Giga Watt Donates 20000 to GWATAOrondo River Park Future Up for DiscussionWenatchee

first_imgFrom a press release – Local technology company Giga Watt recently committed $20,000 in annual sponsorship to the non-profit Greater Wenatchee Area Technology Alliance, or GWATA. With the additional sponsorship funds, GWATA will continue to expand their resources and programming for the community.“The generous financial support of Giga Watt allows GWATA to further develop educational programs that impact our business and education community,” GWATA executive director, Jenny Rojanasthien, said.  “As the regions tech alliance, working closely with local companies allows us to keep a close tab on what’s new, relevant, and impacting the workforce in our region. We feel lucky to work with CEO of Giga Watt, Dave Carlson, and his team on community events that educate and inspire the community.”In addition to the annual sponsorship, Giga Watt has shown support of local students and educators at several GWATA events. At the NCW Tech & STEM Showcase on May 19, Giga Watt awarded Ramon Rivera, Wenatchee School District Mariachi instructor, a $500 donation for receiving the most community votes as “favorite teacher” at the event.The new investment from Giga Watt has allowed GWATA the opportunity to start a coding club for kids. GWATA Coders is a coding workshop that aims to encourage and support computer science pathways for students ages 7-17. The recurring event begins on Saturday, May 26 at the Wenatchee Public Library on Douglas street.North Central Regional Library (NCRL) is supporting GWATA Coders by supplying the laptops and facility, allowing students who may not have technology access to participate in this educational opportunity. Space at GWATA Coders is limited to 25 students who must register in advance at www.gwata.org. Additional dates for GWATA Coders will be announced in June.GWATA Coders is an official club through the international coding platform: CoderDojo. The coding workshop is designed to be self-paced for all levels using open-source programming and guidance from industry professionals to troubleshoot and answer questions.last_img read more

Prenatal marijuana use can have consequences on infants weight and behavior

first_imgMay 10 2018Smoking during pregnancy has well-documented negative effects on birth weight in infants and is linked to several childhood health problems. Now, researchers at the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions have found that prenatal marijuana use also can have consequences on infants’ weight and can influence behavior problems, especially when combined with tobacco use.”Nearly 30 percent of women who smoke cigarettes during pregnancy also report using marijuana,” says Rina Das Eiden, PhD, RIA senior research scientist. “That number is likely to increase with many states moving toward marijuana legalization, so it’s imperative we know what effects prenatal marijuana use may have on infants.”Related StoriesRecreational cannabis legalization could impact alcohol industry, research showsAlcohol reduction associated with improved viral suppression in women living with HIVUTHealth researchers investigate how to reduce stress-driven alcohol useThrough a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Eiden studied nearly 250 infants and their mothers. Of these, 173 of the infants had been exposed to tobacco and/or marijuana during their mothers’ pregnancies. None were exposed to significant amounts of alcohol.Eiden found that infants who had been exposed to both tobacco and marijuana, especially into the third trimester, were smaller in length, weight and head size, and were more likely to be born earlier, compared to babies who were not exposed to anything. They also were more likely to be smaller in length and weight compared to babies exposed only to tobacco in the third trimester. The results were stronger for boys compared to girls.”We also found that lower birth weight and size predicted a baby’s behavior in later infancy,” Eiden says. “Babies who were smaller were reported by their mothers to be more irritable, more easily frustrated and had greater difficulty calming themselves when frustrated. Thus, there was an indirect association between co-exposure to tobacco and marijuana and infant behavior via poor growth at delivery.”Furthermore, women who showed symptoms of anger, hostility and aggression reported more stress in pregnancy and were more likely to continue using tobacco and marijuana throughout pregnancy. Therefore, due to the co-exposure, they were more likely to give birth to infants smaller in size and who were more irritable and easily frustrated. The infants’ irritability and frustration is also linked to mothers who experienced higher levels of stress while pregnant.”Our results suggest that interventions with women who smoke cigarettes or use marijuana while pregnant should also focus on reducing stress and helping them cope with negative emotions,” Eiden says. “This may help reduce prenatal substance exposure and subsequent behavior problems in infants.” Source:http://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2018/05/016.htmllast_img read more

Trump vows again to lower drug prices but skeptics doubt much will

first_imgMay 11 2018President Donald Trump, armed with the expertise of staff seasoned in the ways of the drug industry, unveiled his blueprint to address sky-high drug prices Friday afternoon, promising that increasing industry competition will help Americans save at the pharmacy counter.”Under this administration, we are putting American patients first,” Trump said  with Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar by his side. Azar, he said, had a mission to “to bring soaring drug prices down to Earth.”Trump said he plans to work with Congress on lowering drug costs. The administration is planning or considering 50 actions to reduce what Americans pay for drugs, including giving Medicare more power to negotiate drug prices, Azar said. Azar said he wants to make drug prices more transparent, as well. For example, he said the Food and Drug Administration should require pharmaceutical companies to disclose drugs’ list prices in their direct-to-consumer ads.”It’s material and relevant to know if it’s a $50,000 drug or a $100 drug,” Azar said at a White House press briefing Friday following Trump’s speech.Trump called the plan “the most sweeping action in history to lower the price of prescription drugs to the American people.””We will have tougher negotiations, more competition and much lower prices at the pharmacy counters,” Trump said. “And it will start to take effect very soon.”On a separate note, Trump told the audience that “right-to-try is happening,” a nod to congressional efforts to expand access to experimental medications for people with life-threatening conditions.Trump’s proposals target reducing the out-of-pocket costs for older Americans enrolled in Medicare — but experts say that amounts to more show than substance.”There’s a difference between reducing the pain people feel associated with out-of-pocket costs at the pharmacy counter and reducing the actual national spend on prescription drugs,” said Allan Coukell, senior director for health programs at the nonpartisan Pew Charitable Trusts.While 80 percent of Americans say the cost of drugs is unreasonable, 1 in 4 people report having difficulty paying for drugs, according to Kaiser Family Foundation polling. So the optics of lowering what people pay directly for drugs is very good, says Dan Mendelson, president of Avalere Health.”There has been a dramatic increase in the number of people bearing a very heavy burden,” said Mendelson, who oversaw the health division at the Office of Management and Budget under Bill Clinton’s presidency. The health consulting firm released data this week showing that the number of seniors spending so much on drugs that they reach the catastrophic stage increased by 50 percent between 2013 and 2016.Although some criticized the blueprint as too generous to drugmakers, a pharmaceutical industry spokesman had a mixed appraisal of Trump’s plan.”While some of these proposals could help make medicines more affordable for patients, others would disrupt coverage and limit patients’ access to innovative treatments,” said Stephen Ubl, CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).”After negotiations, medicine prices increased just 1.9 percent last year, below the rate of inflation, and yet patients’ out-of-pocket costs continue to skyrocket,” he said. “Giving patients access to negotiated discounts at the pharmacy counter and protecting seniors in Medicare Part D from catastrophic costs would help make medicines more affordable.”During the campaign and his presidency, Trump has used strong language against the pharmaceutical industry, famously saying the manufacturers are “getting away with murder.” Late Thursday, senior administration officials told reporters on a call that the plan will reduce the price pharmaceutical companies set for drugs.But when asked about whether Medicare will negotiate drugs — as Democrats have called for and the president has talked about — administration officials said that lever would not be pulled.Instead, Trump’s blueprint calls for measures such as offering free generics to low-income seniors, passing on to consumers more of the negotiated savings that insurers win, and making sure Medicare enrollees don’t spiral into the so-called catastrophic phase of coverage they hit when they pay thousands of dollars a year for drugs.Limiting what Medicare patients pay out-of-pocket could be especially helpful to those taking cancer drugs or other expensive therapies, said Stacie Dusetzina, an associate professor of health policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.Today, patients who pay $5,000 out-of-pocket for prescriptions enter the “catastrophic” category of Medicare coverage, and are charged just 5 percent of their drug costs. But given the astronomical cost of cancer drugs, that can leave patients paying $1,000 a month or more, Dusetzina said.Related StoriesMedicare going in ‘right direction’ on opioid epidemicHow cell-free DNA can be targeted to prevent spread of tumorsCancer killing capability of lesser-known immune cells identifiedMedicare patients with the deadly cancer multiple myeloma can spend $14,000 a year out-of-pocket for the drug Revlimid, which costs about $20,000 a month, Dusetzina said.Trump also accused other developed countries of “freeloading” by enjoying the fruits of American innovation — including drugs developed with taxpayer money or by U.S. companies — without paying a fair price. Because national health systems in other countries have authority to negotiate drug costs — and refuse to cover some drugs entirely — their citizens often pay a fraction of the prices charged in the United States.”In some cases, medicines that cost a few dollars in foreign countries cost hundreds of dollars for the same pill” in the United States, Trump said. “It’s unfair, it’s ridiculous and it’s not going to happen any longer. It’s time to end the global freeloading once and for all.”A spokesman for Doctors Without Borders said Trump has it backward. Instead of raising drug prices abroad, costs need to come down everywhere, said Leonardo Palumbo, U.S. advocacy adviser for the group’s access campaign.”Other countries aren’t ‘free-riding,’ and lifesaving medicines aren’t more expensive here because they cost less elsewhere,” Palumbo said. He said his group “sees the detrimental effects of high prices — from doctors being left without antibiotics to treat people with drug-resistant infections, to hepatitis C medicines being rationed to the sickest patients because of their exorbitant prices.”Today, Medicare has limited power to negotiate drug prices, partly because many of the most expensive treatments — such as those for cancer patients — are in a protected class that must be covered, Dusetzina said.To really negotiate better prices, Medicare would need the freedom to reject some drugs completely, Dusetzina added.But excluding certain expensive drugs from the Medicare program could leave patients in a difficult position, said Chris Hansen, president of the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network. Patients who want an expensive drug would either have to skip it or pay for it themselves, he said.Azar said Medicare could pressure drug companies to keep prices down in other ways.”In our drug discount program, if you have a drug in a protected class, it’s almost impossible for drug plans to negotiate and get a discount,” Azar said. “What if we said you only get to be in a protected class if you haven’t raised your price in 18 months?”Some policy experts said Trump’s announcement includes mostly old ideas.”I don’t think anyone is talking seriously about having Medicare negotiate with drugmakers,” said Tom Bulleit, head of the health care practice at the D.C. office of Ropes & Gray.Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), who along with Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) met with Trump at the White House a year ago to propose changes on drug prices, said, “If you listen carefully, you can almost hear the champagne popping in the corporate boardrooms of drug companies across the country.”David Maris, a pharmaceutical industry analyst for Wells Fargo investors, released a note earlier this month pointing out that the increased social and economic tension on the drug industry is building.”My guess is this is just the beginning,” Maris said.Trump’s plan includes tackling the rising costs of drugs in Medicare’s Part B program, which pays for drugs delivered in doctor’s offices or hospital outpatient setting — a challenge previous administrations have failed to tackle.While the details are still vague, Trump has called for the prices paid for certain drugs under Part B — these could include expensive drugs for cancer chemotherapy and rheumatoid arthritis — to be negotiated using the same tactics insurers and pharmacy benefit managers use under Medicare Part D, which is the program that seniors use for their retail prescription drugs.KHN’s coverage of prescription drug development, costs and pricing is supported by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.last_img read more

