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UCLA researchers characterize mechanism of mEAK7 gene for the first time

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first_imgMay 15 2018For years, researchers have known that a gene called EAK-7 plays an important role in determining how long worms will live. But it remained unclear whether the gene had a counterpart in humans and – if it did – how that human version would work.Now, researchers led by UCLA’s Dr. Paul Krebsbach are the first to characterize the mechanism of the human equivalent, which they call mammalian EAK-7, or mEAK-7.Krebsbach, dean of the UCLA School of Dentistry and a professor of periodontics, led a team that found mEAK-7 regulates the molecular process, or “metabolic pathway,” that dictates cell growth and human development.The disruption of those processes is part of what causes cancer and other diseases, as well as some neurological disorders. Findings from the study could be a preliminary step toward new therapies that would work by slowing or blocking mEAK-7’s molecular process, which in turn could potentially control the spread and growth of the cells responsible for those diseases.The research was published in the journal Science Advances.The researchers began studying EAK-7, the worm gene, in 2013, when Krebsbach was a faculty member at the University of Michigan. Knowing about its important role in worms, the team wanted to understand if it played a role in human biology, and whether it could provide insight on why certain human cells become stem cells.Joe Nguyen, the study’s lead author, said the team essentially stumbled on the link between EAK-7 and its human counterpart after their initial hypothesis about that connection proved incorrect.Once they identified mEAK-7 in human cells, they screened several types of human cells — including embryonic stem cells and fibroblasts, the cells that form connective tissues and aid in wound healing — to better understand how the gene worked.”We didn’t detect mEAK-7 in any of those samples,” said Nguyen, a D.D.S./Ph.D. candidate at the University of Michigan. “But what we did find was astonishing. When we tested for mEAK-7 in various cancer cells, we found that there was a notably high concentration of mEAK-7 protein.”Related StoriesResearchers discover gene linked to healthy aging in wormsLiving with advanced breast cancerBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerThe researchers ran a series of tests on human cells to see how mEAK-7 responded to a biological process known as mTOR signaling, which regulates cell metabolism, growth, duplication and survival in humans.According to Krebsbach, what they found was even more astonishing than the uncovering of mEAK-7 itself. The gene actually activated another biological process, which the researchers call an alternative pathway, one that was not as well understood at the molecular level as mTOR.In effect, the discovery was like realizing that a driver (the mEAK-7 gene) had exited a freeway (the mTOR pathway) and chosen to travel little-known surface streets (the alternative pathway) to reach his destination.”With the discovery of mEAK-7’s activation of this alternative process, we demonstrated that cell metabolism, division and migration may be more dependent on the type of cell than was previously understood,” Krebsbach said. “If we can find a way to control the duplication and migration of cells, including those responsible for human disease, we may be able to create opportunities for new therapies.”To support their findings, the scientists tested the significance of mEAK-7’s role in cell proliferation and migration by inhibiting the gene in living human cells. When they mutated mEAK-7 or removed it from those cells, there was a dramatic reduction of those processes. They also tested a scenario in which mEAK-7 was overexpressed in cells and found that the proliferation of those cells increased significantly.”By chance, we have found that mEAK-7 is crucial for mTOR signaling and is required for cell proliferation and migration,” said Jin Koo Kim, a UCLA Dentistry researcher. “By targeting mEAK-7, we could potentially control the diseases that hijack mTOR signaling through this alternative pathway.”Source: http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/meak-7-gene-described-ucla-studylast_img read more

Children with ASD more likely to suffer from food allergy study finds

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first_imgJun 8 2018A new study from the University of Iowa finds that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more than twice as likely to suffer from a food allergy than children who do not have ASD.Wei Bao, assistant professor of epidemiology at the UI College of Public Health and the study’s corresponding author, says the finding adds to a growing body of research that suggests immunological dysfunction as a possible risk factor for the development of ASD.”It is possible that the immunologic disruptions may have processes beginning early in life, which then influence brain development and social functioning, leading to the development of ASD,” says Bao.The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s JAMA Network Open. It analyzed the health information of nearly 200,000 children gathered by the U.S. National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), an annual survey of American households conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The children were between the ages of 3 and 17 and the data were gathered between 1997 and 2016.Related StoriesResearchers identify gene mutations linked to leukemia in children with Down’s syndromeDaily intake for phosphates in infants, children can exceed health guidance valuesRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaThe study found that 11.25 percent of children reportedly diagnosed with ASD have a food allergy, significantly higher than the 4.25 percent of children who are not diagnosed with ASD and have a food allergy.Bao says his study could not determine the causality of this relationship given its observational nature. But previous studies have suggested possible links–increased production of antibodies, immune system overreactions causing impaired brain function, neurodevelopmental abnormalities, and alterations in the gut biome. He says those connections warrant further investigation.”We don’t know which comes first, food allergy or ASD,” says Bao, adding that another longitudinal follow-up study of children since birth would be needed to establish temporality.He says previous studies on the association of allergic conditions with ASD have focused mainly on respiratory allergy and skin allergy, and those studies have yielded inconsistent and inconclusive results. The new study found 18.73 percent of children with ASD suffered from respiratory allergies, while 12.08 percent of children without ASD had such allergies; and 16.81 percent of children with ASD had skin allergies, well above the 9.84 percent of children without ASD.”This indicates there could be a shared mechanism linking different types of allergic conditions to ASD,” says Bao.Bao says the study is limited in that the NHIS depends on respondents to voluntarily self-report health conditions, so the number of children with ASD or allergies may be misreported by those taking the survey. But he says the large number of respondents and ethnic and gender cross-representation of the survey are major strengths. Source:https://uiowa.edu/last_img read more

New study examines how the brain plays role in rheumatoid arthritis inflammation

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first_img Source:https://labblog.uofmhealth.org/body-work/how-brain-plays-a-role-rheumatoid-arthritis-inflammation Jun 18 2018In patients with chronic inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, there has been limited understanding of how this inflammation affects the brain.A new study published in Nature Communications examines this issue.”Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory and autoimmune condition with nasty levels of inflammation that can affect a person’s joints and the rest of their body, inducing fatigue, sleep and creating cognitive difficulties,” says Andrew Schrepf, Ph.D., a research investigator at Michigan Medicine’s Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center and one of the lead authors of the study.”Even though it has been assumed for a long time that the inflammation we see in blood is impacting the brain, up until this study we didn’t know precisely where and how those changes in the brain were actually happening.”Schrepf says the effects of inflammation are more understood in short-term illnesses, but the same can’t be said for chronic conditions.”When a person becomes sick with the flu, for example, they begin to show symptoms of the inflammation happening in their body, such as feeling lethargic and being unable to control their body temperature,” he says. “We wanted to understand what is happening in conditions where patients have inflammation for weeks, months or years, such as in rheumatoid arthritis.”A “remarkable” data setThe research team used a data set of 54 rheumatoid arthritis patients carefully constructed and characterized by author Neil Basu, Ph.D., of the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom, Schrepf says.”Studies such as ours are usually performed in healthy people who are induced with sickness behaviors,” Schrepf explains, calling the available data “remarkable.” “They will then do a brain scan before and after the immune insult, and the results are interesting, but to understand how it impacts people with chronic illness, we have to see the brain of someone with inflammation happening for a long period of time.”Using functional and structural neuroimaging of the data set at baseline and six months, the research team examined whether higher levels of peripheral inflammation were associated with brain connectivity and structure.”We took the levels of inflammation in their peripheral blood, just as it would be done clinically by a rheumatologist to monitor the severity of their disease and how it’s being controlled,” Schrepf says. “We found profound and consistent results in a couple areas of the brain that were becoming connected to several brain networks. We then looked again six months later and saw similar patterns, and this replication of results is not that common in neuroimaging studies.”Related StoriesStudy provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with agingWearing a hearing aid may mitigate dementia riskResearchers measure EEG-based brain responses for non-speech and speech sounds in childrenCo-first author Chelsea Kaplan, Ph.D., an anesthesiology research fellow at Michigan Medicine, then examined the functional connectivity of 264 regions of the brain and identified increased connectivity patterns in patients experiencing heightened levels of inflammation.”In a graph theoretical analysis across the whole brain network, and correlating that with levels of inflammation, we saw a lot of convergence across methods and time points for the amount of connectivity in the inferior parietal lobule and medial prefrontal cortex,” Kaplan says.”This showed us that the brain doesn’t operate in isolation. It also demonstrated how inflammation we measure in the periphery may be actually altering functional connections in the brain and playing a role in some of the cognitive symptoms we see in rheumatoid arthritis.”Applying the results in the clinical settingBasu, who is a practicing rheumatologist and a researcher, notes anti-inflammatory therapeutics have evolved over the past decade and have alleviated the peripheral inflammation driving the joint pain and disability in rheumatoid arthritis. Despite such progress, patients continue to report challenging levels of symptoms such as fatigue and mood dysfunction.”This intriguing data supports the idea that rheumatoid arthritis inflammation targets the brain and not just the joints,” Basu says. “By relating these advanced neuroimaging measures back to the patient experience, we provide evidence that the future targeting of central inflammatory pathways may greatly enhance the quality of life of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and potentially other chronic inflammatory disorders.”Because this is one of the first studies to examine brain inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis, Schrepf says, additional research is needed on the correlation.Basu agrees, “Further exploration into this complex space demands strong multidisciplinary and collaborative working, and this study represents a fine example of trans-Atlantic team science.”last_img read more

