Potential building block of life found in very young star system

first_img Potential building block of life found in very young star system By Daniel CleryJun. 8, 2017 , 6:00 AM Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Two teams of researchers report today that they have detected a prebiotic molecule—a potential building block of life—around newly formed sunlike stars. The molecule, methyl isocyanate, has a structure that is chemically similar to a peptide bond, which is what holds amino acids together in proteins. The finding suggests that quite complex organic molecules may be created very early in the evolution of star systems.“It shows the level of complexity you can get to before planets form is pretty high,” says astrochemist Karin Öberg of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who was not involved in the studies. “A lot of [spectral] lines were detected, which gives confidence that it’s real. It’s a safe detection.”Methyl isocyanate has become a target for astrochemists ever since the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission detected the molecule on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko 2 years ago. Comets are thought to have survived unchanged since the early days of the solar system, so the discovery of methyl isocyanate suggested it had been present on the comet since then and didn’t form on a planet. Although the detection on 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is now questioned by some, methyl isocyanate was also detected in two star-forming clouds, Orion KL and Sagittarius B2(N), in 2015 and 2016, but these are hot environments full of very massive stars, very unlike the situation of the early sun. ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2/L. Calçada Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email Undaunted, researchers began to study more sunlike sources. One group was already surveying a clutch of very young stars known as IRAS 16293-2422. “We thought, ‘Why not look [for methyl isocyanate] in our source?’” says team member Niels Ligterink of Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands. The instrument of choice for such studies is the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), a collection of 66 dishes high in the Chilean Andes.ALMA focuses on the region of the spectrum between radio waves and infrared light, the range of frequencies at which complex molecules emit light when they undergo various transitions. Because the molecules are so complex, there are many possible transitions, each emitting photons of a specific frequency. So a molecule such as methyl isocyanate will emit a characteristic fingerprint of photons that will appear as spikes or lines in the spectrum detected from the gas cloud. The challenge for astronomers is to identify that fingerprint among the forest of spectral lines from all the other chemicals in the cloud.Ligterink’s team combed through data they had collected from IRAS 16293-2422 using ALMA in 2014 and 2015 and found 43 clearly identifiable lines from methyl isocyanate. The other team, led by Rafael Martín-Doménech of the Center for Astrobiology in Madrid, used new and archived data to find another eight lines in a different frequency range. The two teams report their results in the latest issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.Both teams then tried to figure out how methyl isocyanate might have formed in such a very cold and inhospitable environment. In a protoplanetary cloud around a young star there would be tiny grains of rocky material that would provide a surface on which chemicals could react. Ligterink says his team filled a vacuum chamber with a gas mixture of isocyanic acid and methane and chilled it to 15 K, freezing the gases onto a gold surface. They then illuminated the surface with intense ultraviolet light, as you might get from a young sunlike star. The infrared spectrum of the resulting gas, as well as mass spectrometry, showed clear signs of methyl isocyanate.In space, many other molecules would also be present, says Ligterink, such as water, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide. More experiments are needed to ensure these would not block the reaction.Martín-Doménech says that their chemical modeling of the cloud suggests that reactions on dust grains would not have produced enough of the molecules. “There must be more reactions in the gas phase to get the abundances we observed,” he says.Oberg says that although methyl isocyanate is not the most complex organic molecule that’s been detected in star-forming clouds, it’s interesting because it is so similar to a key part of proteins. But she warns about jumping to the conclusion that newly formed planets are seeded with all the key ingredient for life. “We don’t know the chemical process. We don’t know if methyl isocyanate is crucial and we don’t know how peptides form,” she says. Although such studies are finding ever more complex molecules ahead of planet formation, “the link to how life forms on planets is unknown.”The two teams and others will continue to scour gas clouds for other complex organic molecules to fill out the picture of life formation. Martín-Doménech says the holy grail for these searches is amino acids, in particular the simplest one: glycine. Amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, are more complex than the likes of methyl isocyanate and likely to exist in smaller quantities that would be harder to detect. So glycine would be a big prize. Says Martín-Doménech: “Then you are just one step from proteins.” The prebiotic molecule methyl isocyanate (inset) and the planet-forming cloud where it has been found. last_img read more

Read More →

NASA to pay private space companies for moon rides

first_imgSeveral companies, including Astrobotic, Moon Express, and iSpace, are vying to establish a commercial moon market. Buying rides to the moon from launch providers like Rocket Lab, each firm hopes to become the go-to carrier for other companies seeking to prospect the moon for rocket fuel ingredients, or to gather rocks to sell for study. But a contract with NASA is the real prize. Moon Express, for example, has designed the MX-1, a lander roughly the size and shape of Star Wars’s R2-D2. But, “We won’t pull the trigger until we know we have a CLPS award,” says Moon Express CEO Robert Richards in Cape Canaveral, Florida.The companies selected for CLPS must deliver at least 10 kilograms of payload by the end of 2021, NASA says. It is scrambling to find instruments that are ready to fly. “What do you have sitting on shelf now that you can throw onto the mission immediately?” Noble says. “We’re looking for flight spares, engineering models, student-built projects. It’s a little bit of a weird call for us.” The agency is planning to pay up to $36 million to adapt eight to 12 existing scientific instruments to the initial small landers; by the middle of next decade it aims to build a pipeline of instruments for bigger landers that might also carry rovers.The first small commercial landers will pale in capability next to traditional NASA missions. Some will likely fail, as NASA’s science chief, Thomas Zurbuchen, has repeatedly warned. They will not survive the lunar night, 2 weeks when surface temperatures drop to −173°C. They may not be capable of landing in a specific spot. But scientists are still excited to get cameras and other instruments back to the surface of the moon, says Clive Neal, a lunar scientist at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. “It’s a great start.”NASA is still working out destinations for the commercial landers. Earlier this year, lunar scientists compiled a list of 16 sites key to testing an emerging picture of the moon as more active volcanically and richer in water than was thought. For example, 4 years ago scientists studying the Ina caldera, a collection of smooth, small volcanic mounds on the moon’s nearside, noticed it was relatively free of craters. The observation suggested that instead of ending a billion years ago, volcanism—a sign of interior heat—persisted until a few million years ago, smoothing the landscape. If true—and some dispute the finding—it would upend theories of how the moon, and potentially the rocky planets, cool over time.At the 2-kilometer-tall Aristarchus plateau, scientists want to study abundant volcanic ash deposits, which were created in explosive, gas-driven eruptions, a rarity on the moon. Thanks to its fine granularity, the ash could also make an excellent building block for human habitats. Samples from Marius Hills, a shield volcano that likely erupted for a substantial time, could shed light on how the moon’s endowment of water, carbon monoxide, and other volatiles evolved over time. And a look inside permanently shadowed craters at the moon’s poles could confirm whether some of its water is frozen there, says Brett Denevi, a planetary geologist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland.The first small landers allow only small steps toward these science goals. But the agency could eventually support commercial robotic sample return missions, which Astrobotic and Moon Express hope to offer. “They could say, ‘I want 2 kilograms of lunar regolith from such and such location,’” says John Thornton, CEO of Astrobotic in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Returned samples could help researchers with a perennial goal: dating the moon’s old and young craters, which dictate age estimates for surfaces across the solar system.NASA also wants to fly people back to the vicinity of the moon—but in its own spacecraft. It is building the Gateway, a small outpost, that, by 2024, would host astronauts for a couple of months at a time in a pressurized volume one-tenth the size of the ISS. The Gateway, which will cost NASA at least $3 billion for its first few sections, would not orbit the moon but, rather, would follow a weeklong loop around a distant gravitational balance point—a poor vantage for lunar observations. “We’re not 100% sure of its value for lunar science,” says Ryan Watkins, a lunar scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in St. Louis, Missouri. Noble acknowledges that the Gateway may be more valuable for studying the sun or the rest of the universe.Ben Bussey, NASA’s chief scientist for human exploration, says the agency is trying to accommodate scientists’ concerns. For example, it will prioritize equipping the station with a robotic arm, needed for mounting experiments on its exterior. And it is investigating the possibility of a reusable “tug” spacecraft that could ferry landers, samples, and instruments between the Gateway and low lunar orbit, Bussey says.Looming over these lunar plans is the fear that they will change. Republicans in Congress proposed a moon return under former President George W. Bush, only to have the administration of former President Barack Obama emphasize a visit to an asteroid in deep space, as a stepping stone to Mars. So far, the Republican-led Congress has fully funded the agency’s moon plans: Draft 2019 spending bills contain $500 million for the Gateway and more than $200 million for NASA’s initial lander and science plans. Now, lunar scientists need to convey their support to newly empowered Democrats, Neal says. If NASA funds a couple of small landers and the program changes again, Denevi adds, “that’s just going to be another wasted decade.” NASA to pay private space companies for moon rides ASTROBOTIC TECHNOLOGY Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Email By Paul VoosenNov. 19, 2018 , 11:20 AM Smaller than a compact car, Astrobotic’s Peregrine lander could put experiments on the moon for NASA. Next month, almost a half-century since the United States last landed a spacecraft on the moon, NASA is expected to announce plans for a return. But the agency will just be along for the ride. Rather than unveiling plans for its own spacecraft, NASA will name the private companies it will pay to carry science experiments to the moon on small robotic landers.Under a program called Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS), NASA would buy space aboard a couple of launches a year, starting in 2021. The effort is similar to an agency program that paid private space companies such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX to deliver cargo to the International Space Station (ISS). “This a new way of doing business,” says Sarah Noble, a planetary scientist at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., who is leading the science side of NASA’s lunar plans.Scientists are lining up for a ride. “It really feels like the future of lunar exploration,” says Erica Jawin, a planetary scientist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. She and other attendees at the annual meeting of the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group in Columbia, Maryland, last week were eager to show NASA why their small experiments would be worthy hitchhikers on the landers.last_img read more

