20 Jul

What Are the Best Books on Aging

first_imgby, Kavan Peterson, Editor, ChangingAging.orgTweet26Share143Share3Email172 SharesI hope folks are enjoying ChangingAging’s new design and features. Our Submissions Page is now live and ready to accept guestblog submissions, Journey stories and your Questions. I’m going to kick things off with a question of my own that I hope the ChangingAging community can help me with.This week I received a guestblog submission from a wonderful ChangingAging reader who is writing a book on graceful aging and submitted a post listing her Top 15 Books on Aging. I was so excited to receive one of our first submissions that it was truly upsetting when I realized I had to reject it.The description of her book on graceful aging sounded wonderful, with a great focus on the positive aspects of aging, meaningful living and legacy. However, when I took a look at her top 15 books I realized that every book on her list was about life extension, anti-aging strategies and longevity.Now, several of her picks are great books, such as aging-guru Robert N. Butler’s “The Longevity Prescription: The 8 Proven Keys to a Long, Healthy Life,” or “The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest” by Dan Buettner. But the bulk of the list are books I would only post on ChangingAging to criticize for their obsession with superficial youth, such as Ageless Face, Ageless Mind: Erase Wrinkles and Rejuvenate the Brain by Dr. Nicholas Perricone or the dubious RealAge: Are You as Young as You Can Be?, part of the RealAge.com website that operates as a front for the Pharmaceutical Industry to collect consumer information (with backing by Oprah and Dr. Oz).I emailed the reader explaining my thoughts and asked for her feedback (I’m waiting for a reply).  I explained that our mission at ChangingAging is to counter society’s obsession and worshiping of youth. We believe this obsession with youth has many negative consequences on society, one of which is that the worth of people is largely determined by their apparent youthfulness. Rather than focus on how to “retain youth”, we are trying to change the way society views aging to become more accepting of old age and more open to the positive attributes of aging.Which leads to my two-part question:1) Do you think I did the right thing rejecting this guest post?2) What are the best Pro-Aging books that we should be featuring on ChangingAging? We’ve been compiling a Top 50 Pro-Aging book list and would love to hear what you’re reading. Take a look below and let us know what we’re missing — we have a few slots open.Abrahams, Ruby, At the End of the DayButler, Robert, N, Why Survive?: Being Old in AmericaButler, Robert, N, The Longevity Revolution: The Benefits and Challenges of Living a Long LifeChittister, Joan, The Gift of Years: Growing Older GracefullyCohen, Gene, D., The Creative Age: Awakening Human Potential In The Second Half Of LifeCohen, Gene, D., The Mature Mind: The Positive Power of the Aging BrainDass, Ram, Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing, and DyingFischer, Kathleen, Winter Grace: Spirituality and AgingFreedman, Marc, The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond MidlifeFriedan, Betty, The Fountain of AgeFry, Prem, S., Keyes, Corey L.M., New Frontiers in Resilient Aging: Life-Strengths and Well-Being in Late LifeGraydon, Shari, I Feel Great About By Hands: And Other Unexpected Joys of AgingGreen, Brent, Generation ReinventionGrossman, I.Michael, Coming to Terms with AgingHanson, Amy, Baby Boomers and Beyond: Tapping the Ministry Talents and Passions of Adults over 50Heilbrun, Carolyn G., The Last Gift of Time:Life Beyond SixtyHill, Robert D, Seven Strategies for Positive AgingHurd, Clarke, Laura, Facing Age: Women Growing Older in Anti-Aging CultureJackman, Elspeth, Enjoying Later Life (Making a Difference)Lustbader,MSW, Wendy, Life Gets BetterMartz, Sandra, Grow Old Along with Me, The Best Is Yet to BeMatzkin, Alice, The Art of Aging: Celebrating the Authentic Aging SelfMoody, PhD,Harry and Carroll, David, The Five Stages of the Soul: Charting the Spiritual Passages That Shape Our LivesMoody, Harry PhD and Sasser, Jennifer, Aging: Concepts and ControversiesMorgan, PhD, Leslie A., and Kunkel PhD, Suzanne R., Society, and the Life Course, Fourth EditionMorganroth Gullette, Margaret, Agewise: Fighting the New Ageism in AmericaMorganroth, Gullette, Margaret, Aged by CultureNelson, Todd D., Ageism: Stereotyping and Prejudice against Older PersonsNouwen, Henri, J.M., Gaffney, Walter, J Aging: The Fulfillment of LifePlotkin, Bill, Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented WorldPowell, Jason, Gilbert, Tony, Aging Identity: A Dialogue with PostmodernismReid, Eve, Fearless Aging: A Journey of Self Discovery, Soul Work and EmpowermentRich, Cynthia, MacDonald, Barbara, Look Me in the Eye: Old Women, Aging and AgeismRichmond, Lewis, Aging as a Spiritual Practice: A Contemplative Guide to Growing Older and WiserRohr, Richard, Falling Upward:A Spirituality for the Two Halves of LifeSarton, May, As We Are NowSarton, May, Encore: A Journal of the Eightieth YearSchachter-Shalomi, Zalman, Miller, Ronald, Age-ing to Sage-ingThomas, William H M.D., What Are Old People ForThomas, William H M.D., In The Arms of EldersThomason, Sally Palmer, Living Spirit of the Crone: Turning Aging Inside OutWalker, Smith, J. and Clurman, Ann, Generation Ageless: How Baby Boomers Are Changing the Way We Live Today….And They’re Just Getting StartedWeintraub, Arlene, Selling the Fountain of Youth: How the Anti-Aging Industry Made a Disease Out of Getting Old-And Made BillionsWilliamson, Marianne, The Age of Miracles: Embracing the New MidlifeRelated PostsChangingAging Books: The Wonder of AgingWhen I received a copy of Michael Gurian’s new book “The Wonder of Aging: A New Approach to Embracing Life After Fifty” I could tell this was a changing aging book.ChangingAging Weekly Blog RoundupIt Starts Here — Announcing the ChangingAging Blogstream The mass media is the most ageist element of our society — it will not help us change aging. There is an alternative option to get our story out. It’s BIG. It’s powerful. It’s under our control. It’s called Social Media. One…This is the Changing Aging Book of the YearWendy Lustbader is one of America’s finest and most illuminating writers. Equally passionate as a writer, teacher, and therapist, Wendy brings a social worker’s lived experience to her writing, teaching, and service to older people. Indeed it is her long experience with and concern for the well being of older…Tweet26Share143Share3Email172 SharesTags: Anti-Aging books Dr. Oz oprah Pro-Aginglast_img read more

20 Jul

Minka the AirBnB

first_imgby, Kyrié Carpenter, Managing EditorTweetShareShareEmail0 SharesNestled into the shore of Lake Cayuga in Upstate New York sits the very first Minka.The Minka prototype was created for Haleigh Jane Thomas. Haleigh is now graciously sharing her Minka through Airbnb. Any Tribes of Eden fans out there? This is your chance to be hosted by the amazing, Jude Meyers Thomas. The real-life version of Jude lives up to and surpasses her namesake character. Her immense gift for hospitality and kindness radiate when you are with her. Jude is the heart of the Thomas family innovations. It all started with The Eden Alternative, then GreenHouse and now Minka.When asked why to put Haleigh’s Minka on AirBnB Jude replied,“Minka should be out there for everyone to share. I believe Haleigh Jane believes in Minka and wants to help her family get this business off the ground, by showing the world what a home for people of all ages and abilities looks like.”The fun part, said Jude, is that the first guests were perfect guinea pigs. They knew nothing about the Minka or Haleigh Jane’s story before booking a visit. They found the Minka on Airbnb. The first guests knew nothing of the philosophy or history of Minka. For them, it was a lovely place to stay on the lake that met their needs. The experiences so far have been “amazing!” Jude said.“I have always loved meeting new people and learning people’s story,” Jude shared. “I love seeing people’s reaction to the Minka. Everyone who has come has been in awe of the space and the Minka itself. I keep hearing people say ‘everything we need is right here’. It is a very positive affirmation about the work we have done.”The beauty of universal design is that it fits everyone. This Minka was made for Haleigh and her specific lifestyle and needs. It suits the needs of those she is sharing it with thanks to Universal Design.Who should come and stay at Haleigh’s Minka? “Anyone and everyone!” Jude exclaimed. “It is open to all people of varying ages, different abilities and all walks of life. All are welcome and encouraged to come. I especially encourage those who are playing around with the idea, ‘I want to simplify my life.” Come, stay and live out the dream. See if it fits.”Minka is a tool to create a community that is MAGIC-al ( Multi-Ability, multi-Generational, Inclusive, Community). The first Minka is doing this through being a get-away for Haleigh and Airbnb guests. Each Minka will have its own story. Each Minka will have a way it contributes to bringing about the world the Thomas family have been working for decades to manifest. How will your Minka be a part of this story? Book a stay now or reserve your spot in the production queue and start dreaming.Related PostsThe Minka Factory Opens Its DoorsJust outside of Ithaca, New York in a newly constructed warehouse. Sandwiched between a local solar company and a Lime Bike depot is another innovative and earth-friendly neighbor. The very first Minka factory rolled open it’s doors earlier this month. Zach Thomas, Director of Manufacturing and master builder Jeremy Andrews…Minka MAGIC Homes and CommunitiesNationally renowned aging expert Dr. Bill Thomas unveiled today the first-of-its-kind robotic prefabricated Minka house built on the University of Southern Indiana (USI) campus in less than a week featuring universal design accessibility and advanced manufacturing technology.Grateful Changemakers: ChangingAgingAll of ChangingAging’s performances, all of our advocacy, all of our innovation is driven at its core by love. Love is the driving force behind combating ageism.TweetShareShareEmail0 SharesTags: Airbnb jude Minkalast_img read more

20 Jul

Early childhood adversity increases sensitivity of the bodys immune response to cocaine

first_imgJul 17 2018Childhood adversity permanently alters the peripheral and central immune systems, increasing the sensitivity of the body’s immune response to cocaine, reports a study by researchers at the IRCCS Santa Lucia Foundation and University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Italy.The study, published in Biological Psychiatry, showed that exposure to psychosocial stress early in life altered the structure of immune cells and inflammatory signals in mice and led to increased drug-seeking behavior. Exposure to early psychosocial stress in mice, or a difficult childhood in humans, increased the immune response to cocaine in adulthood, revealing a shared mechanism in the role of immune response in the effects of early life stress on cocaine sensitivity in mice and humans.The findings help explain why as many as 50 percent of people who experience childhood maltreatment develop addiction problems. The results in mice and humans suggest that exposure to adversity during childhood triggers activation of the immune system, leading to permanent changes that sensitize the immune system and increase susceptibility to the effects of cocaine in adulthood.”This paper suggests the existence of an extraordinary degree of interplay between the neural and immune systems related to the impact of early life stress on later risk for cocaine misuse. It both highlights the complex impact of early life stress and suggests an immune-related mechanism for reducing later addiction risk,” said John Krystal, MD, Editor of Biological Psychiatry.After inducing psychosocial stress in 2-week-old mice by exposing them to a threatening male, first author Luisa Lo Iacono, PhD, and colleagues examined brain immune cells, called microglia, in adulthood. Early social stress altered the structure of microglia in the ventral tegmental area, a brain region important for the reward system and drug-seeking, and increased the response of microglia to cocaine. In the peripheral immune system, early social stress increased the release of inflammatory molecules from white blood cells, which was further amplified by exposure to cocaine, compared with control mice.Related StoriesAntibiotics can wipe out early flu resistance, study findsE-cigarettes much more effective for traditional cigarettes finds studyVirus employs powerful strategy to inhibit natural killer cell function”Remarkably, pharmacologically blocking this immune activation during early life stress prevents the development of the susceptibility to cocaine in adulthood,” said senior author Valeria Carola, PhD. Mice who received an antibiotic to prevent activation of immune cells during social stress did not have cellular changes or drug-seeking behavior.The study also compared immune system function of 38 cocaine addicts and 20 healthy volunteers. Those who experienced childhood maltreatment had increased expression levels of genes important for immune system function. And the highest levels were found in cocaine addicts who had experienced a difficult childhood.The findings add to the growing collection of evidence from the research group for the negative effects of early life trauma on brain development. “Our work emphasizes once again the importance of the emotional environment where our children are raised and how much a serene and stimulating environment can provide them with an extra ‘weapon’ against the development of psychopathologies,” said Dr. Carola. Source:https://www.elsevier.com/last_img read more