Technical report describes how to make accurate particle size measurements on carbon

first_img Source:https://www.testa-analytical.com Carbon black is a widely used abrasion-resistant filler employed in the manufacture of tires and in the production of many other rubber materials. Carbon black is also used as a pigment in coatings and lacquers, plastics, printing inks, and tinting blacks.Related StoriesRevolutionary instrument for characterizing liposomes and liposome-drug conjugatesResearch grade goniometer system to measure light scatteringBl-200SM goniometer system reveals why aqueous molybdenum solutions are blueSince the particle size distribution (PSD) of aggregates of carbon black is strongly correlated with the thermal and mechanical properties of dispersions, the measurement of a carbon black PSD is an important part of its quality control. Although often unimodal, the typical particle size range for non-agglomerated carbon black is very broad covering from 10 nm to over 500 nm.The authors provide an informative introduction to the principles of particle sizing using a disc centrifuge photosedimentometer and they demonstrate the importance of extinction correction in order to make accurate measurements.Results on the ASTM series of Carbon black reference materials (A4 – F4) is presented and comparisons between different reference materials made. Different sample preparations are discussed and the stability of such preparations with time shown.The report concludes given the small particle sizes involved, and the breadth of a typical distribution, the BI series disc centrifuge photosedimentometer is the instrument of choice for measuring carbon black particle size distribution. Not only is the BI disc centrifuge photosedimentometer a rugged instrument, but its theory of operation is well developed. Provided all corrections are made, the accuracy of particle size distribution measurements on carbon black samples using the BI disc centrifuge photosedimentometer is unsurpassed. Jun 22 2018Testa Analytical Solutions e.K has published a technical report that describes how accurate particle size measurements can be made on carbon black samples using their BI series disc centrifuge photosedimentometer.last_img read more

Novel decoding technology could predict mood variations from brain signals

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Sep 10 2018By developing a novel decoding technology, a team of engineers and physicians at the University of Southern California (USC) and UC San Francisco have discovered how mood variations can be decoded from neural signals in the human brain–a process that has not been demonstrated to date.Their study, published in Nature Biotechnology, is a significant step towards creating new closed-loop therapies that use brain stimulation to treat debilitating mood and anxiety disorders in millions of patients who are not responsive to current treatments.Assistant Professor and Viterbi Early Career Chair Maryam Shanechi of the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering and the Neuroscience Graduate Program at USC led the development of the decoding technology, and Professor of Neurological Surgery Edward Chang at UCSF led the human implantation and data collection effort. The researchers were supporting the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s SUBNETS program to develop new biomedical technologies for treating intractable neurological diseases.The team recruited seven human volunteers among a group of epilepsy patients who already had intracranial electrodes inserted in their brain for standard clinical monitoring to locate their seizures. Large-scale brain signals were recorded from these electrodes in the volunteers across multiple days at UCSF, while they also intermittently reported their moods using a questionnaire. Shanechi and her students, Omid Sani and Yuxiao Yang, used that data to develop a novel decoding technology that could predict mood variations over time from the brain signals in each human subject, a goal unachievable to date.”Mood is represented across multiple sites in the brain rather than localized regions, thus decoding mood presents a unique computational challenge,” Shanechi said. “This challenge is made more difficult by the fact that we don’t have a full understanding of how these regions coordinate their activity to encode mood and that mood is inherently difficult to assess. To solve this challenge, we needed to develop new decoding methodologies that incorporate neural signals from distributed brain sites while dealing with infrequent opportunities to measure moods.”To build the decoder, Shanechi and the team of researchers analyzed brain signals that were recorded from intracranial electrodes in the seven human volunteers. Raw brain signals were continuously recorded across distributed brain regions while the patients self-reported their moods through a tablet-based questionnaire.In each of the 24 questions, the patient was asked to “rate how you feel now” by tapping one of 7 buttons on a continuum between a pair of negative and positive mood state descriptors (e.g., “depressed” and “happy”). A higher score corresponded to a more positive mood state.Using their methodology, the researchers were able to uncover the patterns of brain signals that matched the self-reported moods. They then used this knowledge to build a decoder that would independently recognize the patterns of signals corresponding to a certain mood. Once the decoder was built, it measured the brain signals alone to predict mood variations in each patient over multiple days.Related StoriesDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustStudy provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with agingPosterior parietal cortex plays crucial role in making decisions, research showsA Potential Solution for Untreatable Neuropsychiatric Conditions?The USC/UCSF team believe their findings could support the development of new closed-loop brain stimulation therapies for mood and anxiety disorders.Data from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that 16.2 million adults in the United States (approximately 6.7 % of all U.S. adults) have suffered at least one major depressive episode. Treatments such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can be effective in some but not all patients.According to the National Institutes of Health-funded STAR*D trial–the longest study to evaluate depression treatments–almost 33% of major depression patients do not respond to treatment (more than 5.3M people in the U.S. alone). Also, in June 2018, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that suicide is on the rise in the U.S.For the millions of treatment-resistant patients, alternative therapies may be effective. For example, human imaging studies using positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have suggested that several brain regions mediate depression, and thus brain stimulation therapies in which a mood-relevant region is electrically stimulated may be applied to alleviate depressive symptoms. While open-loop brain stimulation treatments hold some promise, a more precise, effective therapy could necessitate a closed-loop approach in which an objective tracking of mood over time guides how stimulation is delivered.According to Shanechi, for clinical practitioners, a powerful decoding tool would provide the means to clearly delineate, in real time, the network of brain regions that support emotional behavior.”Our goal is to create a technology that helps clinicians obtain a more accurate map of what is happening in a depressed brain at a particular moment in time and a way to understand what the brain signal is telling us about mood. This will allow us to obtain a more objective assessment of mood over time to guide the course of treatment for a given patient,” Shanechi said. “For example, if we know the mood at a given time, we can use it to decide whether or how electrical stimulation should be delivered to the brain at that moment to regulate unhealthy, debilitating extremes of emotion. This technology opens the possibility of new personalized therapies for neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety for millions who are not responsive to traditional treatments.”The new decoding technology, Shanechi explained, could also be extended to develop closed-loop systems for other neuropsychiatric conditions such as chronic pain, addiction, or post-traumatic stress disorder whose neural correlates are again not anatomically localized, but rather span a distributed network of brain regions, and whose behavioral assessment is difficult and thus not frequently available. Source:https://www.usc.edu/last_img read more

Hunting tied to bear infanticide

first_imgHunting has an obvious—and direct—effect on the population of the targeted species. But scientists are increasingly interested in hunting’s indirect effects. For instance, hunted mule deer are known to move into less desirable habitats, and their poorer diet can affect their ability to successfully reproduce. Now, a team of scientists studying Scandinavian brown bears (Ursus arctos) reveals that hunting disrupts the bears’ society, leading to more deaths. Over a 21-year period, from 1990 to 2011, a team of scientists tracked 180 female bears and their cubs in a 13,000-square-kilometer area of boreal forest in south-central Sweden. Hunting here is the primary cause of mortality for bears that are 1 year old or older. During the bear hunting season, which begins in late August and runs through mid-October, people are allowed to kill any solitary bear they encounter, male or female. Only females with cubs are not targeted. But this does not mean that the cubs will survive, the scientists report online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. That’s because male Scandinavian brown bears are territorial and infanticidal. When a resident male that fathered cubs is killed, he is usually replaced by an unrelated male. If he can, the new male will kill these youngsters so that the females in his area become sexually receptive. Nearly 81% of all cub mortality occurred during the mating season of the study period, the scientists say, and “most, if not all” of these deaths were due to infanticide. These indirect effects should be considered when wildlife managers are establishing hunting quotas and policies, the scientists say.last_img read more

Electric fields deliver drugs into tumors

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email DeSimone was familiar with a different approach for delivering chemo drugs locally into tumors that involves putting them in biodegradable polymers that slowly decay after being implanted next to a tumor, releasing a steady supply of the drug. But that approach hasn’t worked well with pancreatic cancer. Like some other tumors, pancreatic tumors build up a high internal fluid pressure, which pushes against medicines trying to diffuse in and prevents them from concentrating deep within the cancerous tissue.In the last few years, other research groups had shown that it was possible to use small electric fields to drive medicines into the eye and bladder. DeSimone and his colleagues wanted to see if they could use the same strategy to drive chemotherapeutic drugs into solid tumors. To do so, they built a setup with a small reservoir designed to hold a liquid chemotherapy drug. This reservoir also contained one of two electrodes that create the electric field needed to drive the drug into nearby tumor tissue. In one setup, which was designed to deliver chemotherapy drugs to tumors deep within the body, the researchers implanted the reservoir and its electrode on one side of a tumor, while they implanted the counterelectrode on the tumor’s opposite side. In the other setup, which was designed to treat tumors just under the skin, the reservoir containing one electrode was placed on the skin just above the tumor in mice, while the second electrode was placed on the skin on the opposite side of the animal’s body. So in the latter case, the electric field generated between the two electrodes pushed the drugs through the skin into the tumor below.DeSimone and colleagues tested their drug delivery method on mice with pancreatic or breast cancer. They also implanted their devices on the surface of the pancreas of dogs without tumors, in an effort to better gauge the flow of drugs into tissues of larger animals such as humans. In all the studies, the devices required low electric currents and voltages, below the pain register in the animals, to drive the drugs into the tumors. The approach works, DeSimone explains, because many liquid drug molecules are “polar,” which causes them to move in an electric field toward an electrode with an opposite charge from the nearby electrode where they start.The team got several promising results. In one experiment, the researchers started with mice that had been implanted with human pancreatic cancer tumors. One group of mice was then implanted with the electrode setup and administered an anticancer drug called gemcitabine twice a week for 7 weeks. Control animals received either saline through the same electrode setup or intravenous (IV) doses of saline or gemcitabine. The researchers report online today in Science Translational Medicine that the animals in the experimental group had far higher gemcitabine concentrations in their tumors compared with mice that received the IV drug. That caused the tumors to shrink dramatically in the experimental animals, whereas tumors in mice that received IV gemcitabine or saline continued to grow.In a separate set of experiments, DeSimone and his colleagues delivered the anticancer drug cisplatin through the skin of mice that had either of two different types of aggressive breast cancer implanted just below the skin. They found that the local delivery of the drug strongly inhibited tumor growth and doubled the survival time of the mice. In a final study on dogs, the researchers found that electric delivery of gemcitabine through the implanted device increased the concentration of the drug sevenfold within pancreatic tissue but reduced it 25-fold in the bloodstream, compared with animals that received the drug through IVs.Taken together, DeSimone argues that the new drug delivery strategy holds out hope for increasing the effectiveness of chemotherapy and reducing its side effects. That would be particularly welcome, he says, when it comes to battling tumors, such as pancreatic cancer, that wrap themselves around other organs and major blood vessels, making them difficult to remove surgically. Even if the treatment doesn’t make tumors disappear completely, it could shrink them enough to make more people candidates for surgery, he says.But just how these devices might work in people isn’t yet clear. In the current studies, tiny tubes connected to the implanted devices continually replenish chemo drugs pumped into the animals. Whether that setup would work best in people, or whether larger reservoirs of the drugs could be implanted, remains to be seen. (Video credit: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)center_img Chemotherapy has been a mainstay of cancer treatment for decades. But most of these drugs are toxic to healthy cells, and others have a hard time penetrating tumors. Now researchers report that they’ve come up with a potential solution for both problems. They used electric fields to drive chemo compounds specifically into difficult-to-treat tumors in animals, dramatically increasing the drugs’ concentration within the tumor and shrinking it.Like all potential cancer treatments from animal studies, the approach has a long way to go before it reaches patients. However, the strategy is encouraging, says Robert Langer, a chemical engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and an expert in drug delivery, who wasn’t involved with the work. “The initial data look quite promising.”Joseph DeSimone, a chemist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who headed up the new study, says he became interested in working on hard-to-treat tumors after years of developing novel approaches to deliver drugs orally. He also recently lost a close colleague to pancreatic cancer, who like other patients with the disease was ravaged by the side effects of chemo. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more