Nurses take on expanded roles to provide access to health care in

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first_imgJul 4 2018To help address access to health care for rural and underserved areas, registered nurses can take on expanded roles in primary care delivery.”Nurses can practice to the full scope of the RN license and expand their scope of influence within the community-based primary care team,” said South Dakota State University Associate Nursing Professor Heidi Mennenga. She pointed to care management, such as the hospital-to-home transition or management of chronic health conditions, and management of warfarin, a prescription medication designed to prevent blood clots, as examples.However, many registered nurses have not been fulfilling these roles which are within the scope of their licensing simply because they have not historically done so.Mennenga will lead a nursing team that will train senior nursing students and practicing RNs to expand their roles in the primary care setting through a four-year, nearly $2.8 million grant from U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).According to the 2011-2015 South Dakota Primary Care Needs Assessment, 48 of the 66 counties in the state are designated by HRSA as medically underserved areas/populations, meaning they have too few primary care providers, high infant mortality, high poverty or high elderly populations.One of the goals of the grant project, IMPACT-RNS-;Impacting Models of Practice and Clinical Training for Registered Nurses and Students, is to prepare 1,032 nursing students and at least 260 practicing RNs to function in these expanded roles.Essentially, RNs will be doing some of the work that medical doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners are currently doing. The role that RNs can assume will be out of their ordinary practice, but fully within the scope of their RN license, according to Mennenga, whose expertise is in nursing education, curriculum development and rural nursing.”This will mean rearranging how the other members of the health-care team function,” she explained. It may also require a change in mindset regarding what nurses should be doing. Ultimately, Mennenga noted, this may aid in improving patient care and outcomes.Developing curriculum to train studentsThe first year will involve capacity building, according to Mennenga. By the second year, the curriculum will be in place to begin training nursing students.In addition to classroom instruction and laboratory simulations, a select group of nursing students will receive 150 hours of clinical training at one of 13 health-care facilities in South Dakota and Minnesota that serve diverse populations. “We currently use most of these clinical sites, just not in this capacity,” Mennenga explained. “That’s why it’s important to have site leaders as part of the research team on each campus who are the contact point for those clinical facilities.”Related StoriesIncreasing access to mental health services improves outcomes for people with HIVFirst smartphone app to detect childhood ear infectionGender inequality bad for everyone’s health finds researchOther team members are Assistant Professor Alham Abuatiq; Assistant Professor Robin Brown; Assistant Dean Leann Horsley of the University Center site in Sioux Falls; Assistant Dean Linda Burdette in Aberdeen; Director of Academic Nursing Education Programs Christina Plemmons in Rapid City; and Brookings Clinical Site Coordinator Cassy Hultman. A full-time coordinator will also be hired to work on the project.Identifying opioid addictionAnother major aspect of the project will be to train nurses regarding their role in addressing the opioid epidemic, including the assessment, intervention and evaluation of opioid use disorders. “Opioid use is a public health concern, not only in the nation but in the state as well,” Mennenga said.This will support the South Dakota Department of Health’s Prescription Opioid Abuse Prevention Initiative, which is funded through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The goal is to reduce hospitalizations and deaths due to opioid misuse and abuse and thereby reduce health-care costs.The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported 42 opioid-related overdose deaths in South Dakota in 2016. Though that’s far below the national average, the S.D. Division of Behavioral Health website states “enough opiate doses were prescribed to South Dakotans in 2015 to medicate every adult in the state for 19 straight days.”Health Systems Development and Regulation Division Director Tom Martinec, who chairs the opioid initiative advisory committee, will serve as a resource for the SDSU team developing the opioid content. The professional development training related to opioid use will be delivered online so it is accessible to practicing nurses at the participating facilities.”By year four, we want to be able to have it more widely available to share with facilities across the state, not just those working with us during the grant project,” Mennenga said. Furthermore, she noted, “We will have lots of ways to evaluate the entire curriculum and training and will then make changes based on detailed program objectives.”This program will help strength the role that RNs play in primary care while addressing opioid addiction and, in the long run, increasing access to health care among rural, underserved populations. Source:https://www.sdstate.edulast_img read more

Small dim stars could still support life

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first_imgLife may be possible around red dwarfs after all. Researchers had long assumed that the small suns (artist’s conception above), which make up about three out of every four stars in the Milky Way, were too dim to provide enough light to any photosynthetic organisms on planets that orbited them. But new research, which will be published in an upcoming issue of the International Journal of Astrobiology, suggests that—based on calculations of exactly how much visible light would be available—such organisms would get enough light to survive, much like plants in Earth’s Arctic Circle subsist on significantly less light than their counterparts at lower latitudes. Still, this hypothetical alien world would need to orbit pretty close to its red dwarf—about as close as Mercury is to our sun—to get this light, and some scientists have said that this would expose the planet to sterilizing doses of radioactivity. But the team behind the new study also waves away that potential buzzkill, stating that after a few billion years these red dwarfs would be no less radioactive than our sun. If the researchers are right about both of their contentions, the study increases the probability of finding life on other worlds nearly a thousandfold, they say, while placing the nearest world where life could evolve less than 10 light-years away.last_img read more

Humans have been using bees for at least 9000 years

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first_imgA common fondness for honey bees goes all the way back to the Stone Age, according to a vast survey of ancient artifacts. It’s well known that people have liked bees—or rather, their honey and the handy wax in their honeycombs—for a long time. Bees are common in Egyptian hieroglyphics dating back to 2400 B.C.E.; some even older rock art appears to show people gathering honey. The new survey reveals the big picture of where and when harvesting honey and wax from wild bees became wildly popular. Searching for the chemical fingerprint of beeswax, the researchers examined fragments of about 6400 clay pots of Neolithic farmers living in the Near East, Europe, and North Africa. At least as far back as 9000 years ago, early farmers in what is now Turkey were using beeswax, the scientists report online today in Nature. Wax might have been used to waterproof pots; it could also be residue of honeycomb (see modern example above) used to sweeten food. A few thousand years later, beeswax was common among clay bowls and sieves in the Balkan Peninsula. Wax residue in pottery shows in Central Europe that honeycombs were also frequently used by the earliest known farmers there—living between 5500 and 5200 B.C.E.—about 1500 years earlier than previously thought. Beeswax turned up in pots as far north as Denmark, which may have been the ecological limit of honey bee range at that time.last_img read more