20 Jul

Study Neural signal that urges to eat overpowers the one that says

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Sep 21 2018Almost everyone knows the feeling. You’re at a restaurant or a holiday meal, and your stomach is telling you it’s full, so logically you know you should stop eating.But what you’re eating tastes so good, or your friends and family are still eating, or you don’t get this treat very often. So you keep going.A new study explores the mystery of why this happens, at the most basic level in the brain. It shows that two tiny clusters of cells battle for control of feeding behavior — and the one that drives eating overpowers the one that says to stop.It also shows that the brain’s own natural opioid system gets involved – and that blocking it with the drug naloxone can stop over-eating.The researchers studied mice, not over-eating humans. But they do note that the findings could help inform the fight against the global obesity epidemic.The team, from the University of Michigan Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute, published their work in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.The two groups of brain cells they looked at, called POMC and AgRP, are next-door neighbors in a deep brain region called the arcuate nucleus, or Arc, within a larger region called the hypothalamus, which is a master regulator of motivated behaviors.Neuroscientist and U-M Department of Psychiatry professor Huda Akil, Ph.D., led the research team. She says the discovery involved a strong dose of serendipity.”We used a transgenic approach to specifically address the POMC neurons for optogenetic stimulation, and we expected to see a decrease in appetite. Instead, we saw a really remarkable effect,” she says. “The animals ate like crazy; during the half hour after stimulation, they ate a full day’s supply of food.”A tale of two genesPrevious research, including work done in several U-M laboratories, showed that the Arc region, and specifically POMC and AgRP neurons, play key roles in feeding behavior.The gene called POMC (short for pro-opiomelanocortin) has multiple functions: it encodes a stress hormone called ACTH, a natural opioid called beta-endoprhin, and several other molecules called melanocortins.The first mammalian gene to be cloned, it was also the first gene that scientists visualized in the brain of a mammal using a technique called in situ hybridization – work that was led by Stan Watson, M.D., Ph.D., who also co-authored the new paper. Another U-M researcher, Roger Cone, Ph.D., first cloned the receptors for POMC-produced melanocortins, and demonstrated their role in food intake, energy regulation and obesity.POMC’s products get opposition from products of the AgRP gene, whose name is short for Agouti-Gene-Related Peptide. Watson also mapped the location of AgRP cells in the brain, and Cone’s team determined their role in feeding and obesity.In general, POMC acts like a brake on feeding when it gets certain signals from the body, and AgRP acts like an accelerator pedal, especially when food is scarce or it’s been some time since a meal.But the new study shows for the first time how their activity relates to one another, thanks to a technique called optogenetics. By focusing on unique molecular features of a particular group of neurons, it makes it possible for scientists to target, or address, those cells specifically and activate them selectively.A hunt for answersThe serendipitous optogenetic finding about the over-eating mice set off a search for the reason why they overate, led by research scientist Qiang Wei, Ph.D., working with others in Akil’s lab.The answer was that while they were optogenetically stimulating the POMC cells, they were also unintentionally stimulating a subset of AgRP cells nearby. The two types of cells originate from the same parent cells during embryonic development. That common heritage meant that the transgenic approach Akil and her colleagues used to address POMC captured not only the POMC neurons but also a segment of the AgRP neuronal system.Related StoriesNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to helpAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaNanoparticles used to deliver CRISPR gene editing tools into the cellIn other words, they had turned on both the brake and the gas pedal for eating. When both types of cell got activated, the “keep eating” signal from AgRP cells overpowered the “stop eating” signal from POMC cells. “When both are stimulated at once, AgRP steals the show,” says Akil.Then the researchers used a different technique, addressing the cells with an injected virus rather than a transgene, to focus the optogenetic stimulation on just POMC neurons and ensure that AgRP neurons didn’t get activated.They found that stimulating just POMC cells caused a significant decrease in eating – and were surprised at how rapidly it happened. Akil notes that past research had shown slow effects of POMC stimulation on eating – but in these previous experiments, mice had recently eaten, while the mice in the U-M study were slightly hungry.The team also used a new method called CLARITY to visualize in 3-D the pathways that start from POMC and AgRP neurons. These pathways of neurons, once activated, can trigger either a sense of feeling full – called satiety — or the drive to eat. They stitched together images of activated neurons in a computer, to create 3-D videos that show the neurons’ reach.Then, the researchers used a method called c-fos activation to dig deeper into the downstream effects of POMC and AgRP neuron activation – and showed that its effects spread throughout the brain, including in the cortex, which governs function like attention, perception, and memory.Since POMC encodes a natural opioid (B-Endorphin), the authors asked whether activation of this system triggers the body’s own natural painkiller system, called the endogenous opioid system. They found that activation of POMC blocked pain, but that this was reversed by the opioid antagonist drug naloxone.Interestingly, the activation of AgRP, which triggered feeding, also turned on the opioid system in the brain. “When we administered naloxone, which blocks opioid receptors, the feeding behavior stopped,” says Akil. “This suggests that the brain’s own endogenous opioid system may play a role in wanting to eat beyond what is needed.”More than just metabolic signalsThe involvement of the cortex and opioid systems lead Akil and her colleagues to think about how the results might relate to the human experience. Though mice and humans are very different, Akil speculates that the bombardment of our senses with sights and smells related to food, and the social interactions related to food, may be involved in encouraging overeating.Perhaps, she says, these factors combine to trigger us to become interested in eating when we’re not even hungry, and the battle between the “stop” and “keep going” signals is lost.”Our work shows that the signals of satiety – of having had enough food – are not powerful enough to work against the strong drive to eat, which has strong evolutionary value,” she says. She notes that other researchers are looking at opiate receptor blockers as potential diet aids, and that it’s also important to study the pathways that are activated by the products of both POMC and AgRP cells, as well as individual differences in all these systems.Many studies in humans have looked at the metabolic aspects of the drive to eat, and overeat – for instance, the metabolic signals that travel between the body and brain in the form of peptides such as leptin and ghrelin. But Akil says there appears to be a strong neural system involved in overeating that results from perceptual, emotional and social triggers, and that is not receiving sufficient scientific attention.”There’s a whole industry built on enticing you to eat, whether you need it or not, through visual cues, packaging, smells, emotional associations,” she says. “People get hungry just looking at them, and we need to study the neural signals involved in those attentional, perceptional mechanisms that drive us to eat.” Source:http://www.med.umich.edu/last_img read more

20 Jul

Seedy tale Chinese researchers stole patented corn US prosecutors allege

Email FBI agents tracked the group for about a year, according to court documents, eventually indicting the alleged ringleader, Mo Hailong, and five partners this past December. Last week, U.S. prosecutors arrested and charged another suspect in the case. Mo Yun, a researcher with a “PhD in an animal science field,” according to court records, heads up DBN’s research and technology division in Beijing. All seven defendants have been charged with being part of a conspiracy to steal trade secrets.  Mo Yun is the wife of DBN Chair Shao Genhuo and the sister of alleged ringleader Mo Hailong. Her arrest suggests that agents have traced the operation back to the scientists in China who would have handled any seed lines obtained from the United States. Mo Yun, who oversaw DBN’s seed breeding efforts in China, was “in charge of the specifics from the home country side,” DBN’s chief operating officer wrote in an instant message to Mo Hailong that was intercepted by FBI agents.The germplasm, or genetic makeup, of corn lines is a valuable form of intellectual property and is carefully guarded by seed companies. Through extensive research, breeders develop inbred seed lines that have particular traits. They can then be crossbred with other inbred lines to create hybrid lines that are sold to farmers.In China, Mo Yun and her colleagues operated in an atmosphere that works against the homegrown development of such seed lines, say observers of China’s agricultural research programs. China’s plant breeding research is mainly conducted in the public sector, and researchers are not always in close contact with the companies that sell and trade seeds. Less money is available for the private sector, says Huang Jikun, director of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy in Beijing. “The current institutional setting and incentive system” is a barrier to innovation, he notes.Plant breeding research elsewhere in the world has benefited from advances in genomics and molecular markers, but plant breeding scientists in China do not work closely with researchers in those areas, says Carl Pray, an agriculture, food, and resource economics expert at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, who has worked in China. “Only a few private Chinese companies have developed major biotech and plant breeding research capacities,” he adds. Rather than labor in an atmosphere stymied by poor investment, fragmented research groups, and weak intellectual property protection, the defendants may have seen obtaining patented seed lines as a shortcut. The United States has a climate and crop growing conditions that are similar to China’s, making it a “natural place to look,” Pray says.In 2012, a court document alleges, Mo Hailong and two other defendants “attempted to ship approximately 250 pounds of corn seed, packaged in 42, 5-gallon zip-lock bags contained in 5 separate boxes,” from Illinois to a logistics company in Hong Kong. Another defendant is said to have stashed “374 small manila envelopes each containing small quantities of corn seed within two boxes of Pop Weaver brand microwave popcorn,” which he stowed in his checked luggage on a flight to Beijing.Mo Yun, who would have overseen efforts to ascertain the germplasm of any stolen seed lines in Beijing, allegedly participated from behind the scenes. Agents intercepted instant messaging chats in which she and her brother discussed which seeds to collect.Later, she told her brother that some of the seeds he had sent were performing well. She added that a DBN scientist had been asked to test the DNA of the seed lines deemed most promising, according to court documents.DuPont Pioneer has developed a popular corn line in China in partnership with a Chinese company. But because of the Chinese government’s concern about foreign control of China’s seed industry, Pray says, officials have allowed the company to commercialize only one hybrid cultivar. Those tight controls mean that little of the company’s intellectual property finds its way into China. Pray says “it could be that if the Chinese government was not so effective at keeping out U.S. companies and U.S. maize lines, [Mo Yun] and her brother could have taken these lines from DuPont in China rather than violating U.S. law and taking U.S. trade secrets from the U.S.”Mo Hailong and several other defendants have entered not guilty pleas. Attorneys for the accused could not be reached for comment. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country The court documents read like something out of a Coen brothers film. Employees of the Chinese agricultural company Dabeinong Technology Group Co. (DBN) and a subsidiary sneaked through midwestern cornfields, U.S. prosecutors allege, stealthily gathering patented corn that they attempted to smuggle out of the United States in microwave popcorn boxes. Over a span of years, the associates allegedly came up with various ways of stealing coveted seed lines developed by agricultural giants DuPont Pioneer, Monsanto, and LG Seeds—a feat that, had it succeeded, would have sidestepped years of research. The case is remarkable in its scope. Experts on Chinese agriculture say that it also reflects real obstacles to innovation within China.The U.S.-based defendants roamed rural Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa in rental cars, digging up corn seedlings, stealing ears of corn, and stealing or illegally obtaining packaged seed, according to court documents. In 2011, a DuPont Pioneer field manager spotted one alleged thief on his knees digging in a field, as a collaborator waited in a nearby parked car. The defendants stored hundreds of ears of corn in a storage locker, where a manager warned them that their stash might attract rodents. They eventually purchased 13 hectares of Iowa farmland in an apparent attempt to conceal their activities. Click to view the privacy policy. 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20 Jul

