German research promised a decade of budget increases

first_img German research promised a decade of budget increases Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Bernd von Jutrczenka/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images By Gretchen VogelMay. 3, 2019 , 12:20 PM Negotiations centered on who—the federal or state government—should shoulder the increases. Since 2014, the federal government has covered the budget increases, skewing traditional cost-sharing formulas between the federal and state governments. The funding of Max Planck institutes traditionally is split 50-50 between the state and federal government, for example, whereas Leibnitz institutes are funded 90% by states.The federal government’s insistence that the states return to covering their full share was a threat to the 3% yearly boosts. Instead, the ministers agreed to keep the budgets growing and to spread out the rebalancing process over a 10-year agreement instead of the usual 5 years. The federal government will cover most of the increases through 2023, and the states will increase their share from 2024 through 2030.In return, the research organizations will undergo more yearly evaluations—and a full evaluation in 5 years. That doesn’t mean the increases are in jeopardy, Federal Minister of Education and Research Anja Karliczek said here at a press conference. “It will be a chance to make sure the organizations are on track to meet the goals they set—and refocus if necessary,” she says. Kleiner welcomes the evaluations. “We have to accept that we can show we are using the money wisely.”In recent weeks Karliczek has been the target of criticism, with commentators predicting she would be one of the first ministers to go if Chancellor Angela Merkel reshuffles her cabinet, as is expected following European elections in late May. But the agreement could silence some of those critics. “It’s a brilliant coup” for the minister, Kleiner says.Merkel and state leaders are expected to give final approval to the plan on 6 June.center_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email German research minister Anja Karliczek helped negotiate a budget deal with steady rises for science. BERLIN—German research organizations cheered a decision announced today by state and federal ministers to increase research budgets by 3% a year for the next decade—a total boost of €17 billion over that time. For more than a decade, German research organizations have enjoyed consistent budget increases—3% boosts every year since 2006, even during downturns in the German economy. But some observers have worried that falling tax revenues and deep disagreements between state and federal ministers could bring an end to the largesse.The news turned out much better than most expected. Not only will the research organizations—including the Max Planck Society and the grantmaking agency the German Research Foundation—get their increases, universities and technical schools will also receive significant boosts through 2027. “It’s a huge relief,” says Matthias Kleiner, president of the country’s Leibniz Association here, which includes more than 90 research institutes. The agreement is “an extraordinarily positive and encouraging signal for science.”The deal also approves two new Max Planck institutes: the Institute for Cybersecurity and Privacy Protection, to be based in Bochum, and a new independent Institute for the Biology of Behavior in Radolfzell, previously part of the Institute for Ornithology. The Leibniz Association will also add two institutes: The German Resilience Center in Mainz will study factors that keep people healthy even under stressful conditions and the Center for Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe in Frankfurt will study the effects of political decisions on finance markets.last_img read more


Extinct squid relative entombed in amber for 100 million years

first_imgTo explain this unique amber piece, researchers have conjured up three scenarios. Perhaps resin dripped down from a forest next to a beach, catching first land critters and then seashells. Or a tsunami flooded low-lying trees, washing sea creatures into resin pools. Or, possibly, storm winds simply blew seashells into the forest. Regardless, scientists say, it’s a welcome surprise. Extinct squid relative entombed in amber for 100 million years Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Bo Wang 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 Joshua SokolMay. 13, 2019 , 3:00 PM The latest discovery in a cache of ancient Burmese amber has revealed something completely unexpected: an extinct squidlike organism called an ammonite, which swam Earth’s seas while dinosaurs dominated the land 100 million years ago. This is the first ammonite and one of the very first marine organisms ever found in amber; because the gemstone is fossilized tree resin, it traps mostly land organisms.The specimen (above) came to light when a collector in Shanghai, China, bought it for about $750 from a dealer who claimed it was a land snail. Under the x-rays of a computerized tomography scanner, though, the shell revealed the intricate internal chambers characteristic of ammonites.The ammonite’s precise type confirms the Burmese amber is from the Cretaceous period, as previous dating studies have argued. But the 3-centimeter-long piece of ancient resin is a veritable surf and turf of land and sea creatures, also preserving at least 40 other animals—mites, spiders, millipedes, cockroaches, beetles, flies, wasps, and marine gastropods, the researchers report today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Emaillast_img read more


Salk Institute settles last of three gender discrimination lawsuits

first_img Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Salk Institute settles last of three gender discrimination lawsuits Emerson and Salk had been set to go to trial on 14 January 2019. She alleged in her lawsuit that the institute was guilty of “systematically undermining and marginalizing” its senior female professors. Her lawsuit, like those filed by the other two plaintiffs, accused Salk’s male leadership of promoting its tenured women more slowly, underpaying them relative to their male peers, pressuring them to downsize their labs, and shutting them out of funding opportunities.Salk initially defended itself with a statement that diminished the women’s scientific records.In August, Salk settled out of court with the other two plaintiffs: Vicki Lundblad, 66, an expert in telomeres, the structures that cap chromosomes; and Kathy Jones, 63, who studies gene transcription. The terms were not disclosed. Jones and Lundblad have both resumed working at the institute.ScienceInsider reported in August that “After the suits were filed, internal documents leaked to Science exposed long-standing gender tensions at the institute. … Two of the lawsuits also accused a veteran Salk scientist, Inder Verma, of actively impeding the women’s advancement. Subsequently, eight women made sexual harassment allegations against Verma, who has since resigned from Salk.” By Meredith WadmanNov. 21, 2018 , 3:00 PM The Salk Institute for Biological Studies campus in San Diego, California The Salk Institute and Dr. Beverly Emerson announce that they have resolved the litigation filed by Dr. Emerson last year.  Salk recognizes Dr. Emerson’s more than thirty years of service to the Institute and looks forward to her continued contributions to the scientific community.center_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Salk said it would not comment beyond the statement. Emerson, 66, currently a distinguished scientist with the Cancer Early Detection Advanced Research Center at the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, said she could not comment except to say, “I settled because it was time.” The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, California, today settled the last in a trio of lawsuits filed by senior female professors in July 2017. They had accused the storied research center, founded by polio vaccine pioneer Jonas Salk, of sustained, systematic gender discrimination.Salk and lawyers for Beverly Emerson, who worked at the institute for 31 years, until her contract was not renewed in December 2017, issued a statement that said: REX BOGGS (CC BY-SA 2.0) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwelast_img read more


