Month: July 2019

New approach sheds light on effects of drugs on cancer cells

first_img Source:http://www.media.uzh.ch/en/Press-Releases/2018/Effects-of-Drugs.html Jul 11 2018A new approach established at the University of Zurich sheds light on the effects of anti-cancer drugs and the defense mechanisms of cancer cells. The method makes it possible to quickly test various drugs and treatment combinations at the cellular level.Cancer cells are cells over which the human body has lost control. The fact that they are transformed body cells makes it all the more difficult to combat them effectively – whatever harms them usually also harms the healthy cells in the body. This is why it is important to find out about the cancer cells’ particular weaknesses.In certain types of breast and ovarian cancer, for example, such a weakness is given by mutations in genes that play a role in DNA repair. Treating cancer cells of this kind with a group of newly approved drugs – so-called PARP inhibitors – makes it difficult for these cells to replicate their DNA, and they ultimately perish. Normal cells, however, can solve such problems using their intact DNA repair machinery.Effect of drugs observed in thousands of cellsThe Department of Molecular Mechanisms of Disease of the University of Zurich uses cancer cell cultures to investigate the exact effects of this new group of drugs. “Our method of fluorescence-based high-throughput microscopy allows us to observe precisely when and how a drug works in thousands of cells at the same time,” explains postdoc researcher Jone Michelena. Her measurements have revealed how PARP inhibitors lock their target protein in an inactive state on the cells’ DNA and how this complicates DNA replication, which in turn leads to DNA damage. If this damage is not repaired quickly, the cells can no longer replicate and eventually die.Related StoriesBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerTrends in colonoscopy rates not aligned with increase in early onset colorectal cancerSugary drinks linked to cancer finds studyThe new approach enables researchers to analyze the initial reaction of cancer cells to PARP inhibitors with great precision. What’s special about the very sensitive procedure is the high number of individual cells that can be analyzed concurrently with high resolution using the automated microscopes at the Center for Microscopy and Image Analysis of UZH. Cancer cells vary and thus react differently to drugs depending on their mutations and the cell cycle phase they are in. The UZH researchers have now found a way to make these differences visible and quantify them precisely.Rapid and precise testing of cancer cells Outside of the laboratory, the success of PARP inhibitors and other cancer medication is complicated by the fact that in some patients the cancer returns – after a certain point, the cancer cells become resistant and no longer respond to the drugs. The high-throughput method employed by UZH researchers is particularly useful for this kind of problem: Cells can be tested in multiple conditions with short turnover times, and specific genes can be eliminated one by one in a targeted manner. Doing so can reveal which cell functions are needed for a certain drug to take effect.In addition, mechanisms of drug combinations can be analyzed in great detail. In her study, Jone Michelena has already identified such a combination, which inhibits cancer cell proliferation to a significantly higher extent than the combination’s individual components by themselves. “We hope that our approach will make the search for strategies to combat cancer even more efficient,” says Matthias Altmeyer, head of the research group at the Department of Molecular Mechanisms of Disease at UZH.last_img read more

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Aeras announces publication of Phase 2 results of two TB vaccines

first_img Source:https://www.burness.com/ Jul 12 2018Aeras, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing vaccines against tuberculosis (TB), today announced the publication of the full results from a Phase 2, randomized, controlled clinical trial of two TB vaccines– the currently available BCG vaccine and an investigational vaccine, H4:IC31–in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).This proof-of-concept study showed that vaccination can reduce the rate of sustained TB infections in a high-transmission setting, such as in uninfected, healthy adolescents in the Western Cape of South Africa where the study was conducted. In the trial, revaccination with BCG significantly reduced sustained TB infections in adolescents with a 45.4% vaccine efficacy. H4:IC31 also reduced sustained infections, although not at statistically significant levels, showing 30.5% vaccine efficacy. However, the trend observed for H4:IC31 is the first time a subunit vaccine has shown any signal that it may be able to protect against TB infection or disease in humans. In the trial, TB infections were measured by a blood test (QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube (QFT)) converting from negative to positive, and sustained infections were defined by a QFT test that remained positive for at least six months.Related StoriesNanotechnology-based compound used to deliver hepatitis B vaccinePrevalence of anal cancer precursors is higher in women living with HIV than previously reportedHIV therapy leaves unrepaired holes in the immune system’s wall of defenseJacqueline Shea, PhD, Chief Executive Officer at Aeras, said: “With this study, we showed that vaccines against TB infection can work. The results highlight the importance of investing in new approaches to fighting the leading infectious disease killer and to evaluating new concepts in clinical trials. Further, the collaborative effort established between industry leaders, nonprofits and clinical sites during this trial showed how powerful combining such forces can be for developing new interventions against a global health threat. The BCG results are important findings with significant public health implications that could lead to saving millions of lives. Likewise, the novel prevention-of-infection trial design can be used to inform clinical development of new vaccine candidates before entry into large-scale prevention-of-disease efficacy trials. We are very grateful to the trial participants and our partners and funders who enabled the conduct of this trial.”Initial results from the study were presented at the 5th Global Forum in New Delhi, India in February 2018.BCG is the only licensed tuberculosis vaccine available globally. H4:IC31 is an investigative subunit vaccine candidate being developed jointly by Aeras and Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines business of Sanofi (EURONEXT: SAN) (NYSE: SNY), and the Statens Serum Institut. The clinical trial was funded by Sanofi Pasteur, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Aeras. The clinical trial was conducted at the South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (SATVI) at the University of Cape Town and at the Emavundleni Research Centre (part of the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre). The study was approved by the Medicines Control Council of South Africa and the relevant local independent ethics committees.last_img read more

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Enhanced ultrasound can eliminate need for unnecessary biopsies and surgeries shows study

first_img Source:http://icus-society.org/ Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Sep 7 2018A simple enhanced ultrasound scan of the kidney is more accurate than computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging in predicting whether suspicious masses are cancerous — and can eliminate the need for unnecessary biopsies and surgeries, according to a 10-year study presented today at an international medical conference in Chicago.”Contrast enhanced ultrasound is a very robust technique with an extremely high predictive value,” according to Dr. Richard Barr, who presented the findings Wednesday to members of the International Contrast Ultrasound Society. Barr is a professor of radiology at Northeast Ohio Medical University and is a member of the board of directors of the organization.Related StoriesContinuous personnel changes are a major cause of NHS ultrasound staff shortage, shows studyStudy shows how low-intensity ultrasonic waves can modulate decision-making process in the brainNew intervention shows promise for relief of shoulder pain in wheelchair users with spinal cord injuryBarr said that the study followed 721 patients with approximately 1,000 kidney masses for up to 10 years. Following contrast enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) exams, 367 of the patients were spared biopsy, surgery, or close follow-up, while 5 patients thought to have benign lesions actually had cancerous tumors.In a subgroup of patients initially believed to have a high probability of malignancy, CEUS found that 78% of the tumors were actually not malignant at all, according to Barr — and those patients were spared invasive biopsies or surgery to remove the tumor. In addition, in another subgroup of patients believed to have a 100% chance of malignancy, 38.7% of the kidney masses were found to be nonmalignant — and those patients also avoided surgery.According to Barr, the initial CEUS exams were so reliable that they also eliminated the need for monitoring and follow up imaging of some patients.CEUS uses liquid suspensions of biocompatible microbubbles that are injected into a patient’s arm vein during an ultrasound scan. The microbubbles reflect ultrasound waves as they flow through the body’s microvasculature with red blood cells, and are expelled from the body within minutes.Barr said that CEUS does not expose patients to ionizing radiation and the microbubbles present no risk of kidney or liver damage. He also noted that CEUS offers real time imaging and the opportunity for an immediate assessment of a tumor’s blood flow – which in turn indicates whether the tumor is malignant.Ultrasound contrast agents are FDA-approved for enhancing ultrasound images of the heart and liver, but they are used safety and effectively around the world for imaging other organs including the kidneys, according to Dr. Stephanie Wilson, a professor of radiology at the University of Calgary and co-president of the organization.”CEUS is an excellent imaging technique that is extremely reliable, and it is also the easiest to perform,” Wilson said.​ last_img read more