Anonymous peerreview comments may spark legal battle

first_imgThe power of anonymous comments—and the liability of those who make them—is at the heart of a possible legal battle embroiling PubPeer, an online forum launched in October 2012 for anonymous, postpublication peer review. A researcher who claims that comments on PubPeer caused him to lose a tenured faculty job offer now intends to press legal charges against the person or people behind these posts—provided he can uncover their identities, his lawyer says. The issue first came to light in August, when PubPeer’s (anonymous) moderators announced that the site had received a “legal threat.” Today, they revealed that the scientist involved is Fazlul Sarkar, a cancer researcher at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Sarkar, an author on more than 500 papers and principal investigator for more than $1,227,000 in active grants from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, has, like many scientists, had his work scrutinized on PubPeer. More than 50 papers on which he is an author have received at least one comment from PubPeer users, many of whom point out potential inconsistencies in the papers’ figures, such as perceived similarities between images that are supposed to depict different experiments.Recently, PubPeer was contacted about those comments by Nicholas Roumel, an attorney at Nacht, Roumel, Salvatore, Blanchard & Walker P.C. in Ann Arbor, Michigan, who represents Sarkar and spoke to ScienceInsider on his behalf. On 9 June, the University of Mississippi Medical Center announced that Sarkar would join the faculty in its school of pharmacy. Records from a meeting of the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning note that he was offered a tenured position and a salary of $350,000 per year, effective 1 July. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email But on 19 June, Roumel says, Sarkar got a letter from the University of Mississippi revoking its offer. Science has not seen the letter, but Romel says that in his view, “it made it crystal clear the PubPeer postings were the reason they were rescinding the job offer.” A representative for the University of Mississippi declined to comment on the case, citing prospective employees’ confidentiality.According to Roumel, Wayne State allowed Sarkar to keep the position he had formally resigned but revoked his tenure. The events have “had a devastating effect on his career,” Roumel says. A representative of Wayne State confirmed that Sarkar is employed there but gave no details about any change in his status.Roumel says that because Sarkar suspects the person or persons who posted some of the PubPeer comments also circulated them to the University of Mississippi, as well as to colleagues in his department at Wayne State, he wants to find out their identities and file suit against them. One possible charge is defamation, Roumel says, because he believes several comments—some now removed by PubPeer’s moderators—stray from the facts to insinuate deliberate misconduct, in violation of PubPeer’s posting guidelines. Roumel has exchanged letters with PubPeer requesting the identity of the commenters, but no suits or request for a subpoena have been filed.PubPeer argues that researchers should defend their papers against online comments without resorting to legal action. “Authors have every opportunity to respond directly to any comments on PubPeer they feel are unjustified,” an anonymous PubPeer contact told ScienceInsider in an e-mail. Roumel’s response is that his client has no responsibility to critics who refuse to put a name to their accusations. “I don’t think he has any obligation to provide the data [behind the papers called into question] to anyone other than a journal,” he says.PubPeer’s own liability is a separate issue. If the site merely provided a forum for the comments and did not contribute to their content, as its moderators maintain, they would be immune from libel actions under a section of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, says Nicholas Jollymore, a libel lawyer at Jollymore Law Office P.C. in San Francisco, California, who represents PubPeer. But the effort to identify the commenters may involve a subpoena to PubPeer for information about it users, Roumel says.And although those who post comments have a right to anonymity under the First Amendment, “it’s by no means an absolute right,” says Alexander Abdo, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in New York City. They can lose this protection if there is a strong case of wrongdoing against them. “Whoever is trying to unmask someone needs to show that there is some likelihood of success of their claim,” Abdo says. He says the ACLU would work with Jollymore to defend PubPeer should Sarkar go forward with a lawsuit or subpoena.It’s not clear how much information a subpoena would yield. Users can create a PubPeer account using their e-mail address at an academic or research institution, but others submit “unregistered” comments through the site’s moderators. PubPeer may have names and e-mails for registered posters, but only IP addresses for the others. An Internet service provider may be able to look up who accesses the Internet from an IP address at a given time, Abdo says, but there are also ways to conceal one’s identity from such a search. Asked about possible wrongdoing by the PubPeer community, the moderators replied, “We will do everything possible to protect our users.”center_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more

20 Jul

Updated Brains GPS earns three neuroscientists a Nobel Prize

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img (Science has made this 2006 feature looking at the history of place and grid cells freely available)Research on how the brain knows where it is has bagged the 2014 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, the Nobel Committee has announced from Stockholm. One half of the prize goes to John O’Keefe, director of the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour at University College London. The other is for a husband-wife couple: May-Britt Moser, who is director of the Centre for Neural Computation in Trondheim, and Edvard Moser, director of the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience in Trondheim.In the 1970s, O’Keefe discovered the first component of this positioning system, a kind of nerve cell that is active when a rat is in a certain place in a room. Trying to learn more about how individual brain cells could control behavior, he recorded signals from individual nerve cells in a rat’s brain as the animal moved around a room. He noticed that a specific cell in the brain region called the hippocampus would signal each time the rat was in a specific part of the room. Different cells corresponded to different places, and O’Keefe concluded that these “place cells” allowed the rat to construct a mental map of the environment. The hippocampus stores multiple maps, based on the activity of place cell activities. Place cells “set in motion an entire field” within neuroscience, says Loren Frank, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco. “Hundreds, if not thousands” of neuroscientists interested in how the brain perceives, remembers, and plans movement through space flocked to study the hippocampus’s role in spatial memory after O’Keefe’s original find, adds Lynn Nadel, a neuroscientist at the University of Arizona in Tucson, who collaborated with O’Keefe on a 1978 book about place cells.Three decades later, May‐Britt and Edvard Moser were trying to figure out more about how the place cells work, when they discovered another set of cells in a neighboring part of the brain, the entorhinal cortex. Those cells, called “grid cells,” play a role similar to the grid on street maps that can help locate a specific street or point of interest. In a series of three papers in Science and Nature between 2004 and 2006, they laid out how the brain uses the grid cells to help animals find their way, even in the dark. “We’re over the moon about this discovery,” O’Keefe told Science in 2006 in a feature story on the history of place and grid cells.”The discoveries of John O´Keefe, May‐Britt Moser and Edvard Moser have solved a problem that has occupied philosophers and scientists for centuries—how does the brain create a map of the space surrounding us and how can we navigate our way through a complex environment? How do we experience our environment?” the Nobel Committee says in its statement.Recently, researchers have begun to manipulate these navigational neurons. A team earlier this year altered the positive and negative associations that mice had formed with specific locations, by triggering hippocampal place cells with lasers while simultaneously stimulating other brain cells. And although grid and place cells remain a focus of fundamental neuroscience research, there are hints of clinical relevance: The hippocampus and entorhinal cortex are among the first brain regions damaged in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s,  One of the first symptoms in Alzheimer patients is that they lose their way and become disoriented easily.Although the Nobel committee’s choice was a surprise to few in the neuroscience community, it still caught the Mosers and O’Keefe off-guard. O’Keefe latter was plugging away on grant proposals at home when he got the call. When May-Britt received the call from the Nobel Committee informing her of the prize this morning, her husband was on an airplane flying to Munich, she told Nobelprize.org in an interview. Upon landing, the news finally made it to him, he said in an interview: “Finally I found out, because there were 150 emails and 75 text messages that had come in the last two hours.”For more on Nobels in science, click here.last_img read more

20 Jul

Look out Robots could soon teach each other new tricks

first_img By Matthew HutsonMay. 10, 2017 , 10:00 AM Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Someday soon, robot assistants will be a part of our everyday lives—but only if we can teach them new tasks without programming. If you have to learn to code, you might as well make the sandwich yourself. Now, a new system makes teaching robots almost as easy as teaching a child. And conveniently—or alarmingly, if you’re afraid of robot dominion—they can use this system to share their skills with each other.There are two basic ways to train a robot. One is to program its movements, which requires time and coding expertise. The other is to demonstrate what you want by tugging on its limbs, moving digital representations of them, or doing the task yourself as an example for the robot to imitate. But delicate tasks sometimes require more precision than a person can demonstrate by hand—defusing a bomb is one good example. Now, with a system called C-LEARN, scientists have imbued a robot with a knowledge base of simple steps that it can intelligently apply when learning a new task.“[C-LEARN] takes a very practical approach that works really well,” says Anca Dragan, a roboticist at the University of California, Berkeley, who was not involved in the research. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country In this system, human users first help build the robot’s knowledge base. Researchers taught a two-armed robot called Optimus by clicking and dragging its limbs in a software program. They demonstrated movements, such as grasping the top of a cylinder or the side of a block. They performed each task seven times from different positions. The movement varied slightly each time, and the robot looked for patterns that it then integrated into its system. For example, if the grasper always ended up roughly parallel to the object, the robot would infer that parallelism was an important constraint to that process.At this point, the robot is “like a 2-year-old baby that just knows how to reach for something and grasp it,” says Claudia Pérez D’Arpino, a computer scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and the leader of the study. With its knowledge base, the robot can learn new, multistep tasks with just a single demonstration. Users show robots the desired task with the C-LEARN software, and then approve or correct the robot’s attempt. It’s a one-and-done affair.“Robots that can obey geometric constraints have been around for more than a decade,” says Maya Cakmak, a roboticist at the University of Washington in Seattle who was not involved in the work. “However, so far only experts have been able to make use of them.”To test the system, the researchers taught Optimus four multistep tasks: to pick up a bottle and drop it in a bucket, to grab and lift a tray horizontally with both hands, to open a box with one hand and press a button inside it with the other, and to grasp a handle on a cube with one hand and pull a rod straight out of the cube with the other. For each task, Optimus received one demonstration and made 10 attempts. It succeeded 37 out of 40 times, researchers will report later this month at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation.For an even tougher challenge, the researchers transferred Optimus’s knowledge base and its plans for the four tasks to a simulation of Atlas, a two-footed robot that has to keep its balance. Atlas managed to complete all four tasks. But when researchers deleted some of the transferred knowledge, such as the constraint of keeping certain movements parallel, it failed.Such knowledge transfer would have practical application, D’Arpino says. “You can teach one robot to do something in a factory in Germany, and there’s no reason you can’t transfer that to a different robot in Canada.” Of course, of concern to those who have a dystopian view of the future is that robots teaching each other new skills over the internet would be a necessary first step toward world domination.D’Arpino is now seeing whether people interacting with Optimus for the first time can teach it new tricks. The results so far are promising, though she’s not ready to discuss them in detail. Next, she hopes to teach robots the flexibility to adjust their learned skills on the fly.One eventual goal is to teach the robots to disable bombs, a delicate task in which robots need to be directed quickly and with high precision. Other applications include finding people in a disaster, manufacturing electronics, and helping sick—or lazy—people with chores around the house. “There’s this promise of robots at home, but the reality is that now they can do nothing,” D’Arpino says. “What can a robot today do at your place, other than vacuum? It’s really hard.” She’s hoping to change that.center_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email Look out: Robots could soon teach each other new trickslast_img read more