Earth barraged by supernovae millions of years ago debris found on moon

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first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email It sounds like the plot of a disaster movie: A nearby star explodes as a supernova, outshining the sun in the sky. The fleeting light show blows away Earth’s ozone layer, leaving the planet’s inhabitants—human and otherwise—exposed to the full force of the sun’s radiation. Cancer skyrockets, crops fail, and civilization falls apart. Far-fetched, perhaps, but two independent teams of researchers have found evidence that within the past 10 million years, our planet was in fact exposed to multiple nearby supernovae. Although these were too far away to cause death and destruction, the blasts would have been bright enough to see during the day—and could conceivably have sparked Earth’s recent ice ages.“The whole thing is very exciting,” says John Ellis, a theoretical physicist at King’s College London who works at CERN, the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland. “There’s a rain of results.”Scientists have long wondered whether a blast of photons and particles from a nearby supernova may have damaged the atmosphere enough to alter Earth’s climate and so change the course of evolution or even cause a major extinction event. In principle, a stellar explosion could bombard Earth at any time. However, the chances of that happening at any moment are tiny. Among the 100 billion stars in the Milky Way, just a couple explode into supernovae per century. An explosion close enough to have lethal effects is expected to happen 1.5 times every billion years. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Still, scientists already had good evidence for nearby supernovae. Those that have occurred since Earth formed could have left a mark on the planet in the form of particular radioactive isotopes—unstable versions of the normal elements around us. In the 1990s, modeling suggested that a supernova as far as 300 light-years away could send such isotopes to Earth if they were carried on dust grains flung out by the explosion. There are thousands of stars within that distance and yet only one supernova would be expected among them every million years.Researchers then scoured the globe for thin layers of radioactive isotopes in rock strata and in 1999 struck figurative gold:  Samples from beneath the ocean revealed some hard metallic layers, known as ferromanganese crusts that form slowly over millions of years, containing iron-60, an isotope with a half-life of 2.6 million years—so short that the material must be much younger than Earth. The iron-60 was in a stratum laid down 2.2 million years ago. Similar layers of iron-60 have since been found elsewhere in the oceans. Astronomers have also been scouring the skies for groups of stars that could have created the blasts, with suspicion falling on two: the Scorpius-Centaurus (Sco-Cen) association, a group of more than 400 stars that would have been about 400 light-years away when the supernova occurred; and the Tucana-Horologium (Tuc-Hor) moving group which was 200 light-years away at the time.However, the few iron-60 samples provide little information about the location of the offending supernova. In fact, in a paper posted on the arXiv.org preprint server yesterday, Ellis and colleagues argue that because of the effects on dust grains of magnetic fields, wind in the atmosphere, and ocean circulation, the iron-60 arriving on Earth would be pretty well churned around. “Terrestrial deposits are not very useful” for discerning direction, Ellis says. But they can reveal the rate at which atoms arrived, from which researchers can estimate the distance to the supernova. Current samples “very tentatively favor” the Tuc-Hor group, Ellis says.Today, however, Anton Wallner, a nuclear physicist at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra and colleagues report a new, much more detailed examination of iron-60 deposition around the globe and argue that Earth was exposed to a burst of multiple supernovae. Analyzing 120 ocean-floor samples from the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans, the team reports that iron-60 is detectable everywhere and that it doesn’t seem to represent a single event, as the effected strata stretch from 1.7 million to 3.2 million years ago, as the researchers report today in Nature. “It suggests there were a series of supernovae, one after another,” Wallner said in a press release.But Ellis cautions that researchers “have to be a little bit careful” because the time spread of deposits could have been caused by some sort of delay as a supernova’s dust grains crossed interstellar space. The ANU-led team also found iron-60 in deeper layers, signifying another event 8 million years ago.In a second Nature paper, a team led by Dieter Breitschwerdt of the Technical University of Berlin, used a novel astronomical approach to help nail down the source of the exploding stars. They modeled the “Local Bubble,” a region of hot, diffuse plasma in which the solar system currently resides. The bubble was, the scientists say, created by some 14 to 20 supernovae from the Sco-Cen association, which has since drifted away from the bubble. Their analysis suggests that two of those supernovae were close enough and recent enough to have contributed to iron-60 on Earth: the first 2.3 million years ago, the second 0.8 million years later; both about 300 light-years from Earth.“We may never be able to identify [the individual stars],” comments Neil Gehrels, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, “but we can see the regions of intense star formation” where they lived and died.So did these explosions have an impact on Earth and evolution? “It’s an interesting coincidence that they correspond with when the Earth cooled and moved from the Pliocene into the Pleistocene period,” Wallner said in a press release. The Pleistocene is an epoch that covered most of the past 2.5 million years and saw cooling of the atmosphere and repeated ice ages. Some have suggested that particles from supernovae could have increased cloud cover, cooling the Earth’s surface.To find out whether closer supernovae might have caused greater devastation further in the past, such as a mass extinction, will require a different radioactive isotope with a longer half-life. One candidate is plutonium-244, which has a half-life of 81 million years, but researchers haven’t found any yet.Researchers also have hopes that deposits on the moon and other solar system bodies could point the way to past supernovae. With no atmosphere or oceans on the moon, dust grains from supernovae may still lay where they landed, so could even give some hints of the direction the grains came from. In a paper due to be published next week in Physical Review Letters, a team reports an analysis of nine core samples brought back by the crews of Apollo 12, 15, and 16. The team found clear evidence of iron-60 deposition from the same supernovae sources as the samples on Earth and got a good measure of the rate of arrival.All of the Apollo samples come from sites close to the equator on the near side of the moon. To detect variations in iron-60 density, and so deduce direction, would require a wider distribution of samples, so will have to wait for future lunar expeditions. Ellis says that if he was involved in the planning: “I would urge sample returns from sites well away from the lunar equator.”last_img read more

More than 75 of surveyed sea animals glow in the dark

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first_img By Virginia MorellApr. 11, 2017 , 12:45 PM More than 75% of surveyed sea animals glow in the dark Most of us have probably seen photos of a deep-sea angler fish luring prey right down to its mouth with its fleshy, glowing lure. The lure shines because it is bioluminescent—it is chemical light the fish produces through bacteria. Once thought to be rare, a new study in Scientific Reports—and the first quantitative analysis of deep-sea bioluminescence—estimates that more than three-fourths of all the animals living from the sea’s surface to 4000 meters below can light up. Fish, jellyfish, worms (like this deep-sea tomoptorid worm), larvaceans, crustaceans, squids, and octopus all have the talent. Some, like the anglerfish, rely on light-emitting bacteria, but most, like many jellyfish (which can light up like Christmas decorations) make their own through chemistry. Some use the light to hunt, others to scare off predators or attract mates. That makes bioluminescence in the ocean an “ecological trait,” the scientists say, a characteristic that animals living in this habitat should be expected to have.last_img read more

DNA proves fearsome Viking warrior was a woman

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first_img By Michael PriceSep. 8, 2017 , 3:50 PM A 10th century Viking unearthed in the 1880s was like a figure from Richard Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries: an elite warrior buried with a sword, an ax, a spear, arrows, a knife, two shields, and a pair of warhorses. And like a mythical valkyrie (depicted above in a 19th century painting), a new study published today in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology finds that the warrior was a woman—the first high-status female Viking warrior to be identified. Excavators first uncovered the battle-ready body among several thousand Viking graves near the Swedish town of Birka, but for 130 years, most assumed it was a man—known only by the grave identifier, Bj 581. A few female Viking soldiers have been unearthed over the years, but none had the trappings of high rank found in the Birka burial—not just weapons and armor, but also game pieces and a board used for planning tactics. In recent years, reanalysis of skeletal characteristics had hinted that the corpse might be female. Now, the warrior’s DNA proves her sex, suggesting a surprising degree of gender balance in the Vikings’ violent social order. DNA proves fearsome Viking warrior was a womanlast_img read more

Podcast Driverless cars and muffled dolphins

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first_img Whales and dolphins have incredibly sensitive hearing and are known to be harmed by loud underwater noises. David Grimm talks with Sarah Crespi about new research on captive cetaceans suggesting that some species can naturally muffle such sounds—perhaps opening a way to protect these marine mammals in the wild.Sarah also interviews Staff Writer Jeffrey Mervis about his story on the future of autonomous cars. Will they really reduce traffic and make our lives easier? What does the science say?   Listen to previous podcasts.   [Image: Laura Wolf/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Laura Wolf/Flickr/CC BY 2.0 last_img read more