Read More →

A desert explosion helps scientists plan earthquakedetecting balloons on Venus

first_imgA similar setup could one day float high in the atmosphere of Venus. At the planet’s surface, conditions are infernal: Temperatures are high enough to melt lead, and pressures are so overwhelming that they would crush a submarine. It would be hard for any lander to survive long enough to detect a tremor. But 50 kilometers above the surface, temperatures and pressures are remarkably clement, perfect for a long-lived balloon (aside from a touch of sulfuric acid in the greenhouse atmosphere, which is 96% carbon dioxide). In 1985, the Soviet Union showed it could be done, flying two balloons for 2.5 days in this layer. They only stopped recording data when their batteries ran out.Balloons could detect tremors from such as high perch because Venus’s atmosphere is so much thicker than Earth’s: Waves would transfer better from the ground into the air and travel more readily. Based on preliminary calculations, the team believes it could detect venusian quakes as small as magnitude 2 from that height. That goal was advanced by an initial desert test last year—dropping 13-ton weights onto the desert floor from a height of 1.5 meters—that proved instruments could pick up infrasound waves from the shaking and infer the direction of the quake.Krishnamoorthy says he and colleagues are now trying to detect stronger seismic sources at larger distances, as they did this week, to better tease out the quake’s signature from the environmental noise. The team next plans to loft balloons over Oklahoma, where thousands of earthquakes have occurred in recent years, triggered by oil and gas activity. That could allow the group to detect shaking coming from much deeper underground.Translating the tests to Venus could be somewhat tricky, however, says planetary scientist Ralph Lorenz of the University of Arizona in Tucson. The timing and character of the test quakes were known to the experimenters, and it might be a challenge to separate a signal from the background clatter on blustery Venus, where winds are supersonic.It could be that Venus is seismically quiet, an important negative result that would force researchers to reevaluate their models of the planet’s interior. But many scientists think heat is still trying to escape the planet, potentially in ways that shake the surface. Scuff marks across its surface today point to stretching and strain that could be causing tremors, although many scientists think the planet has not had plate tectonics for a long time, if ever—one reason why the planet has ended up with a runaway greenhouse effect. On Earth, tectonic plate motion is responsible for most earthquakes and it also helps bury carbon deep within the mantle, buffering the planet from global warming.This makes Venus our sister, but not our twin, says geologist Paul Byrne of North Carolina State University in Raleigh. He says a gauge of tectonic activity would provide clues to Venus’s interior structure and past history, perhaps explaining why it lacks a magnetic field like Earth’s or at what point its water disappeared. Knowing why Venus went down such a different path than our own could also help in understanding the glut of rocky exoplanets now being found around other stars. Byrne points out that alien astronomers peering at our solar system from far away would be hard pressed to say whether Earth or Venus hold life. JPL/NASA Email 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 (*) This week, in the still, silent desert near Pahrump, Nevada, researchers set off an artificial earthquake. It shook the ground and, less obviously, the air, allowing NASA scientists to listen for the vibrations with balloons floating overhead. If the technology can be shifted to Venus, it could be the first to detect earthquakes there, which could provide important clues about the interior of our sister planet and why it evolved so differently from our own.“We’ve never made a direct seismic measurement on Venus,” says Siddharth Krishnamoorthy, an experiment team member at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. “There is a lot balloons can offer in terms of unlocking some major questions about the planet.”For the 19 December test, U.S. Department of Energy researchers set off a 50-ton chemical explosion roughly 300 meters underground to generate a magnitude-3 or -4 tremor—partly to verify the agency’s ability to detect underground nuclear explosions. But researchers also lofted two helium-filled balloons over the site, one tethered and another free floating, each a few hundred meters above the ground. The balloons carried barometers to measure changes in atmospheric pressure and detect the earthquake’s infrasound waves, low-frequency acoustic vibrations below the threshold of human hearing.center_img By Adam MannDec. 21, 2018 , 8:15 AM Some NASA scientists want to listen for quakes on Venus from a balloon. A desert explosion helps scientists plan earthquake-detecting balloons on Venus 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

Read More →

Renowned Sudanese geneticist behind bars for opposing regime

first_img A leading Sudanese geneticist has been imprisoned for speaking out against the country’s repressive regime. Muntaser Ibrahim, who heads the University of Khartoum’s Institute of Endemic Diseases, was arrested on 21 February in Khartoum and has been detained ever since. His friends and family do not know his location. They say Ibrahim suffers from a heart condition that requires specialist care.Ibrahim’s colleagues and students issued a statement calling for his release on Friday. “It is deplorable that a scholar such as Professor Ibrahim remains in prison, rather than classroom and research centres,” the text reads.Ibrahim took part in peaceful antiregime protests in recent months, according to the statement; he was arrested twice in early January but released shortly after both times. The third and final arrest came as Ibrahim planned to deliver suggestions for national reform drawn up by him and other University of Khartoum lecturers to Sudan’s president, Omar Al-Bashir. “Professor Ibrahim and his colleagues genuinely believed that their initiative could provide a satisfactory way out of the crisis, but the dictatorial authority saw otherwise, hence his repeated incarceration,” reads the statement, which is unsigned. World Academy of Sciences Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Renowned Sudanese geneticist behind bars for opposing regimecenter_img Ibrahim is one of Sudan’s most distinguished living scholars. He studies the genetics of malaria, cancer, and other diseases, as well as genomic diversity in Sudan, and has contributed to international studies investigating human genetic variation in Africa. He is a founding member of the Sudanese National Academy of Science (SNAS) in Khartoum and a member of the World Academy of Sciences in Trieste, Italy.“[Ibrahim] is a leading scientist of genetics, a supervisor of many students, and a member of several scientific associations in country and abroad,” says parasitologist and SNAS member Suad Sulaiman. “His imprisonment will deprive science and research of his contributions.”Ibrahim’s arrest is bad for the morale of scientists living in Sudan, adds Dia-Eldin Ahmed Elnaiem, a Sudanese parasitologist based at the University of Maryland in Princess Anne. “All he did was a simple objection to human rights abuse and a peaceful call for democratic change in the country.” It’s also discouraging scientists who want to work on Sudanese problems, says Elnaiem, who regularly returns to his homeland to do fieldwork on leishmaniasis, a parasitic infection transmitted by sandflies.The statement urges international scientists to rally behind their campaign to release Ibrahim.Sarah Tishkoff, a geneticist at the University of Pennsylvania who has published papers with Ibrahim, says she is “appalled” at the news. “He is a top scientist in the country” as well as “a kind and gentle person who does not deserve this treatment,” Tishkoff wrote in an email. “I hope that the leaders in the Sudan will recognize his important contributions to their country and will release him.”The International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), also headquartered in Trieste, says Ibrahim has been “highly instrumental and active in ensuring our success in Africa” while serving on the center’s council of scientific advisers from 2004 to 2013. “The ICGEB believes that science has no border or political color and that freedom of expression is a fundamental human right.”In mid-December 2018, the cost of living rose abruptly in Sudan, with the price of bread tripling, among other things. Youth, women, and children have taken to the streets demanding change, often facing hard-handed retaliation by the government of Al-Bashir, who came to power in a military coup in 1989. Some protesters have died. Muntaser Ibrahim By Linda NordlingMar. 11, 2019 , 2:20 PM Emaillast_img read more