This lilys cousin is an ear of corn Now scientists know how

first_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe “In virtually every one of the [monocot] families, you can point to beautiful and economically and ecologically important members,” says Elizabeth Kellogg, a plant biologist at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis who was not involved with the work.Knowing how important an accurate family tree was—especially for crop breeding and basic research—Thomas Givnish, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, pulled together about 19 fellow biologists to draw up the most definitive version to date. They sequenced the DNA in the chloroplasts of 545 monocots and of 22 other plants. Based on similarities in the plants’ DNA, the team worked out family connections and estimated the age of each branch. “We have very strong support for most of the relationships,” Givnish says. Among their discoveries: Bananas branch off closer to gingers and heliconia (flowering plants known as “lobster claws”) than previously thought.“What is really new is the amount of data that they have thrown at the whole problem,” Stevens says. Many of the relationships—including the banana-ginger one—had been suggested before.Most striking is what’s at the base of the tree, Givnish says. The nonmonocots most closely related to that base indicate the first monocots were aquatic plants, Givnish’s team reported last month in the American Journal of Botany. Botanists in the 1800s were the first to suggest this idea, and several researchers also explored this origin in the 1990s, but none had the genetic data that now back it up, he says. Not just seeds, but monocot leaves and roots are different from those of other flowering plants, and the aquatic origin may explain why.For example, monocot leaves tend to have parallel veins running the long way up the leaves, whereas other flowering plant leaves have branching veins. The branching veins keep the paper-thin leaves stiff; otherwise gravity would make them flop over. But leaves in monocots’ aquatic ancestors presumably floated and thus could do with a less extensive—and expensive—support system. Also, leaves in most flowering plants attach to the stem through a base called a petiole. But leaf bases in monocots tend to clasp the stem with an array of “fingers,” which makes sense if swirling water tossed the leaves every which way, Givnish says. Monocot roots also show little branching, like aquatic plant roots. And most monocots are herbaceous, not woody; if their watery ancestors put on wood layers every year like most trees, the new growth would have interfered with air tubes reaching from leaves to the plants’ underwater parts.As comprehensive as this new family tree is, it needs refining, Kellogg says, so that more than just monocots’ larger groups are in their proper places. To do that, Stevens says the team would need to compare DNA, not from the chloroplasts, but from the much larger amount of DNA stored in cells’ nuclei. This work is already under way, says Givnish, whose team has analyzed 500 genes from nuclear DNA from a wide array of species. The team’s new findings “largely support the same patterns of relationships,” and should be published in a few months. This lily’s cousin is an ear of corn. Now, scientists know how they—and many other plants—are related As different as they may seem, corn and daylilies have a lot in common. So do towering palm trees and diminutive lady’s slipper orchids. Thanks to a common ancestor 137 million years ago, the roots, seeds, and sometimes leaves of these flowering plants—known as monocots—look alike. Now, a new genetic study reveals why: Even though all of these plants are landlubbers today, their ancestor lived in water.The work is convincing, says Peter Stevens, a systematist at the University of Missouri in St. Louis who was not involved with the study. “It allows you think about the origin of monocot features.”Scientists have long had trouble placing monocots, whose seeds contain just one embryonic leaf, on the plant family tree. (Most flowering plants are eudicots, which have two such leaves in their seeds.) That tree is key to understanding the evolutionary relationships of the world’s 85,000 monocots, which include staple crops like corn and rice, the grasses eaten by cows, palm trees, and some of the world’s prettiest flowers, such as orchids and lilies. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Emailcenter_img This lily leek (Allium moly) is one of 85,000 monocots that now have a better-defined family history. By Elizabeth PennisiNov. 5, 2018 , 12:50 PM Chelsea Specht Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more

Report that NIH will cancel fetal tissue research contract fuels controversy

first_img Texas A&M University System/Wikimedia Commons Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Meredith WadmanDec. 5, 2018 , 6:00 PM The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is disputing a news report that it has decided to end a multimillion-dollar contract that funds the use of human fetal tissue for HIV drug testing. The dueling versions of the contract’s status come amid HHS’s review of all U.S.-funded research using human fetal tissue from elective abortions—a review being led by Admiral Brett Giroir, HHS’s assistant secretary for health, who described the administration in a recent letter to Representative Mark Meadows (R–NC) as “pro-life, pro-science.” HHS launched the review in September, on the heels of pressure from antiabortion groups; 3 weeks ago, Giroir and other senior HHS officials met with research advocates in a “listening session” that is part of the review. NIH estimates it provided $103 million for research using human fetal tissue in 2018. HHS in September began to audit all department contracts that involve human fetal tissue. It has already canceled a $15,900 Food and Drug Administration contract that also used fetal tissue to develop humanized mice.The contract between UCSF and NIH’s National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is extendable, year by year, through 2020. (The most recent year of the contract expired late in November, and the 1-year renewal was required by today, according to NIH’s RePORTER database.) Under it, researchers use immune tissues from electively aborted fetuses that would otherwise have been discarded to create mice with humanlike immune systems that are used to evaluate potential HIV drugs. (Such mice are also used to study other dangerous infectious diseases, like Ebola and Marburg.) *Update, 6 December, 11:45 a.m.: Responding to a Freedom of Information Act request from ScienceInsider, NIH has released its 3 December letter to UCSF indicating that a contract involving humanized mice might be terminated. Here is our original story from 5 December:The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in Washington, D.C., is vigorously contesting a report, published by The Washington Post, that it has decided to cancel a $2-million-a-year contract that funds work using human fetal tissue to develop mice with humanlike immune systems for testing drugs against HIV.HHS officials insist they have made no decision on the contract, and say they are still in the process of completing a previously announced review of all federally funded research that uses human fetal tissue derived from elective abortions. But the report comes as antiabortion groups have stepped up their long-standing efforts to end federal funding for research using human fetal tissue, which is legal under a 1993 law. And the battle over the contract is being followed closely by other researchers who rely on fetal tissue in their work. The University of California conducts research using fetal tissue that is vital to finding treatments and cures for a wide variety of adult and childhood diseases and medical conditions. This research is conducted in full compliance with federal and state law, as well as ethical standards, and is in keeping with the university’s education, research and public service missions. 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 [T]he Washington Post chose to publish a story based on anonymous sources providing inaccurate information by telephone with no traceable records despite the fact that HHS provided multiple, on-the-record assurances … that the claims by the anonymous source were incorrect. … No contracting official would have had the authority to impart any communication to UCSF that the contract was being cancelled because no decision has been made. In the online story posted yesterday, the Post reported that an official at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), part of HHS, had told researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), that the agency would be canceling a 7-year contract awarded in 2013 that funds the humanized mouse work, and that “the decision was coming from the ‘highest levels,’ according to a virologist familiar with the events.” The Post story appeared 2 days after a columnist for CNS News, a politically conservative outlet, published a news story pointedly probing NIH’s plans for the UCSF contract, and the same day, The Hill newspaper ran an opinion piece by Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life in Washington, D.C., demanding that the contract be canceled.Today, Caitlin Oakley, an HHS spokesperson, issued a statement challenging the Post’s reporting. It reads in part: Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Admiral Brett Giroir, U.S. assistant secretary for health, is heading a government review of human fetal tissue research. Tim Evanson/Flickr (CC BY-SA) Report that NIH will cancel fetal tissue research contract fuels controversy If the contract is killed, “we are all going to lose the kind of research that is important to fight an epidemic that we still can’t cure and still can’t vaccinate against,” says Irving Weissman, an immunologist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, who has long used such mice for HIV studies.But opponents of fetal tissue use say the scrutiny is welcome. “Irv Weissman says there is no alternative,” says David Prentice, research director at the Charlotte Lozier Institute in Arlington, Virginia, which opposes human fetal tissue research. “But there is at least one publication that shows neonatal thymus produces a better humanized mouse.” He pointed to this paper in Stem Cell Reports, in which humanized mice were developed using thymuses obtained from newborn babies who had undergone surgery to repair congenital heart defects.(After reviewing the paper, Weissman argued the technique it describes would require additional invasive procedures to withdraw bone marrow from the infant donors, in order to replicate the method used now to create humanized mice using fetal tissue. He added that the method has not been reproduced in other labs, nor is it known whether the mice are susceptible to HIV infection. “It is unwise to ban a system that works in favor of an unproven system,” he wrote in an email.)Yesterday, the Post reported that 5 days after UCSF had been told verbally that the contract would be canceled, the university received this letter from NIAID, notifying UCSF that the contract would be extended for 90 days, through 5 March, not the usual 1 year. The letter, dated Monday, 3 December, instructs the UCSF researchers to “finish ongoing studies.” But it adds: “Do not obtain or [implant] new fetal tissue” in mice; “do not produce” new mice; and “do not start new experiments in the mice,” unless otherwise instructed. It adds in black bolded letters that this “preliminary notice does not commit the Government to an extension” of the contract after 5 March.The principal investigator on the contract did not respond to an email requesting comment. Instead, the office of Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California system, of which UCSF is a part, issued a statement that did not address the contract directly. It reads in part: The biomedical community is watching the fate of the UCSF process closely, and with some angst. One investigator at an institution with substantial NIH funding for fetal tissue research said his group has not had any communication from HHS or NIH indicating that the funding is in peril. But he is worried nonetheless. “Fetal tissue really is a powerful tool,” said the researcher, who asked to remain anonymous because he did not want to draw attention to the fact that his group uses fetal tissue. “A lot of basic research on diseases would be left reeling” if funding is cut off, he said, naming HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, and cancer research among those that would be affected.Alta Charo, a bioethicist and lawyer at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, says the HHS review, including the imperiling of the UCSF contract, “continues to set a tone in which political symbolism trumps real public health needs. Because there is absolutely no evidence that any woman has ever decided to abort because of this research.”Weissman adds that he is concerned by an invitation he recently received from NIAID to participate in an 18 December workshop exploring alternatives to the use of fetal tissue to generate humanized mice.“Why are we having this discussion?” Weissman asked. “The force behind this discussion is coming not from scientists working in the field and trying to understand and treat these diseases. It’s a political force apparently coming from above the NIH level.”With reporting by Jocelyn Kaiser.*Update, 6 December, 4:35 p.m.: This article has been updated to include comments from Irving Weissman on the Stem Cell Reports paper and quotations from the 3 December letter.last_img read more