20 Jul

Baby marmosets learn to talk just like we do

first_img Baby marmosets learn to ‘talk’ just like we do Iuliia Timofeeva/Shutterstock 00:0000:0000:00 By Virginia MorellMay. 25, 2017 , 12:00 PM Baby marmosets learn to make their calls by trying to repeat their parents’ vocalizations, scientists report today in Current Biology. Humans were thought to be the only primate with vocal learning—the ability to hear a sound and repeat it, considered essential for speech. When our infants babble, they make apparently random sounds, which adults respond to with words or other sounds; the more this happens, the faster the baby learns to talk.To find out whether marmosets (Callithrix jacchus, pictured) do something similar, scientists played recordings of parental calls during a daily 30-minute session to three sets of newborn marmoset twins until they were 2 months old (roughly equivalent to a 2-year-old human). Baby marmosets make noisy guttural cries; adults respond with soft “phee” contact calls (listen to their calls below). Daniel Y The baby that consistently heard its parents respond to its cries learned to make the adult “phee” sound much faster than did its twin, the team found. It’s not yet known if this ability is limited to the marmosets; if so, the difference may be due to the highly social lives of these animals, where, like us, multiple relatives help care for babies.last_img read more

20 Jul

Ultrasonic probe could detect stroke brain damage in young babies

first_img By Emily UnderwoodOct. 11, 2017 , 2:00 PM ISTOCK.COM/STOCKSTUDIOX Ultrasonic probeEEG electrodes So Baud’s team aimed for a soft spot: the anterior fontanelle, a membrane-covered gap between the bones of an infant’s skull, which hardens as the bones fuse around age 2. The researchers attached a 40-gram ultrasonic probe to the anterior fontanelles of six healthy babies. A flexible silicon mount kept the device in place, while a wire transmitted data to a computer.Despite their small size, the probes are 50 times as sensitive at measuring blood flow as conventional ultrasound. Like an EEG machine, they could easily distinguish between two phases of sleep in napping newborns: “active” sleep, in which the brain displays continuous electrical activity; and “quiet” sleep, in which brain activity waxes and wanes. When combined with EEG, the probes detected seizures in two infants whose cortexes had developed abnormally. The researchers were even able to identify where in the brain the seizures started by tracking the waves of increased blood flow that occur during such an event, they report today in Science Translational Medicine.The probe, which runs custom software on commercially available hardware, is not yet sensitive enough to monitor brain activity outside the fontanelle area. With refinement, however, Baud believes the device will be able to detect abnormal brain activity caused by conditions like early onset sepsis, an infection of the bloodstream that can cause brain damage. It could also help distinguish healthy and unhealthy brain activity in young babies, a vitally important aspect of clinical trials for drugs aimed at protecting the brain from infection.The new technique is equally important for neuroscientists who want to study normal brain development and the developmental origins of diseases such as autism, Thomason says. If researchers could acquire more data about brain development during this early stage, she says, “we could make much stronger predictions in the future.” If you’ve ever found yourself in an MRI machine, you know keeping still isn’t easy. For newborns, it’s nearly impossible. Now, a portable, ultrasonic brain probe about the size of a domino could do similar work, detecting seizures and other abnormal brain activity in real time, according to a new study. It could also monitor growing babies for brain damage that can lead to diseases like cerebral palsy.“This is a window of time we haven’t had access to, and techniques like this are really going to open that up,” says Moriah Thomason, a neuroscientist at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, who wasn’t involved in the new study.Researchers have long been able to take still pictures of the newborn brain and study brain tissue after death. But brain function during the first few weeks of life, which is “utterly essential to future human health,” has always been something of a black box, Thomason says. Two techniques used in adults—functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which can measure blood flow; and electroencephalography (EEG), which measures electrical activity in the outer layers of the brain—have their drawbacks. FMRI doesn’t work well with squirmy tots, is expensive, and is too big to haul to a delicate baby’s bedside. EEG—which only requires attaching a few wires to someone’s head—can’t penetrate deeper brain structures or show where a seizure begins, critical information for doctors weighing treatment options, says Olivier Baud, a developmental neuroscientist at the Robert Debré University Hospital in Paris. 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 Ultrasonic probe could detect stroke, brain damage in young babies Some newborns are at risk of seizures and abnormal brain activity. Seeking to develop something small, yet powerful, Baud and colleagues turned to ultrasound, an imaging technology that uses high-frequency sound waves to capture moving images of structures inside the body. Previous studies have shown that extremely fast ultrasound waves—10,000 frames per second, compared with the 50 frames per second in conventional medical imaging—can detect tiny changes in blood volume within blood vessels in rodent and human brains. As in fMRI, scientists use these changes in blood flow to approximate electrical activity in neurons. But because ultrasound does not easily pass through bone, these studies required that the skull be filed down or cracked open. A portable brain scan Ultrasonic probe can detect seizures in young infants. V. Altounian/Science after Demene et al. Imaging plane Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more

20 Jul

Science restored Eddie Bernice Johnson prepares to chair key panel in US

first_img BILL CLARK/CQ ROLL CALL/NEWSCOM 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 Science restored: Eddie Bernice Johnson prepares to chair key panel in U.S. House of Representatives Q: You said on election night that one of your goals is to “restore the credibility of the science committee.” When was it lost, and what will it take to recover it?A: I think that we lost it under the leadership of Lamar Smith. And to restore it is to follow the charter of the committee. I’m not saying that it will be easy, because we still have a Cabinet and a president that is not necessarily on our side in terms of scientific endeavors. However, it should not keep the committee from functioning as it should function.Q: What was the committee doing instead?A: We were doing more digging, trying to uncover any information that would undercut scientific findings, avoid facing what the scientific data were showing us, and attempting to annihilate much of [NSF] by doing overreach and telling NSF what to fund, which is really not our role. There were a number of things [Smith did] that I disagreed with. But [Democrats] were not in charge. And I think that there were Republican members of the committee who didn’t agree with the leadership, but they just didn’t challenge it.Q: To what extent did NSF bring that scrutiny on itself, such as its problems managing construction of the National Ecological Observatory Network?A: No agency is perfect, and if you poke around enough you’ll probably find something. But NSF did have, and has had, a sterling reputation with its peer-review system and choosing what areas to fund. And I felt they had done a pretty good job.All agencies could stand some oversight, which is our responsibility. But I think it can be done with an open mind in a way that allows the committee and the agency to function. Just because you disagree with a particular award should not be the reason to try and destroy the whole agency. … [Under Smith, Republican staffers examined hundreds of NSF grants in search of those it felt were a waste of tax dollars.] We do have oversight authority, but we don’t have the responsibility to tell them what to fund. After 8 years in the political wilderness, Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D–TX) is relishing the chance to “restore the credibility” of the science committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. With Democrats winning control of the House, Johnson is in line to move from ranking member to chair of the panel when the 116th Congress convenes in January 2019. And she says ending the committee’s ideologically driven fights over climate change, management of the National Science Foundation (NSF), and other research topics is high on her agenda.She feels that the polarizing 6-year tenure of Representative Lamar Smith (R–TX), the current science panel chair who is retiring, was an anomaly for the typically low-key panel she joined as a new member in 1993. She is hoping her Republican colleagues take a less partisan approach to the committee’s business now that Democrats are in charge and Smith is out of the picture.Trained as a psychiatric nurse, the 82-year-old Johnson served for more than a decade in the Texas legislature before coming to Washington, D.C. She spoke with ScienceInsider on 9 November from her Dallas district about a range of topics, including climate policy under U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration, gender discrimination in science, and how the need for members to raise money influences the committee’s roster. The conversation has been edited for clarity and brevity. 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 (*) Email Q: What are the most pressing areas for oversight?A: We have to get back to examining climate change. We obviously are experiencing a great deal of climate change, and we’ve had lots of denying. I don’t believe that much of that denying was sincere; I think it was governed by the leadership of the committee. I think it’s nonsense for us to sit here and ignore that it’s happening and waste our time without having any plan for what we should be doing to save our planet and the lives and the money it takes to clean up after disasters.Q: Are you saying some Republican members might accept climate change but couldn’t admit that?A: I think that might be some of it, and some of them have admitted they see a change but say that human activity doesn’t have anything to do with it. Well, I think that’s something we need to clarify. It is clear that something is causing it, and whatever the activity might be is probably generated by human beings.Q: Will the committee try any new approaches to educate the public and members?A: Honestly, I think the general public has a pretty good idea and some knowledge of climate change. What we need to do is get real inside Congress and look at some reasonable, sensible, and intellectual approaches to address the issue. I think the whole world is aware that we are in the midst of lots of global weather change. I think it was a mistake for us to withdraw from the Paris [climate] treaty. I don’t know if that can be restored, but we can certainly try to make those contacts.We see the weather is changing. The type of floods, the destruction from the winds, we cannot just continue to just clean up after this happens. We can look at making use of resilient materials, and in where we locate businesses and homes. I think that it might make more sense to focus on building a wall on the Gulf [of Mexico] at Houston[, Texas,] rather than a border wall between the United States and Mexico.Q: Do you support a carbon tax?A: I think that needs to be a consideration. It’s clear we must reduce emissions. We had the same skepticism from industry when we started to get rid of leaded gas. But now it’s been accepted, and we see it’s created a better environment. So we have to bite the bullet and make some changes. I don’t believe that we’ll have nearly as much resistance from business that we anticipate. It’s a matter of working together, and of making sure that we take the necessary steps without undue delays.Q: Will the committee be trying to move legislation, or just tee up issues in advance of the 2020 election?A: I think we have to take it one step at a time. We have to start with sound science. I don’t believe there are any miraculous steps we can take, because we know the political environment we’re in. We know that the White House seems incapable of looking at research on climate change and accepting it. I don’t really know who can communicate that message to the president. He’s chosen Cabinet members who agree with him on what steps they think are necessary not to protect the environment, but to protect businesses.Q: Do you think Kelvin Droegemeier, who has been nominated as head of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, can bring him that message?A: I don’t know [Droegemeier]. But I plan to get to know him and see if we can have a conversation. I cannot say I know many of the people that this administration has chosen for scientific positions.Q: Will you have subpoena power to compel witnesses to testify, as Smith did?A: We have it now. We’ll have to review whether we want to keep it or change it. But it will certainly be on the table to discuss.Q: Would you like to have it?A: I think it would be good to have a bipartisan agreement [to issue a subpoena], and I would seek that bipartisan cooperation. But there might be times when we couldn’t have it.Q: You are one of the biggest advocates for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in Congress. What are your priorities with respect to diversity, K–12 education, undergraduate and graduate training, and the scientific workforce?A: We have to explore all of them, because we haven’t seen the progress that’s needed among our young people. And yet we know we cannot concede the world stage. We have the brains out there; we just need to encourage them. And that’s why I was so unhappy with the president’s proposal to eliminate education at NASA. NASA has been a leading agency in capturing the attention of students in science.Q: Do you think the scientific culture itself has contributed to the problem of sexual harassment in the scientific workplace?A: Yes, I do. We’ve done several studies, going back to when [Maryland Republican] Connie Morella was on the committee [in the 1990s], and found that women did not receive an equal share of the credit and the opportunity in science. And not much has changed since then. We really want to continue to make sure that young bright female minds are just as important as everyone else in pursuing these careers. We see that a majority of students going to medical school are women, so we’ve made some impact there. But we need to make an impact across the board, especially in engineering and math. We cannot afford to sacrifice 50% of our brain power.Q: This administration has raised the issue of academic espionage and has pointed to the large number of foreign-born scientists working in the United States as a contributing factor. Is that issue on your radar?A: Well, that’s something we always need to keep in mind. But I must say that major scientific endeavors usually are universal, and they involve scientists from around the world. We are aware of national security and must find ways to avoid being sabotaged. But we also need to continue to build those international relationships as we do the research. This nation cannot afford to be the only one involved in these projects, because they require support from many countries.Q: Is the U.S. research enterprise healthy?A: I think it is. But its vulnerability rests on whether we in Congress can keep up with our responsibility to provide the financial support it needs. We have imported much of our talent. And we should be in the business of attempting to furnish our own talent. Agencies need to put more emphasis on recruiting and encouraging young, diverse talent to go into STEM.Q: You’re going to have several slots to fill on the committee. How will you sell new members on joining?A: We’re looking at those with STEM backgrounds, and I think the environment [on the committee] will be much improved. People with STEM degrees are some of the smartest people in Congress, and they are very no-nonsense people. And you could say that, in the last 6 years, in many ways, they have wasted their time sitting on the committee.But that will certainly not be the case in the next Congress.Q: Any plans for restructuring?A: We know it will take us a while to get back on course. We need to regenerate interest and develop sound goals for the committee. I can’t imagine that the leadership of the Republican party will be quite as negative as the leadership we have had on the committee for the last 6 years.I served as a ranking member under [former Texas Representative] Ralph Hall, and we did not have the same level of rancor as we had under Lamar Smith.Q: What was it like in 1993, when you joined the committee, and Representative George Brown (D–CA) was chairman?A: George Brown was quite a professional, a very learned, STEM-oriented person, and he provided great opportunities for committee members to learn. And I thought that was an ideal situation.Q: Why did you want to serve on the committee?A: I was living in the area around Texas Instruments, where Dr. Jack Kilby had developed the first integrated circuit, and I knew it would have a great impact on scientific products for the nation. In fact, my first piece of legislation [in the Texas legislature] was to try and get more women involved in science, back in 1974. So after I was elected to Congress, Mr. Brown sent me a letter encouraging me to join. And I did, and I’ve been glad ever since that I did.Q: Are you worried that some Democrats will leave the science committee for what they consider to be better assignments now that their party is in charge?A: Yes, that has happened in the past because science is a committee for intellectuals. It is not one of those committees that is going to be on television every day, and it’s not a committee that draws a big pool of people who are ready to make contributions. So a lot of members think that they have to choose energy and commerce or armed services or somewhere where they can attract contributions, because you are under pressure every moment to raise money. So that’s one challenge. You must be interested in the intellectual future of the nation. With Democrats in control of U.S. House, science panel gets fresh start By Jeffrey MervisNov. 13, 2018 , 3:00 PM Related Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D–TX) is in line to lead the House of Representatives science committee.last_img read more

