broad legislation to cut carbon emissions, particularly if it incorporates ideas from the “Green New Deal.”For the GOP, solutions should be market-based or focused on research and development.As Rep. David McKinley (R–WV) put it, “we all agree” that climate change is largely driven by greenhouse gas emissions, but “where we disagree is on solutions.””If anyone thinks that decarbonizing America is going to save the planet, whether that’s 10 years or 20 years from now, they’re delusional,” McKinley said.Reporter Courtney Columbus contributed.Reprinted from Greenwire with permission from E&E News. Copyright 2019. E&E provides essential news for energy and environment professionals at www.eenews.net. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Reprinted from E&E NewsDemocrats in the U.S. House of Representatives this morning brought climate change back to the political forefront for the first time in nearly a decade and were met with a Republican tone shift far from the skeptical attitude the GOP has taken to the issue for years.The Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change and the full Natural Resources Committee met simultaneously to discuss the need to act on climate change and the costs of inaction. Cliff Owen/AP Photo Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwelast_img read more

74 people caught for holding illegal lion shows in Gir forest in

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first_img Lion deaths: Ahmed Patel writes to PM Modi, suggests measures to tackle situation Post Comment(s) CCTV cameras have also been set up at checkpoints inside the forest and “friends of forests” have been appointed from villages bordering the forest, the government added.The Indian Express had reported in May 2019 how six persons were caught red-handed by the staff of the Junagadh forest division of Gir sanctuary for organising a lion show in Veraval taluka of Gir Somnath district. Of the population of 523 Asiatic lions in Gujarat, an estimated 167, or 32 per cent, live outside protected forest areas.This has caused a rapid rise in conflict with humans. Over 50 humans have been killed and 436 injured in attacks by either lions or leopards in Gir-Somnath, Junagadh and Amreli, between December 2013 to November 2018. Related News In a written reply provided by the state government to a question posed by Congress MLA from Savarkundla Pratap Dudhat, the state government informed that legal action has been initiated against all those caught under The Wildlife Protection Act 1972.However, no official or employee of the state forest department was among those caught, the reply stated.In order to stop any illegal activity in Gir, the state government said walkie-talkies, vehicles and weapons have been provided to the field staff who conduct regular patrolling within the forest and the borders of the forest, stated the government in response to supplementary questions asked by the Congress MLA. Advertising gir, gir lions, gir forest, illegal lion shows, gujarat assembly, gir lions show, gujarat lions, Savarkundla Pratap Dudhat, gujarat legislative assembly CCTV cameras have also been set up at checkpoints inside the forest and “friends of forests” have been appointed from villages bordering the forest, the government said. (Gujarat Forest Department)During the last two years, a total of 74 persons have been caught for having a role in organising “illegal lion shows” in Gir forest, the Gujarat legislative assembly was informed during the Question Hour on Tuesday. By Express News Service |Gandhinagar | Updated: July 16, 2019 8:59:53 pm Advertising Where the wild things are: A day in the life of Sagar Manjariya, a wildlife tracker in Gir forest Lion found dead in Gir, samples sent for tests last_img read more