Read More →

New drugs that unleash the immune system on cancers may backfire fueling

first_imgA lung cancer (arrow) grew slowly before the patient received an immunotherapy drug, as seen in images made 7 weeks apart (left and center). Three weeks after the treatment, it had ballooned. Although the 65-year-old woman had a rare type of endometrial cancer that had spread to her liver and was expected to be fatal, she still felt well enough to work and swim. As a last hope, her doctors gave her a type of immune-stimulating drug that had had near-miraculous results in some patients with advanced cancer. But 3 weeks after she began the drug, the woman’s liver tumors had grown, and her abdomen was swollen with tumors as big as oranges. “She just exploded” with tumors, says Razelle Kurzrock, an oncologist at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), whose team treated the woman. “She was going to die anyway, but unfortunately we hastened her death.”That patient was one of a growing number of fast-progressing cancer cases that point to a dark side of so-called checkpoint inhibitors. These antibody drugs, which have put some people with advanced cancer into remission for years, block a tumor protein, PD-L1, from suppressing T cells by activating PD-1, one of their surface proteins. But only about 20% of patients respond long-term to the drugs, and Kurzrock and other oncologists in the United States and Europe are warning that in a few, they may stoke tumor growth.Despite accumulating papers and anecdotal reports of such tumor “hyper-progression,” some cancer researchers wonder whether it is simply an illusion—whether the patients’ tumors were destined to grow rapidly even before checkpoint inhibitor treatment. “We are divided into believers and nonbelievers,” says oncologist Marina Garassino of the Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori in Milan, Italy, who is among those gathering to discuss the issue next week in Atlanta at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). At a session organized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), researchers will try to resolve how to pin down whether hyperprogression is real and if so, how to identify which patients should not receive these increasingly popular drugs. New drugs that unleash the immune system on cancers may backfire, fueling tumor growth Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Jocelyn KaiserMar. 28, 2019 , 4:00 PM Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Concerns first arose in late 2016 when researchers at the Gustave Roussy Institute in Paris coined the term hyperprogression to describe 12 of 131 cancer patients whose tumor growth rate doubled within 3 months of anti–PD-1 treatment. In March 2017, Kurzrock and and UCSD’s Shumei Kato reported similar findings for six of 155 patients. At least a half-dozen groups have since reported evidence of checkpoint inhibitor–triggered hyperprogression, with rates ranging from 7% for several cancers to 29% for head and neck tumors.Many cancer researchers caution that this rapid growth could have been the natural course of the patient’s disease. “Anybody who’s treated cancer patients, particularly with more severe cancers, has had situations where people suddenly go south,” says Elad Sharon, an oncologist in NCI’s Investigational Drug Branch in Bethesda, Maryland. One problem, he notes, is that groups are defining hyperprogression in different ways. At the AACR meeting, panelists will explore how to develop a standard definition that could be used across the field. Another reason for skepticism is that nobody has yet found a biological explanation for how the anti–PD-1 drugs could spur tumor growth. “As scientists we want a mechanism,” Kurzrock says.Kurzrock noted a clue in her patients with hyperprogression: Most had either mutations in EGFR or extra copies of MDM2 or MDM4, all known cancer genes. Although only some of the other teams studying hyperprogression have confirmed these findings, scientists working with Kurzrock are using cancer cell lines and mouse models that have alterations in these genes to see whether treating them with a checkpoint inhibitor somehow triggers the release of growth-promoting molecules.Garassino and colleagues suspect a key role for immune cells called macrophages, which are often found within and around tumors and can suppress anticancer immune responses. Among 187 patients with lung cancer, all 39 who seemed to hyperprogress when they received anti–PD-1 drugs had unusually high numbers of a specific type of macrophage in their pretreatment tumor tissue, her team reported online in September 2018 in Clinical Cancer Research. Garassino’s team also put either lung cancer cells or bits of tumor from some of those 39 patients into mice lacking T cells, then treated the rodents with an anti–PD-1 drug. Their tumors grew faster than in mice that didn’t get the drug, and as in the patients, were swarmed with macrophages, suggesting the checkpoint inhibitor switched the cells into an immune-suppressing mode that favors tumors.None of this work, however, has nailed down a specific mechanism, notes Jean-Charles Soria, a co-author on the original 2016 hyperprogression paper who is now at AstraZeneca, which makes a PD-L1 inhibitor. “We are working on finding baseline clinical and biological variables that can allow us to identify patients who may experience hyperprogression” and distinguish them from those who aren’t benefiting for other reasons, he says.If researchers can identify genetic changes or other biomarkers that signal a high risk of hyperprogression, patients who test positive for those markers could be advised to avoid PD-1 inhibitors in the first place. That is already Kurzrock’s practice with her own patients when their tumors carry MDM2 amplifications. Or patients might be given a second drug to counter any growth-promoting effects. “We would love to be in a situation where if this is happening, we could identify on an initial biopsy what the risk is and then consider alternative therapies,” Sharon says. First, however, the cancer field needs to unite on whether such drug-fueled explosions in tumors are indeed real. S. CHAMPIAT ET AL., NATURE, VOL. 15, 751, (2018) ADAPTED BY C. AYCOCK/SCIENCE 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 Emaillast_img read more

Read More →

2nd Black Couple Found Dead In Dominican Republic

first_imgDaley said she still suffers from several issues, including nerve damage, and that she has to deal with the medical expenses.SEE ALSO:‘I Don’t Understand It At All’: Family Mourns After Body Of Kameela Russell FoundDetroit High School For Underserved Youth Has 100 Percent College Acceptance Rate Cynthia Ann Day Nathaniel Edward Holmes , Dominican Republic , Orlando Moore , Portia Ravenelle Morehouse Students Take To Social Media And Claim Sexual Harassment Complaints Were Ignored The Dominican Republic has been a popular vacation destination for tourists for years, but it made headlines earlier this year for the wrong reasons after a Black couple went missing and was later found dead. Now another Black couple has been found dead the day they were to fly back home.The bodies of Cynthia Ann Day, 49, and her fiance Nathaniel Edward Holmes, 63, were found in their hotel room on Thursday. The couple had been staying at the Baha Principe hotel in Playa Nueva Romana on the southeast coast of the island since May 25. Dominican media outlets have reported that there were no obvious signs of violence on the bodies, but a cause and manner of death had not been determined as of Sunday night. Entertainment, News and Lifestyle for Black America. News told by us for us. Black America’s #1 News Source: Our News. Our Voice. Original story: UPDATED: 3:51 p.m. EDT — A cause of death has been announced in the case of a Maryland couple who were found dead in their hotel room in the Dominican Republic last week.According to CNN, the Dominican Republic National Police have concluded that Cynthia Ann Day, 49, and her fiancé Nathaniel Edward Holmes, 63, died from respiratory failure and pulmonary edema caused by excess fluid in their lungs. There is no word on what could have caused their condition. New Yorkers Portia Ravenelle and Orlando Moore went on vacation at the Grand Bahia Principe in the Dominican Republic. U.S. Customs say the couple never boarded flight back to Newark on March 26. Their rental car was never returned and their cell phones go straight to voicemail. pic.twitter.com/OULE45WBws— Paul Sacca (@Paul_Sacca) April 8, 2019Recently, a Delaware woman shared her terrifying experience in Punta Cana in a now viral Facebook post. Tammy Lawrence-Daley recounted being kidnapped and severely beaten for eight hours by an employee of the hotel she was staying at in January. Daley also claimed that the man thought she was dead and tried to dispose of her in a hole.“This man thought he killed me, but he failed. He is still out there, a predator, waiting for his next victim. Only the next woman may not be so fortunate. Please, please do not walk alone. These attacks are happening too frequently and the criminals are not being prosecuted even though evidence is found,” Daley wrote. Day and Holmes were expected to fly back to their Maryland home in Prince George’s County the day their bodies were found and now their family was wondering why the pair never made it onto their flight. Jamaican Republican Who Is Running Against AOC Supported Her A Year Ago An American couple visiting the Dominican Republic found dead in their hotel room died of respiratory failure, the country’s national police said https://t.co/4V4vXnqm0E— CNN (@CNN) June 3, 2019Day and Holmes were set to fly back to Prince George’s County on Thursday when their bodies were found in their hotel room. Family members were shocked to learn of the deaths as the couple seemed like they were having a “good time” at the popular vacation destination.Bahia Principe Hotels, the company that runs the hotel the couple was staying at released a statement regarding the tragic deaths: “We are deeply saddened by the incident at one of our hotels in La Romana, Dominican Republic, and want to express our deepest condolences to their family and friends.” With the discovery, Day and Holmes became the second Black couple to be found dead on the popular vacation island in as many months.In late March, Orlando Moore, 43, and his girlfriend, Portia Ravenelle, 51, of New York, went missing the day of their flight home after they checked out of their hotel in Samana. Their bodies were identified two weeks later. It was determined that the pair died after their car plunged off a cliff as they made their way to the airport. Ravenelle was found unconscious on the side of the road and later died at a local hospital. Moore’s body was found at sea. A Disturbing Timeline Of 4-Year-Old Maleah Davis Going Missing After Being Left With Her Stepfather A couple from Prince George’s county, Maryland, were found dead while vacationing in the Dominican Republic, relatives said. https://t.co/z3e0LeRk0a— NBCWashington (@nbcwashington) June 1, 2019“It just hurts,” Holmes’ daughter Dajuan Holmes-Hamilton said on Friday. “I was just waiting for them to come back today because he said he was going to come see the baby today.”Day’s sister, Sonya Jackson, expressed disbelief when the U.S. Embassy confirmed the couple had died and said that prior to their deaths, Day told her they were having a good time.“I was just numb. I’m still numb,” Jackson said. “She was having a good time, she was enjoying herself.”The Washington Post reported that there were bottles of heart medication near the bodies, but no word if they were empty. The newspaper also reported there were claims that Holmes called for a hotel doctor Thursday morning, complaining that he felt ill. When the doctor appeared, he reportedly refused treatment.There were still more questions than answers and now the family must wait until the autopsy is complete before they can receive the bodies for burial. More By Megan Sims SUBSCRIBE Thanks for signing up! Get ready for Exclusive content, Interviews,and Breaking news delivered direct to your inbox. Get ready for Exclusive content, Interviews,and Breaking news delivered direct to your inbox. Derion Vence, Maleah Davis, Brittany Bowens White Tears! Former Meteorologist Files Lawsuit Claiming He Was Fired Because Of Diversitylast_img read more