20 Jul

DRC expands Ebola vaccine campaign as cases mount rapidly

first_img The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) will expand its use of the experimental Ebola vaccine that more than 110,000 have already received to try to stop an unusually stubborn outbreak of the disease. New vaccination strategies will attempt to reduce the security risks faced by health care workers in the outbreak region, which is home to nearly two dozen rebel groups—some of which have attacked response teams.There’s also a bit of good news in this bleak situation: A new analysis of the vaccine dose needed to protect people found that the amount can be substantially reduced—by more than half for some people—essentially eliminating a long-standing concern about a potential vaccine shortage.The changes follow recommendations made today by a group of vaccine experts that advises the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland. The 9-month-old outbreak in the northeastern region of the DRC as of 6 May had sickened 1506 people, 1045 of whom have died. (Only the Ebola outbreak that exploded in West Africa in 2014 had more cases and deaths.) The outbreak has spiked over the past month, with more than 400 new cases in April alone—a doubling from March—which WHO says reflects the recent disruption of the response because of violence. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) DRC expands Ebola vaccine campaign as cases mount rapidly Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country World Bank/Vincent Tremeau (CC BY-NC-ND) A preliminary report issued last month by WHO showed the vaccine has been extremely effective in people who received it, and it has become a cornerstone in the effort to contain the outbreak. But so far, response teams have only offered the vaccine to people who came in direct contact with a known case or were a contact of a contact. Vaccinating only these two “rings” of people around cases—as opposed to, say, entire towns or regions—theoretically can stop spread with a limited vaccine campaign. But it hasn’t so far in the DRC. In its report released today, WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization expresses its “grave concern” about the worsening epidemiology and recommends adding a third protective ring: everyone in a community—defined as a village or a neighborhood in a city—where a case occurs, regardless of contact history.WHO’s Ana Maria Henao Restrepo, who leads the vaccine effort in conjunction with the DRC’s Ministry of Health, says she hopes doing so will also reduce tensions about the shot, which some communities have resisted in part because of confusion about why some were eligible and others were not. Rather than going house to house, Henao Restrepo says, vaccination teams will now work at special sites, protected by security teams, like the health center in an affected village or city neighborhood. This will also simplify the informed consent process by allowing health care workers to educate groups of people, instead of individuals, about the jabs’ risks and benefits. “So instead of using, for example, 15, 20 minutes per person, now you use 15, 20 minutes for 15 people,” she says.Merck of Kenilworth, New Jersey, makes the vaccine, which contains a harmless vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) engineered to carry a gene for an Ebola virus surface protein. One month ago, Merck said it had shipped 145,000 doses of the vaccine to WHO and had another 195,000 doses in its stockpile. In addition to the DRC, health care workers in neighboring Uganda and South Sudan have been receiving the vaccine in case the virus jumps borders. Merck has applied for regulatory approval of the vaccine, which first proved its worth in a clinical trial staged in Guinea 3 years ago, near the end of West African epidemic.To Henao Restrepo’s surprise, a recent analysis revealed that WHO, in effect, has “much more vaccine” than it had calculated, she says. As part of the approval process, Merck submitted the vaccine to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which the company optimized to improve its shelf life. FDA found the vials had twice the dose that was given in Guinea, which means the existing stockpile will go twice as far.With SAGE’s approval, WHO now plans to use an even lower dose for the third ring, extending the vaccine even further. The VSV in the vaccine copies itself, and the Guinean study found that with a dose of 0.5 milliliters, it takes 10 days to properly immunize someone. But studies have shown that a 0.2-milliliter dose will trigger the same level of protective antibodies in 28 days, which WHO thinks is sufficient for people in that third ring.All told, says Henao Restrepo, these new strategies mean WHO has about 1 million doses of the vaccine available. “I had a glass of wine last week to celebrate that,” she says.A broader vaccine program for people at lower risk still may soon launch, too, with a different experimental product. The SAGE recommendations call for offering an Ebola vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson of New Brunswick, New Jersey, to everyone in a DRC “health zone” that has a case of the disease, or even those in neighboring health zones. This will potentially protect even more people without affecting the stockpile of Merck vaccine, and also offers a real-world chance to test the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The vaccine requires two shots of different formulations that researchers hope trigger a more durable immunity than the Merck vaccine, potentially helping to thwart future outbreaks in the region.Michael Ryan, executive director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, stresses that political and religious leaders in the area have to compel the insurgents in the area to stop attacking health care workers and the facilities where they treat people. On 19 April, Richard Valery Mouzoko Kiboung, a Cameroonian epidemiologist working for WHO, was shot and killed, and Doctors Without Borders in February had to evacuate staff from two of its Ebola treatment centers after they were attacked. The insurgents, Ryan says, “have to stop playing games with our lives and the lives of their own people.”center_img More than 110,000 people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have received an experimental Ebola vaccine, which appears to have helped slow spread of the deadly virus. Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe By Jon CohenMay. 7, 2019 , 1:05 PMlast_img read more