Lenovo Smart Display Shows Loads of Potential

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first_img“One of the critical elements for success in this market is ecosystem,” Constellation’s Lepofsky pointed out. The more devices these displays can control and integrate with, the more integrated they will become in our lives, both at home and at work.”Smart displays “can be used as a hub in the smart home,” said Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research.”The smart home has a kluge of standards and products that don’t work together — I’m finding that out as I build my house,” he told TechNewsWorld.However, “it seems you’re giving up so much to use smart displays,” McGregor continued. “They don’t seem to have the same functionality as tablets or even smartphones. You have to get a bunch of applications to get them to work, and they’re only supported for three years.”Still, “like any new technology, it will take three to five generations before it’s really ready for mass consumption,” McGregor said. “It’s probably a good first attempt.” You Can Speak Softly The Lenovo Smart Display lets users play music, make video calls, conduct Web searches, view their calendars, and access YouTube videos. It has native integration with Google Duo video calling and Google Photos.However, Android Things reportedly can run only one app at a time.Both versions of the Lenovo Smart Display have a 10W speaker with tweeters, and both offer multiroom audio support. They have two microphones that are sensitive enough to pick up commands spoken softly.Voice commands are the main interface, but the device also has a touchscreen for follow-up actions such as zooming in on a map, for example.The 10-inch version can be stood horizontally in landscape mode, or vertically in portrait mode. It comes with a privacy shutter to block the camera, and a microphone mute toggle setting. Smart Display at Work Future Prospects for Smart Displays Tablet or Speaker?center_img Syncing with work applications, such as the work calendar, is a pain, several reviewers found.The Smart Display does not yet work with GSuite, Engadget’s Lee noted.Still, “the tight integration with the Google portfolio and Lenovo’s heritage with ThinkPads provides an excellent opportunity for adoption at work,” Constellation’s Lepofsky told TechNewsWorld.Smart displays with ambient assistants “will complement the placement of voice or speaker-only devices across your home or office,” he said.Users can make video calls through Google Duo or regular phone calls, but the device tends to try making a Google Duo call first, Bohn found.Google Duo call quality is “just OK,” according to Palladino, who noticed a lag and crackly sound quality.Search results are wide ranging, and they include YouTube videos as well as websites and, in some cases, user-generated information.Users can set the default music player to Spotify or one of Google’s music services. The Smart Display also supports some video services such as HBO Now, CNN, and Fox News. However, not all video services can Chromecast to the Lenovo Smart Display.Netflix is one of the major services not supported, Android Central’s Bader said.The Lenovo Smart Display supports the same suite of Google Actions as the Google Home smart speaker.However, Smart Display users must ensure they have Google Home, Google Assistant, and Google Duo apps installed, Ars’ Palladino noted, which “isn’t convenient to say the least.”The Google Assistant supports a variety of smart home devices, and Palladino found pairing the Smart Display with Philips Hue lightbulbs quick and easy. Further, users can set up routines for the device to launch a variety of tasks.However, the Smart Display doesn’t offer a lexicon of acceptable commands and functions, and it doesn’t offer users a way to see their YouTube subscription feed, she wrote.Setup for the Smart Display was faster on Android than on iOS, wrote Engadget’s Lee. She found it more difficult to verify her Duo phone number for video calls through iOS, but noted that Google and Lenovo later said they had fixed that problem. Lenovo’s Smart Display with Google Assistant hit the market on Friday.There are two versions of the device, one with an 8-inch full HD screen and the other with a 10-inch full HD screen, priced at US$200 and $250 respectively.”The cost is significantly below an iPad mini and it offers far more functionality than just a digital picture frame or a Bluetooth speaker,” said Alan Lepofsky, principal analyst at Constellation Research.Buyers will get three months’ free access to YouTube Premium.The Lenovo Smart Display runs on Google’s Android Things, an operating system developed for the notoriously insecure Internet of Things.Google has addressed the IoT security problem by providing three years of OS updates for free for every Android Things-based product.Automatic updates are enabled by default. After three years, there will be options for extended support. Sound quality is “mediocre — about on par with the Google Home or entry-level Amazon Echo — but nowhere near as good as a Sonos One or HomePod,” noted Dieter Bohn in his review for The Verge.The device’s speaker lacks bass impact, said Daniel Bader in his review for Android Central.Also, Android Things isn’t fully baked yet, he pointed out. It lacks Netflix and other big-name Chromecast support, and it’s better optimized for voice than touch.However, the sound quality is “great,” according to Nicole Lee, who reviewed the Smart Display for Engadget.”While I have portable speakers that produce better sound overall, I was impressed with the audio quality of the Smart Display, as it was better than that of the [Amazon] Echo Show,” wrote Valentina Palladino for Ars Technica.”Lenovo is trying to thread the needle between tablets and smart speakers, but it seems like the best parts of both devices are lost in this product,” observed Eric Smith, director of tablet and touchscreen strategies at Strategy Analytics.”The sound quality isn’t as good as other smart speakers, and the functionality isn’t as strong as most tablets,” he told TechNewsWorld. “The second generation needs a full Android or Chrome OS to be as useful as possible.”Amazon offers a docking station that enables voice input “to transform the UI and functionality of its Fire tablets at the low end of the price spectrum,” Smith said, suggesting that Lenovo should follow suit.The Smart Display’s mikes are sensitive, noted Ars’ Palladino. “I never had to yell or raise my voice for the Google Assistant to hear me.”Although the 10-inch device can be set up in portrait mode, it’s useful only for Duo video calls, The Verge’s Bohn noted, as the software otherwise isn’t designed to work in that mode.The device can be set up to recognize different voices attached to different Google accounts, but the display will default to showing information from the primary account, Bohn found. Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. Email Richard.last_img read more

