Month: July 2019

Health Sector Emerges As Major New Jobs Creator

first_imgHealth Sector Emerges As Major New Jobs Creator This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. National Journal: You Can Thank The Health Care Industry For The Economic RecoverySince the recession hit in late 2007, a huge proportion of the new jobs have been in the health sector—hospitals, doctors’ offices and nursing homes. All along, those jobs have been rising at a steady clip, while jobs in all other sectors have seen more dismal performance. … If health care jobs had just held steady, the unemployment rate would be a full point higher. If they had taken a dive with the rest of the economy, the current unemployment rate would be 10.8 percent, according to an analysis from the Altarum Institute, which track health employment trends (Sanger-Katz, 1/31).last_img read more

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Huawei Mate 30 Pro and Mate 30 might be very different phones

first_img We’d also like to send you special offers and news just by email from other carefully selected companies we think you might like. Your personal details will not be shared with those companies – we send the emails and you can unsubscribe at any time. Please tick here if you are happy to receive these messages.By submitting your information, you agree to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy. Huawei hasn’t officially announced the Huawei Mate 30 or Mate 30 Pro yet, but after the news surrounding the Google block these might end up being very different phones to what we’d been expecting.Google has just revealed that, going forward, it has suspended any business that “requires the transfer of hardware, software and technical services except those publicly available via open source licensing.” This basically means that any new Huawei phone won’t be able to get access to the latest updates and will instead have to rely on the open source version of Android (AOSP).Related: Everything you need to know about the Huawei Android banThis is a massive blow to Huawei and while it doesn’t mean current software on flagships like the Huawei P30 and Huawei P30 Pro will immediately stop working, it will have major ramifications for Huawei devices going forward.Notably, Huawei phones will likely be blocked from using the Google Play app store and Google Play Services.The brand’s rumoured next phone, at least in the flagship space, looks like it will be the Mate 30 Pro, and this is where we might see the results of this ruling. This could end up being a Huawei device that ships without the App Store and access to many of Android’s most-used apps, like Gmail and Chrome.Related: Huawei P30 Pro review | Huawei Mate 20 Pro reviewWhat remains to be seen is whether Huawei will use a different operating system entirely or use the open source version of Android. It could then be possible to add its own app store into the mix, similar to what Amazon does with its Fire tablet line.Trusted Reviews asked Huawei for comment on the matter and you see the response below:“Huawei has made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world. As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefitted both users and the industry. “Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products covering those have been sold or still in stock globally.“We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally.”The Mate series of Huawei phones have traditionally been the devices that showcase the brand’s next series of Kirin chipsets, and employ a number of features that’ll later be used in the more consumer-friendly P-series. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. Sign up for the Mobile NewsletterSign Up Please keep me up to date with special offers and news from Goodtoknow and other brands operated by TI Media Limited via email. You can unsubscribe at any time. Show More Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. We’ll always tell you what we find. We may get a commission if you buy via our price links.Tell us what you think – email the Editorlast_img read more

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Quickest route to China trade relief for Canadian farmers likely through Washington