Trumps effort to roll back auto efficiency rules could hinge on debate

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first_img The science is clear that air pollution kills people, particularly particulates. You would have to estimate what a fleet of nationwide heavier vehicles would mean in terms of mileage or heavy pollution, and do the same for lighter vehicles. David R. Frazier Photolibrary, Inc./Alamy Stock Photo Trump’s effort to roll back auto efficiency rules could hinge on debate over safety 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 By Scott Waldman, E&E News, Zack Colman, E&E NewsAug. 1, 2018 , 1:20 PM Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Originally published by E&E NewsThe battle over car rules is a math problem, and it might have life-or-death consequences.At issue is how President Donald Trump’s administration will estimate potential fatalities in new cars that meet stringent standards on fuel efficiency established under former President Obama.The White House is making a central argument: More fuel-efficient cars and trucks will cost more money, so drivers could purchase fewer of these safer new models. The result? Older cars stay on the road longer, increasing the risk of injury to motorists and failing to reduce air pollution. President Donald Trump’s plan to reduce auto fuel efficiency requirements rests, in part, on the controversial claim that stiffer rules produce more fatal car accidents.center_img EPA cannot discount the air emissions part of the equation when weighing whether to roll back the vehicle efficiency rules, said William Schlesinger, a member of the agency’s Science Advisory Board and the former dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Any attempt to justify the rollback with traffic fatality numbers must also incorporate premature deaths from air pollution, he said. Millions of people worldwide die from air pollution, which is supported by an extensive body of research that can’t be ignored when weighing regulations related to one of the major global sources of that pollution, Schlesinger added.”The science is clear that air pollution kills people, particularly particulates,” he said. “You would have to estimate what a fleet of nationwide heavier vehicles would mean in terms of mileage or heavy pollution, and do the same for lighter vehicles.”But that’s a hard case to make. Showing the risks of climate change, stemming from tailpipes, is a lot more difficult than counting the number of traffic fatalities, said Jeff Holmstead, a former EPA air chief under President George W. Bush.”They’re just completely different issues. The data on traffic fatalities is much more obvious,” said Holmstead, who is now a lawyer at Bracewell LLP, headquartered in Houston, Texas.Even traffic deaths aren’t entirely clear. Bailo noted that 94% of accidents are caused by human error. Factors like weather and road conditions matter, too.CAFE opponents have been shifting their criticism after research had thrown cold water on their first line of attack: “down-weighting.” That’s the idea that automakers would focus almost entirely on making cars and trucks lighter to meet fuel marks. Those lighter vehicles are inherently less safe if involved in a crash with older, heavier models that would still be on the road, according to opponents of the CAFE program.But that rationale has largely been debunked, said David Greene, a civil and environmental engineering professor at the University of Tennessee and a member of the National Academies fuel economy committee.”The problem with that argument is that it didn’t take into account that all of the light-duty vehicles would be made lighter and the cars weren’t made smaller,” he said. That leads to a simple physics equation—if all cars are lighter, there’s less kinetic energy involved in any crash. Therefore, the force between two vehicles is reduced when they collide.The Obama-era standards incentivize reducing mass in the heaviest of vehicles to reduce the spread between vehicle weights across all classes, said Tom Wenzel, a research scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s (LBNL’s) energy efficiency standards group in California.Wenzel’s research has replicated recent NHTSA studies showing that carmakers can reduce mass while maintaining a vehicle’s footprint—the space between four wheels—and cause the same number of deaths, or possibly fewer. He was looking into whether a shrinking weight disparity between vehicles on the road also led to fewer fatalities, but the Energy Department stopped funding his research into that question last year.”I don’t think anyone was trying to prevent this from being analyzed,” Wenzel said. “We’ve done this study for many years. We’ve kind of resolved the issue that mass reductions do not inherently increase fatalities.”In addition to a fight over the validity of the administration’s safety analysis, the rollback could be legally vulnerable if it attempts to claim that car emissions are not a big contributor to greenhouse gas inventory, said Margo Oge, who headed EPA’s transportation office under Obama. In 2017, the transportation sector accounted for more greenhouse gas emissions than power plants. It was the first time.”They would have a pretty big legal challenge that they are not paying the right attention on the analysis of the greenhouse gas emissions,” she said. “They are going to have to say that the emissions from cars are not endangering public health and the environment, which they cannot do, downplaying climate analysis and air pollution.”A “massive court battle” is on the horizon between the federal government and California, plus the states that use its emissions standards, as a result of the rollback, said Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University.The way the administration accounts for greenhouse gases as a result of increased fuel consumption will be a major part of that case. He said the only way the administration would succeed in court is with a serious quantitative analysis that also considers air pollution levels and mortality rates related to them alongside traffic fatalities. If the administration hasn’t done that work, then it seems impossible to make a legally sound claim that traffic deaths would overcome deaths related to air pollution from more auto emissions, he said.”Emissions are the central focus of the Clean Air Act, and so any decision that is founded on the Clean Air Act necessarily has to take a serious look at air pollution,” Gerrard said.Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from E&E News. Copyright 2018. E&E provides essential news for energy and environment professionals at www.eenews.net Email Read more… William Schlesinger, Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country At the same time, though, the Trump administration has undervalued another important factor that contributes to mortality—climate change. By slashing the social cost of carbon, which places a monetary value on damages caused by greenhouse gases, the White House might be suggesting that its effort to allow more gasoline to be used in cars won’t incur a significant cost on the environment and people’s health.”It’s hard to say what the logic is or what the thought is from the [Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)] in the Trump administration,” said Carla Bailo, president for the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a member of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine fuel economy committee. “I can’t say that they’re looking into it holistically and looking at all those factors. But what I can say is that they should be.”The Trump administration is expected to announce its weakened car rules tomorrow, according to a source who’s knowledgeable about the timing. The Obama administration set a goal of 54.5 mpg in passenger vehicles by model year 2025. Trump’s plan would freeze the standard at 2020 levels, or 43.7 mpg, according to a leaked draft obtained by The New York Times. In practical terms, the change would reduce real-world fuel economy from about 36 mpg to 30 mpg.The plan also considers revoking a provision that allows California to exceed federal vehicle standards. A dozen other states and the District of Columbia use California’s standards.Critics of improved fuel efficiency have long argued that it leads to higher rates of death. The Trump administration contends that its proposal would avert nearly 1000 fatalities from crashes annually, while increasing oil consumption by 500,000 barrels per day, according to the leaked draft, which is a month old.The corporate average fuel economy, or CAFE, program is shared between two agencies: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and EPA, which is the latecomer. It began jointly administering the program with NHTSA under Obama, after a decision by the Supreme Court gave EPA authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from tailpipes. Before then, these gases, which cause the planet to warm up, were not monitored by the government. The highway administration had always seen CAFE as a motorist safety program, not an environmental one.EPA wrested primacy away from NHTSA under Obama, and it began emphasizing the environmental effects of fuel efficiency over safety, said John Graham, dean of the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs in Bloomington.Yet he noted that most of the benefits—up to 85%—from the Obama-era standards came from the expected fuel savings that motorists would experience over the lifetime of their vehicle. Societal gains from reducing pollution or thwarting climate change were far from central to making the math work. He said the efficiency targets will do little good for the environment if they’re too expensive to get on the road in the first place.”CAFE is not a public health regulation,” said Graham, who is a member of EPA’s Science Advisory Board. “It’s possible that global air pollution will be worse with the higher fuel efficiency target.”All of these assumptions, however, involve complex arithmetic laced with value judgments.Perhaps the murkiest of these involve how potential car-buyers would respond to higher vehicle prices, resulting from more fuel-efficient technology requirements. The Trump administration appears to heed the findings of behavioral economists who believe that consumers undervalue future fuel savings when purchasing cars. That means they might not buy the newest, and safest, cars and trucks on the market.”There is some evidence, I think, supporting that tighter standards are going to delay turnover,” said Joshua Linn, at senior fellow at think tank Resources for the Future in Washington, D.C.Over the last 10 years, Linn said, every percentage-point increase in standards resulted in a 0.2% drop in new vehicle demand.Bailo said the concerns about slower fleet turnover are unjustified. She also noted that automakers are building cars for international markets, where escalating fuel efficiency requirements to confront climate change are the norm.”The customer, year over year, they expect the fuel economy to go up. That’s a natural expectation. And automakers are working on a global platform,” Bailo said. “This is just the way things are going.”The arguments about a slower turnover of the car fleet wouldn’t alone justify weaker standards, Linn said. That’s where the Trump administration’s move to lower the social cost of carbon could help tip the balance. The draft proposal noted that the social cost of carbon would account for only domestic, not global, health benefits. That, Linn said in a recent paper, could reduce the value of climate benefits from the Obama-era car rules by 87%.”You’re setting the social cost of carbon essentially to zero,” Linn said. “You’re making this a policy about consumers being better off. There’s no consideration of social benefits.”last_img read more