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Simple screening tool evaluates online health ads for deception

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Sep 12 2018The internet is rife with ads for health products, from weight-loss systems to arthritis cures–but whether they actually work can be difficult to discern. Now, experts at the University of British Columbia have devised a simple screening tool to evaluate if the products popping up on your newsfeed are likely to be scams.The Risk of Deception Tool assigns points based on the type and number of persuasion techniques used in the ad. If the ad includes a celebrity endorsement, it gets one point; if it uses pseudo-technical language, it gets another point. More points are added if the ad uses “mystical” language or claims that the product is very rare or in short supply. The higher the overall score, the greater the probability that the ad is a scam.Related StoriesStill-to-be-approved drug proves to be new option for treating active rheumatoid arthritisStudy shows link between BMI and disease severity in psoriatic arthritisSurvey: More than 50% of people with arthritis have tried medical marijuana or CBDThe system was devised by a team of two nurses, two doctors, two physiotherapists, a pharmacist and a social worker, all from UBC.”We were exploring internet health ads and found, not surprisingly, that the internet provided a massive market for people to promote, in some cases, completely deceptive products that are not based on any scientific evidence,” said lead researcher Bernie Garrett, an associate professor in the school of nursing.Researchers analyzed advertisements targeting 112 different health concerns. They found that the most common deceptive ads were those promoting bodybuilding and weight loss, followed by medicinal products, which claim to treat pain, asthma or other conditions, and lifestyle products, which include anti-aging or sexual enhancement remedies.”We also found a high number of advertisements from alternative health practitioners that made claims that were well outside what their therapies could reasonably achieve,” said Garrett.Most of the scams identified originated in the United States.”There were many wacky and weird ones,” said Garrett. “The one that surprised us the most was a video course that claimed to teach individuals how to repair their own DNA to achieve healing and spiritual changes.”Misleading health ads on the internet are concerning because consumers may end up self-medicating, say researchers.”Research shows that only about one per cent of people exposed to fraudulent offers eventually lose money to them,” said Garrett. “However, even if the worst outcome is that consumers are losing money, we should still be concerned. People may take these as actual therapeutic options for their own illnesses, rather than seek proper medical advice.” Source:https://news.ubc.ca/2018/09/12/new-tool-developed-at-ubc-screens-online-health-ads-for-deception/last_img read more

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Suicide of aging cells prolongs life span in mice

first_imgThey are lurking in your heart, your liver, your kidneys, and maybe even your brain: run-down cells that could be making you age. A new study of mice shows that spurring these so-called senescent cells to self-destruct extends the animals’ lives  and delays some aspects of aging.“It’s a landmark paper,” says cell and molecular biologist Francis Rodier of the University of Montreal in Canada, who wasn’t connected to the study. “It’s providing biological evidence that senescence is involved in the aging process.”Cells senesce after suffering DNA damage or other types of stress. Although they remain alive, senescent cells lose the ability to divide. Researchers think that this cellular birth control evolved to thwart the formation of tumors, but it provides other benefits as well. The stagnant cells release chemicals that help wounds heal, for instance. But senescence also causes harm. If stem cells stop dividing, organs can deteriorate because they can’t replace cells that have died. Furthermore, the chemicals released by senescent cells can damage surrounding tissues and, to researchers’ surprise, promote tumor growth. Our bodies build up senescent cells as we get older, and researchers have been trying to nail down their impact on aging for more than 50 years. Cancer biologist Jan van Deursen of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues took a direct approach to the problem, genetically engineering a strain of fast-aging mice so that their senescent cells committed suicide in response to a drug. In 2011, the researchers revealed that pruning senescent cells from the mice slowed their physical breakdown as they got older—although it didn’t extend their lives.To find out if the approach worked in rodents other than the fast-aging mice, van Deursen and colleagues genetically modified two other mouse strains to kill their own senescent cells after receiving the same drug. When the rodents reached middle age, the researchers began injecting them with the compound twice a week. Although the procedure couldn’t eliminate senescent cells from the animals, it could kill 50% to 70% of them in some tissues, van Deursen says.After undergoing the treatment for 6 months, the mice were healthier in many ways than a set of control animals. As the scientists report online today in Nature, pruning senescent cells reduced the amount of damage to the blood-filtering structures in the kidneys. The animals’ hearts were better able to cope with stress than were the hearts of control mice. Even the behaviors of the treated mice were different. They were more daring and youthful than the control mice. Like middle-aged folks who’d rather watch TV than hit the clubs, the controls were less active and more reluctant to explore new environments.But the finding that grabbed the researchers’ attention was that destroying senescent cells boosted the average life span of the two mouse strains by more than 20%. Some of the increased longevity may have stemmed from a beneficial effect on cancer. Removal of senescent cells didn’t prevent tumors from forming in the rodents, but it did slow their growth. “It had more of an impact on life span than I would have predicted,” van Deursen says.Not all age-related problems in the mice improved, however. Their memory, muscle strength, coordination, and balance—all of which decline as we grow older—were no better than those of control rodents. Deleting senescent cells doesn’t spare the animals from aging entirely, van Deursen says. “It has an attenuating effect. You still get age-dependent [changes], and the mice still die.”“This study is a big step toward validating the approach of targeting senescent cells,” says cell biologist Christian Sell of Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who wasn’t connected to the research.   Scientists have identified other approaches that slow aging in experimental animals, such as deleting certain genes or drastically cutting calories, notes geneticist Ned Sharpless of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill. However, says Sharpless, who wasn’t connected to the research but did help found a company that makes a diagnostic test for senescent cells, these approaches are impractical for humans. For example, some would require a person to take a drug for decades to see only a small effect, he says. But deleting senescent cells could be feasible in people, he says. For the first time, a researcher can say, “if I can figure out a way to kill senescent cells with a small molecule or an antibody, I could do a clinical trial.”In fact, clinical trials might not be that far off. The mice in the study were genetically altered to respond to the drug, but a company that van Deursen co-founded and a separate group of researchers have already discovered compounds that can kill senescent cells in unmodified mice. It might soon be possible to test whether removing these cells can forestall age-related diseases, such as atherosclerosis, that cause so much suffering as we get older, van Deursen says. “We accumulate senescent cells, and they take away healthy years.” Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwecenter_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! 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NIH DOE Office of Science face deep cuts in Trumps first budget