Read More →

Indias buying of S400 from Russia will have serious implications on defence

first_img Related News By PTI |Washington | Updated: May 31, 2019 12:01:58 pm The official underscored that the US was ready to discuss the full array of equipment available to address India’s concerns. The S-400 is known as Russia’s most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system. China was the first foreign buyer to seal a government-to-government deal with Russia in 2014 to procure the lethal missile system.India and Russia signed a USD 5 billion S-400 air defence system deal in October last after wide-ranging talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.A Senior State Department Official told a group of reporters on Thursday that New Delhi’s decision to buy S-400 air defence system from Moscow was significant, disagreeing with the view that it “isn’t a big deal”. Explained: Trump pressure? Why OPEC embraced Putin Advertising Taking stock of monsoon rain Explained: Western fears about fire accident aboard a Russian submarine Ayodhya dispute: Mediation to continue till July 31, SC hearing likely from August 2 The Trump administration has been very clear that the acquisition of advanced Russian technology sends the wrong message to Russia at a time when it continues its aggressions, the official said.“Those concerns we hold high,” said the official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.“You can look at the very serious conversation that’s taking place with our NATO partner Turkey and the same concerns will apply should India proceed with an S-400 purchase,” the official said.“We don’t commingle highest technology systems. There are threats posed by the purchase of an S-400. So that conversation you’re seeing played out in Turkey right now,” the official said, asserting that those same concerns would apply to India as well. Best Of Express Noting that there is no automatic waivers under CAATSA legislation, the official said that there is a provision that allows for presidential determination.“Every case would have to be looked at individually. But I think the broader issue is where are India’s military relations headed? with whom is it going to share the highest technology and that operating environment? because certain choices preclude other choices,” the official noted.“As we have discussions about a combat aircraft sales and other advanced systems, the decisions that India makes with regard to S-400 will have an impact on those conversations,” the senior State Department official said.India has been diversifying its weapons supply over the years. The US estimates that probably 60 to 70 per cent of its hardware is of Soviet/Russia origin. There is still a significant dependence on Russia. But the jump in India’s purchase of military equipment from the US from zero to USD 18 billion is significant, the official said.“We do more military exercises with India than with any other country in the world. Through these exercises, through the enhanced cooperation we have, whether it’s in the disaster assistance and humanitarian relief area or whether it’s on this joint sailing that we did in the south China Sea, there’s natural interest and also increasing the interoperability of our military equipment.“So we, we certainly look forward to ongoing discussions about a variety of ones,” the official said.Asked that India took the decision to buy S-400 from Russia as the US was not willing to share such hardware with it, the official said: “There’s another message from the United States and let’s talk. We have systems that are effective. There are other platforms that are very effective”.There are other considerations at play as well, the official said.“But I think there’s also a very positive message. We are now able to cooperate in ways that we could not before. We are now reaching agreements that we did not have before that allow us to consider sales that were incomprehensible only five years ago,” the official said.“So, we look forward to continuing the conversation because this really is a conversation. Choices that are made now will establish the framework for the future and we certainly have the ambitions for the broadest possible, deepest possible military relationship with India,” the official said. After successfully hosting World Cup, nobody has questions about Russia: Smertin The official disagreed with the view that India’s buying of S-400 from Russia might not have an impact as long as it increases its military purchase from the US.“I disagree. The S-400 is significant because of CAATSA sanctions. It’s also significant because of what it precludes, in terms of future high-tech cooperation,” the official said.The S-400 missile defence system deal could result in US sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) instituted by the US Congress on arms purchases from Russia.The official said if India went ahead with its decision to buy the S-400 missile defence system from Russia, it will have serious implications on the defence ties. Advertising Advertising More Explained India's buying of S-400 from Russia will have serious implications on defence ties: US The S-400 is known as Russia’s most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system. (File photo)India’s decision to buy the long-range S-400 missile defense system from Russia will have serious implications on defence ties, the Trump administration has warned. Chandrayaan-2 gets new launch date days after being called off P Rajagopal, Saravana Bhavan founder sentenced to life for murder, dies 18 Comment(s)last_img read more

Read More →

Thai junta leader Prayuth Chanocha voted in as prime minister after election

first_imgBy Reuters |Bangkok | Published: June 5, 2019 10:12:28 pm Related News Bangkok bomb unlikely to be work of international terrorists- junta The former army chief secured the 375 votes needed to secure the post in a vote by both houses of parliament, one of which was entirely appointed by the junta.The vote comes 10 weeks after a March 24 general election that opposition parties say was designed to extend and legitimise military dominance over government. Thai junta to explain itself to international rights groups 0 Comment(s) Advertising As Thailand goes to poll, the likely winner is clear. But the aftermath isn’t. Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha had cast his ballot to vote in the general election at a polling station in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019. (REUTERS File/Athit Perawongmetha)Thailand’s new parliament voted in ruling military junta chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha as prime minister on Wednesday, five years after he overthrew an elected government. Thailand’s junta to help people watch World Cup last_img read more

Read More →

Lok Sabha passes arbitration Bill

first_imgThe New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (NDIAC) Bill, 2019, seeks to replace an ordinance issued in March this year by the previous government. It would also acquire and transfer undertakings of the International Centre For Alternative Dispute Resolution (ICADR) to the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (NDIAC) with effect from March 2 this year.“The existing arbitration body has resolved 45 cases out of 55 in 25 years and 10 cases are still pending,” Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said during a debate on the Bill. Observing that a new kind of “imperialism” is taking place, Prasad said there is hardly any instance where an arbitration judgment has gone against American companies. This kind of new imperialism is not acceptable, he said.The proposed New Delhi International Arbitration Centre will be headed by a chairperson, who has been a judge of the Supreme Court or a judge of a high court or an eminent person having special knowledge and experience in the field. Related News Congress raises China transgression, Rajnath Singh says borders secure By Express News Service |New Delhi | Updated: July 11, 2019 2:05:45 am There is also a provision for appeal and Section 29 deals with the time-frame in which arbitration cases are disposed off, Prasad said, adding that they had to be disposed off within a year.Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said he is supporting the Bill because its intent is “commendable” but it appears “ambitious” in terms of execution. He said the government should conceptualise the National Arbitration Policy and strengthen the Indian judicial system. Advertising Parliament Monsoon Session, international arbitration, international arbitration bill, international arbitration bill passed, Ravi Shankar Prasad, New Delhi International Arbitration Centre, NDIAC Bill, Indian express The proposed New Delhi International Arbitration Centre will be headed by a chairperson, who has been a judge of the Supreme Court or a judge of a high court or an eminent person having special knowledge and experience in the field.Seeking to make India a hub of international and domestic arbitration, the Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed a Bill to set up an independent and autonomous regime for arbitration. What steps taken to tackle patriarchy in farm sector: BJD MP Bhartruhari Mahtab Opposition criticises low priority to agriculture in Budget Advertising Post Comment(s)last_img read more