New Lens Tech Can Shrink Cameras VR and AR Gear

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first_imgThis flat metalens is the first single lens that can focus the entire visible spectrum of light — including white light — in the same spot and in high resolution. Rx for Thinner Phones Scientists at Harvard University on Monday unveiled a metalens that has the potential to shrink the size of any device that uses a camera while at the same time improving performance.While traditional lenses are made from glass, metalenses use a flat surface peppered with nanostructures to focus light. One problem with metalenses has been their inability to focus the full spectrum of light.That’s not the case anymore, however, as a team at Harvard’s Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science have developed a metalens that can focus the entire visible spectrum of light — including white light — at a focal point, with high resolution. Impact on VR, AR Business Disrupter By correcting chromatic aberration, the metalens developed by the Harvard researchers addresses an annoying problem facing virtual reality and augmented reality hardware developers.”Chromatic Aberration — color focal point mismatch resulting from the propagation speed of different frequencies of light — is one of many visual artifacts causing lack of visual fidelity and realism in augmented and virtual reality,” explained Sam Rosen, a vice president at ABI Research.To correct those artifacts, high-end VR or AR hardware will often use advanced computational techniques to adjust focal points on a color-by-color basis.”That process is compute-intensive and must be tuned for every model of device,” Rosen told TechNewsWorld.”An improved passive lens which solves this problem could make for better devices by resolving the problem in the underlying physical hardware, making systems simpler and easier to program,” he added.To address the propagation problem found in both conventional and other metalenses, the scientists cooked up a clever fix.”By combining two nanofins into one element, we can tune the speed of light in the nanostructured material to ensure that all wavelengths in the visible are focused in the same spot, using a single metalens,” explained Wei Ting Chen, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard and member of the metalens team. Another benefit of using an achromatic metalens in a camera is that it makes the production of the camera subsystem easier to produce.Now, the subsystem is made up of a sensor, which is a piece of fabricated silicon, and a stack of lenses, which are produced by lens molding, a process dating back to the 19th century.”With a metalens, we can have the same foundry that makes the sensor chip make the metalenses for the camera module,” Capasso said. “That’s why so many companies are excited about this. There is a chance to disrupt the business model anywhere cameras are used.”The use of cameras with metalenses is still some time away, Capasso acknowledged.”I’m not going to tell you that you’re going to see a cellphone with metalenses two years from now,” he said. “That would be ludicrous. This is in the research stages, but it’s still a big step forward.” An advantage a metalens has over conventional lens systems is that multiple elements aren’t needed to correct for aberrations. Those multiple elements make lenses thick, and thick lenses mean thicker devices.”Our lens is a flat lens, so it’s thinner than a conventional lens,” explained Federico Capasso, a professor of applied physics at Harvard and author of the research paper on the new metalens published Monday in Nature Nanotechnology.”If this lens were used in a cellphone, the cellphone could be much thinner,” he told TechNewsWorld.Two components of a cellphone continue to challenge designers driven to make the devices thinner: the battery and the camera.”The lens is responsible for the bump on the back of the cell phone that the cell phone companies hate,” Capasso said. “Right now, a cellphone has six or seven regular lenses. Even if we can cut it down to three, it’ll be extremely significant. John P. Mello Jr. has been an ECT News Network reportersince 2003. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, IT issues, privacy, e-commerce, social media, artificial intelligence, big data and consumer electronics. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including the Boston Business Journal, theBoston Phoenix, Megapixel.Net and GovernmentSecurity News. Email John.last_img read more