first_imgDonald J. Trump NIH’s budget was roughly $32 billion in 2016, and was set to receive a $1 billion to $2 billion increase in the 2017 fiscal year, which began this past 1 October. Congress has been unable to finish its 2017 spending plan, however, and the government has been operating under a continuing resolution that freezes spending at 2016 levels. More coverage from ScienceInsider At DOE, the department’s nuclear weapons programs would grow, while science programs would shrink, reports Steve Mufson of The Washington Post: A grim budget day for U.S. science: analysis and reaction to Trump’s plan The president’s budget would cut spending overall by $1.7 billion — or 5.6 percent from current levels — to $28 billion. But the money is redistributed. The National Nuclear Security Administration budget would grow 11.3 percent while the rest of the Energy Department’s programs would be cut by 17.9 percent. The Office of Science would lose $900 million of its just-over $5 billion. The office supports research at more than 300 universities and 10 of the nation’s 17 national labs. Come back to ScienceInsider for rolling coverage of Trump’s first budget rollout, starting early Thursday morning, Eastern Daylight Time. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) 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 (*) President Donald Trump’s first budget request to Congress, to be released at 7 a.m. Thursday, will call for cutting the 2018 budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $6 billion, or nearly 20%, according to sources familiar with the proposal. The Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Science would lose $900 million, or nearly 20% of its $5 billion budget. The proposal also calls for deep cuts to the research programs at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and a 5% cut to NASA’s earth science budget. And it would eliminate DOE’s roughly $300 million Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.There appears to be no mention, however, of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in a 62-page document outlining the proposal obtained by The Washington Post. NSF’s budget request may not become clear until the White House fleshes out the details of its spending plan over the next 2 months.The NIH proposal is drawing deep concern from biomedical research advocates. “A $6 billion cut to [NIH] is unacceptable to the scientific community, and should be unacceptable to the American public as well,” said Benjamin Corb, public affairs director of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in Rockville, Maryland, in a statement. “President Donald Trump’s fiscal year 2018 spending plan erases years’ worth of bipartisan support for the NIH, and the American biomedical research enterprise which has long been the global leader for biomedical innovation. Cuts this deep threaten America’s ability to remain a leader. It is of grave concern to the research community that President Trump’s budget proposal—which would fund the agency at a 15-year low—values investments in defense above all other federal expenditures.” By Science News StaffMar. 16, 2017 , 12:15 AM Email According to The Washington Post’s Amy Goldstein: The spending plan calls for a “major reorganization” of the 27 NIH institutes and centers, though it does not spell out the changes—with one exception. It would abolish the Fogarty International Center, a $69.1 million program dedicated to building partnerships between health research institutions in the United States and other countries. The plan also would fold into NIH the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a free-standing agency within HHS devoted to fostering research evidence to improve health care’s quality, safety and accessibility. NIH, DOE Office of Science face deep cuts in Trump’s first budget At NASA, a roughly $100 million to cut to the agency’s earth sciences program would be mostly achieved by canceling four climate-related missions, according to sources. They are the Orbiting Carbon ­Observatory-3; the Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem program; the Deep Space Climate Observatory; and the CLARREO Pathfinder. Overall, NASA receives a 1% cut.Even before the scope of the cuts became known, it was a safe bet that Trump’s request would leave scientists wanting more—not just more funding, but more details on how he wants to spend the money.White House officials are calling the 2018 document a budget “blueprint” to distinguish it from the comprehensive document they have promised to submit to Congress in 2 months. Trump himself leaked the big news last month: He will ask for $54 billion more for the military, and pay for it with $54 billion in cuts to domestic discretionary spending. That category includes all research programs outside the defense agencies.Mick Mulvaney, new director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, told reporters yesterday that the so-called skinny budget fleshes out what the president promised during the campaign and since taking office. “This is an ‘America First’ budget,” said Mulvaney, a former Republican congressman from South Carolina. “We went through his speeches, and we turned those policies into numbers.” Of course, there’s a lot that Trump has not talked about, including almost all of the government’s $70 billion investment in civilian research. And that suggests today’s budget may be silent on, or vague about, what the president is seeking for some science agencies, much less for specific programs and cross-agency initiatives. In some cases, agency heads will apparently be asked to figure out how to absorb the cuts if they are approved by Congress, by cutting programs, or staff, or both.Mulvaney did promise the request would contain “a [top] number for each agency,” as well as highlights of how it differs from past years. But the only science agency he flagged was NASA (and avoided mention of NIH). Its current budget of $19.5 billion would drop by 1%, he said, which he characterized as “a small reduction.” At the same time, he added, some NASA programs would get a boost, including a planetary mission to a moon “of either Saturn or Jupiter, I can’t remember.” Space experts are betting that’s a reference to continued work toward a multibillion-dollar mission to Europa, a jovian moon, in search of extraterrestrial life in its ice-covered oceans.Indeed, that 1% decline at NASA might seem like manna from heaven compared to what environmental and climate scientists are expecting. Media have reported that Trump will request cuts of 40% in science programs at EPA and 26% to the main research arm of NOAA. The request is also likely to zero out several EPA and NOAA programs that fund competitive grants for university-based researchers. Mulvaney suggested such proposed cuts reflect the fact that those activities “don’t align with the president’s position on global warming and alternative energy” technologies.But those reductions aren’t due only to the president’s ideological distaste for that research. They also contribute to the $54 billion cut that Trump needs to offset his proposed rise in military spending, to $603 billion, in the 2018 fiscal year that begins 1 October.To reach that defense spending goal, however, Congress will need to agree to change to change a 2011 law, known as the Budget Control Act (BCA), that places binding caps on defense and nondefense discretionary spending, which accounts for roughly one-third of the $3.5 trillion that the federal government spends annually. (The other two-thirds goes to entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security, other kinds spending required by law, and paying interest on the national debt.) Changing the BCA could be a heavy political lift, however, requiring 60 votes in the Senate. And, in general, White House budget requests are just one of many factors that Congress considers as it exercises its constitutional authority to set spending levels. Lawmakers from both parties have already expressed skepticism about some of the cuts Trump has proposed, and the NIH cuts will likely face stiff opposition. Congress won’t decide final numbers until late this year.last_img read more

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Surprise These termites are good for trees

first_img By Sid PerkinsJan. 10, 2019 , 2:00 PM That termite-induced boost in near-surface soil moisture was beneficial to plants during the drought, the researchers report today in Science: Seedlings of climbing vines transplanted into areas where termites remained active were 51% more likely to survive than those in areas without the wood-eating insects.Because droughts are expected to occur more frequently in coming years as climate changes, termites may play an increasingly important role in rainforest productivity and biodiversity, the researchers suggest. Chien C. Lee Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Surprise: These termites are good for trees When it comes to floorboards and furniture, termites get a bad rap. But there’s one type of wood they may be good for: the trees of rainforests.During an extreme drought that struck the island of Borneo during late 2015 and early 2016, researchers studied eight widely scattered plots on the forest floor. In four of those 2500-square-meter areas, team members dug out or leveled termite mounds and then left poison baits for the insects that remained. In the other four areas, researchers left the insects alone.In the plots with intact termite mounds and nests, soil moisture at a depth of 5 centimeters was 36% higher during the drought than it was in plots where termite activity was disrupted. Termites (above) generally require a moist environment and, when necessary, will dig down dozens of meters or more to bring water up to their living spaces, the scientists note. Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more

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Evidence mounts that gut bacteria can influence mood prevent depression

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country By Elizabeth PennisiFeb. 4, 2019 , 11:00 AM Among the many microbes in the gut (above), some may influence mood. Of all the many ways the teeming ecosystem of microbes in a person’s gut and other tissues might affect health, its potential influences on the brain may be the most provocative. Now, a study of two large groups of Europeans has found several species of gut bacteria are missing in people with depression. The researchers can’t say whether the absence is a cause or an effect of the illness, but they showed that many gut bacteria could make substances that affect nerve cell function—and maybe mood.“It’s the first real stab at tracking how” a microbe’s chemicals might affect mood in humans, says John Cryan, a neuroscientist at University College Cork in Ireland who has been one of the most vocal proponents of a microbiome-brain connection. The study “really pushes the field from where it’s been” with small studies of depressed people or animal experiments. Interventions based on the gut microbiome are now under investigation: The University of Basel in Switzerland, for example, is planning a trial of fecal transplants, which can restore or alter the gut microbiome, in depressed people.Several studies in mice had indicated that gut microbes can affect behavior, and small studies of people suggested this microbial repertoire is altered in depression. To test the link in a larger group, Jeroen Raes, a microbiologist at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, and his colleagues took a closer look at 1054 Belgians they had recruited to assess a “normal” microbiome. Some in the group—173 in total—had been diagnosed with depression or had done poorly on a quality of life survey, and the team compared their microbiomes with those other participants. Two kinds of microbes, Coprococcus and Dialister, were missing from the microbiomes of the depressed subjects, but not from those with a high quality of life. The finding held up when the researchers allowed for factors such as age, sex, or antidepressant use, all of which influence the microbiome, the team reports today in Nature Microbiology. They also found the depressed people had an increase in bacteria implicated in Crohn disease, suggesting inflammation may be at fault. Evidence mounts that gut bacteria can influence mood, prevent depression 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 Zimbabwecenter_img V. Altounian/SCIENCE Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email Microbiome results in one population often don’t hold up in another. But when the team looked at data from another group—1064 Dutch people whose microbiomes had also been sampled—they found the same two species were missing among those who were depressed, and they were also missing in seven subjects suffering from severe clinical depression. The data don’t prove causality, Raes acknowledges, but they are “an independent observation backed by three [groups of people].”Looking for something that could link microbes to mood, Raes and his colleagues compiled a list of 56 substances important for proper nervous system function that gut microbes either produce or break down. They found, for example, that Coprococcus seems to have a pathway related to dopamine, a key brain signal involved in depression, although they have no evidence how this might protect against depression. The same microbe also makes an anti-inflammatory substance called butyrate, and increased inflammation is implicated in depression.Linking the absence of the bacteria to depression “makes sense physiologically,” says Sara Campbell, a physiologist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Still, no one knows how microbial compounds made in the gut might influence the brain. One possible channel is the vagus nerve, which links the gut and brain.Resolving the microbiome-brain connection “might lead to novel therapies,” Raes suggests. Indeed, some physicians and companies are already exploring typical probiotics—oral bacterial supplements—for depression, although they don’t normally include the missing gut microbes identified in the new study. Clinical neuroscientist André Schmidt of the University of Basel has started a clinical trial in which his team is assessing the mental health and microbiota of 40 depressed people before and after they receive a single fecal transplant.He and other advocates agree that solidifying any depression-microbiome connection will take many more studies. Still, Sven Pettersson, an experimental biologist at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm who was among the first to suggest such a link, calls the new findings “a massive signal to the clinical community to consider microbiome profiling in their [mental health] patients.”last_img read more