QA Escalating battle over Minnesota mine puts spotlight on studies of potential

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first_img Jim Brandenburg/Minden Pictures/National Geographic Controversy surrounds a proposal to place a copper mine near the Boundary Waters wilderness in Minnesota. Two Democratic lawmakers poised to rise to powerful positions in the U.S. House of Representatives are demanding that President Donald Trump’s administration explain its decision to abruptly abandon a study of the potential environmental impacts of mining on wildlands and waterways in northern Minnesota. The move marks the latest twist in what is becoming a major political battle over mining on U.S. public lands.In a letter sent last week to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, representatives Betty McCollum (D–MN) and Raúl Grijalva (D–AZ) asked the officials to detail why they prematurely ended a 20-month-old environmental assessment aimed at examining the risks that a proposed copper and nickel mine might pose to 95,000 hectares of federal land within the Rainy River watershed. The study began in 2016, after former President Barack Obama’s administration moved to bar mining in the watershed, which sits within the Superior National Forest next to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. But the Trump administration canceled the study in September, saying it had revealed “no new scientific information” on mining risks. It also announced it would renew mineral leases in the watershed. One company, Twin Metals Minnesota based in St. Paul, has long eyed the area for a large open pit mine.The Trump administration should immediately halt those leasing efforts, say the two lawmakers, who will become senior members of the House when Democrats take control of the chamber in January. McCollum is expected to lead a spending panel that oversees public lands, and Grijalva is expected to lead the House natural resources panel. Agency officials violated federal environmental laws by canceling the study, they alleged in a previous letter sent on 5 November. And they “appear to have disregarded scientific information” in many “new scientific reports detailing the risk of sulfide-ore mining.” Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwecenter_img By Susan CosierNov. 21, 2018 , 12:40 PM Q&A: Escalating battle over Minnesota mine puts spotlight on studies of potential impacts In particular, the lawmakers pointed to an array of studies by state and academic researchers that detail potential problems associated with so-called metallic sulfide mines, such as the one proposed by Twin Metals. When sulfide ores or waste tailings that contain copper and other metals are exposed to air and water, chemical reactions create sulfuric acid, contributing to highly acidic runoff that can harm aquatic life. Many mines continue to produce acidic runoff for decades after they have closed, as water continues to percolate through pits and tailings. Treatment systems can reduce the acidity, but the process can be expensive.Sulfate released by the mines also can set off a biochemical chain reaction that enables methylmercury, a potent neurotoxin, to build up in fish and other organisms. The sulfate can also reshuffle food webs, killing aquatic plants and helping feed problematic algae blooms. In Minnesota, excess sulfate has been shown to kill wild rice, a culturally and economically important aquatic plant.One researcher involved in examining mine impacts is biogeochemist Lawrence Baker of the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. In 2013, the nonprofit group Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness asked Baker to evaluate the potential impacts of a sulfide mine near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. He recently spoke with ScienceInsider about that work. This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.Q: Why has the proposed Twin Metals mine been controversial?A: We’re not talking about something out in the plains, or on a desert. We’re talking about an area that is immediately adjacent to a wilderness area. It’s a major recreational area; 250,000 people a year go into the Boundary Waters.Q: What are these mines like?A: Since less than 1% of the rock, the ore, is copper, it means you have an enormous amount of tailings leftover. The rock gets crushed with these enormous grinders basically to a powder. They run it through a series of flotation steps with different densities of fluids … to get different parts of the ore to settle. It’s not just copper. They try to get gold and other things, too. In the end, you end up extracting 0.7% or less of the rock. The rest of it becomes the tailings.Q: What are some of the potential environmental impacts?A: Many lakes up here are fairly sensitive to acidification: It wouldn’t take a whole lot [of acid mine drainage] to cause some lakes to suffer.  If [the water] gets below pH 5, your sport fish will go away. The most delicate fish are actually not the game fish. It’s the minnows that they eat that are very sensitive. They’re the first thing to go. If they go, the larger fish will go.We also have a mercury problem in our state. Mercury is produced mainly by combustion of coal. Additional sulfate tends to make the [mercury] problem worse in a fairly complex way. The sulfate gets reduced to sulfide [in water and sediments]. That tends to mobilize the mercury, converting it into methylmercury, which is more soluble and accumulates in fish. [Sulfate also has] the indirect effect on wild rice. From a sulfate standpoint, it’s the worst place you could put a mine.We are also concerned with flows in a river. Simply by pulling water out of the river and using it for mining, you would lower the [lowest] flow. If you have a constant input of pollutants, the impact of those pollutants would be worse at low flow. Therefore, for any other pollutant—for example, a leaking septic system—the effects would be worse [at low flows].Q: What about the mine tailings?A: Normally, you build some sort of a dam—typically a rock dam or a pond, or a great big pit, or many great big pits. To a varying degree, [the wastes] solidify. When they put it in, it’s a slurry. The problem is that these tailings dams tend to break. There are about two large tailings dam failures in the world per year. The Mount Polley mine in British Columbia, Canada, which is about 100 miles north of the Twin Metals site, failed [in 2014].Q: Can a company do anything to mitigate the potentially negative effects?A: You can continue active treatment [of the acidic mine runoff] forever. That’s what you have to do. I don’t think we can predict what’s going to happen 20, 30 years after a mine closes. There has to be vigilance well beyond the closure of the mine. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)last_img read more

Everything To Know About Trumps New Press Secretary

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first_imgHow is this acceptable? #disgusting #boycottT.I. @Tip https://t.co/HvnFahfsVK— Stephanie Grisham (@StephGrisham45) October 13, 2018The minute-long video imagined T.I. as the president, showing him wearing a suit in the Oval Office, where a Melania Trump look-alike enters wearing only a jacket. The would-be first lady then sheds the jacket stripper-style and jumps on the desk in the nude before proceeding to vandalize a portrait of Donald Trump. The video ends with a clip of the president, Make America Great Again hat planted firmly on top of his head, riding in a golf cart and flashing the thumbs up sign. That said, Grisham has issued several statements in the past that seemed to go against sentiment from the president, which could be an indication of a more transparent approach at press briefings than her predecessor.After the president’s Twitter fingers took aim at LeBron James’ intelligence, Grisham issued a statement on behalf of the first lady supporting the basketball legend’s efforts in education.“It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation and just as she always has, the First Lady encourages everyone to have an open dialogue about issues facing children today,” Grisham told CNN last August.Another statement released by Grisham seemed to undermine past comments the president made about African nations when he referred to them as “shithole countries” in January of 2018. As the first lady was about to embark on a solo trip to Africa in October, Grisham said Melania Trump would be traveling to “four beautiful and very different countries in Africa” for a “diplomatic and humanitarian visit” to benefit “children and their well-being” as part of the first lady’s controversial Be Best initiative.SEE ALSO:How Bernie Sanders’ Student Debt Forgiveness Plan Would Affect Black BorrowersBody Found In New York River Feared To Be Popular YouTuber Etika AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisMoreShare to EmailEmailEmail GHANA-US-POLITICS-DIPLOMACY Today’s visit w the children in Texas impacted @flotus greatly. If media would spend their time & energy on her actions & efforts to help kids – rather than speculate & focus on her wardrobe – we could get so much accomplished on behalf of children. #SheCares #ItsJustAJacket— Stephanie Grisham (@StephGrisham45) June 21, 2018The new press secretary also took some shots at Omarosa Manigault-Newman, whose less-than-glorious departure from the White House was under a ton of controversy. Omarosa’s resignation (firing?) prompted Grisham to tell Newsweek that Melania Trump “rarely, if ever, interacted with Omarosa” and that the first lady disagreed with how Omarosa was “lashing out and retaliating in such a self-serving way, especially after all the opportunities given to her by the president.” I am pleased to announce @StephGrisham45 will be the next @PressSec & Comms Director! She has been with us since 2015 – @potus & I can think of no better person to serve the Administration & our country. Excited to have Stephanie working for both sides of the @WhiteHouse. #BeBest— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) June 25, 2019“Grisham will be assuming the roles formerly held by Bill Shine, who departed as White House communications director in March, and Sanders, who has said her last day will be this Friday,” CNN reported. “Additionally, Grisham will remain in charge of communications for the East Wing in addition to her new West Wing responsibilities, staying on as the spokeswoman for the first lady.”The announcement Tuesday put Grisham back in national news, where she made a big splash back in October when she called for a boycott of rapper T.I. over the way the first lady was depicted in a video posted to social media. Melania Trump Lands In Africa, Gets As Far Away From The President As Possible The newly named White House press secretary’s work history in the Trump administration could prompt some questions about what she may prioritize in her new, much higher-profile role than the one she was leaving.Stephanie Grisham was set to succeed Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who left her post in disgrace after repeatedly lying to the American people during press briefings. Grisham had been serving as director of communications for Melania Trump for the past two years before the first lady made the White House personnel announcement on Twitter Tuesday afternoon. Dear 45,I ain’t Kanye. pic.twitter.com/BCS8nkbn1M— T.I. (@Tip) October 13, 2018The jacket the fake Melania wore in the video was the same one the real Melania sported on her trip to the border last year, which was purportedly to visit migrant children who the government had caged. The words “I DON’T REALLY CARE, DO U?” were printed on the back of the jacket in a move that was ridiculed as being completely tone-deaf to the gravity of the situation where families were being separated by U.S. immigration agents.Still, Grisham defended the first lady’s choice of wardrobe in a tweet that was accompanied by the hashtag, “ItsJustAJacket.”last_img read more