Read More →

For recording her boss lewd call she not he will go to

first_imgWomen in Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim country, have little legal recourse and are expected to tolerate harassment and sometimes sexual relations if they want to keep their jobs, women’s rights advocates said.Nuril was acquitted at trial, but prosecutors appealed the verdict.A three-judge panel found her guilty last year and imposed a sentence of six months and a fine of about $35,000, a huge amount for her family. If she does not pay the fine, she must serve an additional three months.In the ruling released on Thursday by a different three-judge panel, the court denied her request for a review of the case. Top News By New York Times |Bangkok | Published: July 6, 2019 8:57:57 am Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield 11 Comment(s) Advertising Advertising After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan “Why can he just casually walk around,” she asked, “while I, as the victim, am the one being punished?” A school bookkeeper in Indonesia who recorded her boss’ lewd phone call as proof she was being harassed must serve at least six months in prison for distributing obscene material, the country’s Supreme Court has ruled.Nuril Maknun, 41, who worked as a part-time bookkeeper at a high school on the religiously conservative island of Lombok, said on Friday that she was disappointed by the court’s ruling, which she called an “obvious injustice.” It was her final appeal in a case that has been closely followed across the country and that became an issue during the recent presidential election.“I, as a woman, should be protected, but then I was the one who became the victim,” she said in a telephone interview. “People should know that when we get harassed, there is no place to take refuge.” For recording her boss’ lewd call, she, not he, will go to jail Nuril Maknun, a bookkeeper who went to jail for six months after recording a phone call in which her boss sexually harassed her, in Labuapi, Indonesia. (Richard C. Paddock/The New York Times)Written by Richard C. Paddock and Muktita Suhartono Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield The problems for Nuril, a mother of three, began in 2013 when Muslim took over as principal of the high school where she worked.He made vulgar remarks and a rumor spread that they had been carrying on an affair.Determined to disprove the rumor, she recorded one of his calls and played it for her husband and a teacher.After learning of the recording’s existence, Muslim filed a police complaint against Nuril for criminal defamation.During the police investigation, she was arrested and jailed for a month.Eventually, prosecutors rejected the defamation complaint, but charged her with distributing obscene material.At trial, she denied distributing the recording and testified that a colleague, Imam Mudawin, downloaded it from her phone while she was in another room.But the Supreme Court sided with prosecutors, who contended that she gave Imam the indecent recording for distribution.Her attorney, Joko Jumadi, said she would apply for amnesty next week, but would not seek a presidential pardon because she is not guilty of any crime. A grant of amnesty would expunge her criminal record.“We stand firm that Baiq Nuril is not guilty,” he said, using a local honorific. “Even though she has to go to prison for this fight, she is ready.”An online fundraising campaign had raised more than $26,000 by midday on Friday to help pay her fine.Nuril said she was proud to fight for her “dignity as a woman,” but questioned why she was being sent to jail when it was Muslim who made the obscene comments.“Clearly the person has admitted that it was his voice, admitted that he was the one who called me, admitted that he was the one who said things that were inappropriate,” she said. Cabinet asks finance panel to consider securing funds for defence Advertising Her boss, who goes by the single name Muslim, as is common in Indonesia, was the principal at Senior High School Seven in Mataram, Lombok’s largest city. Nuril recorded him using explicit language and hounding her to have an affair. He was never punished for harassing her and instead has been promoted repeatedly.The case has highlighted the common problem of workplace harassment in Indonesia. President Joko Widodo said in the runup to his re-election that he would consider granting clemency to Nuril once her legal appeals had been exhausted.On Friday afternoon, the president told reporters in Manado, a city on Sulawesi island, that he would not comment on the Supreme Court ruling but that Nuril should apply for amnesty as soon as possible so that his office could assume legal authority over her case.“Since the beginning, my attention to this case has never diminished,” he said. “If it gets to me, then it will be under my authority, and I will use the authority I have.” After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan More Explained Cabinet asks finance panel to consider securing funds for defence Best Of Express Taking stock of monsoon rain last_img read more

Read More →

China says Xi urged Trump to ease North Korea sanctions in due

first_img“President Xi pushed the U.S side to show flexibility and meet the North Koreans halfway, including easing sanctions in due course,” Geng said.Xi and Trump have both spoken with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently – Xi before the G20 summit during a trip to Pyongyang, and Trump after the summit, when he met Kim at the Demilitarized Zone along the North’s border with South Korea.Trump said after his meeting that both sides would set up teams to push forward stalled talks aimed at getting North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons and his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said they would likely happen “sometime in July, probably in the next two or three weeks.”However, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said a top South Korean presidential official visiting Washington expressed uncertainty on Friday that the talks, stalled since a failed summit in Hanoi in February, could resume this month. ‘Truth, justice have prevailed’: PM Modi on Kulbhushan Jadhav verdict Post Comment(s) Advertising Related News Donald Trump, Trump News, US-China, US- China news, US-North Korea, Us-North Korea News, US-North Korea Sanctions, Chinese President, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Express Chinese President Xi Jinping urged U.S. President Donald Trump to show flexibility in dealings with North KoreaChinese President Xi Jinping urged U.S. President Donald Trump last month to show flexibility in dealings with North Korea, and ease sanctions on the country “in due course,” China’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday. After Masood Azhar blacklisting, ICJ verdict in Kulbhushan case isolates Pakistan With a new threat, Iran tests the resolve of the US and its allies Yonhap said Kim Hyun-Chong, deputy chief South Korea’s National Security Office, told reporters after meeting Deputy U.S. national security adviser Charles Kupperman that the U.S. side still appeared to be waiting for a response from the North.The State Department declined specific comment on Kim’s remarks but said it had no meetings to announce. Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said on Tuesday “the contacts and the discussions are ongoing” with North Korea but offered no details.Trump and Kim’s Hanoi summit collapsed over U.S. demands for North Korea’s complete denuclearization and North Korean insistence on sanctions relief. There has been no sign of a narrowing of differences since.A senior official of the U.S. administration said the U.S. position had not changed. A senior U.S. official said U.S. policy continued to maintain sanctions on North Korea until it gives up its nuclear weapons and the State Department reiterated that it expected countries around the world to fully implement and enforce them.China signed up for strict U.N. sanctions following repeated North Korean nuclear and missile tests but also has suggested they could be eased as a reward for good behaviour.Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters that Xi briefed Trump on China’s position on North Korea when they met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka. US President confirms no withdrawal from security pact: Japan “You don’t have a man testing nuclear anymore,” he told reporters at the White House. “You have a man that was so happy to see me. That’s a good thing, not a bad thing.” More Explained US Senate backs massive defense bill, targets China, sets Iran vote Jharkhand court drops ‘donate Quran’ condition for bail to Ranchi woman over offensive post By Reuters |Beijing/washington | Updated: July 13, 2019 4:18:13 pm Best Of Express Advertising Advertising Taking stock of monsoon rain “As the president has said, sanctions will stay on until the final, fully verified denuclearization” of North Korea, the source said.The State Department said this week Washington hoped to see a complete freeze in the North Korean nuclear program as the start of a process of denuclearization.North Korea has frozen missile and nuclear bomb testing since 2017 but U.S. officials believe it has expanded its arsenal by continuing to produce bomb fuel and missiles.Trump has repeatedly hailed the testing freeze as a sign of progress and did so again on Friday, also referring again to his personal chemistry with Kim Jong Un.last_img read more