first_img advertisement 0 Comments What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation Twitter Email June 13, 20196:00 AM EDTLast UpdatedJune 13, 20196:01 AM EDT Filed under News Economy Facebook Join the conversation → Quickest route to China trade relief for Canadian farmers likely through Washington: analysts ‘… if certain issues are settled between them, it would lay the groundwork for things to normalize for us.’ More Share this storyQuickest route to China trade relief for Canadian farmers likely through Washington: analysts Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Naomi Powell Shunned by China and sitting on a record stock of unsold oilseeds, Canadian farmers will be watching closely as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seeks a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Japan later this month.Yet it is a proposed tête-à-tête between Xi and U.S. President Donald Trump, who has threatened to slap additional tariffs on Chinese imports if Xi refuses an audience with him in Osaka, that will likely have the greatest impact on Canadian farmers, analysts say.“Both meetings would be positive, but the quickest route to a solution for our farmers is probably through Washington,” said Gordon Houlden, a former Canadian diplomat and head of the University of Alberta’s China Institute. “Trump has put everything on the table in negotiations with Beijing and if certain issues are settled between them, it would lay the groundwork for things to normalize for us.” Canada’s canola farmers facing storage crunch for stockpiles of oilseed that China won’t take Ottawa doubles canola aid loans to $1 million to ease pain of China’s ban Canadian canola farmers left with record unsold surplus amid slumping exports, falling prices Canada-China relations have deteriorated since December, when the RCMP arrested Huawei senior executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver on a U.S. extradition request. Soon after, Chinese buyers halted purchases of Canadian canola, citing the presence of pests in various shipments — though Ottawa says Canada’s inspections revealed no issues.The loss of China as a market — the country normally buys 40 per cent of Canada’s canola — has left farmers holding a record 10 million tonnes of the unsold crop as of March 31, a 10.5 per cent increase compared with a year earlier.Soybeans have piled up, too, after China’s purchases of the oilseed collapsed, falling from a record 3.2 million tonnes in the final few months of 2018 to 3,748 tonnes between January and April of this year. That’s left farmers stuck with 2.9 million tonnes of unsold soybeans, up from about 2.7 million tonnes at the same time last year.With a new crop harvesting in the fall, the need to unload existing stocks is growing urgent, said Ron Davidson, executive director of Soy Canada.“We’ve never had anything like this before and the big difference is we may not have China to come in and buy the way it did before,” he said. “Everyone is feeling uncertain because they don’t know where they can sell their beans.”While China previously brought in vessels brimming with 50,000 tonnes of canola, it now takes containers of just 20 to 25 tonnes, Davidson said. And the introduction of new tests at Chinese ports, means shipments that were once cleared in a matter of hours now take two weeks.“It’s not that nothing is entering China, it’s just that it’s moving in such small volumes and we need it to move in large volumes,” he said.I don’t see a resolution on any of the issues…. Trump is seeking foundational changes to the Chinese economy and Xi won’t give him that.William Reinsch, a senior adviser, Center for Strategic and International Studies Trudeau has said he will pursue an opportunity to engage with Xi directly, both to discuss the detention of two imprisoned Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, and the actions on canola and other products. For his part, Trump has suggested the Meng issue and more recently, the blacklisting of telecommunications giant Huawei, could be negotiated as part of a trade deal with Beijing.“If a Xi-Trump meeting led to a grand bargain on Huawei and Meng, China may set aside its actions and things could improve for us over the next few months,” said Houlden. “I don’t think Trudeau can offer a solution like that and I don’t see the Chinese retreating with those issues unresolved.”But while Canada has certainly become “collateral damage” in the U.S.-China trade war, quick relief in the form of a G-20 deal between Trump and Xi is unlikely, said William Reinsch, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who served as a senior trade official during the Clinton administration.“I don’t see a resolution on any of the issues that divided us in this space,” said Reinsch. “Trump is seeking foundational changes to the Chinese economy and Xi won’t give him that.”“It’s possible Trump will take a weak deal and celebrate it as a victory and maybe that will see them let go of some of the issues you in Canada are concerned about, but I sincerely doubt we’ll have any trade deal in the next few weeks.” Featured Stories Reddit Sponsored By: Recommended For YouJapan’s REIT prices hit 12-year high amid global scramble for yieldVale to pay $106.5 mln to workers affected by Brazil dam disasterIdentifiers need revamp for digital age, Desjardins CEO tells MPsRio Tinto quarterly shipments fall 3.5% on cyclone disruptionStampede sees its second highest attendance with 1.27 million visitors in 2019 Comment A ripening canola field in Saskatchewan.Getty Images file photo ← Previous Next →last_img read more

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Merger of Germanys two biggest banks Deutsche and Commerzbank would put 30000

first_img Facebook Share this storyMerger of Germany’s two biggest banks, Deutsche and Commerzbank, would put 30,000 jobs at risk, warns union Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Reuters Featured Stories advertisement Email Twitter Reddit Merger of Germany’s two biggest banks, Deutsche and Commerzbank, would put 30,000 jobs at risk, warns union A top investor in Deutsche Bank also expressed doubts about a potential merger Join the conversation → Recommended For YouWhy Transat’s best bet is Air Canada’s offer to buy it for $520 millionMcDonald’s to introduce fish & chips across Canada this weekNations going to pot: Where cannabis is legal around the world, and where it isn’tCanada distant on 5G security guidelines issued from international meetingInagene Diagnostics Inc. Announces New CEO center_img Headquarters of Deutsche Bank, left, and Commerzbank are seen in Frankfurt as Germany’s two biggest banks begin talks on a possible merger.AP Photo/Michael Probst March 18, 20197:05 AM EDT Filed under News FP Street ← Previous Next → Sponsored By: BERLIN/FRANKFURT — A merger of Deutsche Bank and its rival Commerzbank could result in as many as 30,000 job cuts over the long term, a representative of German union Verdi who is a Deutsche supervisory board member told n-tv broadcaster.A top investor in Deutsche Bank also expressed doubts about a potential merger, according to a person close to the investor.The fierce opposition from the union and shareholder reservations come after both banks on Sunday confirmed talks about a merger and underlines the obstacles to efforts to combine Germany’s two biggest banks.Most of the 30,000 positions at risk are based in Germany, Verdi’s Jan Duscheck said, according to comments published by the TV station on Monday. Over the short term there are 10,000 jobs under threat, Duscheck added.However, the initial market reaction was positive. Shares in Deutsche Bank were up 3.3 per cent at 0829 GMT while Commerzbank traded 4 per cent higher.The supervisory boards of both banks meet on Thursday when the merger is likely to be discussed.Related Stories:UPDATE 2-Deutsche Bank to axe investment bankers in up to $5.6 bln revampDeutsche Bank restructuring to cost up to $5.6 billion – sourceDeutsche Bank to cut 18,000 jobs in 7.4 bln euro overhaulThe German government has pushed for a combination given concerns about the health of Deutsche, which has struggled to generate sustainable profits since the 2008 financial crisis.The government, which holds a stake of more than 15 per cent in Commerzbank following a bailout, wants a national banking champion to support its export-led economy, best known for cars and machine tools.However, the jobs impact will be a big issue.“In our opinion a possible merger would not result in a business model that is sustainable in the long term,” Verdi’s Duscheck said.A major Deutsche shareholder is not fundamentally opposed to a merger, said a person close to the unnamed shareholder, but wants to hear a compelling case for a deal.“We have considerable doubts about the logic and the timing and want to be convinced,” the person said.A merged bank would have one fifth of the German retail banking market. Together the two banks currently employ 140,000 people worldwide – 91,700 at Deutsche and 49,000 in Commerzbank. © Thomson Reuters 2019 Comment More What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation 0 Commentslast_img read more