Metric system overhaul will dethrone the one true kilogram

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first_img Metric system overhaul will dethrone the one, true kilogram Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) The atoms in a sphere of silicon-28 were counted to fix the Avogadro constant and redefine the mole. A copy of Le Grand K, the kilogram standard, can be seen in the sphere’s reflection.  Like an aging monarch, Le Grand K is about to bow to modernity. For 130 years, this gleaming cylinder of platinum-iridium alloy has served as the world’s standard for mass. Kept in a bell jar and locked away at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) in Sèvres, France, the weight has been taken out every 40 years or so to calibrate similar weights around the world. Now, in a revolution far less bloody than the one that cost King Louis XVI his head, it will cede its throne as the one, true kilogram.When the 26th General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) convenes next week in Versailles, France, representatives of the 60 member nations are expected to vote to redefine the International System of Units (SI) so that four of its base units—the kilogram, ampere, kelvin, and mole—are defined indirectly, in terms of physical constants that will be fixed by fiat. They’ll join the other three base units—the second, meter, and candela (a measure of a light’s perceived brightness)—that are already defined that way. The rewrite eliminates the last physical artifact used to define a unit, Le Grand K.The shift aims to make the units more stable and allow investigators to develop ever more precise and flexible techniques for converting the constants into measurement units. “That’s the beauty of the redefinition,” says Estefanía de Mirandés, a physicist at BIPM. “You are not limited to one technology.” But even proponents of the arcane changes acknowledge they may bewilder nonexperts. “Cooler heads have said, ‘What are we going to do about teaching people to use this?’” says Jon Pratt, a physicist at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Metric unitQuantityDefining constant Metric unitKilogramQuantityMassDefining constantPlanck constant Metric unitMeterQuantityDistanceDefining constantSpeed of light Metric unitSecondQuantityTimeDefining constantCesium radiation frequency Metric unitAmpereQuantityCurrentDefining constantElectron’s charge Metric unitKelvinQuantityTemperatureDefining constantBoltzmann constant Metric unitMoleQuantityAmount of substanceDefining constantAvogadro constant Metric unitCandelaQuantityLuminous intensityDefining constantEfficacy of light of a specific frequency By Adrian ChoNov. 6, 2018 , 4:05 PMcenter_img The new SI generalizes the trade-off already exploited to define the meter more precisely in terms of the speed of light. Until 1983, light’s speed was something to be measured in terms of independently defined meters and seconds. However, that year, the 17th CGPM defined the speed of light as exactly 299,792,458 meters per second. The meter then became the measurable thing: the distance light travels in 1/299,792,458 seconds. (The second was pegged to the oscillations of microwave radiation from cesium atoms in 1967.)The new SI plays the same game with the other units. For example, it defines the kilogram in terms of the Planck constant, which pops up all over quantum mechanics. The constant is now fixed as exactly 6.62607015×10-34 kilogram meters squared per second. Because the kilogram appears in that definition, any experiment that previously measured the constant becomes a way to measure out a kilogram instead.Such experiments are much harder than clocking light speed, a staple of undergraduate physics. One technique employs a device called a Kibble balance, which is a bit like the mythical scales of justice. A mass on one side is counterbalanced by the electric force produced by an electrical coil on the other side, hanging in a magnetic field. To balance the weight, a current must run through the coil. Researchers can equate the mass to that current times an independent voltage generated when they remove the mass and move the coil up and down in the magnetic field. PTB Metric makeover An impending vote is expected to redefine metric base units in terms of fixed physical constants.  (DATA) INTERNATIONAL BUREAU OF WEIGHTS AND MEASURES The real trickiness enters in sizing up the current and voltage, with quantum mechanical devices that do it in terms of the charge of the electron and the Planck constant. Now that the new SI has fixed those constants, the balance can be used to mete out a slug with a mass of exactly 1 kilogram. The redefinition also effectively makes the quantum techniques the SI standards for measuring voltages and currents, says James Olthoff, a NIST physicist. Until now, the SI has defined the ampere impractically, in terms of the force between infinitely long current carrying wires separated by a meter.But applying the complex new definitions will baffle anybody without an advanced degree in physics, argues Gary Price, a metrologist in Sydney, Australia, who used to advise Australia’s National Standards Commission. In fact, he argues, the new SI fails to meet one of the basic requirements of a units system, which is to specify the amount of mass with which to measure masses, the amount of length with which to measure lengths, and so on. “The new SI is not weights and measures at all,” Price says.Metrologists considered more intuitive redefinitions, Olthoff says. For example, you could define the kilogram as the mass of some big number of a particular atom. But such a standard would be impractical, Olthoff says. Somewhat ironically, researchers have already counted the atoms in exquisitely round, 1-kilogram spheres of silicon-28 to fix an exact value for the mole, formerly defined as the measurable number of carbon-12 atoms in 12 grams of the stuff.If approved, the new SI goes into effect in May 2019. In the short term, little will change, Pratt says. NIST will continue to propagate weight standards by calibrating its kilogram weights—although now it will do so with its Kibble balance. Eventually, Pratt says, researchers could develop tabletop balances that companies could use to calibrate their own microgram weights.Next up is a rethink of the second. Metrologists are developing more precise atomic clocks that use optical radiation with higher frequencies than the current cesium standard. They should form the basis for a finer definition of the second, De Mirandés says, perhaps in 2030.As for Le Grand K, BIPM will keep it and will periodically calibrate it as a secondary mass standard, De Mirandés says. That’s a fairly dignified end for a deposed French king. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwelast_img read more

The Royal Dwarf Wedding Which Ended in a Drunken Brawl

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first_imgThe Russian Tsar Peter the Great was well known for his particular love of small people. This was somewhat ironic given his own size: at a height of six feet and seven inches, he towered above most visitors to his court, yet he was obsessed with dwarfs. Peter kept a permanent retinue of dwarfs in his court and frequently used them to put on lavish entertainments. During extravagant feasts in the royal palace, it was not uncommon to see a naked dwarf leaping from a giant pie, or plays and entertainments using dwarf actors.Peter the Great.However, in one of the court’s stranger episodes, Peter the Great decided to hold a lavish mock wedding involving the dwarf Iakim Volkov. Volkov was the official court dwarf, and a permanent fixture at royal events. He was favored by the Tsar and often took part in Peter’s strange entertainments.According to royal biographer Lindsay Hughes, in late October 1710, the royal court was set ablaze by the marriage of Peter’s niece Anna to Frederick William, the Duke of Courland. The wedding was a huge event, consisting of several days of feasting, fireworks and other entertainments.Peter I Monument in Taganrog, by Mark Antokolski.As the celebrations for the nuptials of Anna and Frederick drew to a close, Peter decided to hold a parallel ‘mock’ wedding as yet another form of entertainment for the guests. Iakim Volkov would be the groom, and he would be attended by dozens of fellow dwarfs. Peter ordered that all the dwarfs in Moscow were to be rounded up and sent to St Petersburg, where they were kept caged in pens like cattle.According to historian Simon Sebag Montefiore, on the day of the fake wedding, Peter ordered the dwarfs to be dressed as courtiers, and released into the court to celebrate the ‘marriage’ of Volkov. The day began with a huge procession, including 72 dwarfs, the Tsar and his royal court.Peter the Great as a child.The company processed down to St Peter and Paul’s cathedral where the ceremony took place. Peter held the wedding crown over the head of the dwarf bride as the onlookers (including the priest) sniggered and giggled.The wedding banquet took place in Menshikov’s Palace, where the dwarfs were installed in long tables and plied with food and vodka, as the royal courtiers and the royal family looked on in amusement from the sides of the room.After some time, the dwarfs became increasingly drunk and began to dance, fight and fall over. Many of them came from rural communities and were uncultured and ill mannered. They quickly becoming intoxicated and the feast descended into a brawl, which was observed with amusement by the courtiers and royal family.Portrait of Peter I by Godfrey Kneller, 1698. This portrait was Peter’s gift to the King of England.This rather sad image may seem particularly cruel according to modern sensibilities. Indeed, many of the dwarfs in the wedding party had little choice in their involvement, and were forced to comply with the Tsar’s demands under pain of imprisonment or even death.Although some dwarfs could rise to high status in the court (such as Iakim Volkov), their position was always precarious, and depended on keeping the Tsar happy and entertained.Peter’s taste for using dwarfs in his court entertainments may, however, have been more than simply a reflection of his eccentric tastes. According to the historian Lindsay Hughes, he used dwarfs to create spectacles that mirrored Russian society, and particularly aspects of his own royal court that he found ridiculous or risible.Russian courtiers were well known around Europe for their drunkenness and rude manners, and in some ways, Peter may have been poking fun at his own court. The Russian courtiers may have adopted Western European dress and styles, but they were still a long way from being considered ‘civilized’ by their French and British peers.Read another story from us: The Court Dwarf Served in a Pie to a KingBy juxtaposing his niece’s nuptial celebrations with those of the fake ‘dwarf wedding,’ Peter was showing his courtiers what they were: ill-mannered, uncouth children on the European stage. It’s not clear, however, if any of his courtiers got the joke.last_img read more