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This is shocking An undersea plague is obliterating a key ocean species

first_imgScientists still haven’t identified the pathogen responsible for the disease. Research suggests the culprit is a virus, but which one remains unknown. Similar die-offs have struck the West Coast in previous decades, but none has been so deadly over such a large area. Of the 20 species affected by the outbreak, lab tests showed the sunflower star to be among the most susceptible.The meter-wide, 24-armed sunflower star stalks the kelp forest swallowing prey like kelp-munching sea urchins whole. As one of the top predators of invertebrates these supersize stars help maintain balance in the kelp forest ecosystem. Left unchecked, sea urchins can mow down kelp forests, leaving behind a denuded and depauperate undersea landscape. The sunflower star used to be a common sight underwater, but since its disappearance and the subsequent boom of urchins, northern California has lost more than 90% of its kelp forests, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.The loss of those kelp forests has left the other species that depend on them hungry, homeless, or dead. In December 2018, California moved to extend a ban on recreational fishing for red abalone (Haliotis rufescens) after surveys showed the mollusks, which feed on kelp, were starving to death in huge numbers. Impacts to fish species are more challenging to quantify, but Carr says kelp forests are of vital importance not just as food, but as habitat, especially for young fish hoping to evade predators. Neil McDaniel ‘This is shocking.’ An undersea plague is obliterating a key ocean species By Alex FoxJan. 30, 2019 , 2:00 PM Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Jenn Collins An abundance of sunflower sea stars before the outbreak of “sea star wasting disease” off the coast of Canada. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email An “underwater zombie apocalypse.” That’s how wildlife veterinarian Joe Gaydos of the University of California (UC), Davis, describes “sea star wasting disease,” a blight that has decimated more than 20 species of sea stars from Mexico to Alaska since 2013. Now, a new study by Gaydos and colleagues has more bad news: The disease has hit the sunflower star (Pycnopodia helianthoides)—a key predator within kelp forests—hardest of all. This once-common species has vanished from the majority of its range, sending shock waves through the ecosystems it once called home. The team also found a worrying association between warmer ocean temperatures and the severity of the outbreak, suggesting climate change could exacerbate future marine epidemics.“This is shocking,” says marine ecologist Mark Carr of UC Santa Cruz, who was not involved in the study. “This is not just a population reduction, this is virtually the loss of a key species over thousands of miles. We’ve never seen anything like this before.”Sea star wasting disease progresses from “that looks weird,” to “horror movie,” over a few days. White lesions appear, then expand into fissures of melting tissue. Limbs fall off and crawl away. And finally, the sea star disintegrates into a pale mound of decaying flesh. A dying sunflower star infected with “sea star wasting disease” in the Salish Sea off the coast of Washington state. To gauge the impact of sea star wasting disease on the sunflower star, Gaydos’s colleague Drew Harvell, a Cornell University marine ecologist based in Friday Harbor, Washington, and other team members analyzed counts of the sunflower stars from nearly 11,000 shallow water scuba dives and close to 9000 bottom trawling surveys in deeper water. Hundreds of citizen scientists trained to identify and record the presence of the sunflower star conducted the shallow water surveys, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) conducted the bottom trawls, which consist of systematically dragging a net along the sea floor to sample marine biodiversity.These data sets spanned nearly a decade prior to the collapse of sea stars and covered more than 3000 kilometers of coastline. Shallow and deep-water surveys showed stable populations followed by steep declines of the sunflower star ranging from a 60% population reduction up to 100% in some areas after the onset of the wasting disease in 2013, the researchers report today in Science Advances.“Many people expected the sunflower stars to be taking refuge in the deep water where we couldn’t count them,” says Steve Lonhart, a kelp forest ecologist with the NOAA based in Monterey, California, who was not involved in the study. “We hoped they were hiding down there—this research shows that hope was naïve.”The onset of sea star wasting disease also coincided with the warmest 3-year period on record for California’s coastal waters—2014, 2015, and 2016—according to NOAA climate researcher Nate Mantua in Santa Cruz, who was not involved in the study. To see whether there was a connection between water temperature and the disease, the study authors compared sea surface temperatures from the times and locations of each survey with the decline in sunflower stars. Their analysis found that the times and locations of the biggest death tolls coincided with the presence of abnormally warm water.Mantua is the co-author of a 2018 paper in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society showing that climate change played a large role in the warming of California’s coastal waters from 2014 to 2016. Climate projections indicate those temperatures will become commonplace by the 2050s, he says.“Many of these outbreaks are heat sensitive. In the lab, sea stars got sick sooner and died faster in warmer water,” Harvell says. “A warming ocean could increase the impact of infectious diseases like this one.”The declining kelp forests of northern California are unlikely to recover unless sea urchins succumb to a pestilence of their own or their natural predators are restored. Harvell thinks the imperiled sunflower star should get strong consideration for being added to the U.S. Endangered Species List, and that a formal recovery plan may be necessary.“I’m more worried now than I was before I read this paper,” Lonhart says. “We could be watching the extinction of what was a common species just 5 years ago.”last_img read more

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Cobb to remain as Mayor until after General Election

first_imgApril 2, 2019 Cobb to remain as Mayor until after General Election By Linda Kor       An agenda item to install the newly elected mayor and council members was debated at the Holbrook Council meeting during a lengthy discussion on the legality of such action. Mayor PhilSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Adlast_img

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HPD offers information on sex offender living in town

first_imgHPD offers information on sex offender living in town       The Holbrook Police Department has provided information on a convicted sex offender who is living in Holbrook.       Dean Fowler is 5’11” tall and weight 195 lbs. He has gray hair and hazel eyes.Subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Ad April 10, 2019center_img Dean Fowlerlast_img