As Ebola outbreak rages plan to test second vaccine sparks debate

first_img REUTERS/James Akena Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email Merck’s Ebola vaccine, in short supply, is given only to people at high risk of infection. center_img When the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) declared its 10th Ebola outbreak in August 2018, it had one weapon that was unavailable during the previous nine: a highly effective vaccine, produced by Merck & Co. Ten months later, health workers have administered some 130,000 doses, yet the epidemic is still raging; it is now the second largest in history, with more than 1500 deaths.That’s why experts will gather in Kinshasa on 28 June to discuss a thorny issue: whether, and how, to deploy a second vaccine to supplement the limited supplies of the Merck shot. Fielding it would also provide a rare opportunity to test another vaccine’s effectiveness. But some experts worry a new effort could drain resources from the primary vaccination campaign and complicate efforts to persuade people to get vaccinated. “Having two vaccines … raises an important potential for confusion and skepticism,” says political scientist Rachel Sweet at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.DRC Minister of Public Health Oly Ilunga Kalenga told Reuters last month that he preferred to stick with one vaccine, so as not to “perturb the population.” The DRC convened this week’s meeting to help him and other officials “make an informed decision,” a government spokesperson says. By Kai KupferschmidtJun. 25, 2019 , 3:45 PM As Ebola outbreak rages, plan to test second vaccine sparks debate The Merck vaccine has performed well during this outbreak and in a formal clinical trial in Guinea. It consists of a live but harmless vesicular stomatitis virus engineered to carry a gene for an Ebola surface protein. A single dose rapidly leads to immunity; the vaccine is “probably one of the major factors that have kept this a smoldering outbreak rather than an explosive one,” says Daniel Bausch, who leads the United Kingdom’s Public Health Rapid Support Team in London.But there’s not much of it. The World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland, says some 250,000 doses of the vaccine are still in stock, but Natalie Roberts of Doctors Without Borders in Goma, DRC, says not everyone who is eligible gets the vaccine because too little of it is arriving. To stretch supplies, the vaccine is only used in contacts of known Ebola cases and in contacts’ contacts, as well as in nurses, doctors, and others whose jobs may expose them to the virus.But at the moment, only 60% or so of the contacts can be traced, in part because of the deep distrust of the government and international organizations in the war-torn region hit by Ebola. As a result, says Jeremy Farrar, head of the Wellcome Trust in London, the Merck vaccine “will keep a lid on the epidemic, but will not bring it to an end.”A WHO advisory group has repeatedly recommended offering additional vaccines to lower-risk populations in the DRC. After reviewing two candidates, it recommended a vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson that requires two shots: one of a nonreplicating adenovirus that includes an Ebola surface protein, and then, 8 weeks later, a modified pox virus with several Ebola proteins that also does not replicate. The hope is that the combination will give long-lasting protection.Doses for 1.5 million people are now available, and scientists at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine have produced a protocol for deploying them. They suggest offering shots to anyone more than 1 year old. To help establish the vaccine’s efficacy, scientists would later test anyone seeking treatment for certain Ebola-like symptoms and see whether a smaller percentage of those who actually have Ebola were vaccinated, compared with those whose symptoms are a false alarm.The fact that the new vaccine would be given to entire communities makes it attractive to local leaders, Sweet says. The current, selective approach opens the door for favoritism in who gets access to the vaccine, Abbé Telesphor Muhindo Malonga, president of the civil society in Butembo, DRC, recently wrote in a WhatsApp message to his followers.But where the vaccine would be used is up for discussion. In one scenario it would be given to lower-risk people in communities that have already seen infections; in another it would go to communities that have not yet had Ebola cases, such as Goma, a city of 1 million and the capital of North Kivu, the province at the center of the DRC outbreak. Sweet says, “There is some wisdom” in first targeting places where the virus hasn’t yet hit and rumors aren’t rife; it would be difficult to explain why people in the same village receive different vaccines. But Roberts says it’s more important to immunize people in the affected areas.A consortium including WHO and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations—an Oslo-based public-private partnership to develop vaccines against neglected diseases—is ready to implement the study of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. “Essentially, it is pending authorization from within DRC,” Farrar says.Others worry that fielding a second vaccine could strain existing efforts. Some also ask how many people will return for their booster vaccination. Bausch says one option is to offer a deworming treatment or some other incentive to bring people back to the clinic. “This has to responsibly address a real problem,” and can’t be “some hollow gesture,” he says. But even one shot should offer some immunity, Bausch adds.He hopes this week’s meeting will convince doubters that the second vaccine deserves a trial. The Ebola community should be “looking at how we stop this outbreak,” he says, “but also making sure we have the tools to stop future ones.”last_img read more


Ahead of Tokyo Olympics Japans new bullet train hits record speed in

first_img Chandrayaan-2 gets new launch date days after being called off The record was achieved late Friday on tracks linking Maibara and Kyoto, said Central Japan Railway Co., better known as JR Central. It’s the fastest speed a commercial model of shinkansen bullet train has ever achieved, although the train is expected to run at the line’s current top speed of 285 kph when it enters service.JR Central is spending 240 billion yen ($2.2 billion) on the introduction of the train series, and will continue tests at the top speed until mid June.Japan’s bullet trains, which debuted the same year as the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, are famed for their reliability and safety. Japan is pitching the trains for export, with JR Central aiming to sell the Supreme model to Texas and Taiwan.Another JR company, East Japan Railway Co., is currently testing the Alfa-X, which will operate at 360 kph when it’s introduced in 2030 on lines linking Tokyo to the northern island of Hokkaido. Top News P Rajagopal, Saravana Bhavan founder sentenced to life for murder, dies By Bloomberg | Published: May 25, 2019 11:30:59 am Japan's new bullet train model 'Supreme' hits record speed in test run A N700S Shinkansen bullet train runs between Shinagawa and Shin-Yokohama stations on June 28, 2018 in Odawara, Kanagawa, Japan. (Getty Images: Manabu Takahashi)A new model of bullet train set to enter service ahead of the Tokyo Olympics hit a record speed of 360 kilometers (224 miles) per hour in a test run, operator JR Central said. The N700s — the suffix stands for ‘supreme’ — is the first new model of bullet train on Japan’s busiest line for almost a decade. The train is lighter and uses less energy than current designs, as well as boasting additional safety features in case of earthquakes. Advertising Ayodhya dispute: Mediation to continue till July 31, SC hearing likely from August 2 Post Comment(s)last_img read more


UK Indian sent to seven years imprisonment for sexual attack

first_img More Explained indian man sexual assault, indian jailed for sexual assault, indian man uk sexual assault, uk sexual assault indian man jailed, uk news, world news The accused was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court in Suffolk after being found guilty of rape. (Representational Image)An Indian man, who fled to India in 2017 after a sexual assault on a woman in the UK, has been sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for the rape. Taking stock of monsoon rain Boris Johnson bids for UK leadership with pledge of October 31 Brexit “This was a complicated investigation that was progressed with great haste despite the challenges presented by an offender who fled the country after the attack. The investigation team worked tirelessly over many months to ensure the individual did not escape justice and I am proud of the work they produced to reach the right outcome for the victim,” Bridger said.By the time UK police identified him as a suspect in the days after the attack, having traced the vehicle he was driving during the attack, Rana had fled to India.Once he was traced to Spain, he was detained by the Spanish police in Bilbao last October on a European Arrest Warrant and was extradited to the UK in November last year after approval from the Spanish courts.During the trial, it emerged that the victim – a woman aged in her 30s – was offered a lift by Rana, saying it was cold and he had just given a lift to two other people, and she accepted. UK warns Iran over ‘deeply unwise’ attacks on oil tankers Advertising Advertising Related News Chandrayaan-2 launch on July 22 at 2.43 pm: ISRO “Whilst attacks of this nature are rare and Suffolk remains a safe county to live in, this is a further example where the Constabulary has risen to the challenges of modern policing to continue to deliver a highly tenacious and professional service for the public it serves,” Bridger said. By PTI |London | Published: June 5, 2019 11:14:05 am Ayodhya dispute: Mediation to continue till July 31, SC hearing likely from August 2 He stopped the car further down and raped the victim in the vehicle. She then managed to get out of the car and ran away to a friend’s house nearby to get help, following which the police were called.A major investigation was launched and officers pursued a number of lines of enquiry, including forensic work, along with CCTV and house-to-house enquiries, Suffolk Police said.In a statement read to the court, the victim said the attack “will haunt me for the rest of my life”.The victim said she had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, had begun self-harming and suffered regular flashbacks, despite receiving counselling. Ajay Rana, 35, was found guilty of raping the woman in the back of his housemate’s car in the town of Lowestoft in Suffolk, eastern England, after offering her a lift on December 9, 2017.He then fled to India on December 13 claiming he was visiting his ill mother. He was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court in Suffolk after being found guilty of rape following a two-week trial and was also ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.“The police investigation commenced following a calculated and sustained attack committed on an innocent victim, who has been left traumatised by the callous actions of this offender,” said Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger, the Senior Investigating Officer for Suffolk Police. Advertising P Rajagopal, Saravana Bhavan founder sentenced to life for murder, dies UK will fine Facebook, Instagram for hosting terrorist content 0 Comment(s) Best Of Express “I am so angry that he has done this to me, and [the case] brings it all flooding back and the emotions hit me like a roller coaster,” she said.Rana’s car was traced and found to be registered to one of his housemates and he was a named driver on the insurance.On attending Rana’s home address and speaking with friends of the suspect, officers were told that he had left for London, saying that he had to go to India as his mother was ill.Police officers located Rana’s earphones that he had left behind and were then able to match DNA from them with swabs taken from the victim.A CCTV analysis was able to locate Rana’s car driving the route through the town as described by the victim and place him in the relevant locations, at times corresponding to when the victim first got into his car and when the attack occurred.Officers from Suffolk Police then began proceedings to extradite Rana from India and also issued a European Arrest Warrant, which would allow for him to be detained if he attempted to enter another European Union (EU) member state and he was ultimately arrested in Spain and extradited.Rana has been remanded in custody in the UK since November last year and will now serve a seven-year sentence at the end of which he is expected to be deported back to India.“The criminal justice process is never easy for victims of crime, but the victim, in this case, has shown bravery throughout and continues to be supported by officers and support agencies. I hope that today will bring some kind of closure and allow her to move forward positively in her life,” said Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger.last_img read more