Read More →

The Democratic Debate That Wasnt How Tech Could Help Elections

first_imgReal-Time Translation Coverage of the candidates went from around 10 minutes, which wasn’t enough, to five minutes, which was a joke. I mean, why show up if you are only going to get five minutes out of two hours? Moderators can get running tallies that showcase who is getting the least coverage and then could direct more questions to those people.Given what happened between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in the last election, special care should be taken at least to appear fairer so large numbers of voters wouldn’t feel disenfranchised again and stay home. I watched the Democratic debates last week and was struck by three things: I’d likely rather watch paint dry; the application of technology to improve the experience was nonexistent; and I’d bet that if the Democrats don’t up their game President Trump will have them to thank when he wins re-election.I’m generally frustrated about how little technology is used to improve the presentations made by technology companies, but in this case both the preservation of the U.S. and perhaps the survival of the world are tied to the next election, and last week’s effort fell well below what should have been done.I’ll suggest some ways technology could be used to improve events like the non-debate the Democrats put on last week. I’ll close with my product of the week: Amazon’s new Echo Show 5, which has taken the lead for price performance among digital assistants. We have all this technology, and the information out there on each one of us could fill books, but it’s not being used to improve our election process, in terms of fielding the best candidates for the job. Technology not only could make election events more interesting, but also could help us make better choices between candidates, and perhaps get us back to talking about issues rather than the latest ad hominem attack.Whether in politics or in technology, the goal appears to be to just to get through the event when it should be to help us make better, more informed choices. Borrowing from The Six Million Dollar Man, we have the technology — why don’t we fricken use it to improve our world, starting with helping us make better political choices? Maybe, in the future, our governments would get the things done we want done. Right now, I doubt our government even knows what that is. How to Improve Political Debates Wrapping Up The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network. When you and I interview for a job we start with a resume and then sit for an interview focused on whether we have the skills for the job. We don’t get on TV and get asked a bunch of wide-ranging questions, have little or no time to answer them, and then get sniped at by our competitors.The interview process may have very little to do with the job we will get, but this fake debate format is even further from the job a president will do. In short, all these folks are attempting to showcase skills they may never use outside of the campaign.A real debate would be closer to a negotiation they might have to do between countries, but wouldn’t it be nice to hear some details from folks who worked with them on how well they did their past jobs?Having a job and doing that job well are potentially two different things, and rather than just focusing on questions having to do with the next job, wouldn’t it make more sense to focus on how well they did in the last one?If it really isn’t going to be a debate, why not just make this a job interview? You could show some of the questions in real time but provide links to more extensive interviews for audience members who might want to drill down.I’m suggesting that with technology we could focus a bit more on competence and a ton less on BS. Maybe, just maybe, we’d get a final choice for president of both candidates being qualified rather than the more typical case of neither making the grade. Job Interview at Scalecenter_img Given how much the Democrats complain about the U.S. president’s inability to tell the truth, you’d think that if they put on something called a “debate” it would include some debating. The closest we got to that last week was when the folks on stage went off script and started yelling at each other. (That was more argument than debate but at least it was interesting.)We used to have to watch things like this live, and there were time limits that created ugly compromises, much like we saw last week. No one got enough time. However, we are at critical mass for people who stream content now. Plus, our TVs are increasingly intelligent, and most of us have some digital device with us as we watch a debate.This means debates could be more dynamic. For those who don’t know a candidate, provide links so they can learn more without having to go off on their own and search Google (which happened a lot).In addition, with an app you could allow viewers to stream a full argument from a politician they were interested in and get the complete picture of a position. You then could, through automatic transcription and the application of an AI, get near real-time comparisons between a number of politicians at once, so you could identify those you mostly agreed with and separate from those you thought were nuts. Granted, this doesn’t help if they are all nuts.You must believe that the political parties, not to mention the social networks, know all about you, and they could point out which candidates are the most aligned to your mindset and interests. I know a few years back when we had no incumbent, a similar analysis (I’m a Republican) indicated my views were closest to moderate Democrat Joe Biden.With smart glasses, or simply a feed to their podiums, candidates could get real-time updates and help from their staff. Once they had the job, they would have the CIA, FBI, NSA, Secret Service, State Department and other organizations to rely on. They wouldn’t need to rely on their memories alone, and they shouldn’t be in the habit of doing that.Many of our problems are the result of politicians unnecessarily firing from the hip because they failed to research their positions or to use their resources in a timely way. In a data-rich age, we should have fewer hip shooters, not more.Demonstrating the capability to use technology in real time to improve positions and decisions should be a requirement of the job, and it isn’t cheating in this instance. These people aren’t competing in a game show — they are trying to showcase that they would be the best candidate. The job will require them to use the vast resources of the U.S. — not act like some old guy who only watches Fox News and chases kids off his lawn in his substantial free time.There was a lot of wasted screen space during the debate, which could have been used to provide background on the candidates or display information about what people are searching on most frequently. Granted, you’d want to use a censoring AI to make sure folks didn’t game that system to prank the speakers or do them harm. Just a running chart on what folks were searching on would tell the viewer, moderators and even speakers what was resonating so they could appeal to the audience more effectively.Why is it necessary to have an audience in the room? That just forces a rigid timeline, and that timeline reduces understanding as well as the effectiveness and entertainment value of the result. Yes, an audience provides applause, but that tends to slow down the process anyway.Now of the 10 people on the stage, chances are you are only interested in two or three of them. An AI could help you pick which two or three (and make recommendations for those who aren’t on your list). Then it also could formulate and present a virtual debate surrounding issues you care about between the two candidates using an AI clone.Recall that IBM Watson did a really good job of debating a real debate champion a few months ago. It lost, but it showcased that you could program an AI to perform as a debater. If you trained multiple AIs on the politicians, users could pick those they wanted and pit them against each other virtually. Granted, each campaign would need to train its own AI, but the AI also could answer questions from voters at scale.Now we also can engage at scale through smartphone apps or websites. Moderators have choices of questions, and they could have the audience vote on the questions to ask and even which candidates to ask them of in real time. That way the event automatically would be optimized for the people who tuned in. 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. Tracking Things Like Equal Time I was one of the early adopters for the Amazon Echo Show and it had some issues — from a camera that made it iffy in the bedroom to a price that pushed it out of range for most of us.Then came the Echo Spot, which was far more attractively priced but had a tiny display that was almost useless, along with a camera. Both had buttons to turn the cameras off, but it was easy to turn them back on again without the user knowing, which is problematic when it comes to privacy expectations and some laws. It was cute to see some of the politicians speak Spanish, but there is a decent chance that most of their audience wasn’t that impressed, because they didn’t. We could do real-time translation, though, and either pop up subtitles or have a voiceover with the translation.The politicians wouldn’t have to repeat themselves, and viewers could hear or see the response in their preferred language. I think language skills are a plus in a politician, particularly when it comes to negotiations, and this would allow a politician to show off those skills without pissing off or losing the audience. Well the new Echo Show is priced like the Spot was (around US$89), has a larger and more useful display, plus a slider that physically blocks the camera and puts a white dot on the face to show you the camera has been blocked. Someone would have to come into the room to turn the camera on, and doing so would remove the white dot. (I’d still like a bigger alert that the camera is active myself, but this is an improvement.)There still is a larger Echo Show for $229 with twice the screen and better speakers, but you can upgrade this Show with Bluetooth speakers for better sound, and the 5-inch display is fine for most things. (You aren’t watching movies on a 10-inch device anyway). The larger one also has a Zigbee smart hub that most will never use.This is likely the perfect Echo device for many, in that it is well-priced, has the full feature set (including video), and is useful in most of the places you’d use it. I’d still like more choices as to activation words, as every one of the Echos I have has a different word, and everyone fires up unintentionally from time to time. (My favorite is watching Star Trek and having the one in my living room, which answers to “computer,” try to respond to the TV actors interacting with the computer in the Enterprise or Discovery).I also anticipate a future app for the Echo Show 5 that would call out BS every time someone on the TV lied. Granted, when some politicians are talking, it might have a meltdown. Still, because this is the best Echo to date and I am up to my armpits in Echo devices, the new Amazon Echo Show is my product of the week.During the coming Amazon Prime day, I’ll bet you can buy one of these for closer to $50, which would be a huge deal. Christmas shopping early, anyone? Amazon Show 5last_img read more

Read More →

Consumption of milk cereal drinks in infancy associated with twofold overweight risk

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Dec 19 2018In five-year-old children, the risk for overweight is almost twice as high if they at 12 months had consumed milk cereal drinks every day, a study in the journal Acta Paediatrica shows.”Milk cereal drinks are not bad as such; how it’s used is the problem. That is, when it’s seen not as a meal but as an extra, to supplement other food,” says Bernt Alm. Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.The researchers behind the study have previously linked consumption of milk cereal drinks at age six months to high body mass index (BMI) at ages one year and one and a half years. The study now presented is of the same group of children, several years later.Related StoriesResearch reveals genetic cause of deadly digestive disease in childrenNew therapeutic food boosts key growth-promoting gut microbes in malnourished childrenResearchers identify gene mutations linked to leukemia in children with Down’s syndromeVarious risk factorsThe follow-up study comprised 1,870 children in Halland County, Sweden, whose particulars were taken from the Halland Health and Growth Study. Height and weight data have been recorded by the child health services, while the information on their food and beverage intake comes from the parents.Among the five-year-olds, 11.6 percent were overweight and 2.3 percent had obesity. The risk for overweight or obesity proved to be almost double (factor 1.94) if the children had formerly, at age 12 months, been daily consumers of milk cereal drinks. This risk elevation was independent of other factors.Examples of other conditions found to make overweight more likely were if the parents had low educational attainment, if they smoked, and if there was a history of obesity in the family. Heredity was the strongest single factor.Reasons not to use milk cereal drinkIn Sweden, children commonly drink milk cereal drinks once to five times a day from age six months. In the study in question, 85 percent of the children had been daily consumers at 12 months of age.The Swedish milk cereal drinks consists of milk and flour, and is nutritionally close to porridge, and usually enriched with vitamins and minerals. Similar products exist elsewhere in the world, but are not as common.”Milk cereal drinks are nutritious and good, and has been used for hundreds of years in Sweden. Getting rid of it isn’t a panacea. But if, for example, the child has other risk factors for overweight, such as heredity, perhaps not using milk cereal drinks should be considered,” Alm says. Source:https://sahlgrenska.gu.se/english/research/news-events/news-article//twofold-overweight-risk-for-five-year-olds-given-milk-cereal-drinks-in-infancy-.cid1600738last_img read more

Read More →

Sugarsweetened beverages may be linked with increased risk of cardiovascular mortality