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Apples Worthy iPhone 8 Models May Languish in Xs Shadow

first_imgChallenged by the X The 8s are familiar-looking phones that mostly operate the way people expect them to, observed Chris Velazco for Engadget.”They’re conventional, but that doesn’t mean they’re inherently lacking — far from it, in fact,” he wrote.”While I suspect all iPhones will look like the iPhone X soon enough,” Velazco continued, “the 8 and 8 Plus are expertly built, high-performance devices for people who want to ease into Apple’s vision of the future.”Like other reviewers, Velazco preferred the 8 Plus over the 8.”The iPhone 8 Plus shares a powerful foundation with the iPhone 8, but a few features give it a distinct advantage over its little brother,” he wrote. “Its 12-megapixel dual camera is one of the best we’ve used, and its bigger battery means it’ll stick around longer on a charge than the iPhone 8.”Though agreeing with assessments of the 8 Plus’ chops,Cnet Senior Editor Scott Stein advised iPhone shoppers to pause before buying one.”The iPhone 8 Plus is a superlative phone with a spectacular camera, but wait for the upcoming iPhone X before buying: it promises to fold all of the key features of the 8 Plus into a smaller, sexier package,” he wrote. Smokes Android The 8s aren’t revolutionary like the X. They represent a continuation of what Apple has been doing for some time: tweaking and improving phones each year, noted James Titcomb for The Telegraph.”So the 8 improves enough on the most important aspects of a phone — the display, the camera, performance and reliability — to make me recommend it over the iPhone 7, even if you can pick up the latter for less,” he wrote.Base iPhone 7 models sell for US$579 and the 7 Plus for $669. The 8 sells for $699 and the 8 Plus for $799.Despite pricing differences between the 8s and the X, which sells for $999, Apple may have difficulty selling the lower-priced phones.”Apple will have a challenge convincing users to upgrade to an 8 with the X release date looming,” said David McQueen, research director at ABI Research.”They’re really just an s upgrade,” he told TechNewsWorld.The improvements in the 8s over the previous generation of iPhones and their pricing under $1,000 will be attractive to many Apple users, said Andreas Scherer, managing partner at Salto Partners.However, “the iPhone connoisseurs most certainly will wait a little longer to get their hands on the best phone ever produced by Apple,” he told TechNewsWorld.Those connoisseurs will be a minority — although a substantial minority — of iPhone buyers, however.”The audience for the iPhone X in its first year will be the early adopters and those who can afford to spend the money on it,” said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies.”That represents about a third of all who will buy the new iPhones.” he told TechNewsWorld. “But two-thirds will opt for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, because they’re less expensive, yet have increased power and features over last year’s models.” One point of controversy is whether the new iPhone models deserve the “8” designation or are just “s” versions of the iPhone 7 in a glass case.”The iPhone 8 reminds me of the fifth Transformers movie — you know it’s new, though you can’t for the life of you figure out how it’s different,” wrote Geoffrey A. Fowler for The Wall Street Journal.”On its face, the 8 looks like an iPhone from 2014,” he added.However, the switch to a glass back with wireless charging and the new processor validate a full number bump, argued Kevin Krewell, principal analyst at Tirias Research.”There are enough changes to the design and functionality so that I would give it a full number increase and not an ‘S’ designator,” he told TechNewsWorld. While the X has hogged the spotlight, the 8s are more than mere consolation prizes, maintained Mark Spoonauer in his review for Tom’s Guide.”They pack a ton of improvements, including the fastest processor ever in a phone (seriously, it puts many laptops to shame), better cameras (especially on the iPhone 8 Plus) and wireless charging (yeah, it’s overdue),” he wrote. iPhone 8 or 7s? Easing Into the Future Especially impressive was the performance of the A11 Bionic processor in the new 8s. “This chip absolutely smokes every Android phone on the planet,” Spoonauer said.”Overall, my pick between the two new iPhones is the iPhone 8 Plus. It gives you a significantly bigger screen than the iPhone 8, longer battery life and more versatile dual cameras for just $100 more,” he pointed out.”The regular iPhone 8 is good,” Spoonauer continued, “but 4.7 inches just doesn’t cut it for me anymore.” 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. Reviews of Apple’s new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus started turning up this week, and for the most part, they’ve been laudatory. However, the reviewers can’t seem to get their minds off the jewel of the Apple universe, the iPhone X.Both the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are “awesome” and better than last year’s models — but iPhone shoppers who want to be part of the future will save their money and buy an iPhone X later in the year, suggested David Pierce for Wired.”The iPhones 8 check every box a phone has ever checked before, but they feel like the last of something right as Apple and others prepare the first of something else,” he wrote.”When your phone can see you, and see the world,” he continued, “it will change what a phone is, and does, and can be. This fall, Apple’s giving you a choice: get a seat on the best piston airliner ever, or take a chance on jet engines.”last_img read more

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Personalized scans showing the extent of atherosclerosis help decrease cardiovascular risk

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 4 2018A new randomized trial of over 3000 people in The Lancet finds that sharing pictorial representations of personalized scans showing the extent of atherosclerosis (vascular age and plaque in the arteries) to patients and their doctors results in a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease one year later, compared to people receiving usual information about their risk.Smoking cessation, physical activity, statins, and antihypertensive medication to prevent cardiovascular disease are among the most evidence-based and cost-effective interventions in health care. However, low adherence to medication and lifestyle changes mean that these types of prevention efforts often fail.”Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in many countries, and despite a wealth of evidence about effective prevention methods from medication to lifestyle changes, adherence is low,” says Professor Ulf Näslund, Umea University (Sweden). “Information alone rarely leads to behavior change and the recall of advice regarding exercise and diet is poorer than advice about medicines. Risk scores are widely used, but they might be too abstract, and therefore fail to stimulate appropriate behaviors. This trial shows the power of using personalized images of atherosclerosis as a tool to potentially prompt behavior change and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.”3532 individuals who were taking part in the Västerbotten County (Sweden) cardiovascular prevention programme were included in the study and underwent vascular ultrasound investigation of the carotid arteries. Half (1749) were randomly selected to receive the pictoral representation of carotid ultrasound, and half (1783) did not receive the pictorial information.Participants aged 40 to 60 years with one or more cardiovascular risk factors were eligible to participate. All participants underwent blood sampling, a survey of clinical risk factors and ultrasound assessment for carotid intima media wall thickness and plaque formation. Each person in the intervention group received a pictoral representation of plaque formation in their arteries, and a gauge ranging from green to red to illustrate their biological age compared with their chronological age. They then received a follow up call from a nurse after 2-4 weeks to answer any questions. The same pictorial presentation of the ultrasound result was also sent to their primary care doctor. Thus, the study had dual targets.Both groups received information about their cardiovascular risk factors and a motivational health dialogue to promote healthier life style and, if needed according to clinical guidelines, pharmacological treatment.At one year follow up, the cardiovascular risk score for all participants (3175 completed the follow up) was calculated showing differences between the two groups (Framingham Risk Score decreased in the intervention group but increased in the control group [-0.58 vs +0.35]; SCORE increased by twice as much in control group compared to the intervention group [0.27 vs 0.13]).Improvements were also seen for total and LDL cholesterol in both groups, but the reduction was greater in the intervention group than in the control group. A graded effect was also noted, with the strongest effect seen for those with the worst results.Related StoriesWeightlifting is better for the heart than cardioStudy shows how low-intensity ultrasonic waves can modulate decision-making process in the brainResearch finds link between air pollution and coronary heart disease in China”The differences at a population level were modest, but important, and the effect was largest among those at highest risk of cardiovascular disease, which is encouraging. Imaging technologies such as CT and MRI might allow for a more precise assessment of risk, but these technologies have a higher cost and are not available on an equitable basis for the entire population. Our approach integrated an ultrasound scan, and a follow up call with a nurse, into an already established screening programme, meaning our findings are highly relevant to clinical practice,” says Prof Näslund.Importantly, the effect of the intervention did not differ by education level, suggesting that this type of risk communications might contribute to a reduction of the social gap in health. The findings come from a middle-aged population with low to moderate cardiovascular disease risk.Further research is needed to understand whether the results are sustainable beyond one year, and whether the intervention will lead to a reduction of cardiovascular disease in the long-term. Formal cost-effectiveness analyses will be done after 3-year follow-up.Writing in a linked Comment, Dr Richard Kones, Umme Rumana and Alberto Morales Salinas, Cardiometabolic Research Institute (USA), says:”Despite advances in cardiovascular therapies, coronary heart disease remains the leading cause of death in almost all countries. Two of the most remarkable recent treatments, percutaneous coronary intervention and the availability of proprotein convertase subtilisin/ kexin type 9 inhibitor drugs, have revolutionized cardiology practice. Although life-saving and now essential therapies, whether they will be able to reduce the incidence and associated morbidity and mortality of coronary heart disease remains unlikely since the increase in prevalence of obesity and diabetes is raising the background level of cardiovascular risk… Although there are proven methods of lowering cardiovascular risk and these are generally being better used generally in high-income countries, poor adherence and uneven availability and access in low income and middle-income countries still pose serious challenges… About less than half of all patients taking medications are adherent, which substantially increases morbidity and mortality. Non-adherence to medication accounts for 33-69% of all hospital admissions in the USA, and, among patients with coronary heart disease, the extent of low adherence is related to the number of adverse cardiovascular events. Poor adherence is multifactorial and can broadly be grouped into categories related to patients, physicians and therapies, communication, health-care systems, socioeconomic factors, and unpredictable negative effects of the internet. One of the most pertinent factors is patient-related perceived risk and motivation. Despite the many methods that have been proposed, effectiveness in improving adherence and outcomes has been relatively disappointing. It is in this context that the randomized controlled trial by Ulf Näslund and colleagues in The Lancet is relevant.” Source:https://www.thelancet.com/last_img read more