Caribbean countries urged to prepare for heatwaves

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first_imgShareTweetSharePinWhile Europe is experiencing heatwaves, North America, Central America and the Caribbean are also at risk. The situation could worsen between July and August, with adverse impact on human health.In view of the current heatwaves in Europe and predictions that this phenomenon will hit various parts of the Americas, the Pan American Health Organization/ World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) is urging countries in the Region to be prepared, due to the impact that this could have on peoples’ health, including the risk of death.During the southern hemisphere’s summer of 2018-2019, seven countries in the Americas (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay) were affected by heatwaves, a phenomenon never seen before in the Region. The heatwaves that have had the greatest impact since 2000 were the one in Brazil in 2010 that caused the death of 737 people, and the one in Argentina in the summer of 2013-2014 that caused 1,877 deaths and left 800,000 people with no power, which increased heat stress in that population. According to health authorities in the United States, heatwaves are the natural phenomenon that cause the highest number of deaths in that country.Weather forecasts for North America, Central America and the Caribbean predict heat waves during the summer of 2019. This could increase drought-induced stress, lead to forest fires, and have harmful effects on human health. Contingency plans to address heatwavesDue to the situation, PAHO has developed a guide to help countries in the Region formulate contingency plans to address heatwaves. This guide provides recommendations that the health sector and meteorological agencies can implement to prepare for and better respond to this threat, promote health, prevent the adverse effects of heatwaves, treat affected people, and save lives.The document stresses that heatwave contingency plans should be able to determine the extent of the threat, with alert activation procedures, a description of roles and functions, and intra- and inter-agency coordination mechanisms.The document also highlights that countries should strengthen the epidemiological surveillance of heat-related morbidity and mortality, the capacity of health services (training of staff, improvements in the design of new hospitals, and equipping of existing hospitals in high-risk areas), and enhance the actions of local authorities, the media, and communities in terms of inter-agency response measures, prevention measures, and self-care. The impact of heatwaves on healthExposure to heat causes severe symptoms such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke (a condition which causes faintness, as well as dry, warm skin, due to the inability of the body to control high temperatures). The majority of heat-related deaths are due to the worsening of cardiopulmonary, renal, endocrine and psychiatric conditions. Other symptoms include edema in the lower limbs, heat rash on the neck, cramps, headache, irritability, lethargy and weakness.People with chronic diseases that take daily medications have a greater risk of complications and death during a heatwave, as do older people and children.Reactions to heat depends on each person’s ability to adapt and serious effects can appear suddenly. This is why it is important to pay attention to the alerts and recommendations of local authorities.Read more…..last_img read more

Israeli DJ shot dead in club in central Mexico

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first_img Related News By Reuters |Mexico City | Published: June 30, 2019 8:10:33 am ‘I told him not to go’: Mother of drowned Salvadoran migrant laments The attorney general’s office said Dahan was believed to be performing at the club, and was identified by the documentation he had on him. He was an Israeli national, the statement added.An official Facebook page for Dahan said he was born in France, grew up in Israel and was now based in Stockholm.The Facebook page said Dahan had released at least 10 electronic albums and had gone on several world tours. Mexico vows to identify thousands of remains, ‘worst legacy’ of violence MEXICO, israeli dj shot in mexico city, israeli dj Ronen Dahan, Ronen Dahan shot dead, Ronen Dahan dead in mexico, dj Ronen Dahan dead, world news Israeli DJ Ronen Dahan, also known as DJ Perplex. (Source: Facebook/Ronen Dahan)Unidentified gunmen shot dead Israeli electronic music DJ Ronen Dahan, also known as Perplex, during an attack at a dance club in the central Mexican city of San Luis Potosi, authorities said on Saturday. Advertising Mexico’s crackdown at its southern border, prompted by Trump, scares migrants from crossing The attorney general’s office for the surrounding state of San Luis Potosi said in a statement that a group of armed men entered the club in the south of the city early on Saturday and opened fire, killing Dahan, 45, and wounding three other people.One of the wounded later died of his injuries in a hospital.The shooters left the building and their whereabouts were unknown, the statement said. The motive was not clear. Advertising Post Comment(s)last_img read more

Solan building collapse Armymen among dead

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first_img After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan Advertising Cabinet asks finance panel to consider securing funds for defence Advertising After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan A building collapse at Kumarhatti-Nahan road in Solan, many people reported buried under the collapse building debries in Solan on Sunday. Express Photo by Pradeep Kumar 14.07.19Three persons, including two Army personnel, were killed when a three-storey building on the Kumarhatti-Nahan highway in Solan district collapsed amidst heavy rains on Sunday evening. Till late in the night, around a dozen others, most of them Army personnel, remained trapped in the debris. Soldiers from the Dagshai Cantonment were the first to arrive at the site.Solan Superintendent of Police Shiv Kumar said policemen, home guards and civilian workers were part of the rescue operations.Four Army medical teams are at the spot. Top News Post Comment(s)center_img The building was owned by one Sahil, and initial reports said he was getting some extension work done on it. He had leased out a part of it for the restaurant. Both Sahil and the dhaba owner were not in the building at the time of the collapse, while Sahil’s two schoolgoing sons had just stepped out to play.Satbir Singh, one of the cooks at the restaurant, said he thought they had been struck by an earthquake. Another cook said around 30 Army personnel were having snacks in two rooms in the basement when the building collapsed.Hardeep Singh from Ambala, who had stopped at the restaurant for a meal, said the building crumbled within seconds, adding that he managed to clamber out on his own.Ranjit, a worker at the restaurant, said he had just finished washing utensils and was making rotis when it happened. Best Of Express Cabinet asks finance panel to consider securing funds for defence The dead included two junior commissioned officers (JCOs) of the 4 Assam regiment, Subedar Raj Kishore and Subedar Balwinder Singh, and Archana Devi, wife of the building owner.An Army official said 27 people, including 18 Army personnel, had been rescued till 8 pm. Rescue operations are still on, led by an NDRF team from Panchkula and troops from the Army’s Dagshai Cantonment. Soldiers of the 4 Assam Regiment had come to an eatery in the three-storey building. (Express Photo by Pradeep Kumar)Locals said soldiers of the 4 Assam regiment had come to the Sehaj Tandoori dhaba, housed in the building, for a meal hosted by some JCOs. Sources at the Dharampur Police Station said 30 Army personnel and around a dozen others were inside the restaurant.In Pics | Collapsed building in Solan Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield Written by Saurabh Prashar | Kumarhatti | Updated: July 15, 2019 4:59:39 pmlast_img read more