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Mar 18 2019Frequently drinking sugar-sweetened drinks, such as sodas and sports drinks, was associated with an increased risk of death from cardiovascular diseases and, to a lesser extent, cancers, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.Among study participants the risk of death rose as people drank more sugar-sweetened drinks. In addition, substituting one sugary drink a day with an artificially sweetened drink was associated with a slightly lower risk of dying, but drinking four or more artificially sweetened drinks a day was associated with a higher risk of death among women. This finding is not considered as strong as the association between sugary drinks and a potential link to an increased risk of death and needs to be confirmed with additional research.”Drinking water in place of sugary drinks is a healthy choice that could contribute to longevity,” said Vasanti Malik, Sc.D., lead author on the paper and a research scientist in the Department of Nutrition in the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts. “Diet soda may be used to help frequent consumers of sugary drinks cut back their consumption, but water is the best and healthiest choice.”Related StoriesStroke should be treated 15 minutes earlier to save lives, study suggestsCutting around 300 calories a day protects the heart even in svelte adultsRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaAlthough people have been drinking fewer sugary drinks in the United States in the past decade, soda and other sweetened drinks still represent the single largest source of added sugar in the U.S. diet and their consumption is on the rise around the world.Much attention has been given to a potential link between soft drinks, weight gain and health problems related to weight gain such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. But few studies have examined whether sugar-sweetened beverages or artificially sweetened beverages can be linked to mortality.The current study used data from two large-scale longitudinal studies to do just that. Researchers examined data from 37,716 men in the Health Professionals follow-up study and 80,647 women in the Nurses’ Health Study. They controlled for other dietary factors, physical activity and body mass index so that any effect measured could be independently linked with sugar-sweetened beverages. It also examined the association between drinking artificially sweetened beverages and death.The American Heart Association recently issued a science advisory on artificially sweetened drinks that concludes that for adults who are habitually high consumers of sugary drinks, low-calorie sweetened drinks (artificially sweetened) may be a useful replacement strategy to reduce intake of sugary drinks. This approach may be particularly helpful for persons who are habituated to a sweet-tasting drink as they transition to water.​Source: https://newsroom.heart.org/news/sugary-drinks-may-be-associated-with-an-increased-risk-of-death-from-cardiovascular-diseases?preview=66bblast_img read more

Read More →

Why have autism rates exploded in New Jersey

first_imgWe must take swift and systematic action to increase access to and fund medically necessary treatment for every child with autism. Early identification is crucial to helping families access services for these pre-schoolers, who need intensive treatment to learn developmentally appropriate skills and maximize their potential.”Suzanne Buchanan, Executive Director, Autism New Jersey By Lois Zoppi, BAApr 15 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Researchers at Rutgers University have revealed that pre-schoolers in New Jersey have the highest rates of autism ever recorded in the US. They report rates of autism have increased faster in children living in New Jersey than in other states.The study, which was conducted in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), states that up to three percent of children in the US live with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).Alexander Lukatskiy | ShutterstockAs a spectrum condition, autism affects people in different ways, with different symptoms arising among those with the condition that manifest with varying levels of severity.There are two main characteristics of autism. The first is a person showing difficulties with social interactions and communication, for instance joining conversations or reading social cues. The second main symptom is engaging in repetitive behaviors, routines, and activities.Possible symptoms of autism in pre-school aged children include delayed speech development, rejecting physical gestures of affection, avoiding eye contact, showing little interest in interacting with other children, or preferring to play with toys in a repetitive manner over engaging with imaginative play.Children who are diagnosed with autism by their fourth birthday are often diagnosed early because they present moderate to severe symptoms of autism and catch the attention of pediatricians and early-childhood educators. One in 35 children in New Jersey are diagnosed by this time.The study analyzed data from the health and special education records of 129,354 children who turned 4 between 2010 and 2014, along with 128,655 children who were 8 years old during the same period.Guidelines for ASD in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV were used for the study’s primary findings.The data for New Jersey was sourced from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network (ADDM), a network that has monitored rates of autism diagnoses for almost 20 years.Along with researchers in New Jersey, researchers in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, North Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin analyzed health records of almost 71,000 children.Autism rates increased by 43% between 2010 and 2014Walter Zahorodny, an associate professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School who was responsible for running the study in New Jersey, explained that among 4-year-olds, the rate of autism increased by 43 percent from 2010 to 2014, with 1 in 23 four year old boys being diagnosed with autism. He also said that the increasing rates of autism in children show no signs of slowing. Risk factors associated with ASD incidence include advanced parental age, maternal illness during pregnancy, genetic mutations, and premature birth.“These are true influences exerting an effect, but they are not enough to explain the high rate of autism prevalence,” Zahorodny said.“There are still undefined environmental risks that contribute to this significant increase, factors that could affect a child in its development in utero or related to birth complications or to the new-born period. We need more research into non-genetic triggers for autism.”The results were ‘startling’Discussing the prevalence of ASD in children of 4 years of age, the estimated prevalence of ASD was “13.4 per 1,000 in 2010, 15.3 in 2012, and 17.0 in 2014.”Disparities in ASD prevalence were also highlighted by the study, with the prevalence of ASD in 4-year-old white children standing at 7.7 per 1,000 children in Missouri (2014), but 29.3 in New Jersey (2014).Data for black children in New Jersey showed a prevalence of 24.7 per 1,000 (2014), and prevalence in Hispanic children was 28.2 per 1,000 in New Jersey (2014).It was found that across all the sites studied, ASD prevalence was higher in boys than in girls, ranging from 2.6 in Arizona and Wisconsin (2010) to 5.2 boys per one girl in Colorado (2014).The study states “an absence or delay in ASD identification could adversely affect children by delaying interventions and initiation of special services.” The explosive rate of autism is impossible to ignore. There’s no let-up. I really don’t understand why the rate is going up in this way.”Dr. Walter Zahorodnycenter_img Zahorodny deemed the results to be “consistent, broad and startling,” believing that “It’s very likely that the next time we survey autism among children, the rate will be even higher.”Limitations of the study were acknowledged, from the fact that the study was based on a record review and not clinical examinations to the possibility that some children with ASD may not have been included in the network because their records were incomplete.Additionally, the specificity of the records may have been affected by early diagnoses being changed at a later date if clinicians have concluded a different diagnosis fits a child’s symptoms more accurately.The earlier the diagnosis, the betterOn the importance of early screening, Zahorodny said: “Children who are evaluated for autism early – around their second birthday – often respond better to treatment than those who are diagnosed later. However, it appears that only the most seriously affected children are being evaluated a crucial time, which can delay access to treatment and special services.”It is concerning to see results showing that black and Hispanic children were slightly less likely to be diagnosed than white children and that the age of diagnosis did not change over a period of 15 years. An increase in demand for services and subsequent delay in care could account for this plateau.According to Zahorodny, “The experience of our special education system and the number of developmental specialists in our region” meant that NJ’s data was more complete than other states. Despite our greater awareness, we are not effective yet in early detection. Our goal should be systematic, universal screening that pediatricians and other health providers provide at regular visits starting at 18 months to identify autism as soon as possible.”last_img read more

Read More →

Fraud rap for cryptocurrency promoted by DJ Khaled Mayweather

As Bitcoin, other currencies soar, regulators urge caution Citation: Fraud rap for cryptocurrency promoted by DJ Khaled, Mayweather (2018, April 3) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-fraud-rap-cryptocurrency-dj-khaled.html © 2018 AFP Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. The US Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday laid charges over a fraudulent cryptocurrency fundraiser that boxer Floyd Mayweather and rapper DJ Khaled touted on social media. DJ Khaled and boxer Floyd Mayweather touted an allegedly fraudulent Initial Coin Offering from Centra Tech. Inc., but are not themselves charged Neither celebrity is accused in the scheme which the SEC said raised more than $32 million from thousands of investors.The SEC charged Sohrab “Sam” Sharma and Robert Farkas, co-founders of Centra Tech. Inc., with violating the anti-fraud and registration provisions of US securities laws.Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) have sprung from nowhere to become a hugely popular way for start-ups to raise funds online, offering self-created digital “tokens” or coins to any willing buyer.But regulators around the world have warned of the risks of fraud, the volatility of virtual currencies and the lack of clarity on what a “token” represents.Sharma and Farkas are accused of masterminding a fraudulent ICO in which Centra offered and sold unregistered investments through a “CTR Token.” The charges, filed in New York, also say the pair “claimed that funds raised in the ICO would help build a suite of financial products,” such as debit cards that would allow users to instantly convert hard-to-spend cryptocurrencies into legal tender.In reality, there was no relationship with legitimately-backed debit cards, the complaint alleges.Centra “sold investors on the promise of new digital technologies by using a sophisticated marketing campaign,” an SEC statement said.”The defendants relied heavily on celebrity endorsements and social media to market their scheme,” Steve Peikin, co-director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, said in a statement.”Endorsements and glossy marketing materials are no substitute for the SEC’s registration and disclosure requirements as well as diligence by investors.”The value of ICOs exploded last year when investors poured $3.6 billion into 228 projects, up from $96 million for 46 ICOs in 2016.The gold-rush fever surrounding ICOs partly stems from the soaring success of bitcoin, and firms issuing ICOs have raised their visibility by enlisting celebrities.Participants bet that the value of their “tokens” will go up and that they will eventually be able to trade them for established cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and Ethereum, which can in turn be exchanged for traditional currencies. read more