Rahul Gandhi resigns Successor names do the rounds Congress party weighs its

first_img Advertising The Congress said Rahul will continue to be president until his resignation is accepted by the CWC and a new chief is appointed after due process, nixing speculation that Motilal Vora, the most senior AICC general secretary, would be taking over as interim president.Party leaders said the first step would be to convene a meeting of the CWC. Rahul is travelling to Bhiwandi Thursday to appear in a court in a defamation case.The Congress constitution does, however, state: “In the event of any emergency by reason of any cause such as the death or resignation of the President elected as above, the senior most General Secretary will discharge the routine functions of the President until the Working Committee appoints a provisional President pending the election of a regular President by the AICC.” rahul gandhi, rahul gandhi resign, rahul gandhi congress president resign, congress president rahul gandhi, rahul resignation, congress lok sabha elections, congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted a four-page letter confirming his resignation. (Express File Photo)From Dalit leaders like Sushil Kumar Shinde, Mallikarjun Kharge and Mukul Wasnik to heartland OBC and upper caste faces like Ashok Gehlot and Anand Sharma and young guns like Sachin Pilot and Jyotiraditya Scindia, the Congress is abuzz with names of possible successors to Rahul Gandhi who Wednesday stepped down as party president. But all indications are that the party is groping in the dark to find a viable alternative arrangement. Related News In undecided Congress, first open call for Priyanka: She should be party chief READ | No interim president, Rahul Gandhi to continue till new chief is appointed: CongressRahul’s open letter itself has given some indication of his mind and the road ahead. In his four-page letter, he underlines that the party needs to take “hard decisions” and that “numerous people will have to be made accountable for the failure of 2019.” He also pointed out that “the powerful cling to power, no one sacrifices power”.Rahul Gandhi quits as Congress chief: Hard decisions, accountability needed Express Cartoon by E P Unny.Some leaders said the party can put in place a presidium of elders including the Gandhis and the Chief Ministers — a CPM Politburo-like mechanism — to run the party collectively. They said some young guns can be appointed as working presidents to do the legwork. The second option is to appoint a veteran close to the Gandhi family as interim president along with some working presidents. The third option is to set in motion the election process, which a majority of leaders said is not advisable at such a juncture since it may divide the party. Advertising 27 Comment(s) Rahul Gandhi appeals to Cong workers to help in relief ops in flood-affected areas Written by Manoj C G | New Delhi | Updated: July 4, 2019 10:00:41 am Rahul Gandhi exempted from personal appearance in defamation case in Surat last_img read more


Alexa Now Can Dash Off Text Messages to Android Phones

first_imgAlexa’s new SMS capability is being over hyped, contended Michael Jude, research manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan.”Accessing the feature for most will be more trouble than it’s worth, since Alexa interactions are still kind of clunky,” he told TechNewsWorld.Alexa “works for simple instructions — but for more complicated interactions like this, most people will not bother,” Jude predicted. “It’s far easier simply to use the SMS functionality on the smartphone.”The SMS feature “will add to the perceived utility of the Amazon offering, but will ultimately be of limited use unless it’s improved over time,” he said. “The Jude rule is, people evaluate a purchase on the basis of all the features they get, but then only use 10 percent of them.” Texting With Alexa Apple’s HomePod is no threat, and the lack of SMS capability for iOS is no problem for Alexa, Enderle remarked.”HomePod has a number of problems, not the least of which is excessive cost and being significantly behind Amazon,” he explained. “Apple really isn’t taking this threat seriously, which may allow Amazon to do to it what it did to BlackBerry, Palm and Microsoft.” To use the new SMS feature, users first have to sign up for Alexa Calling & Messaging in the Alexa app.To send an SMS message through an Echo device, go to “Conversations,” select “Contacts,” then “My Profile.” Enable “Send an SMS,” accept the Android OS permission, and then tell Alexa to send an SMS to the recipient.Users can disable the Send SMS feature through their contact card in the Alexa app. Apple Overshadowed “Amazon, who failed with smartphones, is trying to move their digital assistant into the communications space,” observed Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.”This is a long-term strategy, and it appears they’re executing the old ’embrace, extend, extinguish’ strategy Microsoft executed to displace Lotus 1-2-3,” he told TechNewsWorld.”This is the embrace stage,” Enderle said. “They anticipate people increasingly using their Echos to communicate and control things, rendering smartphones redundant.”Teaming up with Android is a competitive move, said Cindy Zhou, principal analyst at Constellation Research.Competition in the smart home voice-enabled device battle “is increasing with Google Home, Apple HomePod, and Microsoft Cortana Harman Kardon,” she told TechNewsWorld.”Google Home devices enable text messaging to phones,” Zhou noted, so “adding this feature helps Amazon compete.”Sound system maker Harman Kardon offers Invoke, an intelligent speaker that uses Microsoft’s Cortana virtual assistant.It’s possible that Amazon has an even larger goal, Enderle suggested.”They want to be the only device you depend on to communicate,” he said. “The more success Amazon has here, the more folks will question their need for a smartphone.”Like a chess fork, the tie-in with Google will put Amazon in a win-win situation, Enderle noted. Even if its push into SMS doesn’t displace smartphones, the move will strengthen its connections to its customers.”Communication is engagement, and the firm that owns that change owns a trusted link into buying behavior,” Enderle pointed out. “This is critical to regaining and growing its customer base.”center_img Making Nice With Android Alexa SMS Issues Amazon on Tuesday introduced new functionality that enables its Alexa virtual assistant to send and receive SMS messages on devices running Android 5.0 or higher. Carrier charges may apply.Alexa, the software that powers the Echo line of smart speakers, can play and send personalized messages from contacts for users who have set up voice profiles.Users will hear a chime when they have a new SMS message, and see a yellow light ring on their Echo device. They’ll also be notified in the Alexa App.The SMS feature isn’t available for iOS because Apple doesn’t share its messaging API with third parties, Amazon said.The feature currently is available only in the United States.Text-to-911, group messages, and MMS are not supported. Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. Email Richard.last_img read more