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Omron introduces new TM Series Collaborative Robot that enhances humanmachine collaboration

first_imgThe introduction of the new Collaborative Robot is geared towards manufacturers seeking to boost production and reduce employee fatigue by automating repetitive tasks such as machine tending, loading and unloading, assembly, screw driving, gluing, testing or soldering. Source:http://www.omron247.com/ Jan 24 2019A new solution for automating most repetitive production tasks is now available. Omron Automation Americas, an industry leader in automation technology, has announced the release of its new TM Series Collaborative Robot to facilitate collaboration between humans and machines. Programming interface is intuitive and quick to set up. The robot reduces installation and setup times compared with traditional industrial robots thanks to a flowchart-based programming interface and intuitive teaching. No prior robot programming experience is necessary. Integrated on-arm vision system further reduces setup time. The robot comes with built-in vision and integrated lighting for capturing products with a wide viewing angle. Image sensing functions include pattern matching, barcode reading, color identification and more. Compliance with human-machine collaborative safety standards. The robot ensures safe cooperation between humans and machines and reduces installation time by eliminating the requirement for industrial safety guarding. Industry-leading automation solution provider Omron Automation Americas recently announced the release of an advanced yet intuitive solution for automating repetitive tasks in manufacturing. With built-in vision and a user-friendly, plug-and-play programming interface, the new TM Series Collaborative Robot works seamlessly with humans to enhance productivity and ensure safety.Related StoriesYposkesi chairman to speak on ‘Manufacturing and the CDMO Perspective’ at Cell and Gene MeetingNew system for precise navigation through the vascular systemNANOLIVE‘s novel CX-A defines a new standard for live cell imaging in 96 well plates for continuous organelle monitoring in cell populationsDesigned to enable an innovative manufacturing environment, this highly transportable robot complies with safety requirements for human-robot collaboration specified in ISO 10218-1 and ISO/TS 15066. It can be easily trained to perform almost any repetitive task in any location thanks to a manual teaching function that allows operators to teach the robot with hand-guidance without needing for Software.last_img read more

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Workshop explores the future of artificial intelligence in medical imaging

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Apr 17 2019In August 2018, a workshop was held at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Md., to explore the future of artificial intelligence (AI) in medical imaging. The workshop was co-sponsored by NIH, the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), the American College of Radiology (ACR) and The Academy for Radiology and Biomedical Imaging Research (The Academy). The organizers aimed to foster collaboration in applications for diagnostic medical imaging, identify knowledge gaps and develop a roadmap to prioritize research needs. The group’s research roadmap was published today as a special report in the journal Radiology.”The scientific challenges and opportunities of AI in medical imaging are profound, but quite different from those facing AI generally. Our goal was to provide a blueprint for professional societies, funding agencies, research labs, and everyone else working in the field to accelerate research toward AI innovations that benefit patients,” said the report’s lead author, Curtis P. Langlotz, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. Langlotz is a professor of radiology and biomedical informatics, director of the Center for Artificial Intelligence in Medicine and Imaging, and associate chair for information systems in the Department of Radiology at Stanford University, and RSNA Board Liaison for Information Technology and Annual Meeting.Imaging research laboratories are rapidly creating machine learning systems that achieve expert human performance using open-source methods and tools. These artificial intelligence systems are being developed to improve medical image reconstruction, noise reduction, quality assurance, triage, segmentation, computer-aided detection, computer-aided classification and radiogenomics.Machine learning algorithms will transform clinical imaging practice over the next decade. Yet, machine learning research is still in its early stages.”RSNA’s involvement in this workshop is essential to the evolution of AI in radiology,” said Mary C. Mahoney, M.D., RSNA Board of Directors Chair. “As the Society leads the way in moving AI science and education forward through its journals, courses and more, we are in a solid position to help radiologic researchers and practitioners more fully understand what the technology means for medicine and where it is going.”Related StoriesPorvair Sciences’ ultra-flat Krystal glass bottom microplates for imaging applicationsSuper-Resolution Raman Imaging with Plasmonic SubstratesPhasefocus to launch new cell imaging system with smart incubation technologyIn the report, the authors outline several key research themes, and describe a roadmap to accelerate advances in foundational machine learning research for medical imaging.Research priorities highlighted in the report include: new image reconstruction methods that efficiently produce images suitable for human interpretation from source data automated image labeling and annotation methods, including information extraction from the imaging report, electronic phenotyping, and prospective structured image reporting new machine learning methods for clinical imaging data, such as tailored, pre-trained model architectures, and distributed machine learning methods machine learning methods that can explain the advice they provide to human users (so-called explainable artificial intelligence), and validated methods for image de-identification and data sharing to facilitate wide availability of clinical imaging data sets. The report describes innovations that would help to produce more publicly available, validated and reusable data sets against which to evaluate new algorithms and techniques, noting that to be useful for machine learning these data sets require methods to rapidly create labeled or annotated imaging data.In addition, novel pre-trained model architectures, tailored for clinical imaging data, must be developed, along with methods for distributed training that reduce the need for data exchange between institutions.In laying out the foundational research goals for AI in medical imaging, the authors stress that standards bodies, professional societies, governmental agencies, and private industry must work together to accomplish these goals in service of patients, who stand to benefit from the innovative imaging technologies that will result.center_img Source:https://press.rsna.org/timssnet/media/pressreleases/14_pr_target.cfm?ID=2088last_img read more