20 Jul

Radical openaccess plan delayed a year as revised effort seeks more support

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Radical open-access plan delayed a year as revised effort seeks more support Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe BENEDETTO CRISTOFANI/SALZMAN ART Launched in September 2018, Plan S is a radical proposal to mandate full and immediate OA to scientific papers stemming from research funded by cOAlition S, a group of 19 public and private funder organizations that back the plan. After 2 months of heated debate, cOAlition S released draft implementation guidelines for public scrutiny; the draft received about 600 responses—mostly from Europe, but including 75 responses from the United States and eight from Argentina.In the updated rules and guidelines, the essence of Plan S remains the same, but some technical requirements have been relaxed. The update includes a later deadline for full, immediate OA and provides clarity on ways scientists can comply with Plan S.One of the main changes is a 1-year extension: Plan S rules will now apply to calls for research proposals by cOAlition S funders starting in 2021, instead of the previously announced 2020 kickoff. Considering the time necessary to start those research projects and publish results, this means the mandate will apply to papers published starting in 2022 or 2023, John-Arne Røttingen, chief executive of the Research Council of Norway in Oslo and one of the leaders of the task force in charge of the update to Plan S rules, told journalists this week.In another big change that several critics had called for, Plan S shelved—for now—the idea of capping the amount funders will pay for article-processing charges (APCs), the fees some journals charge to publish OA articles. Instead, the funders say they will require price transparency from publishers—a breakdown of what’s behind APCs so that researchers can compare publishing venues before choosing one.“It is significant that Coalition S listened to feedback that different approaches to peer review, as part of publishing, require different APCs,” said Bill Moran, publisher of the Science family of journals in Washington, D.C. (Science’s News section is editorially independent.)Many publishers are happy to provide such transparency about their fees, says Niamh O’Connor, chair-elect of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers in London. “This will help us to show people what those costs are; it’s not uncommon for authors or referees to wonder about them.”Plan S funders for their part hope more transparency will allow authors to make more efficient, “evidence-based” decisions rather than choosing based on journals’ perceived reputation and quality.This is a secondary goal for cOAlition S—not only to make publishing more open, but to shake up the research assessment system. To do so, cOAlition S funders now say they will implement principles by 2021, such as those of the 2012 San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment, which states that research should be assessed on its own merit and not the journal in which it was published. The coalition’s members won’t be required to sign the declaration itself, although some of them already have.“Shifting the research assessment culture is the biggest stumbling block,” says Drury, who authored a response to the draft Plan S guidance by All European Academies, a federation of European academies of sciences and humanities. Plan S funders will need to be explicit and proactive to enact such profound change. For example, funders should back initiatives to develop new metrics so that scientists can stop relying on journals as proxies for a paper’s quality when evaluating a grant application. “They need to set a road map with a clear timeline,” says Gareth O’Neill, a linguist at Leiden University in the Netherlands and outgoing president of the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers; actions could include bias training for evaluators.The revised guidelines also spell out Plan S funders’ support for the Open Access 2020 Initiative, which aims to shift money from journal subscriptions to OA publishing through “read-and-publish” deals between publishers and consortia of institutions. These agreements negotiate a price for researchers at a group of institutions or in a whole country to read and publish OA papers for an overall fee, instead of paying individual APCs and subscription costs.These often lengthy contract negotiations “are more manageable for larger publishers,” O’Connor says. cOAlition S says it will develop model contracts to help smaller publishers, in particular, scientific society journals, to enter these so-called “transformative agreements.” It will also try to help smaller publishers with a new “transformative journal” option, in which subscription journals would be compliant and eligible for Plan S funding until the end of 2024 if they commit to increasing OA content gradually, to reach 100% within an agreed time frame. This won’t work for everybody, O’Connor says, but it’s a “positive step” that Plan S now offers compliance routes for smaller publishers.The updated guidance also clarifies Plan S’s stance on hybrid journals—publications that charge subscription fees to readers as well as APCs for authors who choose to publish OA. Plan S still wants to crack down on what critics call “double-dipping,” and push journals to move to a full OA model. So the cOAlition S funders won’t pay hybrid journals’ APCs, but researchers who pay such fees from another source can be Plan S compliant as long as the final article is freely accessible online immediately after publication.Finally, Plan S’s revamped rules give more prominence to “green” OA, in which scientists post peer-reviewed papers in OA repositories. The new rules also relax the technical requirements for such repositories.On the whole, cOAlition S “really seem[s] to have listened to the research community. There are no major sticking points anymore,” O’Neill says. “Now, we’ll watch them, see what works and what doesn’t, and hold them accountable.”*Correction, May 31, 7:15 a.m.: This story was corrected to clarify Plan S rules for hybrid journals. By Tania RabesandratanaMay. 30, 2019 , 7:01 PM Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Plan S, the program to crack down on scientific journals’ paywalls led by European research funders, has fleshed out and relaxed some of its rules in revised implementation guidelines published today. The update addresses many concerns raised by researchers, librarians, and scientific publishers about Plan S’s rollout, allowing more time before full, immediate open access (OA) is required and dropping the proposed cap on publishing fees that funders will pay to journals.The architects of Plan S “have engaged in a good quality dialogue” with the people and institutions that are going to deal with the plan’s consequences, says Lidia Borrell-Damián, director for research and innovation at the European University Association in Brussels. As a result, the revised guidelines seem “much more nuanced and more realistic” than the initial set, says astrophysicist Luke Drury, former president of the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin.Still unclear is whether the changes will convince other funders to join the movement. And the plan’s fiercest detractors are unmoved. “The changes are cosmetic and trivial. They more or less ignored the critique,” says Lynn Kamerlin, a structural biologist at Uppsala University in Sweden who co-authored an open letter against Plan S in November 2018 that now has about 1800 signatories.last_img read more

20 Jul

Phoenix Cop Found Lying As JayZ Offers Help

first_imgA check of the database did not bring up results for Meyer, who is currently being reviewed by the Phoenix Police Department’s Professional Standards Bureau.SEE ALSO:Sudan Is Burning But People Don’t Care Because It’s Not A CathedralBlack Teacher Gives Students Haircuts For Graduation viral video of father speaking with baby son 35 Positive Images Of Black Dads That Shatter False Stereotypes On Father’s Day Another angle of the incident filmed by a different resident of the apartment complex where Ames and his pregnant fiancee were dropping off their kids with a babysitter show a Phoenix police officer trying to yank the child from the mother’s arms. pic.twitter.com/pTb07lZAXD— Meg O’Connor (@megoconnor13) June 12, 2019Following the massive outrage, Jay-Z‘s philanthropic organization within his entertainment company ROC Nation offered to provide legal support to Ames and Harper, who filed a claim on Thursday demanding $10 million from the city of Phoenix. According to AZCentral, ROC secured high-profile attorney Alex Spiro and is demanding the termination of the police officers involved and plan on filing against one of the officers for child neglect.“There is no place for that behavior in our world – let alone our justice system – and we are calling for the immediate termination of the police officers in question,” ROC Nation Managing Director of Philanthropy Dania Diaz said. “We are committed to supporting the family to ensure that justice is served.”Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams, who is a Black woman, released a video on the department’s Facebook page on Friday saying she was “disturbed by the language and actions of our officer.” Williams had to release another video prior to this incident after a new database outed racist Facebook posts made by police officers around the country, many of whom were with the Phoenix Police Department. Witness video of the May 29 incident shows Phoenix police officer Christopher Meyer screaming threats and profanity toward a Black family in a van that contained Dravon Ames, 22, his pregnant fiance Aisha Harper, 24, their two young daughters.“You’re gonna fucking get shot!” the cop yells at one point.“I’m gonna put a fucking cap in your fucking head,” he said in another instance. More By Megan Sims White Tears! Former Meteorologist Files Lawsuit Claiming He Was Fired Because Of Diversitycenter_img Aisha Harper , Dravion Ames , Jay Z , Phoenix Police Department Morehouse Students Take To Social Media And Claim Sexual Harassment Complaints Were Ignored Viral video of a rogue police officer pointing a gun at a Black family in the presence of an infant and a young child in Phoenix, Arizona, angered countless people around the country. Newly released police documents show that the cop involved was not completely honest in his report on the incident. Now one hip-hop legend is lending a hand to the family in a major way as they begin the process of seeking justice. Jamaican Republican Who Is Running Against AOC Supported Her A Year Ago “My hands are up! My hands are up!” 22yo Dravon Ames says as a Phoenix police officer yells to “get your fucking hands up.” The same officer later says “You’re gonna fucking get shot!”Ames says the officers stopped him after his child walked out of a Dollar Store with a doll. pic.twitter.com/Nlkd7IXsyc— Meg O’Connor (@megoconnor13) June 12, 2019Meyer also pointed a gun at the group threatening to shoot them and demanding Harper put her baby on the hot ground despite the fact she could not walk. And all of this because a four-year-old allegedly took a 99 cent doll.On Saturday, ABC15 obtained a copy of the full police report, which was written by Meyer and found there were major differences in what was seen on the video and what was written in the report. The news outlet reported that Meyer made no mention of holding the family at gunpoint only writing that “Iesha was then removed from the vehicle.” He also did not talk about how he kicked Ames in the leg while he was handcuffed, which he only stated that Ames “began to tense his arms and turn back towards me. I made him spread his feet.” Another glaring omission was found when Meyer failed to mention that he ordered to put her child on the ground as he claimed Harper “refused to put the child down. She became loud, verbally abusive and refused our commands.”last_img read more

19 Jul

Teacher shortage leads WUSD board compensate teachers

first_img By L. Parsons The Winslow Unified School District Governing Board gave approval to a stipend plan that will compensate teachers for class sizes over the state mandated limit for each grade level during their Aug.Subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Ad Teacher shortage leads WUSD board compensate teachers August 7, 2018last_img

19 Jul

Delhi Bid to end sewer deaths CM Kejriwal says free safety kits

first_img Advertising Post Comment(s) Speaking at an awareness workshop organised by the water department at Talkatora Stadium, Kejriwal said the safety kit would be provided for free to workers who have to enter sewers, irrespective of whether they are employed by the DJB or a private contractor.“Your life is very precious… Whenever a worker has died in the past, I have gone to his home and seen his family cry… Next time, wear this kit… we should not hear of deaths of sanitation workers in Delhi,” Kejriwal said.The safety kits include a gas mask, boots, gloves and a full-body protective cover. Sanitation workers said the move would help them stay more secure when entering sewers, the frequency of which has reduced since the state government provided 200 cleaning machines to manual scavengers in February. Related News Visiting rape victim, CM Arvind Kejriwal stresses on need for death penalty By Express News Service |New Delhi | Published: July 16, 2019 1:53:39 am Advertising Inside Delhi govt school with 210 CCTVs, principal hopes project will help, some students not so sure Rajpal Sood (56), a DJB sanitation worker in East Delhi’s Dilshad Garden for over 30 years, said there have been instances in the past when he was not provided safety equipment. “There are times when we have to enter the sewer because of heavy blockage and having this kit at hand would keep us safe… Before machines were introduced, I used to enter pipes frequently but now this is down to a couple of times in a month,” Sood said.“When a city grows at this pace, it becomes insensitive towards the poor… Our government wants growth with compassion and equality. When we hear that someone has died in a sewer, we feel sad and we want to put an end to it,” Kejriwal said. Delhi: Court summons CM Arvind Kejriwal in defamation case sewer deaths, manual scavenging, arvind kejriwal, sewer workers death, delhi jal board, delhi news Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal inspects the equipment at the event in Talkatora Stadium, Monday. (Express photo by Tashi Tobgyal)Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Monday announced free safety equipment kits for sanitation workers of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) and its contractual employees. The announcement comes weeks after three contractual labourers died at an under-construction sewage interception project of the DJB near Vikaspuri’s Keshopur drain. Other labourers at the site had said they were not given safety equipment by the contractor.last_img read more