Gut protein mutations protect against spikes in blood glucose levels

first_img Source:https://www.brighamandwomens.org/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 21 2018Why is it that, despite consuming the same number of calories, sodium and sugar, some people face little risk of diabetes or obesity while others are at higher risk? A new study by investigators at Brigham and Women’s Hospital has uncovered mutations in a gene that appear to help drive this difference. Individuals with a specific variant in a gene known as SGLT1, which results in reduced uptake of sugars in the gut, had lower incidence of obesity, diabetes, death and heart failure, suggesting that SGLT1 may make a promising therapeutic target for metabolic disease. The team’s results were recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.”These SGLT1 mutations have not been characterized in the general population before,” said first author Sara Seidelmann, MD, PhD, who performed this work as a clinical and research fellow in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Brigham working with senior author Scott Solomon, MD, professor of Medicine and The Edward D. Frohlich distinguished chair at the Brigham. “We were able to evaluate the association of genetic mutations in SGLT1 with the rise in blood sugar that occurs in response to dietary glucose in several large populations.”Carbohydrates that enter the body are broken down in the small intestine into smaller pieces, such as glucose, and absorbed into bodily tissues. The sodium/glucose co-transporter-1 (SGLT1) protein plays a critical role in glucose transport into these tissues. Another SGLT family member – SGLT2 – is the target of a class of diabetes drugs known as SGLT2 inhibitors. Researchers believe that while SGLT2 inhibitors stop glucose re-uptake in the kidneys, inhibiting SGLT1 could reduce glucose uptake at the source – the small intestine – which might reduce the carbohydrate load after a large meal.Some SGLT1 mutations make the protein dysfunctional, which can cause nutrient malabsorption and even death in newborns, yet other mutations, such as the ones that the BWH researchers found, only slightly alter the protein’s function and do not have such devastating outcomes. To examine the effects of the latter kind of mutations, the research team used whole-exome sequencing to identify the unique genetic code of 5,687 participants in the ARIC (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities) study, an on-going longitudinal analysis o¬¬f participants from four U.S. states. In addition to genetic analysis, these participants had also undergone an oral glucose tolerance test, in which they were provided with a sugary drink and then had their blood glucose levels tested two hours later. The results from the glucose test were then related to genetic variations in SGLT1.Related StoriesUMD researchers connect a protein to antibody immunity for the first timeHinge-like protein may unlock new pathways for cystic fibrosis treatmentVirus killing protein could be the real antiviral hero finds studyAn external validation analysis was performed to study the effect of SGLT1 variants on levels of sugar in the blood after the oral glucose challenge in a large European-Finnish population sample and a replication analysis was performed in African-American participants allowing for heterogenous representation. The researchers also performed a Mendelian randomization analysis to explore the long-term effects of lowering sugar absorption via these mutations on metabolic and cardiovascular disease. This type of analysis enables researchers to estimate the effect of a given variable – post-meal glucose in this case – without conducting an additional study.Researchers found that 16 percent of European-American participants and 7.5 percent of African-American participants carried an SGLT1 mutation. Those with a mutation were protected from spikes in blood glucose levels after the ingestion of sugars, despite ingesting an equivalent number of calories as others. The Mendelian randomization analysis also showed that these people had a lower risk for obesity and less instances of diabetes mellitus, death and heart failure later in life.”In addition to confirming the important role of SGLT1 in the digestion of dietary sugars, this work presents new potential opportunities for therapies,” said Solomon “The SGLT-1 receptor could be a potential therapeutic target for cardiometabolic disease and suggest that development of drugs that selectively inhibit SGLT-1 could be of benefit in certain high-risk individuals.” Nevertheless, Solomon and Seidelmann caution that developing such drugs takes many years and that clinical trials would be needed to determine their safety and efficacy.last_img read more


Study highlights need for personalized approach to treat ICU acquired delirium

Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 14 2018A population heath study from the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University Center for Aging Research has determined that haloperidol, the drug most commonly used to treat delirium in hospital medical and surgical intensive care units (ICUs), did not benefit elective thoracic surgery ICU patients when given prophylactically, with the possible exception of those who have had surgery to remove their esophagus. The study results indicate the need for a personalized approach to delirium in the ICU.The work is the first to evaluate the use of the antipsychotic drug haloperidol to reduce post-operative delirium in elderly patients undergoing elective non-cardiac thoracic surgery.Researchers found no differences in delirium incidence or severity between haloperidol and placebo in patients who had undergone elective non-cardiac thoracic surgery except in the small number of study participants who were admitted to the ICU after removal of the esophagus, a procedure known as esophagectomy. Removal of this organ is a treatment for esophageal cancer.”Our work suggests that just as you can’t lump all cancer patients together for treatment, you can’t put all delirium patients in the same bucket,” said Regenstrief Institute investigator Babar A. Khan, M.D., M.S., who led the new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. “We need a personalized approach to delirium, focusing on people at higher risk of developing this complication.”He notes that while elective surgery patients typically are healthier than other ICU patients, they are very much at risk of delirium. He counsels those considering elective surgery to consult with their primary care clinicians and their surgeon to weigh the significant risks of delirium with the benefits of the proposed procedure.Related StoriesBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerNew study to ease plight of patients with advanced cancerCancer killing capability of lesser-known immune cells identifiedDr. Khan is also a co-author of the groundbreaking October 2018 New England Journal of Medicine study that reported that haloperidol did not significantly alter the duration of delirium in ICU patients.”Because we now know that haloperidol, the most commonly used drug to treat ICU delirium doesn’t, with possibly few exceptions, work, we need to focus on nonpharmacological therapies and vigilantly curtail administration of drugs that are harmful to the brain, especially the aging brain,” said Dr. Khan.Approximately five million Americans are admitted to a surgical or medical ICU annually. Delirium, a sudden and serious change in brain function causing confusion, occurs in as many as three quarters of those treated in the ICU. Causes include sepsis, metabolic problems such as liver and kidney disease as well as drugs that injure the brain.Individuals who experience delirium are more likely to have longer hospital stays and hospital-associated complications. They also have a greater likelihood of dying in the hospital for up to a year after their hospital stay than ICU patients who did not experience delirium. They are also more likely to lose physical functioning and experience cognitive impairment.”This landmark study represents a first attempt to reduce the incidence and morbidity of delirium in the postoperative patient,” said thoracic surgeon Kenneth Kesler, M.D., Harris B. Shumacker Professor of Surgery at IU School of Medicine, senior author of the JAGS study. “Although unfortunately an overall negative study, it does move us forward by identifying both a subset of patients who may benefit from haloperidol prophylaxis and those patients who are at risk for delirium following large surgical procedures.” Source:https://www.regenstrief.org/article/icu-acquired-delirium-requires-personalized-approach/ read more


Innovative new software could help prevent incidence of arrhythmia

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 14 2019Potentially lethal heart conditions may become easier to spot and may lead to improvements in prevention and treatment thanks to innovative new software that measures electrical activity in the organ.The heart’s pumping ability is controlled by electrical activity that triggers the heart muscle cells to contract and relax. In certain heart diseases such as arrhythmia, the organ’s electrical activity is affected.Cardiac researchers can already record and analyze the heart’s electrical behavior using optical and electrode mapping, but widespread use of these technologies is limited by a lack of appropriate software.Computer and cardiovascular experts at the University of Birmingham have worked with counterparts in the UK, Netherlands and Australia to develop ElectroMap – a new open-source software for processing, analysis and mapping complex cardiac data.Related StoriesStroke should be treated 15 minutes earlier to save lives, study suggestsStudy explores role of iron in over 900 diseasesTeam approach to care increases likelihood of surviving refractory cardiogenic shockLed by researchers from the School of Computer Science and the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, at the University of Birmingham, the international team has published its findings in Scientific Reports.Dr Kashif Rajpoot, Senior Lecturer and Programme Director for Computer Science at the University of Birmingham Dubai, commented: “We believe that ElectroMap will accelerate innovative cardiac research and lead to wider use of mapping technologies that help to prevent the incidence of arrhythmia.”This is a robustly validated open-source flexible tool for processing and by using novel data analysis strategies we have developed, this software will provide a deeper understanding of heart diseases, particularly the mechanisms underpinning potentially lethal arrhythmia.”The incidence and prevalence of cardiac disease continues to increase every year, but improvements in prevention and treatment require better understanding of electrical behavior across the heart.Data on this behavior can be gathered using electrocardiogram tests, but more recently, optical mapping has allowed wider measurement of cardiovascular activity in greater detail. Insights from optical mapping experiments have given researchers a better understanding of complex arrhythmias and electrical behavior in heart disease.”Increased availability of optical mapping hardware in the laboratory has led to expansion of this technology, but further uptake and wider application is hindered by limitations with respect to data processing and analysis,” said Dr Davor Pavlovic – lead contributor from the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences. “The new software can detect, map and analyze arrhythmic phenomena for in silico, in cellulo, animal model and in vivo patient data.” Source:https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/last_img read more