Nobel Prize for the economics of innovation and climate change stirs controversy

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first_img Nobel Prize for the economics of innovation and climate change stirs controversy Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe The 2018 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel However, some economists objected to the citations because both laureates’ work emphasized growth as the ultimate measure of an economy’s success—an approach they argue has contributed to the climate crisis. “I would say [this prize] is the last hurrah of a certain old guard of the economics profession that want to preserve the idea of growth at all costs,” says Julia Steinberger, an ecological economist at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Email It’s entirely possible for humans to reduce carbon emissions. There will be some trade-offs, but once we try we will find that it wasn’t as hard as we thought it would be. In the late 1980s, Romer focused on the economic value of ideas. Until that time, economists had largely treated them as an external, or exogenous, factor in the economy. Instead, Romer asked what economic conditions spawn moneymaking ideas, an effort that came to fruition in 1990 when he published what has become known as endogenous growth theory.In an economy dominated by tech companies such as Apple and Google, investment in ideas and knowledge may seem like a no-brainer, says David Reiner, a political scientist at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, “but in the 1980s and ’90s maybe it was less obviously the fundamental driver of long-term economic growth.” Although abstract, Romer’s theory has had an impact on governments around the globe, Reiner says. Romer himself has also played a role in setting economic policy, serving as chief economist and senior vice president of the World Bank from October 2016 until January.Everybody agrees that in the 1970s, Nordhaus pioneered the economic study of climate change. “He really invented climate economics,” Schubert says. In his integrated assessment model (IAM), Nordhaus explored how economic activity affected carbon emission, how emissions affected the environment, and how the environment then fed back to affect the economy. “Linking economics to the natural sciences is a big breakthrough,” says Dabo Guan, an environmental economist at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, U.K.Nordhaus’s model was relatively crude, but the IPCC relies on four newer, far-more-detailed IAMs to make its predictions about how emissions and the global economy will respond to various policy measures. Crucially, Nordhaus’s work suggested carbon emissions would plummet if governments could place a price on carbon dioxide emissions. The European Union has tried to implement such a scheme in its EU Emissions Trading System.However, this is where some economists object to Nordhaus’s work. The debate underscores a rift between environmental economists on one side and ecological economists on the other. As does Nordhaus, environmental economists apply the tools of mainstream economics to the climate problem, so their models focus on economic growth as the measure of a policy’s success. That approach is problematic, ecological economists say, because it leads to trade-offs to increase growth in the short term on the assumption that it will make it easier to deal with the increased environmental damage in the long term.But, instead of spurring governments to take action against climate change, Nordhaus’s approach has been used to justify putting it off, Steinberger argues. “His kind of analysis has been used to delay, delay, delay,” she says. In 1992 Nordhaus published an analysis in which he identified 3°C as the optimum temperature increase for the growth of capital, although he has since modified that position.Even when carbon pricing has been tried, it hasn’t had much effect, says John Barrett, an ecological economist at the University of Leeds. Referring to the European Union’s emissions trading scheme, Barrett says, “I think it’s fair to say that most people think that’s a disaster.” A better general approach, Barrett says, would be to define the environmental damage that cannot be endured and then, through regulation, shape economic activity to fit within the implied limits. “I’m not against pricing carbon,” he says. “I just see that as part of a more complex picture.”Environmental economists counter that Nordhaus’s work was just a first step toward confronting climate change. “Environmental economists put a big emphasis on a carbon tax, but they don’t say, ‘You don’t need anything else,'” Schubert says. “That would be crazy.”Romer sounded an optimistic note at the press conference announcing the prize. “It’s entirely possible for humans to reduce carbon emissions,” he said. “There will be some trade-offs, but once we try we will find that it wasn’t as hard as we thought it would be.” However, as the IPCC report makes clear, time is running very short. Often, the awarding of a Nobel Prize triggers a round of carping about who else should have shared in the prize. This year’s prize for economics—officially, the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel—has sparked a rarer controversy. Some economists argue one winner’s work is wrongheaded and has compromised humanity’s ability to deal with the existential threat of climate change.Half of this year’s $1 million economics prize honors Paul Romer, 63, an economist at New York University’s Stern School of Business in New York City for his work “integrating technological innovations into long-run macroeconomic analysis.” The other half goes to William Nordhaus, 77, an economist at Yale University, “for integrating climate change into long-run macroeconomic analysis.”The awards came the same day that the United Nations’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report, which emphasized the increased environmental damage that will occur if humans do not limit the rise of global average temperatures to 1.5°C, but let it climb 2°C. The IPCC report also says people have about a decade to cut their carbon emissions in half before the lower goal slips away. “I am very, very pleased that somebody working on climate change got the Nobel Prize,” says Katheline Schubert, an environmental economist at the Paris School of Economics. “Certainly, it is well deserved.” Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Nobel Foundation By Adrian ChoOct. 8, 2018 , 9:40 PM Paul Romer, New York University Stern School of Business last_img read more

Canada denied visas to dozens of Africans for a big artificial intelligence

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first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Email Black In AI Mathieu Genest, the press secretary for Canada’s immigration minister in Ottawa, explained in an email that “Visa applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis. … Decisions are made by highly trained, independent visa officers.” Everyone gets evaluated on the same criteria, regardless of where they’re from, he added in an interview.The most common reason Canadian officials offered for denying a visa was that the applicant might not return home after the event, citing travel history, finances, or insufficient employment. In many cases, Canada also decided that letters of recommendation that Bengio had written for invitees were fraudulent, without explaining the reason or checking with Bengio.Bengio calls fears that foreign researchers would stay in Canada absurd. “Why would a Ph.D. student in Africa doing research in AI become an illegal immigrant in Canada and end up washing dishes and living undercover?” he says. “We all know that their skills are in high demand and that they’ll be able to get very good jobs almost anywhere.”Some NeurIPS invitees from Asia and Eastern Europe were also denied visas, Bengio says. But the high rejection and no-response rate for Africans—nearly 50%—“raise the possibility that bias, discrimination, and racism are part of the explanation.”The day before Black in AI, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the headquarters of Element AI here—a company co-founded by Bengio—to announce an additional $230 million in federal funding for the field. When asked about the Black in AI visa issue, he told reporters someone would look into it.That pledge came too late for Mwiza Simbeye, a co-founder of AgriPredict, an app for identifying diseased crops, and a student at the African Leadership University in Kigali. He had won a Google fellowship and hoped to attend NeurIPS to meet his mentor. Coming from Rwanda, he was denied a visa twice, despite three recommendation letters—from NeurIPS, Google, and Black in AI.Canada also denied a visa to Tejumade Afonja, who co-organizes AI Saturdays Lagos, a study group in Nigeria, and works at InstaDeep, an AI company founded in Africa. She was invited to present work on ChowNet, a database of images of African food to help train image-recognition software. “I really felt so bad for not being able to attend,” Afonja says.NeurIPS will take place in Vancouver, Canada, in 2019 and 2020, but growing concern about visa issues means Canada risks losing other conferences. In 2020, to avoid visa issues, the International Conference on Learning Representations, a top AI conference co-founded by Bengio, will take place in Ethiopia.Timnit Gebru, a researcher at Google in Mountain View, California, and co-founder of Black in AI, says African scientists’ difficulty obtaining visas for Canada is “a long-standing problem” that demands attention. “This happens every day and no one cares,” Afonja says. “We are shedding more light on the process. They are denying a lot of people the opportunity to do amazing stuff.” MONTREAL, CANADA—Dozens of African researchers were denied visas for an artificial intelligence (AI) meeting here last week, even as the Canadian government takes steps to advance the country’s standing in AI and the field aims for greater inclusivity.Black in AI, a daylong workshop for scientists of African descent held in conjunction with the Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS), a leading AI conference, had invited more than 200 scientists from Africa to participate. But about half of the visa applications led to denials or acceptances so delayed that the researchers were unable to attend. “It looks like we have some inconsistency between what one part of government does and what another does,” says Yoshua Bengio, a NeurIPS organizer and professor at the University of Montreal.NeurIPS is the largest AI conference in the world. This year, more than 8500 people came for academic talks, conversations with job recruiters, and social events. Conference organizers foresaw problems obtaining visas for foreign invitees and reached out to the Canadian government for help in July. Still, out of 230 Africans, about 15% heard back too late to attend or not at all. Another 33% were denied visas. By Matthew HutsonDec. 12, 2018 , 3:00 PM Canada denied visas to dozens of Africans for a big artificial intelligence conference 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 (*)last_img read more