19 Jul

Does jailing people before trial make cities safer Not always new research

first_imgProtesters look for jailed friends during a protest against detention conditions in St. Louis, Missouri. For decades, U.S. rates of pretrial detention have soared as the effects of the “tough on crime” policies of the 1980s have trickled down. At the federal level, nearly 75% of all arrestees were confined prior to court hearings last year, up from just 30% in 1988, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. (The number drops to about 50% if those detained on immigration charges aren’t counted.) At the local level, where most people are charged, about 60% of defendants are held in pretrial detention.Recently, however, a backlash has set in. In Philadelphia, prosecutors have stopped seeking bail payments for some two dozen offenses, including drug possession with intent to distribute. And over the past 3 years, several states—including New Jersey and California—have passed laws dropping cash bail for most offenses. Related legislation is on the table in at least 24 other states. As the debate over such changes has intensified, so has the call for data. And with good reason: A 2016 meta-analysis found that just 32 of 811 pretrial justice studies published since 1970 contained enough original data to allow rigorous analysis.Many of those studies look at risk assessment, the art of predicting whether a defendant will skip their court date or reoffend if set free. Judges are strikingly inconsistent in their pretrial rulings, so many states use computerized tools that aim for more objective assessments. But the tools, which generate risk scores based on characteristics such as a defendant’s age and their number of prior arrests, can also produce inconsistent results. And some analyses have suggested the data used to train and feed the systems can reinforce racial and economic biases, resulting in more onerous pretrial conditions for poor, minority defendants.Studies on the effectiveness of cash bail have also exploded. In Philadelphia, Stevenson and economist Aurélie Ouss of the University of Pennsylvania have examined how the recent reforms affected defendants in 21,023 cases—roughly half from before the changes were announced in February 2018 and half after. Postreform, they found a 12 percentage point increase, to 59%, in defendants released on their own recognizance (an additional 1750 releases per year), and a five percentage point drop, to 19%, in defendants who spent at least one night in jail. But eliminating cash bail appears to have had little effect on court appearance rates or public safety: Neither failure-to-appear rates nor new arrests went up after the shift, they write in a 17 February preprint.The findings contradict several earlier studies, including one by George Mason University economist Alex Tabarrok. In 2004, he looked at a sample of defendants charged with felony crimes in 75 of the most populous U.S. counties and found that those with cash bonds backed by bail bondsmen had significantly higher appearance rates than those with other pretrial conditions.Tabarrok says one likely reason for the disparity is that the study populations were different: The defendants in the Philadelphia analysis may have been at lower risk of jumping bail to begin with. Such caveats point to a larger challenge facing pretrial detention studies, says Sue Ferrere of the Pretrial Justice Institute, a nonprofit based in Rockville, Maryland. Confounding variables are rife, she says, and the data collected by different police forces, courts, and jails vary widely, making comparisons difficult.To avoid such pitfalls, researchers are now trying to run controlled experiments with willing courts and law enforcement agencies. For example, one pilot study will provide public defenders to a subset of defendants at bail hearings in Allegheny County in Pennsylvania. Researchers from the State University of New York in Albany and the Rand Corporation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, hope to see whether quickly providing an attorney will result in fewer detentions, fewer rearrests, and more court appearances.That project and others are also exploring how cash bail correlates with other outcomes, including future employment and trial results. One such study, published last year in the American Economic Review, for example, suggests defendants who can’t make bail are more likely to plead guilty. “You can be a public defender for about a day, and you realize very quickly the role bail plays in forcing guilty pleas,” says Robin Steinberg, a former public defender and CEO of the Bail Project in Marina del Rey, California, which helps defendants make bail. When a judge sets an unaffordable payment, “almost everybody will plead guilty, whether they did it or not.”Barnes says that’s what happened to him. After his week in jail, he decided to plead guilty so he could get back to work. Now, he says it’s hard not to be bitter: Had he been arrested just 1 year later, he would have qualified for relief under the new Philadelphia reforms. “I paid for it,” he says, “and I’m still paying for it.” Email Does jailing people before trial make cities safer? Not always, new research suggests Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country In February 2017, Jonathan Barnes was arrested by Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, police and charged with marijuana possession and intent to distribute. In the 2-minute hearing after his arrest, a magistrate told him he could go free if he paid $5000 in cash bail, money he’d get back if he showed up at his next hearing. Or he could pay just $500, with the rest secured by a bail bondsman who could send out a bounty hunter if Barnes didn’t show. Barnes didn’t have $500, let alone $5000, so he spent more than a week in the city’s House of Correction awaiting trial. Because he couldn’t work, he lost his job. More than 2 years later, he’s paid $2000 in fines and is still searching for a steady paycheck.To make sure other defendants don’t end up like Barnes, cities and states across the United States are moving to ease cash bail and other pretrial detention policies that critics say are unfair, counterproductive, and contribute little to public safety. But the reforms—backed by liberal and libertarian groups alike—have drawn stiff opposition from some law enforcement organizations and the bail bond industry. Relatively little hard evidence informs the battle. “People are kind of flying by the seat of their pants,” says Megan Stevenson, an economist and legal scholar at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia.Now, she and other social scientists are trying to fill the gap. Backed by funding from major foundations, they are launching studies to find out whether pretrial practices such as cash bail really do result in higher appearance rates and safer communities. They’re also exploring how such practices affect case outcomes. Results published last month, for example, bolstered reformers’ case that cash bail is ineffective, at least in Philadelphia. But such research is hard to apply widely, and scientists face other obstacles, including police, prosecutors, and prisons reluctant to share data.center_img UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI IN ST. LOUIS/ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO/CAROLINA HIDALGO Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Catherine MatacicMar. 27, 2019 , 1:05 PM Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwelast_img read more

19 Jul

Fear the cats Bold project teaches endangered Australian animals to avoid deadly

first_img The results are “a tantalizing piece of encouragement” for conservation efforts, says biologist Sarah Legge of Australian National University in Canberra. But some experts wonder whether the strategy can become widespread.As a child, Moseby adored her pet kitties and excused their habit of killing wildlife. But after becoming a conservation biologist and facing the massive toll cats take on Australian fauna, she orchestrated the deaths of thousands of feral cats. But cats are difficult to eradicate and, after watching them defeat numerous efforts to reintroduce rare species, Moseby realized, “We had to think of a different way of doing things.”A key testing ground for those innovations is the Arid Recovery Reserve, a 123-square-kilometer research site that Moseby and ecologist John Read (who is also her husband) helped create in 1997 in the desert of South Australia. Here, in a landscape of olive-green acacia bushes and rust-red sand dunes, the researchers cleared out nonnative animals such as foxes, rabbits, and cats, and fenced the reserve to keep them from returning. Then, they began to place native rodents and marsupials inside and run experiments. In one early test, “We actually chased wild bilbies and rubbed them with a dead cat” to see whether that would help them avoid the predators in the wild, Moseby recalls. (It didn’t.)More recent efforts have involved intentionally adding cats to a 26-square-kilometer pen, then seeing whether the native animals living there develop different behaviors or anatomy. Inevitably, some of the native animals die. “To actually catch a cat and add it to an area where there were threatened species was a very strange moment,” Moseby says. “A lot of people were very upset about it.”Yet in as little as 18 months, the researchers noticed behavioral changes in the animals living with cats, which included bilbies and burrowing bettongs, a marsupial also known as a rat kangaroo. Both species became warier; cat-exposed bilbies, for example, grew slower to emerge from artificial burrows and tended to avoid unprotected areas after emerging. And, over four generations, bettongs developed larger hind feet, which Moseby speculates might help them evade or fend off cats. She suspects such changes are heritable, but her team hopes to find out. In one possible test, they may swap young animals between pouches of cat-savvy and cat-naïve parents to see whether the young grow up behaving like their biological parents or their new, adoptive ones.In the experiment reported this week, UNSW doctoral student Alexandra Ross released 42 radio-tagged bilbies—half of them cat-savvy and half cat-naïve—into a 37-square-kilometer pen with 10 feral cats. Then, the researchers monitored bilby survival for 40 days. The fate of the tagged animals revealed the advantage of prior exposure to cats: Cats killed 71% of the naïve bilbies but just a third of the savvy animals.Despite the short duration of the experiment and the small sample size, the results are promising enough that Bush Heritage Australia, a conservation group based in Melbourne, is now working with the researchers on a bigger test. Next year, they plan to release cat-savvy and cat-naïve bettongs into the Bon Bon Station Reserve, a 2100-square-kilometer, unfenced reserve 650 kilometers northwest of Adelaide, Australia, and then track them for a year using radio collars and camera traps.Whether the approach could help other endangered animals cope with predators is unclear. For instance, Andre Raine, a seabird researcher at the Kauaʻi Endangered Seabird Recovery Project in Hanapepe, Hawaii, doubts the petrels and shearwaters he is trying to save can adapt to avoid the cats and rats that plague their nests.Moseby would be content to save the unique marsupials she has defended for so long. “If I could see bettongs in the wild, in my lifetime, coexisting with cats,” she says, “I wouldn’t care if it takes 20 years.”Reporting for this story was supported by the Solutions Journalism Network. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Jasmine Vink By Ashley BraunMay. 15, 2019 , 12:01 AM A greater bilby in its burrow. Researchers have been trying to teach the threatened animals to fear cats by exposing them to the predators under controlled conditions. Fear the cats! Bold project teaches endangered Australian animals to avoid deadly predatorcenter_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email ROXBY DOWNS, AUSTRALIA—Katherine Moseby delves into a freezer at this arid mining outpost and pulls out the carcass of a pointy-faced animal the size of a rabbit. It’s a dead greater bilby, or at least what is left of one. She runs a cotton swab along a rip left in the bilby’s soft fur by the teeth of its killer. Later, analysis of DNA from the wound confirms Moseby’s suspicions: This bilby, a threatened species, was slain by a domestic cat.Over the past 25 years, the ecologist, who works for the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney, Australia, has examined hundreds of native Australian animals killed by introduced predators, including domestic cats that have gone feral. The native fauna are often easy prey because they haven’t evolved to recognize and dodge the invaders, and medium-size mammals like the bilby have fared worst. Nearly three dozen Australian mammals have gone extinct since Europeans arrived, and although fences and predator eradication efforts have slowed the march toward extinction, Moseby wants to do better, perhaps by accelerating natural selection.For nearly 5 years, a team she helps lead with Michael Letnic at UNSW and Daniel Blumstein at the University of California, Los Angeles, has been placing bilbies and another threatened species into large fenced plots together with their feline enemies in hopes that, faced with extreme selective pressure, some individuals will learn or adapt to avoid attacks. Results published today suggest the “vaccination” approach has promise: Bilbies exposed to cats in a controlled setting were more likely to survive later, when they were released among feral cats, than those that hadn’t been exposed, they report in the Journal of Applied Ecology.last_img read more

19 Jul

Android Creator Launches a Phone of His Own

first_imgTough Road Ahead Despite the quality of its build and some intriguing features, the Essential Phone likely faces a tough road ahead.”I have some doubts about the impact it can have without a big brand behind it,” said Bob O’Donnell, chief analyst at Technalysis Research.”It’ll appeal to tech folks who want the coolest and latest and greatest, but I don’t see it becoming a mainstream product, so I think it will be challenged,” he told TechNewsWorld.The audience for the Essential Phone may be limited, said Kevin Krewell, a principal analyst at Tirias Research.”It seems to appeal to people who are suspicious of Google’s use of their data,” he told TechNewsWorld. “It’s also going to appeal to the tech elite who want something a little different.”From a hardware perspective, the Essential Phone looks very good, Krewell said.”The edge-to-edge screen is impressive and the materials are top notch — but the difference is the ecosystem and distribution channels the big companies have,” he pointed out. “I’m skeptical that it can make a significant impact. While the tech community is interested in it because it’s Andy Rubin, the larger market will not know who Andy Rubin is.” Magnetic Accessories There are those who have a more sanguine view of Essential’s prospects, however.”If the new phone delivers on everything it promises, I believe it can compete,” Moorhead said.”It’s vital, though, that there’s a very long road map of modules to connect,” he added.The going will be tough for Essential, when you consider the money and marketing muscle that Apple, Samsung and Google have, Moorhead acknowledged.”Then again, Rubin has considerable resources of his own and a reputation that overshadows at least some of the competition. If any entrepreneur could pull this off, Rubin can,” he said.Essential’s assumption that there’s room for true innovation at the top of the smartphone market is appealing, said Charles King, the principal analyst at Pund-IT.”The vendors in that space, particularly Apple, have been content to become providers of incremental improvements rather than forward-looking visionaries,” he told TechNewsWorld.”If Rubin forces competitors to dig deeper,” King said, “so much the better for consumers and the industry.” Essential, a company founded by Andy Rubin, the “father of Android,” on Tuesday pulled off the wraps on a new high-end smartphone.The Essential Phone, priced at US$699, includes radios for connecting to all major U.S. carriers.The unit has an almost edge-to-edge display (there’s a bit of bezel at the bottom of its screen) that wraps around the 8-MP selfie camera at the front.Built around a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, the Essential Phone comes with 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage.For durability, the phone has a titanium and ceramic body, which allows it to survive drops with nary a blemish, according to the company.center_img Pushing Innovation John P. Mello Jr. has been an ECT News Network reportersince 2003. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, IT issues, privacy, e-commerce, social media, artificial intelligence, big data and consumer electronics. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including the Boston Business Journal, theBoston Phoenix, Megapixel.Net and GovernmentSecurity News. Email John. Accessories can be added to the phone via a magnetic connector on its backside. Two accessories are included with the unit — a 360-degree camera and a charging dock.Also on the phone’s back is 13-MP dual sensor camera. Unlike other phones with dual-sensor cameras, which use the second sensor to take telephoto pictures or create bokeh effects, Essential uses its second sensor to boost low-light performance.Like some other high-end phone models, the Essential mobile doesn’t have a headphone jack.In addition to its smartphone, Essential announced Home, a smart home hub. It runs on Ambient OS, an operating system that Essential hopes will become the Android of the IoT world.Home is designed to tie together all the disparate protocols now in the space — SmartThings, HomeKit, Nest and others — as well as the various digital assistants — Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant — into a seamless user experience.”I like that Rubin announced both the new phone and the home hub,” said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy.”It reinforces that the company isn’t just a point player, and that matters to distribution channels,” he told TechNewsWorld.last_img read more