Dangerous brain parasite invades host cell maintains steady nutrient supply

first_imgRapid depletion of essential nutrients in host cellsThis new study shows that the parasite is auxotrophic for many nutrients such as tryptophan, arginine, and purines. This means that the organism has an additional nutritional growth requirement, and it gets the nutrients from the host. Due to the higher demand for nutrients in the host cells due to the invasion of the parasites, rapid depletion of essential nutrients alerts the body. The body, in turn, stimulates bodily processes to compensate with the depleted nutrient supply. “Pathogens that live and grow inside of cells face special challenges,” Sullivan said in a statement. “Intracellular pathogens have to replicate without raising alarms, but to grow, they need to pilfer nutrients from the host. Our study shows that Toxoplasma gets additional nutrients simply by hijacking a starvation response already built into the host cell,” he added. Activation of the integrated stress responseRelated StoriesNew therapy shows promise in preventing brain damage after traumatic brain injuryWearing a hearing aid may mitigate dementia riskResearch team to create new technology for tackling concussionThe researchers led by Leo Augusto, a postdoctoral fellow, in collaboration with Ronald Wek, a molecular biology professor, and Bill Sullivan, a microbiology professor, found that cellular starvation of essential nutrients triggers a stress response, known as the integrated stress response (ISR), that occurs in the first two hours of parasite infection.Nutrient starvation stimulates the integrated stress response (ISR) through the process of phosphorylation that involves an essential translation factor, eIF2 (eukaryotic translation initiation factor). As a result, this decreases global protein synthesis parallel to the preferential translation of gene transcripts linked to stress adaptation, including encoding the transcription factor ATF4 (CREB2). This triggers genes that control amino acid metabolism.Host cells sense their nutrients being depletedThe researchers used many mutant host cells to determine that GCN2, a type of protein, becomes stimulated and activated as the parasites proliferate and consume the cell’s arginine supply. As the cell’s supply decreases, they mapped what happened after the activation of the protein. They discovered that the host cells invaded by Toxoplasma gondii produce more CAT1, an arginine transporter, on the cell’s surface. As a result, the body senses the depleted arginine supply. The arginine transporter attracts more arginine, hence, the parasite continues to consume the nutrients it needs to survive.The study findings suggest that host cells have the ability to feel when their nutrients are not enough for their needs. Unaware of the parasites invading then, they try to provide more arginine supply to make up for the depleted supply. Toxoplasma gondii, the causative agent of Toxoplasmosis, is one of the most common parasitic infections worldwide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 11 percent of the population, 6 years old and above, have been infected with the parasite.Moreover, more than 60 percent of some populations across the globe acquired the infection at some point in their lives. Most of the cases occur in locations that have humid and hot climates, and lower altitudes, providing an environment conducive for oocyte survival. By Angela Betsaida B. Laguipo, BSNJun 20 2019A team of researchers has found that a dangerous type of parasite that affects the brain, maintains a stable supply of essential nutrients as it replicates in the host cell. In an unexpected turn of events, the body itself delivers food to the harmful predator.The researchers from Indiana University School of Medicine found that Toxoplasma gondii, a single-celled parasite that can infect animals, including humans, invades the host’s cells, requiring a lot of resources. The parasite gets most of the nutrients intended for the cell, rapidly depleting host nutrient supply. Toxoplasma gondii. Image Credit: fotovapl / Shutterstock Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular, parasitic protozoan that causes the disease toxoplasmosis. Diagram of Toxoplasma structure. Image Credit: Designua / Shutterstock This image shows increased expression of an arginine transporter (CAT1, green) in host cells infected with Toxoplasma parasites (nuclei stained blue). Image Credit: Indiana University Findings can help modify treatmentsThe results may pave the way to formulate treatment modalities for Toxoplasmosis, and other intracellular infections. Plus, identifying proteins like CGN2, which are vital for parasite growth and proliferation, may show promise in formulating new drugs to curb parasitic infections and treat other intracellular pathogens.Toxoplasmosis can occur in people exposed to the feces of an infected cat, eating undercooked and contaminated meat, and through blood transfusion. Though humans may not manifest signs and symptoms of infection, the parasite can be tremendously dangerous for vulnerable individuals of the population, including pregnant mothers.In fact, infection during pregnancy may lead to serious complications, such as stillbirth or miscarriage. Infants born with the infection are at a heightened risk of jaundice, seizures, liver enlargement, and eye infections. In worse cases, the infant may manifest mental disability or hearing loss. Hence, preventing exposure to common sources of the parasite is important during pregnancy.The National Institutes of Health funded the study, which was published in the journal PLOS Pathogens. Journal reference:Regulation of arginine transport by GCN2 eIF2 kinase is important for replication of the intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii , Augusto L, Amin PH, Wek RC, Sullivan WJ Jr (2019) Regulation of arginine transport by GCN2 eIF2 kinase is important for replication of the intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii. PLOS Pathogens 15(6): e1007746. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1007746last_img read more


Car safety improved over last decade but greater risk for women

first_imgBy Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDJul 10 2019Research has shown that over the last decade, cars have been rendered safer compared to older models. They are more resilient to frontal collisions say experts than before. Frontal collisions remain one of the commonest types of car crashes.Now the researchers at the University of Virginia’s Center for Applied Biomechanics have shown that despite these safety measures, women – even while they are wearing seat belts, are more prone to injuries due to the car crashes compared to the men. The results of the study were published this week in the latest issue of the Traffic Injury Prevention. The study was titled, “Automobile injury trends in the contemporary fleet: Belted occupants in frontal collisions.” Jason Forman, a principal scientist with the Center for Applied Biomechanics in a statement said, “Until we understand the fundamental biomechanical factors that contribute to increased risk for females, we’ll be limited in our ability to close the risk gap. This will take substantial effort, and in my view the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does not have the resources needed to address this issue.”For this study the team collected crash and injury data from the National Automotive Sampling System Crashworthiness Data System between 1998 and 2015. All the police-recorded cases during this period were in the database and were used for the analysis. The team included the impact of frontal collisions in all victims over the age of 13 years. There were nearly 23,000 frontal crashes and over 31000 victims have been recorded. The numbers of females and males among the injury victims are similar, the team wrote. Pregnant women beyond their first trimester of pregnancy were excluded from the analysis. Frontal collisions were defined as those between “10 o’clock to 2 o’clock”.The team explains that belted women travellers in the new cars that are generally safer than their older counterparts are at a 73 percent greater risk of being injured seriously in the frontal collisions of the cars compared to men who are belted. The team took into consideration all the other factors such as age of the occupant, severity of the collision, stature and body mass index of the occupant as well as a vehicle model and year. Despite controlling for all these factors, the risk among women remain high the researchers wrote.Related StoriesAXT enhances cellular research product portfolio with solutions from StemBioSysBridging the Gaps to Advance Research in the Cannabis IndustryTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CTThe risk of injuries to the women is commonly highest in the lower limbs they add. Injuries to those over 66 years are commonly those to the rib cage and chest the team wrote. There is a lowered risk of skull fractures, cervical spine injuries and injuries to the abdomen with the new car models wrote the researchers. There has also been a reduction in injuries to the hips, thighs and knees, they add. This has been a welcome change. What needs to reduce is the risk of rib fractures and fractures to the breast bone or sternum, they wrote. Injuries to the hands, arms and wrists are also unchanged over the years with change and modification of car models, the team wrote.Forman explained, “For belted occupants in frontal collisions, substantial reductions in injury risk have been realized in many body regions in recent years. These results provide insight into where advances in the field have made gains in occupant protection, and what injury types and risk factors remain to be addressed.”Authors concluded in their study, “For belted occupants in frontal collisions, substantial reductions in injury risk have been realized in many body regions in recent years. Risk reduction in the thorax has lagged other body regions, resulting in increasing prevalence among skeletal injuries in newer model year vehicles (especially in the elderly).” They sign off, “These results provide insight into where advances in the field have made gains in occupant protection and what injury types remain to be addressed.”The study was supported and funded by the Autoliv Research.Related studyAuthors Classen and colleagues from University of Florida in April this year came up with a review titled, “Smart In-Vehicle Technologies and Older Drivers: A Scoping Review” in the journal OTJR (Thorofare N J).The team wrote that advent of “in-vehicle information systems (IVIS)” or “advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS)”, have decreased the crash risk of the car among drivers. They examined the effects of IVIS and ADAS on older drivers in terms of comfort, safety and convenience. For this they gathered data from 28 studies that has used simulators or on-road experiments.The team noted that these technologies have improved the safety of the cars and has also countered the decline in safety as the age of the drivers rose. The team wrote that with age drivers tended to experience a decline in their cognitive abilities. This was countered by the technologies. They wrote, “The ADAS enhanced safety and comfort by increasing speed control, lane maintenance, and braking responses.” They called for more real-life situation studies to prove their hypothesis. Source:https://news.virginia.edu/content/study-new-cars-are-safer-women-most-likely-suffer-injuryJournal references: Jason Forman, Gerald S. Poplin, C. Greg Shaw, Timothy L. McMurry, Kristin Schmidt, Joseph Ash & Cecilia Sunnevang (2019) Automobile injury trends in the contemporary fleet: Belted occupants in frontal collisions, Traffic Injury Prevention, DOI: 10.1080/15389588.2019.1630825, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15389588.2019.1630825 Classen, S., Jeghers, M., Morgan-Daniel, J., Winter, S., King, L., & Struckmeyer, L. (2019). Smart In-Vehicle Technologies and Older Drivers: A Scoping Review. OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health, 39(2), 97–107. https://doi.org/10.1177/1539449219830376 The Center for Applied Biomechanics is crash-testing an industry-standard dummy that is designed to represent a 5th percentile female (5 feet tall, weighing 110 pounds). These tests will help evaluate how realistic the dummy is in representing a real female automobile occupant. Image Credit: UVA Center for Applied Biomechanicslast_img read more