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Energica debuts BolidE Concept electric motorcycle with Samsung technology

first_imgSource: Charge Forward Energica showed up to the EICMA 2018 Milan Motorcycle Show with an impressive display of electric racing motorcycles. In addition to their newest 150 mph electric superbike, the Ego Sport Black, Energica also debuted a new concept bike, the Bolid-E. more…The post Energica debuts Bolid-E Concept electric motorcycle with Samsung technology appeared first on Electrek.last_img

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Northvolt secures 1 billion from VW others for gigafactory joint gigafactory with

first_imgNorthvolt, a battery startup founded by two former Tesla executives, announced a $1 billion equity capital raise for its battery gigafactory in Sweden, in addition to a planned 50/50 joint venture with Volkswagen on another gigafactory in Germany. more…Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1zk7Eb8r-s&list=PL_Qf0A10763mA7Byw9ncZqxjke6Gjz0MtThe post Northvolt secures $1 billion from VW, others for gigafactory; joint gigafactory with VW also planned appeared first on Electrek. Source: Charge Forwardlast_img

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HBAs Juvenile Records Sealing Project Provides a Fresh Start

first_img Lost your password? Remember me Not a subscriber? Sign up for The Texas Lawbook. The Juvenile Records Sealing Project sealed its 200th juvenile record in Harris County in May. This program, which received the Outstanding Partnership Award from the State Bar of Texas in June, teams the justice system with the private sector and can help juveniles build a road to the future without being held back by the past . . .You must be a subscriber to The Texas Lawbook to access this content.center_img Username Passwordlast_img

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Jury Crossroads Church Owes ExPastor 37M

first_imgNot a subscriber? Sign up for The Texas Lawbook. Username Lost your password? Remember mecenter_img Password The jury found that church leaders violated a legally binding commitment it made to its former executive pastor of 20 years and his wife . . .You must be a subscriber to The Texas Lawbook to access this content.last_img

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Eye could be a surrogate for brain degeneration like AD

first_img Source:https://www.qub.ac.uk Jun 25 2018Researchers from Queen’s University Belfast have shown for the first time that the eye could be a surrogate for brain degeneration like Alzheimer’s disease (AD).This research results have recently been published in the Journal of Ophthalmic Research andis the first clinical study showing a potential for peripheral retinal imaging to be used in monitoring AD and potentially other neurodegenerative diseases.The team, led by Dr Imre Lengyel, Senior Lecturer and Researcher at the School of Medicine Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen’s University have found that by examining the eye we might be able to reflect on what might be taking place in the brain.The work was carried out alongside health professionals and care providers for AD patients and explored whether there are manifestations of AD in the eye.Based on laboratory observations the team hypothesized that changes in the peripheral retina could be important to explore the association between the eye and the brain.Using ultra-wide field imaging technology developed by Optos Plc, the team found that there are indeed several changes that seems to be, especially in the peripheral retina, associated with this debilitating condition.One of the changes in the eye that the study observed was a higher than normal appearance of drusen, the yellow ‘spots’ identifiable on retinal images, in people with AD.Drusen are small deposits of fat, proteins and minerals, including calcium and phosphate deposits that form in a layer underneath the retina. These spots are a symptom of ageing and often seen in people over 40. A few of these deposits are harmless, but once they increase in number and size they contribute to the degeneration of the retina.Dr Lengyel explains: “These exciting research results suggests that our original hypothesis was right and wide field eye imaging could indeed help monitoring disease progression in patients with AD.”Related StoriesPosterior parietal cortex plays crucial role in making decisions, research showsChemotherapy drugs delivered using biodegradable paste can prolong survival in brain cancerDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustAnother significant change observed in the study was measured in the peripheral retinal blood circulation in AD. The research team found that people with AD have wider blood vessels close to the optic nerve, but these thin faster than in control subjects towards the retinal periphery. Both of these are likely to slow blood flow and impair nutrient and oxygen flow in the peripheral retina.Dr Lengyel continues: “Eye imaging is quick, simple, well tolerated and costs a fraction to that of brain scans so there are tremendous benefits to both the professional and the patient.”While peripheral retinal imaging is not a diagnostic measure for AD, the simple, quick and inexpensive monitoring of change in the eye could serve as a tool for disease progression in the brain.Professor Craig Ritchie, Professor of the Psychiatry of Ageing at the University of Edinburgh is co-author on the study. He comments: “Changes in the eye are very easy to measure relative to other measures of brain health.”Our research team, led by Queen’s University, was able to identify early markers in people many years before dementia develops. We have opened a window to identify high risk groups who may benefit from specific prevention advice.”To extend these observations, the research team is currently involved in several further dementia related studies. They will be examining and following patients with very early stage AD through the Deep and Frequent Phenotyping study, the world’s most in depth study to detect early signs of Alzheimer’s disease progression conducted in the UK.last_img read more