Meet the blue crew scientists trying to give food flowers and more

first_img The accidental hue By Kai KupferschmidtMay. 2, 2019 , 2:00 PM Tanaka is trying genetic engineering instead. By 1991, he and his colleagues had identified and patented the flavonoid 3′,5′-hydroxylase gene in petunias. Transferring that gene into carnations coaxed them into producing delphinidin, turning them a purplish blue. But when the team shuttled the gene into roses, using the bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens as a courier, they didn’t start to produce the blue pigment for some reason. It was the same gene from pansies that finally led to the delphinidinmaking—but not very blue—rose unveiled in 2004. Apparently, producing delphinidin alone wasn’t enough. Scientists had to do some crazy chemistry themselves.Since then, Tanaka’s main strategy has been to transfer genes from bellflowers, pansies, and other blue flowers to “decorate” delphinidin chemically, hoping to hit a magic combination. Last year, he showed a visitor hundreds of tiny rose plants growing under fluorescent lights in his lab. “All of them are just to get a new blue color,” he said.In the meantime, however, a collaboration between Tanaka and a group led by Naonobu Noda at the Institute of Vegetable and Floriculture Science in Tsukuba, Japan, has led to an indisputably blue flower: a blue chrysanthemum. In a 2017 Science Advances paper, the researchers reported that inserting the flavonoid 3′,5′-hydroxylase gene from bellflowers into red chrysanthemums, along with a gene that adds a glucose molecule, resulted in “the most blueshifted flowers” ever genetically engineered. Their idea was that the glucose would allow the flower’s natural enzymes to attach further chemical groups to delphinidin, creating a stronger blue. To their surprise, added groups weren’t necessary; instead, the glucose helped delphinidin assemble with copigments naturally produced in the flower, shifting the color to blue.Using the exact same strategy has not worked in roses, probably because they don’t have the same copigments and have a lower pH. But Tanaka has not given up. He has tried to add genes from gentian that modify the delphinidin and genes from the genus Torenia that produce copigments. In a nod to Willstätter, he is even trying to change the pH in the rose petals.Tanaka is confident he will develop bluer roses before his retirement, only 5 years away, but almost 30 years of pursuing his quest have also taught him to be cautious: “It is hard to say how blue they will be.” The impossible flower The deepest blue “There is something about … blue that just fascinates people,” says Mas Subramanian, discoverer of YInMn blue. IAN ALLEN A small piece of ringwoodite produced in David Dobson’s lab. Dobson hopes to produce a new blue pigment that has a similar structure but is more stable. ART MEDIA/PRINT COLLECTOR/GETTY IMAGES; CHARLESJSHARP/CC-BY-SA-4.0; JAN VERMEER/MAURITSHUIS/THE HAGUE/BRIDGEMAN IMAGES; © BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD/GRANGER/TWO PENCE POST OFFICE MAURITIUS With natural blues scarce, people have tried to make their own. Ancient Egyptians mixed sand, plant ash, and copper to create Egyptian blue, the first synthetic pigment, about 5000 years ago. In the 19th century, chemists raced to create a synthetic ultramarine, and BASF spent an unprecedented 18 million gold marks, more than the company was worth at the time, to synthesize indigo, a deep blue dye from plants. These blues became some of the most sought after products of the booming chemical industry.Yet blue pigments are still rare. Most blues in nature don’t come from pigments that humans can co-opt. Animals such as the morpho butterfly and the blue jay appear blue not because of a pigment, but because their feathers or scales contain nanostructures that reflect light in a way that cancels out all but the blue wavelengths.To appear blue, a dye or a pigment needs to absorb red light, which usually happens when red photons boost electrons in the pigment molecule from one energy level to the next. Because red light has the lowest energy of any visible light, those two energy levels need to be very close together—and such closely spaced energy rungs are found only in complicated molecules that are hard for organisms to make.Plants have evolved many classes of pigments: Chlorophylls color leaves green; carotenoids come in orange (carrots), red (tomatoes), and yellow (maize); and betalains produce the red color of beetroot. But only one class of pigments is capable of producing blue: the anthocyanins. (The word literally means “blue flower.”) And even most anthocyanins are not blue but red, because they naturally absorb blue light; only if the plant tacks on chemical groups can the molecule shift toward absorbing red.In minerals, too, blue is a special case. Subramanian discovered that YInMn’s color is created by a manganese ion surrounded by five oxygen atoms in a structure resembling two three-sided pyramids glued together at the bottom, a geometry rarely seen in natural minerals.Designing materials from scratch to produce blue is difficult even today, Subramanian says. “So much chemistry has to come together,” he says. Subtle changes in the arrangement of neighboring atoms can throw off the energy levels of an atom’s electrons, altering the color it can absorb. The red of rubies and the green of emeralds both spring from chromium ions surrounded by six oxygen atoms; other atoms in the two stones cause the color difference by altering the chromium’s energy levels. Such effects are very hard to predict, Subramanian says: “If rubies and emeralds did not exist in nature, no one would know how to create them.”But scientists have not given up hunting for new blues, continuing an age-old quest with 21st century tools. Although Subramanian’s discovery came about by accident, other researchers are methodically using physics, chemistry, and genetics to find or create new blues for painters to dazzle with, edible colorants that make food more interesting, and blue flowers that, so far, only exist in artists’ imaginations. The deepest blue Four scientists’ quest for blue ▾ ALAN HOUGHTON AND ANDREW DAVIS/JOHN INNES CENTRE Blue roses are the stuff of poems. Scientists are trying to make them realityKYOTO, JAPAN—In 2004, Japanese researchers unveiled what they billed as the world’s first blue rose. The only problem with the flower: It wasn’t very blue.Although its petals did produce a blue pigment, the overall appearance of the flower was more mauve. Even Yoshikazu Tanaka, the scientist behind the work, admits that his first thought on seeing the flower was: “could be bluer.”Fifteen years later, he is still trying to make that bluer rose. Tanaka works at the global research center of Japanese beverage giant Suntory, which grew out of Japan’s first whisky distillery, opened in 1923. (The brand was made famous by the movie Lost in Translation, in which an aging actor played by Bill Murray shoots a whisky commercial in Tokyo.) The company decided to branch out into the cut-flower market in the 1980s after a tax hike made Japanese liquor more expensive. Company legend has it that the idea was to paint the English rose the Scottish national color, blue, as a kind of thank you for the invention of whisky, Tanaka says.More likely, it just seemed a good business idea. After all, blue flowers are rare, including among cut flowers. Chrysanthemums, carnations, tulips—none of them naturally comes in blue. Blue orchids have usually been artificially dyed. Decades of breeding have yielded roses in every shade of yellow, pink, and red, but never blue ones. TORIN BOYD DAVID DOBSON Because consumers prefer natural ingredients, big companies such as Mars and Pepsi have invested in replacements for the synthetic colorants, with little success so far. “One of the big frustrations with the color blue is that it is very, very difficult to reproduce the colors that you see in nature with compounds that can be used in the same way for coloring food,” Martin says.The only natural blue colorant is a crude extract derived from spirulina algae that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved for use in confectionery and other food in 2014. But it is not very stable, Martin says—or very blue, for that matter. “It’s a terrible blue,” she says. “It’s green really.” And the color may change or disappear when foods are baked or boiled or exposed to light on grocery shelves.Van Breemen has looked for better candidates in the microbial world. Reasoning that he was more likely to find stable blues in extreme conditions, he studied microbes from the hot springs at Yellowstone National Park, for instance; he also searched in marine bacteria. But none of the blue pigments he found was suitable. Many are chemical weapons, which the microbes release to fight other microbes, he says—making them more promising as antibiotics than as food colorants.Plants may be a better bet, and they offer many compounds to choose from. Although most blue flowers create pigments based on delphinidin, they vary the molecule by adding different chemical groups, and many of the intermediates in the chemical pathway leading to delphinidin are blue as well. Martin is hoping she’ll find a safe, stable food dye in the butterfly pea, whose beautiful blue flowers give the Malay rice dish nasi kerabu its blue color. (The flower’s color, however, was not what most struck the men who gave the genus its Latin name, Clitoria.)Martin initially bought Clitoria blossoms online, from Amazon, but stocks soon ran out; more recently, she received three bulging bags of blossoms from Saudi Arabia, where a scientist who had visited her lab asked people to collect them in the wild. A mix of butterfly pea anthocyanins has worked well for some food applications, Martin says. Researchers in her lab have used it to make bluish frosting for cupcakes and doughnuts as well as blue ice cream.But these pigments, too, are fleeting. “Most blue anthocyanins have a half-life of about 24 hours. And we’re talking about something that needs at least about 3 months,” Martin says. So her quest continues. Doughnuts to dye for Meet the blue crew, scientists trying to give food, flowers, and more a color rarely found in nature Having seen the success of YInMn, Dobson decided to turn his deep-Earth blue into a new pigment. He expects it will find a market, if only because not everybody sees YInMn as the perfect blue. The element indium, one of its ingredients, makes it expensive; a 40-milliliter tube of the acrylic paint that made a splash at the Slade School, produced by a company named Derivan, sells for $130 or more. And it “was actually a bit soupy,” says Jo Volley, a lecturer at the Slade School.First, Dobson had to understand where ringwoodite’s color comes from. “Everyone was used to it being blue, and no one had really considered that much why,” he says. He found that the color arises not from an energy transition within one atom, but from the exchange of an electron between two types of iron ions, Fe2+ and Fe3+. (The same mechanism accounts for the color of Prussian blue, a pigment discovered by chance in 1706 when Berlin alchemists used contaminated potash in a recipe for a red pigment.) Ringwoodite’s structure, with the iron ions surrounded by four oxygen atoms in a tetrahedral coordination, creates the right conditions for the electron swap to absorb red light. But that arrangement is stable only at the huge pressure in Earth’s interior. At the surface, even simply grinding the mineral destroys the structure—and the color.Dobson tried to create a similar structure that is stable at a pressure of 1 atmosphere by starting with zinc germanate, a mineral that also has metal ions—in this case zinc and germanium—surrounded by oxygen atoms. If enough iron replaces the zinc and germanium, the structure turns blue, Dobson says. He has already produced a sample of re-engineered zinc germanate in his lab, and it is blue—but he hopes to make the color richer by adding more iron.Three centuries ago, Dutch painter Pieter van der Werff used newly discovered Prussian blue to color the sky and Mary’s veil in a painting depicting the entombment of Christ. Subramanian’s wife Rajeevi—a solid state chemist as well as an artist—was the first to use YInMn; it proved perfect for a painting of Crater Lake, not far from the couple’s home, which is famous for its deep blue water.Dobson hopes to develop a pigment that is similarly appealing. As the first blue pigment to be designed from scratch, rather than accidentally discovered or borrowed from nature, it would open a new chapter in humanity’s love affair with blue. A bluish doughnut frosting developed in Cathie Martin’s lab contains a mix of anthocyanins found in butterfly pea flowers. In 2017, Japanese scientists announced the creation of blue chrysanthemums. Scientists are looking for a natural pigment to turn food blueNORWICH, U.K.—At first, Cathie Martin was interested in the nutritional value of food pigments. Then, she became obsessed with blue food for its own sake.A decade ago, Martin, a scientist at the John Innes Centre here, genetically engineered tomatoes to produce anthocyanins in their fruits, so that other scientists could compare their dietary effects in humans with those of regular tomatoes. But the pigments also turned the vegetable a dark, purplish blue. And Martin began to wonder how to make other food blue.Few foods are naturally blue, but the color has long been in demand as a food colorant. Synthetic ultramarine was once used to whiten cane sugar, which has a yellowish tinge. Blue food dyes are used to color candy, coatings, or drinks. They are also mixed with other colors. “We must have blue to make all the colors of the spectrum,” says Richard van Breemen, a chemist who investigates natural products at Oregon State University in Corvallis.Currently, there’s not a lot to choose from. Two synthetic blue food dyes are approved in the United States: Brilliant blue, also named blue No. 1, was originally made from coal tar, like many synthetic dyes, and blue No. 2, or indigo karmine, is derived from synthetic indigo. Another synthetic blue colorant is available in the European Union: patent blue V, which gives blue curaçao liqueur its hue. Yoshikazu Tanaka with the “blue” roses developed in his lab. His search for a bluer version continues. Throughout history, making a blue pigment has taken hard work—or a stroke of luckCORVALLIS, OREGON—Mas Subramanian’s most celebrated discovery came out of the blue.As a solid state chemist at the chemical giant Dupont, Subramanian had put his name on hundreds of publications and dozens of patents. He identified a new superconductor and found a more environmentally friendly route to produce the chemical fluorobenzene. When he left the company to work at Oregon State University here in 2006, he set out to develop a multiferroic, a material with a combination of electronic and magnetic properties that could lead to faster computers.Following one of Subramanian’s ideas, graduate student Andrew Smith one day mixed indium oxide, manganese oxide, and yttrium oxide and heated the mixture in the oven. The resulting material, it turned out, didn’t have any special magnetic or electric properties. It was just very blue.Subramanian’s first thought was that Smith, who had recently switched from marine biology to chemistry, had made a mistake. His second thought was something that someone at Dupont had once told him: Blue is really hard to make.It’s so hard, in fact, that Subramanian’s new color became a phenomenon. The New York Times called within days after his paper on YInMn blue, as he dubbed it, appeared in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Shepherd Color Company in Cheltenham, Australia, licensed the new pigment, which art historian Simon Schama has called “the bluest blue to date,” and marketed it as a paint for artists. The new hue has inspired a music festival, and chip company AMD is using it to dye the housing of a series of graphics processors. “There is something about the color blue that just fascinates people,” Subramanian says.Humans made pigments from red and yellow ochre and charcoal at least 100,000 years ago, but they didn’t have blue. The Babylonians and Egyptians used bits of lapis lazuli, a blue semiprecious stone, in statuary and art, but the laborious process needed to turn it into the pigment ultramarine was only discovered in the sixth century B.C.E. (Recent evidence from a burial site in Turkey suggests people also ground the blue mineral azurite down to a fine powder 9000 years ago, possibly for cosmetics.) *Correction, 13 June, 2 p.m.: An earlier version of this story misstated that indium is a rare earth element. The accidental hue The impossible flower Doughnuts to dye for NAONOBU NODA/NARO Artists have long noted this rarity. In German romanticism, the blue flower became a symbol of longing and the unattainable. Rudyard Kipling dedicated a poem to someone tasked by his lover to find her a blue rose: “Half the world I wandered through/Seeking where such flowers grew.”By the time he returns empty-handed, his love has died.Scientists got their first glimpse of the complexity behind blue flowers in 1913, when German researcher Richard Willstätter announced he had isolated the blue pigment from cornflowers. It was an anthocyanin he named cyanidin. Two years later, when he isolated the pigment of red roses, it turned out to be the exact same molecule. Anthocyanins can change color depending on the acidity of a solution, so Willstätter proposed that roses had a different hue because the pH in their petals was lower than in cornflowers.It was the first scientific theory about blue flowers. And it was wrong. Over the following decades, a different story emerged, one that was finally confirmed by x-ray crystallography in 2005. Cyanidin itself does not produce a stable blue color; instead, cornflowers combine six molecules of cyanidin with six molecules of a colorless copigment arranged around two metal ions—a huge molecular complex that stabilizes the cyanidin molecules and allows one electron to make the right energy transition. “Flowers are doing crazy chemistry to generate that blue,” says Beverley Glover, a botanist at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.Several other blue flowers have hit on the same trick, but most produce a different anthocyanin, called delphinidin, that can more easily be coaxed to appear blue. The only difference between cyanidin and delphinidin is that the latter has an extra oxygen atom on one of its rings, put there by an enzyme called flavonoid 3′,5′-hydroxylase. The entire family of roses, which includes apples and pears, lacks the enzyme, which means that delphinidin-producing roses can’t be produced through traditional breeding. A mineral created under immense pressure inspired the search for a new pigmentLONDON—Geologist David Dobson of University College London (UCL) never realized that blue pigments are a big deal until he saw the excitement that a sample of the world’s newest blue, Mas Subramanian’s YInMn, created among colleagues at UCL’s Slade School of Fine Art. “I thought: Hang on a minute,” Dobson says. “I’m making blue all the time in my lab.”Dobson studies the transition zone, the part of Earth’s mantle that stretches from about 410 to 660 kilometers beneath our feet. In his lab, he squeezes mineral samples in a machine called a multianvil cell to replicate the gigantic pressure at those depths—about 200,000 times that at Earth’s surface. Under those circumstances, the four elements that make up olivine, the most common mineral in the mantle—iron, magnesium, silicon, and oxygen—form a different mineral called ringwoodite, whose physical and chemical properties Dobson is studying. The millimeter-size crumbs of ringwoodite also happen to be a deep blue.last_img read more