Thorium reactors may dispose of enormous amounts of weaponsgrade plutonium

Provided by Tomsk Polytechnic University This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Thorium reactors are used in areas where there are no large water bodies and rivers, which are needed for classical reactors. They can also be used in arid areas as in remote areas of Siberia and the Arctic. Associate Professor Sergey Bedenko from the School of Nuclear Science & Engineering says, “As a rule, a nuclear power plant is constructed on the riverside. Water is taken from the river and used in the active zone of the reactor for cooling. In thorium reactors, helium is applied, as well as carbon dioxide (CO2) or hydrogen, instead of water. Thus, water is not required.”The mixture of thorium and weapons-grade plutonium is the fuel for the new kind of reactors.Sergey Bedenko says, “Large amounts of weapons-grade plutonium were accumulated in the Soviet era. The cost for storing this fuel is enormous, and it needs to be disposed of. In the US, it is chemically processed and burned, and in Russia, it is burned in the reactors. However, some amount of plutonium still remains, and it needs to be disposed of in radioactive waste landfills. Our technology improves this drawback since it allows burning 97 percent of weapons-grade plutonium. When all weapons-grade plutonium is disposed of, it will be possible to use uranium-235 or uranium-233 in thorium reactors.”Notably, the plant is capable of operating at low capacity (from 60 MW), the core thorium reactors require a little fuel and the percentage of its burnup is higher than that at currently used reactors. The remaining 3 percent of processed weapons-grade plutonium does not present a nuclear hazard. At the output, a mixture of graphite, plutonium and decay products is formed, which have no industrial applications and can only be buried.Sergey Bedenko says, “The main advantage of such plants is their multifunctionality. First, it efficiently disposes of one of the most dangerous radioactive fuels in thorium reactors, and second, it generates power and heat. Third, it will contribute to industrial hydrogen production.”The authors of the study say that the advantage of such reactors is their higher level of safety in comparison with traditional designs, enhanced efficiency (40 to 50 percent), absence of coolant phase transitions, increased corrosion resistance, the possibility of using different fuels and their overload in operation, and simplified management of spent nuclear fuel.Thorium fuel can be used both in thorium reactors and widely spread VVER-1000 reactors. The scientists expect these reactors to function at least 10 to 20 years, and when this fuel is spent, the core reactor may either be reloaded or disposed of. In addition, water can be desalinated at thorium reactors. More information: I.V. Shamanin et al, Neutronic properties of high-temperature gas-cooled reactors with thorium fuel, Annals of Nuclear Energy (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.anucene.2017.11.045 Ass. Prof. Sergey Bedenko demonstrates a simulation model of high-temperature gas-cooled reactors with thorium fuel. Credit: Tomsk Polytechnic University Explore further Hans Blix calls on scientists to develop thorium nuclear fuel Citation: Thorium reactors may dispose of enormous amounts of weapons-grade plutonium (2018, January 22) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-01-thorium-reactors-dispose-enormous-amounts.html Scientists from the School of Nuclear Science & Engineering of Tomsk Polytechnic University are developing a technology for the creation of high-temperature, low-power reactors with thorium fuel. The scientists propose to burn weapons-grade plutonium in these units, converting it into power and thermal energy. Thermal energy generated at thorium reactors may be used in hydrogen industrial production and for desalinating water. The results of the study were published in Annals of Nuclear Energy. read more


Bovines online Farmers are using AI to help monitor cows

In this April 2, 2018 photo fifth-generation dairy farmer Mary Mackinson Faber fits a Moocall device on the tail of a pregnant dairy cow at her farm in Pontiac, Ill. The device monitors the cow’s movements and will trigger a text message to announce that the cow is about to give birth. Today’s cows are getting an upgrade and the marriage of two technologies, motion sensors and artificial intelligence, is making mass-scale farming more efficient. (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford) Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Moo-ving out: Sensor sends text alerts from cows in labor Is the world ready for cows armed with artificial intelligence? In this April 2, 2018 photo a Moocall device is seen on the tail of a pregnant dairy cow at the Mackinson Dairy Farm in Pontiac, Ill. The device monitors the cow’s movements and will trigger a text message to announce that the cow is about to give birth. Today’s cows are getting an upgrade and the marriage of two technologies, motion sensors and artificial intelligence, is making mass-scale farming more efficient. (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford) TensorFlow has been used to do everything from helping NASA scientists find planets using the Kepler telescope, to assisting a tribe in the Amazon detect the sounds of illegal deforestation, according to Google spokesman Justin Burr.Google hopes users adapt the open-source code to discover new applications that the company could someday use in its own business.Even without AI, sensors are helping farmers keep tabs on their herds.Mary Mackinson Faber, a fifth-generation farmer at the Mackinson Dairy Farm near Pontiac, Illinois, says a device attached to a cow’s tail developed by Irish company Moocall sends her a text when a cow is ready to give birth, so she can be there to make sure nothing goes wrong. Moocall doesn’t use AI—it simply sends a text when a certain threshold of spinal contractions in the tail are exceeded.While she calls it a “great tool,” she says it takes human intuition to do what’s right for their animals.”There are certain tasks that it can help with, and it can assist us, but I don’t think it will ever replace the human.” Underlying IDA is Google’s open-source TensorFlow programming framework, which has helped spread AI to many disciplines. It’s a language built on top of the commonly used Python code that helps connect data from text, images, audio or sensors to neural networks—the algorithms that help computers learn. The language has been downloaded millions of times and has about 1,400 people contributing code, only 400 of whom work at Google, according to product manager Sandeep Gupta.He says TensorFlow can be used by people with only high-school level math and some programming skills.”We’re continuing this journey making it easier and easier to use,” Gupta says. Citation: Bovines online: Farmers are using AI to help monitor cows (2018, April 13) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-bovines-online-farmers-ai-cows.html “If we can prove out that these advantages exist from using this technology … I think adoption of IDA across a broad range of farming systems, particularly large farming systems, would be a no-brainer,” Watson says.Dairy farming is just one industry benefiting from AI, which is being applied in fields as diverse as journalism, manufacturing and self-driving cars. In agriculture, AI is being developed to estimate crop health using drone footage and parse out weed killer between rows of cotton.Yasir Khokhar, the former Microsoft employee who is the founder and CEO of Connecterra, said the inspiration for the idea came after living on a dairy farm south of Amsterdam.”It turns out the technology farmers use is really outdated in many respects,” he says. “What does exist is very cumbersome to use, yet agriculture is one of those areas that desperately needs technology.” © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. No time to ruminate on that because the moment has arrived, thanks to a Dutch company that has married two technologies—motion sensors and AI—with the aim of bringing the barnyard into the 21st century.The company, Connecterra, has brought its IDA system , or “The Intelligent Dairy Farmer’s Assistant,” to the United States after having piloted it in Europe for several years.IDA uses a motion-sensing device attached to a cow’s neck to transmit its movements to a program driven by AI. The sensor data, when aligned repeatedly with real-world behavior, eventually allows IDA to tell from data alone when a cow is chewing cud, lying down, walking, drinking or eating.Those indicators can predict whether a particular cow is ill, has become less productive, or is ready to breed—alerting the farmer to changes in behavior that might otherwise be easily missed.”It would just be impossible for us to keep up with every animal on an individual basis,” says Richard Watson, one of the first four U.S. farmers to use IDA since it launched commercially in December.Watson, who owns the Seven Oaks Dairy in Waynesboro, Georgia, says having a computer identify which cows in his 2,000-head herd need attention could help improve farm productivity as much as 10 percent, which would mean hundreds of thousands of dollars to his family. In this March 28, 2018, image made from a video, a cow stands in a pasture on Seven Oaks Dairy in Waynesboro, Ga. On the cow’s neck is a device called IDA, or “The Intelligent Dairy Farmer’s Assistant,” created by Connecterra. It uses a motion-sensing device attached to a cow’s neck to transmit its movements to a program driven by artificial intelligence. (AP Photo/Marina Hutchinson) read more