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Study Womens brains more vulnerable than mens to injury from soccer heading

first_imgJul 31 2018Women’s brains are much more vulnerable than men’s to injury from repeated soccer heading, according to a new study by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, part of Montefiore. The study found that regions of damaged brain tissue were five times more extensive in female soccer players than in males, suggesting that sex-specific guidelines may be warranted for preventing soccer-related head injuries. The results were published online today in Radiology.”Researchers and clinicians have long noticed that women fare worse following head injury than men, but some have said that’s only because women are more willing to report symptoms,” says study leader Michael L. Lipton, M.D., Ph.D., professor of radiology and of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Einstein and medical director of MRI Services at Montefiore. “Based on our study, which measured objective changes in brain tissue rather than self-reported symptoms, women do seem more likely than men to suffer brain trauma from heading soccer balls.”About 30 million women and girls play soccer worldwide, according to the International Federation of Association Football, known as FIFA, the international governing body of soccer.Measuring Brain ChangesIn the study, Dr. Lipton and his colleagues performed diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), a form of MRI, on 49 male and 49 female amateur soccer players enrolled in the Einstein Soccer Study. Both groups ranged in age from 18-50 with a median age of 26, and both groups reported a similar number of headings over the previous year (an average of 487 headings for the men and 469 for the women).DTI detects subtle brain damage by measuring the direction of the diffusion of water in white matter (the deep brain tissue that coordinates communication between brain regions). The more uniform the diffusion of water- measured on a zero-to-one scale called fractional anisotropy (FA)-;the better the microstructural integrity of the tissue. Finding a low-FA brain region indicates structural damage to the brain.Assessment of FA in players’ brains showed that the volume of damaged white matter in women soccer players was five times greater than for male players. The women had eight brain regions where greater levels of heading were associated with lower FA compared with only three regions in men, the study found.”Our study is larger and more evenly balanced between the sexes than any prior imaging study of sex and brain injury,” says lead author Todd G. Rubin, M.S., an M.D.-Ph.D. student in the Translational Neuroimaging Laboratory at Einstein. “The findings add to the growing body of evidence that men and women express distinct biological responses to brain trauma.”Related StoriesNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to helpMathematical model helps quantify metastatic cell behaviorResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairCan Players Reduce Risks?Just why women might be more sensitive to head injury than men isn’t known. Researchers speculate that differences in neck strength, sex hormones or genetics could play a role. The changes in FA were subclinical, meaning they didn’t produce overt clinical findings such as altered thinking ability. But those FA changes are still cause for concern.”In various brain injuries, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy [a degenerative brain disease found in athletes, military veterans, and others with a history of repetitive brain trauma], subclinical pathology develops before we can detect brain damage that affects function,” says Dr. Lipton. “So before serious dysfunction occurs, it’s wise to identify risk factors for cumulative brain injury-;such as heading if you’re female-;so that people can act to prevent further damage and maximize recovery.”For more than a decade, Dr. Lipton has studied the effects of mild brain injury and the cumulative effects of repetitive subconcussive injury on the brains of amateur athletes and combat veterans. He previously found that frequent soccer ball heading is a common and under-recognized cause of concussion symptoms and that worse cognitive function in soccer players stems mainly from frequent ball heading rather than from unintentional head impacts due to collisions.Should soccer players stop heading? “We have carried out several studies showing that most players seem to tolerate some level of heading,” says Dr. Lipton. “Rather than ban heading altogether-;which probably isn’t realistic-;we’d like to get a better handle on how many headers will get players into trouble. What is important about this study is that men and women may need to be looked at differently.”Soccer organizations may ultimately want to adopt preventive measures like Pitch Smart, a program sponsored by USA Baseball and Major League Baseball that recommends pitch counts and rest periods for players of different ages, Dr. Lipton suggests. “Limits on pitch counts have dramatically reduced the incidence of upper extremity repetitive stress injuries,” he says. “Limiting the number of headers allowed in soccer might have similar benefits in preventing head injuries. But we can’t recommend specific numbers at this point. Fully understanding the risk of heading will take a lot more work.”​ Source:http://www.einstein.yu.edulast_img read more