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New 3D printed floating photocatalysts remove persistent pollutants in wastewater

first_imgAdvanced oxidation processes and, especially, the titanium dioxide (TiO2) photocatalytic process is considered an option with positive results for an efficient treatment. However, the photocatalyst must be accessible to the UV radiation, for the activation of the TiO2. For this reason, it is recommendable to use a floating photocatalyst (with lower density than water) if the UV light comes from the solar radiation because it will be on the water surface. In addition, “this characteristic of the catalyst can entail an increase of the process efficiency if the pollutant is mainly located on the surface of the water. In this context, the goal of this work is the preparation of floating photocatalysts for the removal of CECs from wastewater” María José Martín concludes.The obtained photocatalysts showed a high activity compared to a plate geometry, used as a reference value. Thus, this study opens the doors to the in-situ treatment of CECs, using floating photocatalysts and solar radiation as the sole reagent, a very economical, efficient, easily implantable and environmentally compatible process. Source:Universidad Politécnica de MadridJournal reference:Martín de Vidales, M J . et al. (2019) 3D printed floating photocatalysts for wastewater treatment. Catalysis Today. doi.org/10.1016/j.cattod.2019.01.074 This type of contaminant has a high presence in wastewater, since they cannot be completely removed using conventional water treatments and its presence, even in low concentration, cause health issues (problems in the hormonal and endocrine systems, various types of cancer, antibiotic resistance, etc.)”. Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 25 2019Researchers from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid have obtained 3D printed floating photocatalysts to remove persistent pollutants in wastewater.A team of researchers from School of Industrial Design and Engineering (ETSIDI) at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) has successfully tested a new treatment for the degradation of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) in wastewater.They have used floating photocatalysts and solar radiation as the sole reagent, an efficient and economical process that is easy to implement and compatible with the environment.Organic contaminants, especially contaminants of emerging concern (CECs), have a substantial environmental impact. There are some pharmaceutical products among these contaminants that, though they are found in low concentration, they may cause significant damage to flora and fauna and thus human health. Therefore, a search for alternative treatments is needed to achieve an efficient degradation of these pollutants in water and wastewater.The group of Analysis and Optical Characterization of Materials from ETSIDI at UPM has been working for years on water treatment residuals applying advanced oxidation processes. These processes are based on the generation of hydroxyl radicals such as oxidizing agents of contaminant organic matter. Within this trajectory, various members of the group have carried out a project focused on the efficient degradation of CECs.María José Martín de Vidales, a Researcher involved in this Study:last_img read more

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This Silicon Valley car tech firm is bringing secret weapon to the

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. It shows a sleek black car driving across the Tower Bridge … with no one in it. The company, Phantom Auto, is a key player in the emerging world of autonomous vehicles. But the car cruising across Sacramento’s iconic portal wasn’t a robot car. A human was in fact driving.That person just happened to be 100-plus miles away, sitting in Phantom Auto’s Mountain View headquarters, with a steering wheel, gas and brake pedals, and a series of computer screens that allowed him to see, via car cameras, 360 degrees around him.It’s called teleoperations, and some people in the autonomous vehicle industry say it’s the little-known irony behind all the bold talk that computers are about to drive our cars for us and do it more safely.Phantom Auto executives and many in the industry say that autonomous vehicles are decades away from being able to truly drive safely on city streets and highways all by themselves under any conditions.Until that time, humans will act as remote monitors and sometime remote operators, watching over the vehicles and grabbing the wheel if the car’s computer gets stumped or the system fails.”We believe you will always need a human in the loop,” Phantom Auto co-founder and chief strategy officer Elliot Katz said. “There are so many oddball scenarios multiple times a day.”It could be a tree that’s fallen over the road, requiring the car to go over a double yellow line to get around. The computer may not be programed to do that. Or there could be a police officer in the street ahead at a crash, signaling cars to go around. The computer may just stop the car if it can’t figure out what the officer wants it to do. Heavy rain or snow may confuse the car’s sensors.An autonomous system could, for instance, shut a car down in a freeway travel lane if it runs into a scenario it doesn’t understand, Katz said. Someone needs to be there to steer the car off of the road until the technology gets experienced enough to deal with more atypical scenarios.State regulators recognize that. The DMV requires any driverless autonomous vehicle being tested on the streets to have a remote driver or monitor watching over it. Two companies so far have applied to the state DMV for a permit to do driverless tests. Neither had yet been approved as of Friday, according to the DMV, which is not yet disclosing the names of the two companies. Self-driving cars with no in-vehicle backup driver get OK for California public roads Citation: This Silicon Valley car tech firm is bringing secret weapon to the streets of Sacramento (2018, August 17) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-08-silicon-valley-car-tech-firm.html Phantom Auto hopes its remote driving system and driver training—based on Israeli drone training—will be the ones that autonomous car testing companies will turn to when the first driverless test cars hit the road.And Sacramento is the city Phantom Auto has chosen to show off its product, enticed here by the mayor and others who are eager to create a new tech economy in the capital city. Starting this month, company reps will be in town to “geomap” the streets between downtown and Sacramento State, readying them for autonomous car tests, and prepping them to show off Phantom Auto’s remote-driving system.”We believe that Sacramento is going to be a key area (nationally) for testing,” Katz said. ©2018 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Explore further Phantom Auto’s work here will include checking for a continuous wireless communication connection between the car and the remote driver. The company uses a technique it calls “bonding,” where it overlaps all the providers—such as Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T—to make sure it has the best chance at continual coverage.But there likely will be communication dead zones. Phantom Auto will note them and tell autonomous car testing companies to avoid those spots, Katz said.How safe is remote monitoring, and, if needed, remote driving?The question remains an open one. The DMV requires driverless vehicles to be monitored, but doesn’t have standards for remote driving. Phantom Auto, for instance, did not need permits or have to pass any safety protocols to remotely drive its car across the Tower Bridge.That light regulatory touch has some consumer and car safety advocates upset. Regulators seem ready to allow tech companies to treat California streets like video games, but unlike video games, “when something goes wrong, people get killed,” John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog said.DMV declined a Sacramento Bee request last week to discuss safety issues involved in remote driving. It issued an email statement, instead, saying in part: “The California Vehicle Code addresses who is in control of the vehicle, not if a driver must be behind the steering wheel. That said, all drivers must have the proper class of license, must be insured and must comply with every aspect of the vehicle code and traffic laws.”One national autonomous vehicle expert, Karen Pannetta, calls remote monitoring and driving the “security blanket” for the burgeoning world of autonomous vehicle technology.But she has safety concerns.Pannetta is a Tufts University dean, an electrical and computer engineering professor, and member of the robotics and automation group at the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers). She said she worries whether a human monitor can respond fast enough in a difficult moment, especially if human monitors are asked to watch over multiple vehicles at a time.For now, remote operators may be watching over only one or a few autonomous vehicles at a time. But autonomous industry experts say that as technology improves, a monitor may be overseeing dozens of vehicles at once, and possibly more.When trouble hits, the car will alert that monitor, Pannetta said. But, she asks, “what is the reaction time? Those are the big things.”Over time, the computer algorithms will learn to deal with more complex situations, she said, taking more responsibility away from monitors. Even then, humans may be needed to watch over some autonomous cars, such as rideshare vehicles, to make sure the person inside hasn’t had some sudden health issue or there isn’t some other problem inside the passenger compartment.Katz said his system is ready to prove its worth in the coming months on the streets of Sacramento, right down to driving minutiae: The remote operator can hear honking and sirens. He can honk the horn and has a speaker system to talk to police if pulled over.”Anything a human in the car can do, our remote operator can do.” A Silicon Valley tech company recently posted a video front and center on its website that may startle some Sacramentans.last_img read more

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What a major offshore gas find means for South Africas energy future