House panel clarifies how universities would report sexual harassment cases to US

first_img House panel clarifies how universities would report sexual harassment cases to U.S. funders The chairwoman and top Republican, respectively, on the House of Representatives science committee, representatives Eddie Bernice Johnson (D–TX, right) and Frank Lucas (R–OK, left), teamed up on H.R. 36. E. Petersen/Science Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country By Jeffrey MervisJun. 21, 2019 , 1:30 PMcenter_img New rules from the National Science Foundation (NSF) on reporting sexual harassment by someone with an NSF grant raise questions about due process, university administrators say. Yesterday, a key congressional panel took those concerns to heart by modifying language in a bill that would require the administration to write guidelines applying to half a dozen major federal research agencies.The antiharassment legislation (H.R. 36), was approved unanimously by the science committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. The vote wasn’t a surprise, given that its lead sponsors are the chairwoman and ranking member, respectively, of the science committee, representatives Eddie Bernice Johnson (D–TX) and Frank Lucas (R–OK).“Too many women have been driven out of STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math] careers due to a culture of harassment and abuse,” Lucas said in his opening statement. “H.R. 36 takes the first steps to addressing that problem.” Johnson said she hopes the bill would promote “meaningful and lasting culture change” on an issue “that has not been addressed in a comprehensive fashion.” 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 (*) The bipartisan support represents a landmark step for such legislation. Last year, the Republican-led House ignored a nearly identical version of the bill sponsored only by Democrats, and it died when that Congress adjourned. The Republican-led Senate is likewise expected to bury a similar bill (S. 1067) introduced in April by Senator Kamala Harris (D–CA) and eight Democratic colleagues.Uniform guidelinesThe bill has three components. One would authorize NSF to spend $17.5 million on research to understand the causes and consequences of sexual and gender harassment and how to reduce their prevalence. The bill also directs the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to update its guide to ethical conduct for scientists.The bill’s most direct attack on sexual harassment may be its mandate that the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) first “develop a uniform set of policy guidelines,” then “encourage” agencies to follow them and monitor their progress. Its initial description of what those guidelines should look like tracked NSF’s new policies. And that similarity is what has given university officials heartburn.NSF’s new rules are designed to give the agency a heads-up after one of its grantees has been accused of sexual harassment. They specify two types of notification by institutions: when a researcher is found guilty of sexual or gender harassment, and when the university takes any steps in response to an allegation of harassment involving a researcher.Those steps, called administrative action, can be as mild as notifying the scientist that a complaint has been filed or as drastic as banning them from campus. University administrators say the lack of a consistent definition of administrative action means they must at times tell the federal government more than what they feel is appropriate.Higher education lobbyists offered this scenario to illustrate the problem. “Say a student files a harassment complaint against her adviser, and the university declares a brief cooling-off period while it tries to figure out what’s going on,” the lobbyist explained. “The faculty member is moved to an office on a different floor to make sure that he is not in contact with the person who filed the complaint.”“A few days later the complaint is dropped. But we’ve already notified NSF,” the lobbyist added, “and there’s no mechanism to update the agency. And under [the original version of H.R. 36], that information is now in the system and their identity would need to be shared with other federal agencies.”Defining the triggerYesterday, the committee tried to correct that ambiguity by amending the legislation. “My amendment makes an important clarification to address concerns expressed by some universities,” Lucas explained in offering the change. “It makes clear that the trigger for that reporting is an administrative action that affects the ability of the grant personnel to carry out the activities of the grant. I believe this is an appropriate trigger and that the new language helps provide clarity to universities about [how to carry out] their new responsibilities.”The panel voted unanimously to accept the change after Johnson voiced her support. “We think it’s a good compromise,” says one higher education lobbyist. The NSF language [on administrative actions] is so broad, and this narrows it.”The committee also adopted an amendment requiring that any new federal guidelines on sexual harassment conform to a 1974 law that protects the privacy of student records. The intent is to prevent universities from disclosing the identities of victims and those filing complaints.A third amendment urges OSTP to address “barriers to reentry into the workforce” in its guidelines. That language speaks to the all-too-common situation in which the victim drops out of science even if their harassment claim is upheld and the perpetrator is punished.H.R. 36 is expected to have smooth sailing if it gets to the House floor. But whether the Senate will find the time to take up the measure is anybody’s guess.last_img read more

Male gorillas who babysit have five times more babies

first_imgIt turns out the way to a mom’s heart is through her offspring, according to the new analysis, published today in Nature Scientific Reports. Genetic paternity data for 23 adult males and 109 infants, along with 10 to 38 hours of observations for each male gorilla, suggest the more time these “babysitters” spend with infants, the more reproductive success they will have. The findings could even have implications for the evolution of paternal care in humans, given that we are the only other ape species whose males are willing to help out with the kids. 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 When it comes to gorillas, the males who help females out with their infants get benefits. The benefits? More babies. A new study of male gorillas in the wild in Rwanda has found that those who spend the most time grooming infants and resting with them—others’ offspring as well as their own—have about five times more offspring than males who don’t help out with the little ones.This is surprising, scientists say, because male caretaking isn’t usually considered a smart reproductive strategy in primate species where access to females is intensely competitive. Instead, researchers thought the most successful strategy for males would be to put more time and energy into outcompeting other males for a mate, as chimps do.That strategy still works for many male gorillas, who dominate small harems of females. But in 40% of the groups of mountain gorillas studied at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s Karisoke Research Center in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda there is more than one male in a group, sometimes as many as nine. And those males need to be resourceful to get a female’s attention. Male gorillas who babysit have five times more babies By Ann GibbonsOct. 15, 2018 , 5:00 AMcenter_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more