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INRS professors develop innovative strategy to identify leishmanicidal molecules

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Aug 24 2018Leishmania is a microorganism that enters the human body via a sandfly bite. Instead of fleeing the white blood cells deployed by the immune system to destroy it, the parasite allows itself to be swallowed up. In doing so, Leishmania has developed the ideal strategy for continuing its life cycle, threatening the health of over 500 million people at risk of crossing its path in Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Americas.Leishmaniasis, the disease caused by the parasite, has been on the radar of scientists for a long time, not only because of efforts to find treatment, but because the parasite makes an ideal model for study. Hence, numerous immune mechanisms have been elucidated by researchers thanks to the disease, including at INRS. However, the quest for affordable and effective treatment continues. INRS professors Albert Descoteaux and Steven LaPlante have developed a new, cost-effective strategy to rapidly identify molecules capable of eliminating Leishmania, a disease which can disfigure, disable, or kill its victims, especially in tropical areas.A DISEASE AFFECTING NUMEROUS SPECIES”I have been studying this parasite for 30 years, and there is still a lot we do not understand,” says parasitologist Albert Descoteaux, who works to uncover the secrets of Leishmania, a genus encompassing some 20 single-celled species. In addition to its human victims, the parasite also targets some 70 other mammal species, according to the World Health Organization. Leishmania moves from an host to another by hitching a ride with tiny phlebotomine sandflies, which transmit the undesirable parasite when they bite.According to the most recent estimates, 12 million people are currently affected by one form of leishmaniasis or another. There are three main forms: cutaneous, mucocutaneous, and visceral. “These are diseases that destroy lives–when they do not kill outright,” stresses Professor Descoteaux, adding that the pharmaceutical companies have little interest in developing treatments. “There is little commercial interest in neglected tropical diseases like leishmaniasis,” he points out. “It is the second-leading parasitic killer in the world, right behind malaria, yet there has been no real headway made on treatments in decades. There is currently no effective vaccine, and the available treatments all have major shortcomings, including serious side effects, high cost, and problems administering them in endemic areas.” He pauses before adding, “Unfortunately, as is the case with many other drugs, the parasite is also developing resistance. That is never good news.”Albert Descoteaux, who is based at Centre INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier, is one of five INRS professors currently working on leishmaniasis. Their efforts to better understand the fundamental interaction between the parasite and its host account for one-third of all research activity on the disease in Canada, and their work is recognized worldwide.Professor Steven LaPlante, who has been with INRS since 2015, specializes in drug discovery. With his colleague Albert Descoteaux, he has developed a project to identify new molecules that show promise for treating leishmaniasis. Their innovative approach is raising hopes of finding a more effective tool for developing drugs for leishmaniasis, but also for many other diseases.THE CHALLENGE OF FINDING THE RIGHT TARGETHaving evolved its tactics and molecular machinery over millions of years, Leishmania has more than one trick up its sleeve. This is why there are so many obstacles to identifying molecules capable of eliminating the disease. For one thing, unicellular protists like Leishmania have more in common with mammal cells than with bacteria and viruses. “Like fungus, yeast, and worms, Leishmania are complex cells with a nucleus, and they have similarities to human cells,” notes the professor. “But they have taken a different evolutionary path, so there are lots of differences we need to identify and understand.”Second, delivering a useful molecule to the parasite is a challenge. “Before it can kill Leishmania, the drug has to get past all kinds of barriers,” explains LaPlante.” It has to penetrate the infected cell without killing it or being too toxic. Then it has to reach and enter the protist to do its thing. Let’s just say that there are a lot of molecules to test before we find the right one for the job!”Testing a lot of molecules is exactly the approach used by most researchers in the drug discovery process, but it takes extensive resources. Unfortunately, in the fight against leishmaniasis, there is little financial incentive for funding this kind of work. Yet given the prevalence of the disease worldwide, there are numerous calls for urgent action to find new treatments.Related StoriesTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CTNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustA PROMISING NEW APPROACHThis is the context in which the two INRS researchers joined forces, drawing on their combined expertise in biology (Albert Descoteaux) and medicinal chemistry (Steven LaPlante). LaPlante has access to a special small-molecule library from which he selected 1,604 molecules that had the best chances of reaching Leishmania in the macrophages and preventing it from completing its life cycle. Compared to the molecule libraries maintained by pharmaceutical companies–which can hold up to two million molecules–his library represents a very modest number but have special properties which makes it easily manageable within the confines of a university research lab.”We dubbed our approach Fragment-Based Phenotypic Lead Discovery, or FPLD,” says Professor LaPlante. “It’s a combination of tried and tested methods that hadn’t previously been adapted for leishmaniasis. We start by administering very small molecules to cultured cells and then observe the impact on the infection.”In medicinal chemistry, several phases are required to develop a drug with multiple characteristics. The ideal molecule for fighting an infection should be non-toxic to humans, easy to administer, capable of reaching the infectious agent, affordable to produce, and, obviously, effective against the pathogen in question.As is the case when designing any everyday object, different components of a drug are selected to perform different jobs. The components in question are molecular fragments. The goal of the two INRS professors was to identify which of these could stop Leishmania in its tracks. The idea is that effective fragments can be combined with other components serving various purposes–stability, delivery, absorption, and so on–to improve efficacy and end up with a viable drug.”We’ve been very fortunate to be able to rely on our collaborator NMX Research and Solutions Inc. and General Manager François Bilodeau who donated all the molecules we needed for our study. It’s a huge contribution,” notes Professor LaPlante. NMX designed the molecular fragments at the INRS business incubator, where the young startup is based.A PAINSTAKING JOBYann Ayotte, lead author on the study recently published on the project, systematically–and very patiently–observed cultures treated with the fragments under the microscope, counting the number of parasites in the infected cells in order to compare them. The PhD student, who is currently continuing his research in Professor LaPlante’s lab, first joined the project as an intern in Albert Descoteaux’s lab at the end of his undergraduate degree. The two professors are quick to praise his outstanding dedication to his work.After numerous experiments, the highly targeted screening of a small number of molecules allowed the team to identify two families of molecules showing high efficacy against Leishmania: indole and indazole derivatives. A dozen molecules have shown good potential, a very high number compared to other screening techniques.Is there a new drug on the horizon? “For now, we are still at the very beginning of the process,” says Professor Descoteaux. “And you can’t skip any steps!” adds LaPlante. First, it’s essential to understand why the molecules have a leishmanicidal effect, a task that will keep Professor Descoteaux busy for a good while yet. In the mean time, the active molecule can be improved upon and “dressed up” with other appendages in order to fulfil all the criteria of an effective treatment–a job for Professor LaPlante and his team.A BROADER VISIONFor Steven LaPlante, the most successful aspect of the project so far has been to show that a university lab can help identify potential new avenues for treatment. Pharmaceutical research does not cover all diseases or types of intervention, and from this perspective, academia can also play an important role.The work of the team garnered enough enthusiasm that the journal ChemMedChem, published by ChemPubSoc Europe, a partnership of European chemical societies, rated it as a “Very Important Paper” and put it on the cover of the issue in which it appeared.What will the study on the modes of action of the molecules identified at INRS reveal? “Research on Leishmania has lifted the veil on several properties of immune system we would not have been able to observe any other way,” affirms Professor Descoteaux. “Every time there is a new avenue to explore, we add to our knowledge on the immune system and on the biology of this parasite. Even if a new drug is still a long way away, these molecules will help us hone our understanding of the disease, which will keep us busy for years to come.”? Source:http://www.inrs.ca/english/actualites/inrs-takes-aim-dreaded-tropical-disease-leishmaniasislast_img read more