first_img Explore further Provided by The Conversation Many South African politicians, economists and specialists in the energy sector are celebrating the news that a promising show of natural gas has been discovered in deep water south of Mossel Bay. It was found in an offshore prospecting area called Brulpadda (Afrikaans for bullfrog), which is licensed to global energy giant Total. Credit: Shutterstock Citation: What a major offshore gas find means for South Africa’s energy future (2019, February 13) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-02-major-offshore-gas-south-africa.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.center_img Other reasons for increasing the use of gas are a bit counter-intuitive if your perception is that South Africa should be moving away from fossil fuels like gas and oil and into renewable energy sources, to reduce climate change and save money. The problem is that solar energy and wind energy – the main forms of renewable energy available to South Africa – are both intermittent: the energy they supply fluctuates with the sunshine and the weather. Currently the country fills the gaps between the variable supply and the consumer demand, which also fluctuates through the day and year, by turning on very expensive diesel-powered electricity generators. Switching them to natural gas could do this job more cheaply, more efficiently and with lower emissions, including of greenhouse gases. So increasing the gas used increases the fraction of renewables which can be included in South Africa’s electricity mix, while still meeting a given electricity security and emissions target.Will this gas be used in South Africa, or exported into the global market?It’s too early for South Africa to be counting its chickens. It takes years to develop a gas-field to the point where it is producing gas. Many things can change in that period. The Brulpadda find is at great depth, both below the sea surface and below the sea floor. It will be challenging to develop in an area notorious for high winds and heavy seas. But the likelihood is that a modest-sized gas find on the South Coast would mostly be used in South Africa. Compressing natural gas for long-distance export by sea is an expensive business. It needs major infrastructure, which South Africa currently doesn’t have. The country also doesn’t yet have a well-developed infrastructure for using gas, so the supply may initially be more than South Africa can consume. But since there’s a captive market nearby, Total – an international, for profit company that will charge a market-related price for its gas – will almost certainly first try to sell it locally, rather than incur the cost of transporting it elsewhere. The most likely first candidates will be the PetroSA gas-to-liquids plant and the Gourikwa (diesel) power station near Mossel Bay.The Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act amendment, soon to be sent to the South African parliament after years of wrangling, is designed to protect national interests in this regard. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article. The discovery, comes against the backdrop of rising fuel prices and an electricity utility in crisis, has raised hopes that it may be a game changer. The Conversation Africa’s Nontobeko Mtshali spoke to Robert Scholes and Rod Crompton about the significance of the find.Is this an energy “game-changer”?It’s not yet clear how big the find is. In a press release, Total said it “could be around one billion barrels of global resources, gas and condensate light oil”. To put that in perspective, South Africa’s total refinery capacity is 700 000 barrels of oil per day. The gas is present over a relatively large vertical distance (57 metres), but it’s not clear how extensive the gas-rich area is. We simply won’t know until more holes are drilled, and three-dimensional seismic surveys are completed. Gas can be converted into liquid fuels. There are only a few gas-to-liquids refineries around the world. PetroSA, South Africa’s national oil company, built one in Mossel Bay in 1989, which it still operates. It is the smallest refinery in the country.The Brulpadda find contains condensates – a kind of light crude oil – which only PetroSA’s Mossel Bay refinery can process. This means the biggest benefit will probably be to that refinery. It has a capacity of about 40 000 barrels a day, and the Brulpadda find – given its proximity – could extend its life substantially.How does this change the national energy strategy?The government’s energy policy and its Gas Utilisation Master Plan agree that South Africa could usefully increase the amount of natural gas in the mix. It wants to diversify away from coal and imported crude oil. Total unveils ‘significant’ offshore S. African gas findlast_img read more

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What Are Rock Cairns

first_img Trail markers and art projects While many cairn traditions are very old, one type of cairn-building feels distinctly modern. There’s a controversial trend of artistically stacking stones in the wilderness, expressly to post pictures to social media. Conservationists criticize these amateur stacks, saying they can be confused for trail markers, and lead hikers astray. They also note that these amateur piles can disturb wildlife when they’re built or fall apart and that they leave a human mark in places that should be left in a more natural state. Most of these artistic stone stacks are not easily confused with older cairns, which, over hundreds of years, have had soil and vegetation build up around the rocks. Historical cairns may be so old that they’ve sunken into the ground, have been covered in lichen, or are otherwise obscured from view. The scale is also typically different. Older cairns may be made of stones too large for a single person to easily move, or they may consist of thousands of individual rocks. For example, at a Mohican stone memorial pile at Monument Mountain, in western Massachusetts, it was customary for visitors to add a stone. The votive cairn was 18 feet long and 6 feet high when it was first described in detail by a colonist in 1762, said Lucianne Lavin, the director of research and collections at the Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington, Connecticut. Read a statement about rock cairns from the National Park Service. Learn more about Zedeño’s work on buffalo jumps at Archaeology.org What were rock cairns for? The word cairn comes from Scottish Gaelic. In Scotland, burial cairns are well-known, but there are many possible uses for cairns, which vary from culture to culture. In the West, native peoples have sometimes constructed burial cairns, Zedeño said, but there’s no clear evidence for astrology-based cairn positions. Instead, at memorial sites that are sometimes confusingly called medicine wheels, a central cairn might be surrounded by other cairns that point toward important places in a person’s life. In Montana, Zedeño has studied a series of cairns built around 500 years ago by the ancestors of modern-day Blackfeet Indians to funnel herds of buffalo to their death at cliff sites called buffalo jumps. The cairn construction displays a great deal of organization and understanding of buffalo behavior. “A site could have anywhere from 500 to 5,000 cairns,” Zedeño said. “It’s very large-scale landscape engineering.” In the northeastern United States, grave sites are just one possible context for cairns, Lavin said. They take other forms, including animal effigies and split stones filled with smaller rocks that are considered portals to the underworld. There are also stone ceremonial grounds that were built in spiritually significant places, with astrological stones that marked the position of celestial bodies in the sky at the start and end of dayslong festivals. But the origin or purpose of Native American cairns or other stone features is often disputed in the region. “There are some archaeologists who think that everything is farm clearing,” Lavin said. In other words, the stones are just piles of rocks that have been pulled from an agricultural field. “There are other archaeologists, including myself, who realize that there are a diversity of features out there.” She points to records from settlers, like the accounts of Monument Mountain, as evidence that Native Americans were building stone structures in Colonial America. The question isn’t just academic. Cairns are sometimes destroyed by construction, and recognition of these sites by the government is critical to preserving their ongoing cultural value to Native Americans, Lavin said. Additional resources: Rock cairns are human-made stacks, mounds or piles of rocks. They take different forms, and have been built by cultures around the world for many different purposes. Cairns may serve as monuments, burial sites, navigational aids (by land or sea), or ceremonial grounds, among other uses. They may stand alone, in clusters, or in a network of related cairns; for example, as trail markers in a park. Larger cairns can withstand time and weather, and archaeologists believe that some examples are hundreds of years old. Rock cairns are considered cultural features, or parts of a landscape built by humans. They’re similar to works built with larger stones, such as megaliths, earthen mounds or stone geoglyphs, which are stones arranged to outline an image when seen from above. Cairns aren’t just structures — their locations may be carefully chosen, and the construction process or ceremonial use may be culturally important. Because of this, rock cairns can be “very difficult to understand without looking at a landscape scale,” said María Nieves Zedeño, an archaeologist at the University of Arizona. [Spectacular Images Reveal Mysterious Stone Structures in Saudi Arabia]Advertisement Mysterious ‘Super-Henge’ Found Near StonehengeHigh resolution ground-penetrating radar and other archeological technologies has revealed up to 9 large intentionally placed stones outlining a crescent-shaped arena less than 2 miles away from the well-known Stonehenge in the UK Durrington Walls area. The site was home to a large Neolithic prehistoric settlement built about 4,500 yearsago.Volume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9接下来播放Better Bug Sprays?01:33 facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接https://www.livescience.com/65687-rock-cairns.html?jwsource=cl已复制直播00:0001:2001:20Your Recommended Playlist01:33Better Bug Sprays?01:08Why Do French Fries Taste So Bad When They’re Cold?04:24Sperm Whale Befriends Underwater Robot00:29Robot Jumps Like a Grasshopper, Rolls Like a Ball00:29Video – Giggly Robot02:31Surgical Robotics关闭 center_img Certain forms of rock cairns are still used today, for example, as trail markers. Credit: Shutterstock View cairns in a location database from Historic Environment Scotland. Correction: This article was updated on June 17, 2019 to state that the ancient cairns in northeastern United States may have served various cultural purposes and grave sites are just one possibility. by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndoGundry MD Total Restore SupplementU.S. Cardiologist: It’s Like a Pressure Wash for Your InsidesGundry MD Total Restore SupplementUndoKelley Blue Book2019 Mercedes-Benz Smart Models Worth ConsideringKelley Blue BookUndoNucificTop Dr. Reveals The 1 Nutrient Your Gut Must HaveNucificUndoEditorChoice.comSee What The World’s Largest Dog Looks LikeEditorChoice.comUndoLivestlyThe List Of Dog Breeds To Avoid At All CostsLivestlyUndolast_img read more

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