Bonjour Alexa Amazon digital assistant heads to France

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Software developers have created an array of “skills” for Alexa-infused devices tailored for French users, according to the US internet giant.”Tens of millions of customers around the world are already using Alexa, and today we’re excited to introduce Alexa to our customers in France,” said Amazon Devices International vice president Jorrit Van der Meulen.”In France, Alexa is French. We had to rethink the concept to honor French language and culture.”Echo devices with Alexa software compete against Google Home smart speakers, which became available in France last year, and with voice-activated devices from other makers including Apple.Some analysts see the dawn of a “post-smartphone era” in which people take to interacting with computers simply by speaking.”They’re always ready, hands-free, and fast,” Amazon said of its smart speakers in a release.”Alexa is the brain behind Echo—just ask, and she’ll answer questions, play music, read the news, set timers and alarms, check sports scores, control lights around your home, and much more.”Alexa is available in several countries outside the US, but the assistant has been operating primarily in English. The devices became available in Germany and Austria earlier this year. Amazon on Wednesday announced that its digital assistant Alexa is heading for France in Echo voice-commanded speakers as of next week. Citation: Bonjour, Alexa: Amazon digital assistant heads to France (2018, June 6) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-06-bonjour-alexa-amazon-digital-france.html Amazon’s Alexa recorded and shared a conversation without consent, report sayscenter_img Explore further © 2018 AFP Amazon Echo devices will be shipping soon to France, offering French users the personal digital assistant Alexalast_img read more


Uber acquires Mideast competitor Careem for 31 billion

first_imgIn this June 24, 2018 photo, Ammal Farahat, who has signed up to be a driver for Careem, a regional ride-hailing service that is a competitor to Uber, opens the Careem app on her mobile phone before she starts driving, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Ride-hailing service Uber announced on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 it has acquired Mideast competitor Careem for $3.1 billion, giving the San Francisco-based firm the commanding edge in a region with a large young, tech-savvy population. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty) Ride-hailing service Uber announced on Tuesday it has acquired Mideast competitor Careem for $3.1 billion, giving the San Francisco-based firm the commanding edge in a region with a large, young, tech-savvy population. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Uber to buy Mideast rival Careem: report Careem’s CEO Mudassir Sheikha described the acquisition as a “milestone” for the company and for budding entrepreneurs in the region. Under the deal, he will lead Careem’s business under Uber and report to a board comprised of three Uber representatives and two from Careem.”This has put our region on the map and has shown it’s a great place to build some of the best technology in the world,” Sheikha said in a statement to Careem customers.Saudi Technology Ventures, one of Careem’s investors, said the local ride-hailing firm succeeded by using its deep local knowledge and expertise to cater to the needs of young people.Other Careem investors include Kingdom Holding, chaired by Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, German car manufacturer Daimler AG, Japanese tech firm Rakuten and Mideast venture capital firm Wamda. Uber’s investors include Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, which has a $3.5 billion stake in the ride-sharing app. © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Citation: Uber acquires Mideast competitor Careem for $3.1 billion (2019, March 26) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-03-uber-mideast-competitor-careem-billion.html In this Sept. 5, 2018 file photo, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi speaks during the company’s unveiling of the new features in New York. Ride-hailing service Uber announced on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 it has acquired Mideast competitor Careem for $3.1 billion, giving the San Francisco-based firm the commanding edge in a region with a large young, tech-savvy population. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)center_img This June 12, 2018, file photo shows the Uber app on a phone in New York. Ride-hailing service Uber announced on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 it has acquired its Mideast competitor Careem for $3.1 billion, making it the largest-ever technology purchase in the region. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File) Egyptian regulators expressed concerns Tuesday of a merger leading to a monopoly in the market, which they cautioned could lead to price increases, degraded service quality and limited consumer choice. Egypt’s competition authority invited third parties to come forth with their concerns by the end of April as part of its investigation into the proposed deal.Uber’s stiffest competitor in the Middle East had been Careem, which launched in 2012—three years before Uber entered the local market.Careem, founded by two former management consultants at McKinsey & Co., is popular in countries like Egypt and Pakistan because it allows customers to use cash, while Uber was initially a credit card-only system. Last year, Careem was said to be exploring a bus service for Egypt’s lower-income riders.Despite Uber’s regional launch in 2015 and services like Uber Eats, which delivers food, Careem maintained the lead operating in more than 100 cities across 15 countries. The company was valued at about $1 billion in a 2016 funding round and an estimated $2 billion last year. Dubai now has three of the region’s most high-profile startup success stories. In 2017, Amazon purchased Mideast online retailer Souq.com for reportedly close to $700 million. A decade ago, Yahoo acquired Dubai-based Arab-language internet site Maktoob. In this June 24, 2018 file photo, Careem co-founder Abdullah Elyas sits at a desk at the Careem office, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Ride-hailing service Uber announced on Tuesdayh 26, 2019, Marc it has acquired Mideast competitor Careem for $3.1 billion, giving the San Francisco-based firm the commanding edge in a region with a large young, tech-savvy population. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty, File) It comes as Uber’s losses widened last year ahead of plans for an initial public stock offering this spring.Uber said the purchase consists of $1.7 billion in convertible notes and $1.4 billion in cash. It marks the largest technology transaction in the Middle East—outside of Israel—and propels the Dubai-based firm to legendary status among the region’s budding tech startup scene.Under the deal, Careem will keep its brand and app unchanged, at least for now, and will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Uber led by its own original founders.Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the acquisition of Careem marks “an important moment for Uber as we continue to expand the strength of our platform around the world.”In a memo to staff, Khosrowshahi said that keeping the Careem app intact allows Uber to try out new ideas across both brands. Over time, the firms will integrate part of their networks, he said.The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020 and is subject to regulatory approval in several countries. Explore furtherlast_img read more