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Study explores attitudes of Chinese immigrant women on roles of children spouse

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Sep 7 2018Chinese immigrant women from Chicago’s Chinatown report that their adult children support their health and healthcare utilization by helping them overcome barriers related to language and transportation, making and affirming decisions, and providing advice regarding nutrition. However, the women expressed concerns about burdening their children and preferred to limit their involvement in health-related matters. Beliefs about filial piety also informed the women’s attitudes regarding their children’s involvement in their health and healthcare. The women’s expectations of their spouse’s involvement in their healthcare were low and may be constrained by their preferences to avoid family conflict, as reported in an article published in Health Equity, a peer-reviewed open access journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.Related StoriesFDA’s added sugar label could have substantial health and cost-saving benefitsHealthcare solutions of the future: Boehringer Ingelheim relies on digitalizationSleep disorders in patients with low back pain linked to increased healthcare visits, costsFocus groups were conducted with Chinese immigrant women to explore their attitudes, beliefs, and preferences regarding the roles of their adult children and spouse in their health and healthcare utilization, as well as perceived constraints to family involvement. Melissa Simon, MD and colleagues from Northwestern University (Chicago, IL), the Chinese American Service League (Chicago, IL), Mercy Hospital and Medical Center (Chicago, IL), and Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ), describe the study in their article entitled, “Chinese Immigrant Women’s Attitudes and Beliefs About Family Involvement in Women’s Health and Healthcare: A Qualitative Study in Chicago’s Chinatown.” The researchers conclude that the study findings suggest opportunities for the development of culturally tailored interventions to improve Chinese immigrant women’s health and their healthcare.”There existed a long-held opinion that the ‘second best,’ and often most pragmatic, way to overcome language and cultural barriers was to use family members as translators. This study highlights the significant error in that view. We need better ‘default’ options if we are to achieve equity with our patients.” states Health Equity Editor-in-Chief Ana E. Núñez, MD, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Professor of Medicine, Drexel University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA. Source:https://home.liebertpub.com/news/understanding-family-involvement-in-chinese-immigrant-womens-health-and-healthcare/2419last_img read more