Human sperm retains its complete viability within different gravitational conditions

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first_imgRadiation impairs the quality and viability of human sperm, and these effects are expected to be greater on fresh sperm than on frozen samples, which are cryopreserved in special cryostraws and transported in cryotanks. So our first step was to investigate gravity conditions and frozen sperm samples. Our best option will be to perform the experiment using real spaceflight, but access is very limited.”Dr Montserrat Boada from Dexeus Women’s Health in Barcelona Source:European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 24 2019Zillionaires like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos who see the ‘colonization’ of space as an answer to the Earth’s ever threatened resources will be reassured to learn that human sperm retains its complete viability within the different gravitational conditions found in outer space.In a study reported today at the 35th Annual Meeting of ESHRE investigators said that the lack of difference in a range of sperm characteristics observed in frozen sperm samples exposed to microgravity and those maintained in ground conditions ‘open the possibility of safely transporting male gametes to space and considering the possibility of creating a human sperm bank outside Earth’.The results are presented here in Vienna by Dr Montserrat Boada from Dexeus Women’s Health in Barcelona, whose group worked with microgravity engineers from the Polytechnic University of Barcelona. The Aeroclub Barcelona-Sabadell of Spain was responsible for the parabolic flights to create microgravity conditions.As background to the study, Dr Boada explained that, while the effects of microgravity on the cardiovascular, musculo-skeletal and central nervous systems are well known and tested in space flight, relatively little is known about the effects of different gravitational environments on human sperm and eggs. ‘Some studies suggest a significant decrease in the motility of human fresh sperm samples,’ said Dr Boada, ‘but nothing has been reported on the possible effects of gravitational differences on frozen human gametes, in which state they would be transported from Earth to space.’The study was performed using a small aerobatic training aircraft (CAP10), which can provide short-duration hypogravity exposure. The plane executed a series of 20 parabolic maneuvers, providing 8 seconds of microgravity for each parabola. Overall, ten sperm samples obtained from ten healthy donors were analyzed after exposure to the different microgravities found in space and ground gravity.Related StoriesRecurrent pregnancy loss may be caused by sperm DNA damage, finds studySperm quality among Swiss men in ‘critical state’, say expertsLong-term cryopreservation of semen does not affect future clinical outcomesThe sperm analysis comprised a full range of measurements currently performed for fertility testing – concentration, motility, vitality, morphology and DNA fragmentation – and results found no difference whatsoever in any of the parameters between the microgravity space samples and the control group samples from Earth. Indeed, said Dr Boada, there was 100% concordance in DNA fragmentation rate and vitality, and 90% concordance in sperm concentration and motility. These minor differences, she added, ‘were more probably related to heterogeneity of the sperm sample than to the effect of exposure to different gravity conditions’.Dr Boada described this as a preliminary study and her group will now move on to validate the results and then to larger sperm samples, longer periods of microgravity and even fresh sperm. ‘But we do need to know,’ she added. ‘If the number of space missions increases in the coming years, and are of longer duration, it is important to study the effects of long-term human exposure to space in order to face them. It’s not unreasonable to start thinking about the possibility of reproduction beyond the Earth.’Dr Boada noted that one reason for using frozen sperm in this study was the known effect of radiation on fresh sperm.last_img read more