19 Jul

Qualcomm and Huawei Now Things Are Just Getting Weird

first_imgOK, so last week Qualcomm lost its seemingly no-lose case against the FTC, largely because it looks like the judge was only physically in the room during the trial. The ruling makes it look like she and I observed very different trials.In addition, the U.S. apparently declared war against Huawei, which actually could benefit Huawei. The result of both efforts effectively could be to give the 5G market to China.It’s kind of like watching everyone decide to run naked with some really big scissors, and as you try to get that image out of your heads, I’ll walk you through what happened.I’ll close with my product of the week: an update to a product that has made my summer sleep far more comfortable over the years. It’s a water-cooled sleep enhancement system like what high-performance race drivers and astronauts use to keep cool during work. All this showcases two problems.First, the U.S. government continues to think tactically, while China is thinking strategically. The trade war in and of itself is unwinnable because it looks like the president lacks the backing of his own government as he systematically commits job suicide. Targeting a firm that is a National Treasure, like Huawei, is in and of itself problematic, because of the likely actions in retaliation against Apple and other U.S. tech vendors. China’s indication that it is moving to a war footing is massively problematic for sales to that country.The second problem is that judges just don’t appear to be able to do the job anymore, and this is across a number of areas. I recently visited a judge review site, and the average score out of 10, with 10 being best, was a little over 1. Apparently, the judicial system is chasing the U.S. Congress for which can have the lowest satisfaction score. If a critical mass of folks conclude that you can’t trust the judicial system, much like we seem to have a critical mass of folks who don’t trust law enforcement, I don’t see that ending well for us individually or for the country. Folks taking the law into their own hands at scale are called “revolutionaries.”Ironically, I think both problems could be fixed with deep learning artificial intelligence systems and computer simulations. One could model out the likely outcomes of moves like the one against Huawei, and the other could help judges focus on the evidence and relevant precedents, identify and use accurate testimony, and make interpretations consistent with the law.If used properly, AIs could help fix both problems, but I have my doubts whether they will be applied at all, let alone properly. Like a lot of men, I like it cool when I sleep at night, and my wife typically likes to be warmer. While there are solutions like heating pads and electric blankets for heat, solutions for being cool typically revolve around your air conditioning system. This results in thermostat fights that I could win only by making the thermostat so complicated my wife wouldn’t want to mess with it.Therefore, when I became aware of the ChiliPAD years ago, I bought it — and I’ve been using it for years. The ChiliPAD uses recirculating water, like what is used in race cars to cool drivers and in space suits to cool astronauts. It both heats and cools, and it removes the electrical fields from close to the body. These fields have long been thought to have adverse health impacts, particularly for expecting mothers.Well the ChiliPAD folks sent me their latest offering, the Ooler. It has a far more powerful heater/cooler, it works with a smartphone app (still in beta, though), and it will do scheduling so your bed is right when you get into it, and you can use warm awake to get your butt out of bed silently in the morning, without waking your spouse. Qualcomm’s Story I’ve been following powerful companies for most of my career, and the efforts to regulate them not only have had mixed results but often have had massive unintended consequences. The closest comparison I can make to what is going on between Huawei and the U.S. is what happened between Microsoft and the world in the 1990s and early 2000s.In a series of cases starting largely with the U.S. DoJ, Microsoft incurred massive sanctions for uncompetitive behavior. The sanctions threw the company into crisis, and to pull out of that crisis, executive management massively changed the company’s business model.Microsoft moved from a policy of locking in customers to one of interoperation and open source. With Azure, it shifted its focus from on premises hardware, both servers and PCs, to the cloud. Microsoft repaired its internal siloes and a host of inefficiencies that had plagued the company for decades.The result was a very different but arguably invulnerable company, perhaps second only to Amazon in the cloud and seeming to have more long-term upside. The firm is so dissimilar to what it was that it is almost unrecognizable.While the competitors that brought the action against Microsoft thought it would cripple the company, it actually made it stronger, and Microsoft outlived Netscape and Sun Microsystems, which were the most aggressive architects of Microsoft’s problems.Huawei is more of a hardware/networking company than a software firm like Microsoft, but the U.S. has been putting it under even greater pressure. Huawei also is much more deeply connected to the Chinese government than any U.S. company is connected to the U.S. government.Right now, Huawei largely is dependent on three U.S. companies: Google for Android, Microsoft for Windows, and Qualcomm for smartphone technology. It also is dependent on one Asian company, Softbank (ARM). All of those firms have indicated they will comply with the U.S. order to stop doing business with Huawei, which would be catastrophic for the firm.This means the second largest smartphone vendor in the world, with Chinese government backing, will be forced to pivot away from U.S. and European technology and become even more proprietary than Apple.China is unlikely to let Huawei fail, so the result very well could be a Chinese government-backed Apple clone with massive Chinese incentives to favor its products in country. Given that China is both the largest and potentially fastest-growing world market for smartphones, the result would an inability for U.S. tech vendors to compete in the Chinese market.Due to the scale, it would be an emerging global vendor that — thanks to government resources — could underprice every other vendor in the segment with equal or better hardware. Granted, it still would have to capture developers, but it could end run that problem by doing what Amazon did, and start with the open source version of Android to get an initial baseline product.We aren’t even yet talking about the likely Chinese response against U.S. smartphone vendors (and really Apple is the only one at scale and the most likely target). So, the likely result of this attack on Huawei is a lockout of U.S. tech vendors in China, a focus by the Chinese government on Apple as a problem to be solved, and a Huawei that will be far more powerful, as well as understandably pissed at the U.S.This also could — and likely will — result in locking in Huawei as the lead, if not only, vendor at scale for the 5G rollout in China and other countries not closely aligned with the U.S. (That “aligned” list seems to be shrinking a lot at the moment, thanks to the president.)I think this is incredibly wrongheaded. I also think it is a bad precedent to attack individual companies as part of a trade war strategy, largely because China is far better at protecting Chinese firms than the U.S. is at protecting U.S. firms. This is a long way of saying that payback really could be a bitch. The Huawei Story Wrapping Up Now you do have to put it in a well-ventilated area, because it throws out a lot of heat when it is cooling your bed. It comes in any color as long as that color is white (I’d personally prefer black), but you can put it in a cabinet as long as you power vent it (which is what I did).Oh, one other thing I learned the hard way: If you want this to last a long time, use distilled water. The mineral build up with tap water eventually will cause you problems. It isn’t a cheap date, starting at US$699 for a single (The ChiliPAD is $499) up to $1,499 for a Cal King (which is what I have).I don’t function well if I don’t sleep well, and because the Ooler helps me sleep well — much like the older ChiliPAD did but better — it is my product of the week. Seriously, sleeping has a massive impact on my quality of life, so this thing is likely to make it through to my product of the year. We’ll see…The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network. Ooler Sleep System I attended the end of the FTC trial in California, and even before it was disclosed in another case that the evidence Apple had fed the FTC was false, I didn’t think it had a case. My assessment largely was due to two things. The architect of the theory that founded the FTC case, from an economist who appeared to live in an alternative universe, effectively had been discredited.There no harm presented in evidence, and even the possibility of future harm was disproved. The expert’s primary defense — I kid you not — appeared to revolve around him being a legend in his own mind who was surrounded by other economists, all of whom were mentally challenged idiots. The arrogance that rolled off the guy — particularly given that his theory effectively got thrown out — was amazing. Still, in her decision, Judge Koh seemed to take the theory as settled law, even though she wisely never mentioned Shapero.The other thing was that the rest of the FTC’s argument seemed to revolve around internal memos in which people discussed, but didn’t actually do, things that would have been problematic for Qualcomm if they had done them. It isn’t at all uncommon for executives to consider actions that have questionable legal foundation before the firm’s legal department comes in and sits on them, or more prudent executives take control.It isn’t illegal to consider illegal things, particularly if you don’t know they are illegal. For instance, I could plan a bank heist, but unless I do it I’m pretty much OK. Now, I wouldn’t recommend doing that, but right now, considering making a bad choice isn’t in and of itself illegal.However, given the outcome of this trial, I’d certainly suggest those discussions not be documented in the future and that executives regularly get compliance training so they can avoid such discussions in the future.Before the Apple disclosure, we had no actual evidence of wrongdoing (just some unfortunate discussions), no harm, and the chance of future harm had been discredited. There effectively was no FTC case.Then, subsequent to that trial, we found that the evidence Apple had presented to the FTC to start the case against Qualcomm had been manufactured. That means the foundation for the case was false. There was no evidence supporting the FTC position, and the contention that the consumer (whom the FTC is missioned to help) was or would be harmed.Even the DoJ was concerned that the judge was going to rule badly, and one of its reasons was Qualcomm’s position as the leading vendor ensuring the U.S. 5G leadership.So, coupled with the U.S. action against Huawei, this FTC ruling, because it could cripple Qualcomm’s revenue stream, could ensure that 5G leadership ends up with China. Further, this wouldn’t be the first time. The government sat on Standard Oil, and we lost control of the oil market. It sat on RCA, and consumer electronics ended up in Asia. It sat on the car companies, and rather than Ford and GM dominance, we have Toyota and VW.If that happens, the new nickname for the U.S. president easily could become “Trump the Chump.” (I’m kind of surprised that hasn’t happened already.) Rob Enderle has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2003. His areas of interest include AI, autonomous driving, drones, personal technology, emerging technology, regulation, litigation, M&E, and technology in politics. He has an MBA in human resources, marketing and computer science. He is also a certified management accountant. Enderle currently is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group, a consultancy that serves the technology industry. He formerly served as a senior research fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester. Email Rob.last_img read more