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Arthritis rediagnosis in Egyptian pharaohs

first_imgFour ancient Egyptian pharaohs, thought to have suffered from a disabling form of arthritis, may have been misdiagnosed. In a paper published online today in Arthritis & Rheumatology, researchers propose that Amenhotep III (portrayed in an ancient relief above) and three other pharaohs had an often asymptomatic form of arthritis known as diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH), rather than the more debilitating ankylosing spondylitis (AS) originally deduced from x-rays taken of their mummies in 1980. The new findings are based on an examination of more detailed CT scans of the mummies of 13 Egyptian pharaohs and queens who lived between 1492 and 1153 B.C.E. In today’s study, the researchers spotted no sign of the erosion of the sacroiliac joints or fused facet joints, which are hallmarks of AS. Instead, in the mummies of Amenhotep III and three other pharaohs, they detected all the standard criteria for DISH, including a distinctive pattern of ossification along the vertebral bodies. The average age at death of these four rulers was a relatively old 63 by ancient Egyptian standards, making a DISH diagnosis especially plausible: The disease is most common among people over the age of 40 and afflicts twice as many men as women. The symptoms of AS, by contrast, generally begin in early adulthood. Amenhotep III, who died at age 50, was likely little-bothered by DISH. He had no signs of spinal deformity or involvement of the disease in his cervical spine, suggesting that he was either asymptomatic or experienced only mild back stiffness when he got up in the morning.last_img read more