Book Excerpt Archaeology From Space

first_img Image Gallery: How Technology Reveals Hidden Art Treasures In Photos: Ireland’s Newgrange Passage Tomb and Henge Archaeologist Sarah Parcak studies lost cities of the ancient world. But unlike the fictional archaeologist Indiana Jones — and generations of real-world archaeologists — Parcak peers at temples, pyramids and other remnants of the distant past from great heights, scanning the ground with satellite technology orbiting at altitudes thousands of miles above Earth. A pioneer in this relatively new field of so-called space archaeology, Parcak shares some of her biggest discoveries in a new memoir, “Archaeology From Space.” Her book outlines how aerial views have transformed her field, revealing hundreds of sites that were previously unknown. The lives of people from millennia ago still have much to teach us, and new methods for studying the past — particularly civilizations that succumbed to a changing climate — can uncover important lessons for humanity’s future. Below is an excerpt of “Archaeology From Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past,” published by Henry Holt and Company on July 9, 2019. Headbutting Tiny Worms Are Really, Really LoudThis rapid strike produces a loud ‘pop’ comparable to those made by snapping shrimps, one of the most intense biological sounds measured at sea.Your Recommended PlaylistVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9接下来播放Why Is It ‘Snowing’ Salt in the Dead Sea?01:53 facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接https://www.livescience.com/65868-archaeology-from-space-excerpt.html?jwsource=cl已复制直播00:0000:3500:35  The Scope of Space Archaeology The human story—the story of us—is evolving at breakneck speed thanks to new technologies. Armed with new data sets, we can spin fresh tales that bring us closer to getting more right than wrong about our ancestors and ourselves. What we can find with new technologies such as satellite imagery is simply astounding. It is helping us rewrite history. We’ve gone from mapping a few dozen ancient sites in one summer-long archaeological season to mapping hundreds, if not thousands, of sites in weeks. With advances in computing and artificial intelligence, we are on the verge of achieving those same results in a few hours. In case you want to be an archaeologist and are worried that we space archaeologists will find everything first, fear not. Knowing the location of an ancient site is only the first step. We still have to survey sites on the ground, a process known as ground-truthing, and then undertake years of excavation to get a better understanding of what is there. And wow, do we have a lot of work to do. To give you a sense of just how much, and how quickly this field is advancing, I saved writing this introduction until last, to make sure to include any hot-off-the-press discoveries made with satellite technologies. With the chapters done and edited, I thought I could get away with a bit of downtime between big announcements. Dream on, Parcak. In a recent Nature publication, a team led by archaeologist Jonas Gregorio de Souza announced 81 previously unknown pre-Columbian sites in the Amazon basin area of Brazil, using satellite imagery and ground surveys. Based on their findings, they estimated 1,300 other sites dating to between 1250 and 1500 AD in just 7 percent of the Amazon basin, with potentially more than 18,000 others in total. More than a million people may have lived in areas that today seem largely inhospitable. Their findings included ceremonial centers, large platform mounds, ringed villages, and fortified settlements in north-central Brazil’s upper Tapajós Basin, where few archaeologists had ventured.3 To me, what is extraordinary about this discovery is just how much archaeologists and others had taken for granted about what might, or might not, be there in the rainforest. Satellite data allowed the archaeological team to search large areas in a matter of months, when the job would have taken decades on the ground. All this, from a subfield that barely existed 20 years ago. Although the world is learning more, there’s still a way to go in popular understanding. In a recent travel insurance application for my work abroad, I was quoted an insanely high price for one year of coverage, over $50,000. When I inquired why, the team admitted they thought I traveled into space to look down from the actual satellites for ruins. I’m still laughing. As I write this, I am downloading brand-new satellite imagery of Giza, in Egypt, the site of the last standing wonder of the ancient world. Who knows if I’ll find anything previously undiscovered there. The main thing I have learned is to expect the unexpected. New sites and features appear where you hadn’t previously thought to look, or, in cases like Giza, have the potential to overturn long-held assumptions about major sites and time periods. In the following chapters, you’ll read about projects that did just that. Mapping sites from space is fun, but getting to explore them is what takes me back in time, often thousands of years, to eras when people believed in different gods, spoke languages now extinct, and lived in places assumed never to have been inhabited—but they were all Homo sapiens sapiens. Just like us. As such, archaeology has the potential to inspire in us great wonder, bringing us together. Today, given the conflicts and unrest around the world, this is very much needed. Some people don’t get the chance to experience that sense of awe in person at ancient sites, but I hope the stories shared here will give a sense not only of this, but of how much we assume about past peoples, and how wrong we have sometimes been, given our access to such fragmented information. There aren’t any papers published yet on whether remote sensing can complete the puzzle of what it means to be human and how to avoid the pitfalls of great civilizations that came before us. All I can say is that there is extraordinary wisdom to be learned from previous cultures. It’s shaped me profoundly and allows me to place current events in the long arc of perspective. For more than 300,000 years, our ancestors have migrated across Planet Earth, surviving and, in some cases, thriving—being creative, bold, innovative, and, of course, destructive. This story of space archaeology, its contributions to research, and the tales it helps us tell, only introduces the possibilities of the science. The scale of these new stories, however, should amaze and inspire us. In our history on Earth, humans have habitually pushed deeper into the unknown; as we now begin to focus on exploring Mars, and farther afield, we can imagine 100,000 years from today, when there will be literal space archaeologists traveling from planet to planet, exploring the remnants of our early settlement efforts in other galaxies. The origins of their field will be many light-years away, but the questions will remain close to those we ask today, about people who came before us. The answers matter far less than those questions. Perhaps it’s a start to understanding what makes us human: our ability to ask how, where, when, why, and who, and creating the tools we need to bring the answers to life, on Earth, looking down from outer space. 7 Amazing Places to Visit with Google Street View Originally published on Live Science.last_img read more


Court restrains Sterlite from reopening TN plant

first_imgSHARE December 21, 2018 The Madras High Court on Friday ordered status quo as existed before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) set aside a Tamil Nadu government order for closure of Sterlite’s copper plant in Thoothukudi.Justices KK Sasindhran and PD Audikesavalu of the Madurai Bench also restrained the Vedanta Group from taking any steps to reopen the unit.Hearing a petition against the reopening of the Sterlite unit following the December 15 NGT order, the court directed that status quo will continue till January 21, and ordered the State government to inform it by then whether it intended to file an appeal against the tribunal verdict.The Bench issued a notice to the State Chief Secretary and the Chief Executive Officer of Sterlite to file their counter. On an appeal by the Sterlite, the NGT had quashed the May 28 order of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board for permanent closure of the plant in the wake of protests by locals, holding that that it was “non-sustainable” and “unjustified”. judiciary (system of justice) Sterlite Industries Sterlite applies to State pollution control body to reopen TN plant RELATED A view of the Sterlite copper plant in Thoothukudi. File Photo   –  The Hindu Tamil Nadu COMMENTS NGT orders reopening of Sterlite plant in Tamil Nadu Published on COMMENT TN will challenge NGT order for reopening Sterlite plant in SC: Palaniswami SHARE SHARE EMAILlast_img read more


Two Rohingyas arrested in Tripura

first_imgAGARTALA: Two Rohingyas have been arrested from near the India-Bangladesh international border in Tripura, police said Tuesday. Acting on a tip-off, the police arrested 21-year-old Md. Salim and 20-year-old Jahangir Alam from Rajnagar area near here in West Tripura district on Monday, after locals claimed that two suspected Rohingya Muslims were roaming there. “It was found during preliminary investigation that they had entered Indian territory from Bangladesh in search of jobs,” officer-in-charge of Battala police station, Sahadeb Bhowmik, said. Refugee cards were recovered from their possession and they confessed of having stayed at a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh’s Chittagong area, he added. The duo would be produced at a local court Tuesday. Rohingyas use the Tripura corridor of the India- Bangladesh border to enter India from the neighbouring country, BSF officials said. In October 2017, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had ordered all state governments to identify and monitor Rohingya refugees. It said the Centre viewed infiltration of Rohingyas from Rakhine state of Myanmar into Indian territory as a burden on the country’s resources and it aggravated security challenges to the country. Thousands of Rohingya Muslims, described by the UN as the most persecuted minority in the world, fled their homes in 2017 to escape an alleged crackdown by the Myanmar military. Download The Times of India News App for Latest India News.XStart your day smart with stories curated specially for youlast_img read more