Outrage as University Strips Name of Lillian Gish from Campus Theater

first_imgThe “First Lady of American Cinema” Lillian Gish has had her name removed from a university theater and it’s not sitting well with many movie buffs. More than 50 film industry leaders ranging from Martin Scorsese to Helen Mirren to James Earl Jones are protesting the decision of Ohio’s Bowling Green State University to remove the name of actress Lillian Gish from a campus theater because she appeared in the 1915 film The Birth of a Nation. The letter accuses the university of making “a scapegoat in a broader political debate.” Lillian Gish is considered a pioneer of film acting. Her career spanned 75 years, beginning in 1912 in silent film shorts. The Whales of August in 1987 was her last film. She was called the First Lady of American Cinema, and for more than 40 years, the theater at Bowling Green has honored Ohio-born actresses Dorothy and Lillian Gish with its name.Lillian Gish in 1917That changed after students said they were upset that Lillian Gish appeared in The Birth of a Nation in 1915,  a D.W. Griffith 3-hour silent movie that includes the Ku Klux Klan in what many claim to be a positive light.Doroth and Lillian Gish (right) with D.W. Griffiths in 1922In February, Bowling Green State University President Rodney Rogers released a statement on the building name hours before welcoming Black Lives Matter movement co-founder Opal Tometi, the leading key speaker for the university’s third annual “Beyond The Dream” series celebrating diversity and inclusion, according to the Toledo Blade. In his statement, Rogers said the administration was approached by Black Student Union leaders regarding “the propriety of the naming” of the theater.Posters for The Birth of a Nation (1915)A subsequent task force released a report finding the Gish name and associated Birth of a Nation displays “contribute to an intimidating, even hostile, educational environment.” Now prominent film artists, historians, actors and directors  are petitioning Bowling Green State to restore the theater’s name.The petition, created by The Whales of August producer Mike Kaplan, calls the removal of the Gish sisters’ names “unfortunate and unjust,” according to a story in USA Today. Dorothy Gish, Lillian’s sister and the theater’s other namesake, was an actor as well, but did not act in The Birth of a Nation. The Gish sisters were born in Springfield, Ohio.Lillian Gish in 1922While the letter acknowledges the racism of The Birth of a Nation, Kaplan writes that “Lillian was no racist,” and notes that she went on to star in more inclusive films. The letter also argues that Lillian Gish’s contributions to film outweigh her starring role in the controversial film. However, the college had already made the point that while Gish was perhaps not a racist she still had to pay a price for her association with the film.Lillian Gish in 1983In its report, the college said that while the Gish sisters “do not appear to have been advocates for racist or exclusionary practices or perspectives,” the content and historical impact of an actor’s work should be taken into account, said the Toledo Blade. “The task force also stated it could not find documentation that Lillian Gish ever denounced the themes of the film or distanced herself from the director or his views.”Rogers reportedly praised the careful consideration of the task force of students, faculty, and staff, chaired by College of Arts and Sciences Dean Ray Craig.Check out Lillian Gish in The Birth of a Nation here:The film industry leaders said, “For a university to dishonor her by singling out just one film, however offensive it is, is unfortunate and unjust. Doing so makes her a scapegoat in a broader political debate. A university should be a bastion of free speech. This is a supreme ‘teachable moment’ if it can be handled with a more nuanced sense of history,” the letter states in part.Among those signing the letter calling for the restoration of the Gish Theater name are James Earl Jones, Helen Mirren, Martin Scorsese, George Stevens Jr., Peter Bogdanovich, Joseph McBride, Malcolm McDowell, Lauren Hutton, Larry Jackson, and Joe Dante.Related Article: 33 images of the gorgeous Lillian Gish, the “First Lady of American Cinema”In response, Bowling Green State has said it will not reverse its decision to remove the theater’s name, and that its duty to the best interest of an inclusive environment “outweighs the University’s small part in honoring the Gish sisters’ legacy.”Nancy Bilyeau, a former staff editor at Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, and InStyle, has written a trilogy of historical thrillers for Touchstone Books. Her new book, The Blue, is a spy story set in the 18th-century porcelain world. For more information, go to www.nancybilyeau.comlast_img read more

Two Eurofighters crash over eastern Germany pilots eject

first_img Advertising Post Comment(s) By Reuters |Berlin | Published: June 24, 2019 7:20:57 pm India eyes ‘flawless’ Typhoon for 7 bn pounds : report Related News Two Eurofighters crash over eastern Germany, pilots eject The jets, belonging to the German armed forces, crashed near the Laage military base in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the air force added on its Twitter account. (Representational Image) Two Eurofighter warplanes crashed in northeastern Germany after a mid-air collision on Monday, the German air force said, adding that both pilots had managed to use their ejector seats. The jets, belonging to the German armed forces, crashed near the Laage military base in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the air force added on its Twitter account.“Together with a third Eurofighter they were flying an Air Combat Mission,” the German force tweeted. “The pilot of the third Eurofighter observed the collision and reported that two parachutes descended to the ground.”Ostseewelle radio, which first reported the crash, posted a video sent in by one of its readers which it said showed two plumes of smoke rising from separate crash sites at some distance from each other.Focus magazine said one of the pilots of the Eurofighters – made by Airbus, BAE Systems and Leonardo – had been found alive while the other was yet to be located. Negotiations on with Dassault for fighters jets: IAF chief India says it is negotiating contract with Dassault last_img read more

Germanys wolves are on the rise thanks to a surprising ally the

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Wolves are an impressive success story for wildlife recovery in central Europe, bouncing back from near extermination in the 20th century to a population of several thousand today. And in Germany, where populations have been growing by 36% per year, military bases have played a surprisingly central role in helping the animals reclaim habitat, a new analysis finds.”What is really remarkable is that the military areas acted as a stepping stone for the recolonization”—and were far more important than civilian protected areas in the early stages of recovery, says Guillaume Chapron, a wildlife ecologist at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, who was not involved in the research. “It shows that when you strictly protect wildlife, it comes back.”Across much of Europe, wolves were heavily persecuted for attacking livestock. They were wiped out in Germany during the 19th century. But in the 1980s and 1990s, new European laws protected wildlife and habitat, setting the stage for their recovery. And in eastern and southern Europe abandoned farmland meant fewer people and more deer for wolves to hunt. In the late 1990s, wolves began to dart into Germany from the forests of Poland. The first litter of pups in Germany was reported in 2001 in Saxony-Brandenburg. They’ve since spread westward into six more of Germany’s 16 federal states, and monitoring data show their numbers are rising. By Erik StokstadFeb. 15, 2019 , 5:55 PM Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) 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 Sebastian Koerner/LUPOVISION Germany’s wolves are on the rise thanks to a surprising ally: the military A wolf pup faces off with a tank on a training ground near Münster, Germany. The population growth “is quite impressive,” says Ilka Reinhardt, a biologist with Lupus, the German Institute for Wolf Monitoring and Research in Spreewitz, who has been involved in efforts to study the wolves since they returned to Germany. The latest data suggest the country has 73 packs and 30 pairs of wolves. “Twenty years ago, no one would have expected this,” she adds, noting Germany’s fragmented habitat and the prevalence of roads and humans. “It shows how adaptable wolves are.”Reinhardt was particularly struck by their occurrence in military areas. “This was surprising to us,” she says. She and her colleagues noticed that the first pair of wolves to show up in a new state always settled on a military training ground. The second pair, and usually the third also sought out military lands. After that, subsequent breeding pairs would be detected in protected areas or other habitats, the team reports online this week in Conservation Letters.The military training grounds were clearly a desired location for pioneers, but what was the appeal? Reinhardt could find no sign that habitat was better there than in nature reserves, as measured by the amount of forest and density of roads. But when they compiled the death records, they were shocked to find that wolf mortality rates were higher in protected areas than in the military training grounds.The difference seems to be poaching. Although the military training grounds are not fenced—which means wolves and deer can enter and leave at will—they are closed to the public and posted with many signs. The deer populations are managed by federal foresters, so when private hunting occurs, it is strictly regulated. This means fewer opportunities for poaching wolves, Reinhardt says. Elsewhere, including many nature reserves, deer are managed by private hunters. These areas are much smaller than military bases and may have more hunters coming through—so the odds are higher that someone with a vendetta might encounter a wolf. (Why shoot wolves? “I think it’s like everywhere, they are considered as competitors,” Reinhart says. “People are afraid that the wolves will eradicate the deer.”)Today, poaching does not jeopardize wolf populations, which are large enough in most parts of their range to withstand occasional killings. But poaching could have prevented the first pairs from establishing in nature reserves, Reinhardt says.Reinhardt and her colleagues recommend that when military training grounds are decommissioned they should be designated as nature reserves and the strict regulations on hunting maintained. “Because of their size in our crowded landscape, they function as conservation areas,” she says, “even though they are not meant to be.”To Chapron, it’s a positive legacy of the Cold War. More soldiers—and fewer poachers—is better for the wolves, he says. “We can clearly see that the wolf owes an acknowledgment to the military.”*Correction, 18 February, 8:50 a.m.: This story has been updated with the most recent population estimate of wolves in Germany.last_img read more