Read More →

New kinematics for customized highprecision milling

first_img Explore further Provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Citation: New kinematics for customized, high-precision milling (2018, July 2) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-kinematics-customized-high-precision-milling.html Manufacturers generally must offer high-quality products at low prices in order to remain competitive. Three Fraunhofer Institutes are therefore working on the next generation of industrial robots which will facilitate cost-effective production processes. The researchers are focusing on developing a new kinematics for milling lightweight materials, metals, and steels. The aim: achieving a production tolerance of just 0.1 millimeters all over the robot workspace starting with the very first component. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. All-purpose talent in aircraft manufacturing To ensure high precision, the team of researchers is developing a new drive concept for individual axes. Partially direct drives are used, which are considerably stiffer during operation than today’s high-tech gear units. And a new climate-control strategy minimizes imprecision due to temperature fluctuations. The robot is also equipped with a cnc control for machine tools. Last but not least, the new Flexmatik features an active vibration control system.The new designed robot offers key benefits compared to machine tools: the cost of acquisition decreases by as much as a factor of 10 and the energy consumption by as much as a factor of 15. Thanks to its linear unit, the Flexmatik exhibits a workspace on par with large portal milling machines – and better accessibility. Compared to a portal milling machine, the Flexmatik does not require a special heavy foundation. This keeps construction costs lower and grants users flexibility in setting it up. Fraunhofer researchers want to complete a functional prototype by the end of 2018.Their innovative milling robot can handle a broad range of applications – including the machining of large CFRP structures such as fuselages, the milling of components for gas turbines, and the re-contouring of press tools. “The Flexmatik is a suitable choice for many applications in practically all sectors which use machine tools. But it’s not about replacing machine tools. The Flexmatik can instead be a useful addition that shares workloads. The ultimate goal is to make production processes more cost-effective,” emphasizes Sven Philipp von Stürmer, project leader at Fraunhofer IFAM. More and more consumers are demanding made-to-order, customized products. The production facilities of tomorrow will need to be efficient and versatile if they hope to meet increasingly stringent requirements and the specific needs of each customer – all while mastering the pressure of rising costs. High-precision machine tools that impart a certain geometrical shape to workpieces remain the solution of choice. Conventional industrial robots have simply been unable, due to their insufficient precision, to supplant such machine tools. Using robots for milling operations remains particularly challenging. Primarily due to the gear units, low robot stiffness deflects the tool – reducing its appeal for use. Indeed, production staff must comply with extremely tight production tolerances every time they machine lightweight materials, such as aluminum or carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), as well as metals, and steels.Customized production, even for a batch size of oneResearchers working on Fraunhofer’s “Flexmatik 4.1” joint research project (please see box) are developing an industrial robot designed for the high-precision milling of lightweight materials. The project partners are the Fraunhofer Institutes for Production Systems and Design Technology IPK, for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM, and for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF. The researchers must overhaul the kinematics if the robot is to prove successful. Sascha Reinkober, department head at Fraunhofer IPK, explains: “We’re engineering a multi-axis kinematic chain that is specially designed for continuous path processes.” The robot proceeds from point A to point B of the component being machined by traversing a linear unit, a type of rail. “The system simulations we conducted during the design phase indicate that we can achieve a precision objective of plus/minus 0.1 millimeters. This will be possible starting from the very first component, despite the process forces acting on it. Manufacturers can therefore customize production, even for a batch size of just one unit,” says Jan Hansmann, project leader at Fraunhofer LBF. “Under the exposure of process forces, the robot will stray far less from its programmed target path. The robot can consequently drill a hole at the intended spot of the component with far greater precision, for instance.” Machining robot Flexmatik. Credit: Fraunhofer IFAMlast_img read more

Read More →

Joshua Trees Will Be AllButExtinct by 2070 Without Climate Action Study Warns

first_img Spectacular Geology: Amazing Photos of the American Southwest Originally published on Live Science.by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeVikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 min and see why everyone is addicted!Vikings: Free Online GameUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndoInfinityKloudHow To Backup All Your Files In Seconds.InfinityKloudUndoGundry MD Total Restore SupplementU.S. Cardiologist: It’s Like a Pressure Wash for Your InsidesGundry MD Total Restore SupplementUndoArticles VallyDad Cuts Daughter’s Hair Off For Getting Birthday Highlights, Then Mom Does The UnthinkableArticles VallyUndoEditorChoice.comSee What The World’s Largest Dog Looks LikeEditorChoice.comUndo Of a Feather: Photos Reveal Stunning Birds of the Southwest Desert Mistletoe: Photos of ‘Tree Thieves’ in the American Southwest Joshua trees — some of the most unusual and iconic plants of the American Southwest — have survived as a species for some 2.5 million years in the inhospitable Mojave Desert. Now, they may face imminent extinction due to climate change. In a new study published June 3 in the journal Ecosphere, researchers and volunteer scientists surveyed nearly 4,000 trees in southern California’s Joshua Tree National Park to figure out where the oldest trees tended to thrive during historic periods of extreme heat and drought. (A single Joshua tree can live up to 300 years.) Then, the researchers estimated how much of these Joshua safe zones (or “refugia”) would survive to the end of the century based on a range of climate change predictions. [Desert Green: Images of Joshua Tree National Park] The study authors found that, if greenhouse gas emissions are seriously curbed and summer temperatures are limited to an increase of 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius), about 19% of the park’s Joshua tree habitat would survive after the year 2070.Headbutting Tiny Worms Are Really, Really LoudThis rapid strike produces a loud ‘pop’ comparable to those made by snapping shrimps, one of the most intense biological sounds measured at sea.Your Recommended PlaylistVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9接下来播放Why Is It ‘Snowing’ Salt in the Dead Sea?01:53 facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接https://www.livescience.com/65953-climate-change-destroying-joshua-trees.html?jwsource=cl已复制直播00:0000:3500:35  If no action is taken to reduce carbon emissions and summer temperatures rise by 9 F (5 C) or more, however, only 0.02% of the tree’s habitat would survive to the end of the century — leaving the rare tree a hair away from extinction. “The fate of these unusual, amazing trees is in all of our hands,” lead study author Lynn Sweet, a plant ecologist at the University of California, Riverside said in a statement. “Their numbers will decline, but how much depends on us.” Survivors in the sand Joshua Tree National Park covers 1,200 square miles (3,200 square kilometers) of sandy, hilly terrain in the desert between Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Arizona. The spiny-armed Joshua trees have survived millions of years of climate ups and downs by holding on to large amounts of water to carry them through the region’s harshest droughts. However, the study authors wrote, young Joshua trees and seedlings aren’t able to store enough water to weather these dry spells. During long droughts — such as the epic, 376-week-long one that lasted from December 2011 to March 2019 in California — various parts of the park became too parched to support young Joshua tree growth, preventing the species from reproducing properly. As global temperatures rise, more and longer droughts are expected to occur around the world, and that means fewer and fewer new Joshua trees surviving to adulthood. To find out which parts of the tree’s desert habitat were safest and which were most at risk of drying up, a team of park researchers and volunteers counted thousands of trees in various parts of the park, noting each tree’s height (which helped predict the tree’s age) and the number of new sprouts in the area. They found that, in general, trees growing in higher-elevation spots, which tend to be cooler and retain more moisture, survived much better than those in lower, drier regions. The team compared these survey results with historic climate records to predict how much of the Joshua tree’s habitat was likely to shrink as temperatures rise and rainfall decreases over the rest of the century. Under the best-case scenario, they found, just 1 in 5 Joshua trees will survive the next 50 years. Taking swift action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is the only way to save the Joshua trees from extinction, the researchers found. However, even trees in the best-hydrated habitats will still face a serious threat from wildfires, which have also been occurring with greater frequency and intensity as the climate warms, they said. According to the researchers, fewer than 10% of Joshua trees survive when wildfires rush through their habitats — thanks, in part, to car exhaust coating desert shrubs with flammable nitrogen. This, at least, is a threat that can be addressed on a local level, right now. “Fires are just as much a threat to the trees as climate change, and removing grasses is a way park rangers are helping to protect the area today,” Sweet said. “By protecting the trees, they’re protecting a host of other native insects and animals that depend on them as well.”last_img read more

Read More →