HP Is Back Should It Rename Itself Compaq

first_imgThere is a rule of thumb in marketing that says that one of the telltale signs that a CMO (chief marketing officer) has no clue what to do is a decision to change the firm’s name or logo. As with all rules, however, there is one big exception — and that exception is when the brand is working against you.Now the brand “HP” doesn’t have negative equity. The fact they sales are as good as they are showcases this. The problem is the image of the company and how it is trading.The big indication of this is that both HPE and HP made a recently published list of the most-hated CEOs, placing at No. 8 and No. 10 respectively. It is clear from the criteria that it was attitudes toward the legacy HP and HPE that drove the decisions.Dion Weisler is almost unknown outside of HP — but in HP, as you might expect, he is a bit of hero, and HP’s performance has been well beyond expectations. The employees there seem to love him, the channel seems to love him, and the investors should love him because they love anyone who can execute — and man can he execute! These are the groups that picked the supposedly most-hated CEOs.My takeaway is that it is the drag from HPE and the history of HP before the breakup that is causing Dion to be so badly reviewed. In short, it isn’t his performance that is hurting him — it is Meg Whitman’s performance that is driving the perceptions surrounding both HP brands. If HPE continues to underperform and be defined by market mistakes, executive instability and layoffs, HP and Dion won’t be able to own their own image.Even though the HP brand doesn’t have negative equity (by the way, that is when a consumer would pay more for a non-branded product than one with the negative brand), HPE is creating an ongoing drag on the image of HP, which must be hurting sales and company valuation.Granted, given how tightly printers and PCs are tied to the HP brand, such a move wouldn’t come easily or cheaply — but unless HPE can be convinced to rebrand (in contrast, it seems very close to dropping into negative equity in the enterprise space), HP’s only fix is to bite the bullet and take full control over its destiny.Now, you wouldn’t just cut the brand — you’d transition it, and the likely first step would be to strengthen the sub-brands, similar to what IBM did with ThinkPad before selling the line and firm to Lenovo. But which brand? Changing a Company Name HP’s Turnaround SmartflowerPOP Bring Back Compaq! While HP always has been bigger in printers, Compaq was by far the bigger player in the PC space. It too had its operational and leadership problems, but even though it has been well over a decade since it operated under its own brand, I expect that folks mostly remember it fondly (or don’t remember it at all).In any case, it is a storied brand, HP owns it, and were HP to migrate to Compaq it would free it from all the negative equity it is getting from HPE’s problems, and allow it to take a clean step away from the HP history that it is ever more slightly connected to.Think about this another way. Right now, HP sells PCs and printers and looks far more like Apple prior to the iPhone than like the old HP, which historically was far more of a big iron back-office company.Admittedly, printers would be a big problem given the firm’s dominance, and perhaps maintaining HP as a sub-brand for the printers alone might be the safest path going forward — much like Lenovo maintains the sub-brand ThinkPad and likely always will, even though the “Think” part of the brand still has heavy IBM connections. There are a lot of amazing and somewhat ironic things this decade. We have a government run by the Republicans, who currently are doing more to advance a variety of social agendas they don’t agree with (albeit unintentionally) than the Democrats who support those agendas are able to do.The auto industry is rushing to autonomous cars, which likely will destroy the auto industry as we know it (not that it has a choice).Massive firms are working on artificial intelligence to make everyone but their CEOs smarter, which is where AI would have the greatest impact.Global warming advocates are overstating the horrendous outcomes so aggressively that they are discrediting the entire effort.Also, a little company with a big brand showed the world that even with the deck stacked against you, you still can prevail, through leadership, focus, strategy and execution.So, I think HP should rebrand, step away from the past, and fully embrace the future it can define rather than be defined by the past or by a sister firm where execution, even with the deck stacked in its favor, is an almost impossibly elusive thing. What do you think — should HP bring back Compaq? Wrapping Up This thing is brilliant. In the morning, it opens like a flower. Then it tracks the sun till the end of the day, closing down again at night or during harsh weather (to protect the panels). It looks cool, it comes in purple (a requirement for my wife), it has decent yields for its size (largely due to the tracking part), and it is relatively simple to set up. (You can simply drill it into the ground and trench to your power meter). It comes mostly pre-assembled in a box. You likely will need a crane, though, as it isn’t light.It also has that critical wow factor, as folks simply have not seen one of these before. Be aware, though, that getting one is a bit of an issue right now. Since it came to the states from Europe, it has been selling out, and until the company builds a U.S. factory (in planning), supply is a tad light and thus there aren’t a lot of installers yet (I’m having trouble buying one myself).Still — man is this thing ever cool, and it likely is the only product like this that my wife has seen and just immediately said “buy it.” High-tech lawn art that pays the bills? That’s a natural for my product of the week! Solar power is incredibly attractive to me because it seems so much like magic. You put some glass panels on your roof or in your yard, and magically you have electrical power. I took our last house to solar power in the early part of last decade, and it cut my power bill substantially — even though the panel yields were a fraction of what current panels put out.However, I live in Oregon now, and our house isn’t ideal for a roof-mounted solution. Plus, with roof-mounted solutions, the panels don’t move, so much of the time they are facing in the wrong direction.Putting panels on tracking frames so they follow the sun isn’t just more expensive — the result looks like crap. The typical solution looks little better than if your kid built a poorly-thought-through science project in your yard, which you couldn’t take down without causing hurt feelings.What I needed was a yard implementation of a tracking solution that didn’t look like crap. You’d think that would be easy, but apparently it isn’t.However, what I found was the Smartflower. I’m simply amazed by HP’s performance. It was clear when Meg Whitman spun out HP that she didn’t believe it had a chance in hell of succeeding. Firmly convinced that both PCs and printers were dead, she saddled the firm with virtually all the combined company’s debt — pretty much stacking the deck to ensure that HP died while HPE succeeded.Many of Dion Weisler’s peers privately thought that he wanted to be CEO so badly he simply didn’t see that he couldn’t succeed and foolishly took the job. Maybe it’s good no one told him that because now, when you look at the two companies, HP is a stunning success — HPE not so much.In fact, HPE is a bit of an industry joke now. I mean, how do you stack the deck like that and still find it impossible to execute? What is scary is that if Meg Whitman had won the California election, Southern California likely would be part of Mexico today.You can just imagine, at the split, the HPE employees looking down on their HP compatriots, thinking just how screwed those poor suckers were going to be — and now realizing they’re the ones screwed. At the next joint company reunion, HP employees should wear T-Shirts with two letters: The first should be “H” but the second should be “A,” as in “HA!” It does show that strong leadership, focus, and simplicity can do amazing things in any firm. HP just took over the PC market lead worldwide. You probably don’t get how incredible this is, so here’s an analogy: It’s as if a crooked referee put a bunch of lead on a racer who already was overweight and shuffled him to the back of the pack, but in the end, the guy finished first. You’d seriously want to look under his T-Shirt to see if you’d find Superman’s costume.This isn’t Apple coming up with an iPod or iPhone and flanking the market — this is a firm that simply pushed on the gas pedal at a time when everyone said it was going in the wrong direction (PCs were dead, remember?) — and kicked everyone’s ass.As impressive as that is, there’s more. This is also basically a brand new firm with a new focus, but people still see it with all the baggage the “HP” name brings, including the bad reflection from the massive mismanagement over at its sister company, HPE — which, in contrast to HP, had all the advantages but couldn’t seem to find the gas pedal.This is a perfect example of why a firm should consider changing its name — and Compaq, a powerful brand it owns, could be the perfect answer.I’ll expound on that and close with my product of the week: the Smartflower, which must be the coolest solar solution for your home in the world now. Rob Enderle has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2003. His areas of interest include AI, autonomous driving, drones, personal technology, emerging technology, regulation, litigation, M&E, and technology in politics. He has undergrad degrees in merchandising and manpower management, and an MBA in human resources, marketing and computer science. He is also a certified management accountant. Enderle currently is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group. He formerly served as a senior research fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester. Email Rob.last_img read more

2018 The Year of Fighting for Positive Change

first_imgWrapping Up IBM and the Workplace Environment Dell’s Support for Women One of the most annoying things IBM did to me when I worked there was eliminate ROLM’s Great Place to Work organization. I’d gone to the company with the express goal of working for and maybe running it eventually, and before I was able to make the transfer, IBM bought ROLM, eliminated that extremely well-regarded group, and moved to kill the company.It finally made amends this year by focusing its Watson engine on making IBM a far better place to work. It has applied artificial intelligence to helping employees retrain and maintain a diverse skill set. (Another back story is that my mentor told me that the only way to advance was to specialize, a recommendation that I did not take. Now, those with diverse skill sets are far better able to survive organizational changes than specialists.)IBM’s new programs aggressively support and reward diverse skill sets, making IBM employees far more valuable, due to their increasing flexibility, than most other corporate workforces I’ve studied. While it hasn’t recreated that old Great Place to Work department, it has made IBM a far better place to work, and it also has been very aggressive at hiring and advancing women in the firm, which is led by a woman, CEO Ginni Rometty.IBM once was known for how well it treated its employees; its latest efforts will go a long way toward once again making the company a leader in this regard. This is in sharp contrast to the impressive number of companies threatening and otherwise treating their employees poorly (note that Tesla is on this list). It is great to see my old company, IBM, once again step up to be a strong example of good employee treatment. Cisco and Corporate Responsibility In a world where we increasingly are faced with technology used against us, this is a solid example of technology that could be used for our benefit. In effect, these services change HR from the compliance organization it sadly has become, to the employee advocate it initially was supposed to be.Across the set of services, firms can do a better job at scale at finding the best employees; identifying individual problems; providing training for skills that make employees valuable; and ensuring an agile, relatively happy and productive work force.We will be facing an unbelievable amount of change in the next decade, and if we don’t focus on giving employees broader skill sets, thousands who otherwise would be employed will be out of jobs.We no longer can afford to throw bodies at jobs they are ill suited for and hate — particularly when there are other unemployed folks who likely need and would appreciate some of these less attractive jobs. Because IBM Talent & Transformation Services could make any company a Great Place to Work, it is my product of the week. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network. As I write this, President Trump is refusing to sign a stopgap spending bill that would allow thousands of government employees to enjoy the holidays, and instead is using them as hostages for an expensive wall that would function more as a monument to Trump than as effective border protection.In a year defined by #MeToo, abuse at scale — as detailed by Dan Lyons’ book Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us (read it) — and rather impressively bad behavior by CEOs like Elon Musk, it is both refreshing and important that some companies have been standing fast and have shown by example that you can do well by doing good.I think Cisco, Dell and IBM have set solid examples this year. As we go into the holidays, I think 2018 was like the year 2261 in Babylon 5 Season 4, and I’m kind of glad it is almost over. center_img When I think of corporate responsibility, one company tends to float to the top, and that is Cisco. With massive efforts to train people all over the world in the critical networking skills needed to secure and expand global communications, Cisco has been taking a major chunk out of joblessness.It has invested millions to reduce homelessness near its headquarters — something most of the tech firms seem to ignore — and it has been aggressive in deploying crisis teams during disasters to ensure timely communications to first responders.On diversity, Cisco is unlike most firms, which seem to work from the bottom up and protect white male dominance in the executive ranks. Cisco has started from the top and arguably is the most diverse of the old school tech firms in the technology segment.They realized early on that you can’t fix a diversity problem from the bottom up, because the executive staff will tend to protect their turf and create glass ceilings to prevent minority advancement.Largely apolitical, Cisco leads by example, which is both wiser and more effective than entering into pointless political arguments. The firm ranked first for philanthropy in the tech segment in Silicon Valley.A great deal of credit goes to Tae Yoo Cisco’s SVP of corporate affairs, and to Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, who made leading in this space a personal priority. Where Dell stands out is in its efforts to deal specifically with misogyny, discrimination, and abuse targeting women. The company has been spending millions of dollars every year promoting women entrepreneurs, and it is the only firm I know of that maintains an entrepreneur in residence with the role historically filled by a woman.CEO Michael Dell personally lays down the law in the company, and he has implemented program that aggressively calls out and terminates abusers, and then communicates the result. Those actions create what should be one of the safest environments in tech.The tech segment is called out in the book Brotopia as having an excessive culture of abuse, down to some managers and executives making sexual engagement part of a woman’s “normal” job responsibilities.Michael Dell and Karen Quintos have focused on this problem with a near manic obsession, which is critical to changing the abusive behavior that has become so ingrained in the culture of so many firms.Dell is one of too few firms that have gone the extra yard to put in place mechanisms that truly protect women who step up, rather than perpetuating the more typical practice of leaving them exposed during and after they take action against offending employees. This was an unusual year, largely defined by actions by President Trump that seemed focused on harming the majority of people in and outside the United States. However, the rise of those speaking up, taking action, and making real changes also was unprecedented.In the end, I actually think the country is on the path to positive change, and many in the technology market have been stepping up to make a real difference.I’ll revisit some of the highlights of this year and close with my last product of the week: an offering from IBM that could transform human resources from a paper-pushing compliance organization to one that will help ensure your career and future. When I was briefed on this a few weeks back, I was stuck with just how critical a service like this is. Based on IBM’s solid AI Watson technology, IBM Talent & Transformation Services are a suite of services designed to make employees not only more productive but also far happier and with their jobs. Rob Enderle has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2003. His areas of interest include AI, autonomous driving, drones, personal technology, emerging technology, regulation, litigation, M&E, and technology in politics. He has an MBA in human resources, marketing and computer science. He is also a certified management accountant. Enderle currently is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group, a consultancy that serves the technology industry. He formerly served as a senior research fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester. Email Rob.last_img read more

Green filters increase reading speed for children with dyslexia

first_img Source:http://agencia.fapesp.br/colored-filter-improves-dyslexic-childrens-reading-speed/28849/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 19 2018Reading, one of the most difficult activities for children with dyslexia, can be improved by the use of green filters.A study described in an article by Brazilian and French researchers reports increased reading speed for nine- and ten-year-old volunteers with dyslexia who used green filters. The filters had no effect on age-matched children without dyslexia.Colored filters for the treatment of learning disabilities were first patented in 1983. They were also designed for use by children with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).”However, studies of their efficacy were methodologically flawed. We used a highly rigorous methodology for the first time,” said Milena Razuk, first author of the article, published in the journal Research in Developmental Disabilities.The filters are not widely used in Brazil owing to a lack of research, although they have been adopted in some countries, such as France.Razuk, who completed her PhD in April at Cruzeiro do Sul University (São Paulo, Brazil), performed the experiment while in France on a research internship at Paris Diderot University (Paris 7), with support from the Sao Paulo Research Foundation – FAPESP.Eighteen children with dyslexia and 18 without dyslexia were selected for the study at Robert Debré Hospital in Paris. The researchers decided to use yellow and green filters in the experiment.”Twelve colors are available, but we chose two because a very long test would be too demanding for the volunteers,” said José Angelo Barela, a professor at São Paulo State University’s Rio Claro Bioscience Institute (IBRC-UNESP) in Brazil and principal investigator for the project.Faster ReadingAll 36 children were asked to read passages from children’s books suited to their reading age. The texts were displayed on a computer screen with a yellow filter, a green filter, and no filter.Their eye movements were recorded with the Mobile EyeBrain Tracker®, a French eye-tracking device certified for medical purposes, consisting of goggles fitted with cameras that record the movements of each eye independently via infrared light signals.”A child with dyslexia has to fix his or her gaze on the words for a longer time to understand a text. Reading speed is slower as a result,” Barela told.Related StoriesResearch reveals genetic cause of deadly digestive disease in childrenRevolutionary gene replacement surgery restores vision in patients with retinal degenerationResearchers identify gene mutations linked to leukemia in children with Down’s syndromeWhile the filters did not affect reading speed for the children without dyslexia, the eye-tracking device detected a statistically significant difference for children with dyslexia, who read fastest with the green filter, fixing their gaze on groups of words for 500 thousandths of a second, compared with 600 thousandths of a second using the yellow filter or no filter. The fixation period with or without filters was 400 thousandths of a second for children without dyslexia.The authors of the study stress that they did not evaluate whether the use of a green filter improved comprehension of what was read and that further research is needed to explore this dimension.Dyslexia is poorly understoodThe causes of dyslexia are unknown. In addition to reading difficulties, other deficits have been found to be associated with the disorder, including impaired sensorimotor integration. “It’s as if some source of noise disturbs the brain’s communication with the rest of the body,” Razuk said.Extensive testing has shown that neither impaired eyesight nor intellectual deficiency is part of the condition. “IQ must be normal or above average for dyslexia to be diagnosed,” noted the FAPESP-supported researcher.In the article, the authors of the study say the improvement in reading time with the green filter might be due to changes in the visual stimuli available for central nervous system processing.Other studies have suggested that colored filters may reduce cortical hyperexcitability in the brain, which may be greater in dyslexic people, thereby attenuating contrasts in visual stimuli and hence improving reading performance.This suggestion was reinforced by a 2015 study in which functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) showed significant activation of the cerebral cortex during reading with colored filters (mostly blue in this case) compared with reading without filters. The authors hypothesized that the filters reduced visual stress and distortion, enhancing visual processing and reading performance.The next step for the group at IBRC-UNESP will be to use fMRI scans to analyze the brain activity of dyslexic children while reading. Barela has purchased an MRI machine with funding from Brazil’s National Council for Scientific & Technological Development (CNPq).last_img read more

Long term exposure to road traffic noise linked with greater obesity risk

first_img Source:https://www.isglobal.org/en/new/-/asset_publisher/JZ9fGljXnWpI/content/long-term-exposure-to-road-traffic-noise-may-increase-the-risk-of-obesity Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 16 2018Long term exposure to road traffic noise is associated with increased risk of obesity. This was the conclusion of a study involving the participation of the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), a research center supported by the “la Caixa” Banking Foundation. The study has been published in Environment International.The authors of this study wanted to find out whether new research would confirm the results of the few earlier studies that had demonstrated associations between traffic noise and several markers for obesity. To do this, they studied 3796 adults who took part in the population-based Swiss SAPALDIA cohort study and had attended at least two follow-up visits between 2001 and 2011. The study is based on objective measures, such as the participants’ weight, height, body mass index, waist circumference, and abdominal fat. These data were analyzed together with estimates of exposure to transportation noise developed in the context of the Swiss SiRENE project.”Our analysis shows that people exposed to the highest levels of traffic noise are at greater risk of being obese” explains ISGlobal research Maria Foraster, first author of the study. “For example, we observed that a 10 dB increase in mean noise level was associated with a 17% increase in obesity.”The study authors also analyzed exposure to noise generated by aircraft and railway traffic and found no significant associations except in the case of long-term exposure to railway noise, which was associated with a higher risk of overweight but not of obesity.The methodology and design of the study were chosen to allow the authors to look at the data from two different perspectives. Cross-sectional analysis was used to study the participant population at a specific time point in the study and to examine more objective measures. The longitudinal design, on the other hand, allowed the authors to evaluate how the risk of obesity evolved over the study period. The associations with traffic-related noise pollution were consistent in both cases. Overweight was only associated with exposure to traffic-related noise in the cross-sectional analysis. The authors found no association between noise exposure and body mass index measured continuously throughout the longitudinal analysis.Related StoriesUCR biomedical professor to investigate how body’s cannabis-like molecules influence obesityMaternal obesity may negatively affect children’s lung developmentResearchers find link between maternal obesity and childhood cancer in offspring”Our study contributes additional evidence to support the hypothesis that traffic-related noise affects obesity because the results we obtained in a different population were the same as those reported by the authors of earlier studies. Nevertheless, more longitudinal studies are needed to confirm the association and to examine certain inconsistencies in the data which, to date, have prevented us from formulating an explanation accepted by the scientific community as a whole”, explains Maria Foraster.Unfortunately, sustained exposure to noise pollution is a widespread public health problem that is more serious than previously thought. Noise generates stress and affects our sleep. It alters hormone levels and increases blood pressure. Moreover, among other effects, sleep disturbance deregulates glucose metabolism and alters the appetite. “In the long term, these effects could give rise to chronic physiological alterations, which would explain the proven association between persistent exposure to traffic-related noise and cardiovascular disease or the more recently discovered associations with diabetes and obesity. Our findings suggest that reducing traffic-related noise could also be a way of combating the obesity epidemic” adds Maria Foraster.last_img read more

Global warming will raise risk of Mosquito borne diseases globally

first_imgBy Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDMar 29 2019Because of global warming, it is estimated that there will be a major surge in mosquito-transmitted diseases which would kill half a billion more people over the next three decades.A new study reveals that the areas at risk that are newly exposed to this threat include Canada and parts of northern Europe with more people in these regions getting infected with Zika, dengue, yellow fever and Chikungunya among other diseases. These diseases till date affected only the tropical regions of the world say the researchers. The results of the study were published in an article in the latest issue of the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. Mapping current temperature suitability for transmission. Maps of current monthly suitability based on mean temperatures using a temperature suitability threshold determined by the posterior probability that scaled R0 > 0 is 97.5% for (a) Aedes aegypti and (b) Ae. albopictus, and (c) the number of people at risk (in billions) as a function of their months of exposure for Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus.Co-author of the study Sadie Ryan, from the University of Florida, explained that this study shows the effects of these diseases so that policy makers and health care professionals can take notice of the changing epidemiology of these vector borne illnesses. She said, “As you move into a hotter world, the places that get really hot are going to have all kinds of other vulnerabilities with them. Having studies like this that say, hey, this is potentially where these things can show up is going to be one tool in a big tool box.”Related StoriesNew diagnostic tool helps develop improved RDTs and support public health surveillanceGM fungus kills 99% of mosquitoes in Malaria-endemic region of AfricaScientists identify malaria’s Achilles’ heelThe study shows that at present there are over six billion people living in regions where the two species of mosquitoes can survive for a month or more annually. These two species of mosquitoes – Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus were targeted because of their ability to spread disease. The study shows that as milder and warmer climate travels up towards the poles, there are more and more areas where these mosquitoes can breed and survive. Aedes aegypti for example spreads yellow fever and survives in a warm climate. Aedes albopictus, on the other hand survives in cooler climates. The team of researchers looked at possible situations where rise in temperatures could affect the survival of both kinds of mosquitoes.Ryan said that in 2016 there was a Zika outbreak in southern Florida affecting pregnant women and their unborn babies. The spread of the infection was not just direct but also via travel and immigration say the researchers. Ryan explained, “You might not think to look across the midwest at this point for potential mosquitoes, but what if people are landing in Chicago? Every year we see little bits of malaria showing up in the [US], we see little bits of dengue popping up.”The team speculated that by 2030 these infections would be common up to the northern limits of the Midlands and by 2050 the spread maybe throughout England and Wales. A report from the UN has warned that there is a record rise in the sea levels and this would lead to floods, heat waves and storms due to the climate change. UN secretary general Antonio Guterres warned “there is no longer any time for delay” speaking about reducing the greenhouse gas emissions.This study missed out malaria in its analysis. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mosquito borne malaria kills over 400,000 people annually across the globe.Biologist Colin J. Carlson, a postdoctoral fellow in Georgetown University’s biology department, and co-author of the study, in a statement said, “Plain and simple, climate change is going to kill a lot of people… Mosquito-borne diseases are going to be a big way that happens, especially as they spread from the tropics to temperate countries.” On a more optimistic note he added, “I think we don’t talk about [hope] enough. We’re not staring down a certain apocalypse, because I don’t think there’s a future where people take no steps to combat the effects of climate change.” Source:https://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0007213last_img read more