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What else makes DARPA tick

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Some make DARPA a careerOne pillar of DARPA’s management philosophy is that program managers will come for a relatively short time—typically 4 to 5 years—work their tails off to accomplish great things, and then leave. Those short-term appointments, often in the form of a sabbatical from an academic position, pump fresh blood into the 58-year-old agency and keep it at the cutting edge, senior officials say. Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) This week’s issue of Science profiles the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Virginia, the U.S. military’s renowned research and technology development arm, through the eyes of Benjamin Mann, a former program manager. The agency enjoys a stellar reputation as a potent source of technological innovation for the U.S. military, in large part thanks to the unique degree of autonomy, flexibility, and authority given DARPA program managers, who serve relatively brief tenures.The three stories below examine facets of DARPA discussed only briefly in our magazine story. One presents the exceptions to the rule that most DARPA program managers spend just a few years at the agency. Another reveals the sudden demise of an outside expert panel that advised the agency for most of its existence. The third highlights a rarity in Washington, D.C.: an agency basically satisfied with its annual budget.   But that rapid turnover doesn’t apply to everyone. Materials scientist William Coblenz left DARPA last fall after serving for 25 years as a program manager. He’s part of a generation of program managers who spent most of their careers at DARPA. And those exceptions to the up-and-out rule—including several senior officials with more than a dozen years at the agency—provide important insights into how the semisecretive agency does business.In 1990 Coblenz was working for a defense contractor when a DARPA program manager called to say the agency “was looking for someone to manage a ceramics program.” The goal of the project was to replace the metal parts on the hottest part of a jet engine, just before the afterburner, with ceramic components. The goal was to manufacture a component that would last much longer and, thus, extend the time between overhauls. And that would save the U.S. Air Force a lot of money in the long run.It wasn’t a huge technological leap, Coblenz admits. But Air Force officials were not eager to make the switch because converting to the new material—assuming it worked—would require a substantial up-front investment by industry and, thus, the government.“I like to say you have to be either desperate or crazy to do an insertion like this,” Coblenz explains. “Desperate because you have to and there are no alternatives, or crazy because you’re just thinking how much better this will perform.”Those barriers made it what Pentagon officials like to call a DARPA-hard problem. And there was already a precedent: DARPA had recently run a successful insertion program for computer chips, replacing silicon with gallium arsenide. The new material made them faster and more resistant to radiation, an important quality for space-based weapons systems. (The program manager on that project in the late 1980s happened to be Arati Prabhakar, the current DARPA director.)So Coblenz signed on. But because of a recent change in government hiring rules aimed at avoiding conflicts of interest, Coblenz severed all ties with his employer and was brought on as a career civil servant. That set him apart from most of his colleagues, who had taken leave from their current job.Overall, Coblenz recalls, “when I got hired in maybe one-third of the program managers were career civil service, one-third were [temporary], mostly from universities, and the rest were military billets [active duty service men and women who had been assigned to DARPA].”Too many familiar facesBut that distribution was not ideal, says Larry Lynn, who became DARPA director in 1995. “I rejoined DARPA 10 years after I had left it [as deputy director],” Lynn recalled in 2006 for an oral history of the agency. “And the thing that startled me most was that I knew most of the people, which says that they had all been there for more than 10 years.” Like several other former DARPA directors, Lynn believes that “the health of DARPA depends on the ability to bring in fresh blood every year. So while 20% [staff] turnover is unhealthy in business, it’s very healthy for DARPA.”Once he became director, Lynn moved quickly to formalize the unofficial rules favoring short-term appointments. He got a boost from a change in the federal law that allowed DARPA to bring in private sector scientists on temporary assignments. Although he couldn’t fire civil servants like Coblenz without cause, Lynn encouraged long-timers to leave, even to the point of peddling their resumés to prospective employers.Coblenz says he was told about DARPA’s long-standing policy of short-term employment when he was hired and that he didn’t expect to be an exception. “But I ended up liking it,” he says.He also felt that he was making important contributions to materials science, to the country’s manufacturing sector, and to national defense. His second program, on solid free-form manufacturing, was a precursor to today’s hot field of additive manufacturing. He even learned to take advantage of the bane of every federal program manager—a congressional spending directive from a legislator, steering funds to the interests of an important constituent—by turning one such earmark into a productive program to expand the use of ceramic bearings.Another, smaller cohort at DARPA that comes close to matching Coblenz’s longevity is comprised of those senior officials who have moved up the ranks. Few such positions exist in DARPA’s horizontal management structure. But the agency seems to find room for a few people with long institutional memories.Craig Fields, for example, joined DARPA in 1974 as a program manager and stayed until 1990, when he was ousted after less than 1 year as director. Jane (Xan) Alexander was hired as a program manager in 1989 and left in 2002 after serving as deputy director under Frank Fernandez and Tony Tether. Her successor, Robert Leheny, arrived in 1993 and left in 2009 shortly after Tether departed. The current deputy, Steven Walker, has been with DARPA since 2002 except for a 2-year leave to oversee Air Force science programs.After spending more than 2 decades as a program manager in the defense sciences office, Coblenz was moved to a support office in 2014 in what he says was a not-so-subtle effect to push him out the door. “I had been there much longer than the time they felt was appropriate,” he says. Coblenz says a colleague who recently suffered the same fate may be the last career employee still at DARPA.Although he has left DARPA, Coblenz has no plans to stop working, and says he has several irons in the fire. Meanwhile, a quarter-century at DARPA has shaped his approach to doing science. His business card reads: “Inventing the Future one Project @ a Time.”DARPA kills long-time advisory councilNot long ago, DARPA quietly disbanded a group of prominent outside scientists who have helped the agency peer into the future for nearly a half-century. Members of the Defense Science Research Council (DSRC) say its disappearance deprives DARPA of fresh perspectives on hot new research areas that might interest the military. The decision, by DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar, also offers a glimpse into the peculiar relationship between the agency and the academic research community.Members of the council say they were never given an explanation for its demise. “I have no insights into why we were terminated,” says the most recent chair, David Walt, a chemical biologist at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. But, perhaps curiously, members also don’t seem to mind being kept in the dark. “DARPA has information that we don’t have,” says Hayden Wadley, a materials scientist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, who joined the council in 1996.Wadley presented an informal history of the council at a November 2014 event that DARPA billed as a reunion of current and former council members. And even though the event was held after the agency decided to defund their work, Wadley left thinking that the council still had a future. “We are on standby, waiting for someone to ask us to work on something,” he says.But that apparently is not the case. “Accelerating changes in the R&D ecosystem … led the director to conclude that the DSRC model was no longer well-matched to DARPA’s needs,” says Rick Weiss, director of strategic communications, responding to a query from ScienceInsider.A unique chance to serveCreated in 1968 after DARPA had begun funding research that would lay the groundwork for a new field, the group was originally called the Materials Research Council. Its 20 or so members would assemble each summer for several weeks to present their findings on topics they had chosen to examine earlier in the year. The meetings were an intensive give-and-take between those prominent scientists and senior DARPA leadership. “For most members, this was their most significant outside scientific activity,” says Walt, who in 1998 co-founded Illumina, a genomics equipment company in San Diego, California.The council slowly broadened its scope over the next few decades to cover more of the physical and computing sciences. But by the mid-1990s, the agency’s growing interest in biological technologies, including those targeted to medicine, bioterrorism, and genetic engineering, prompted outreach to a new constituency. “I had never even heard of DARPA, and I don’t think I was a cloistered scientist,” recalls Patrick Scannon, a founder and chief scientific officer of Xoma Corp., a biotech company in Berkeley, California, who joined the council in 1996 and later served as chair.Scannon had been recruited by a DARPA program manager touring the country’s biotech hotbeds, and he was one of the few industry members on the council. “I thought that it was incredible to have a federal agency with the foresight to be interested in these problems,” says Scannon, who has also sat on and chaired major biodefense advisory boards for the departments of Defense and Homeland Security during the Bush and Obama administrations.To make the case for the breadth—and prescience—of the council’s deliberations, Wadley ticks off a partial list of studies conducted in 1997. “Improving human performance, novel applications of VLSI [very large-scale integration of transistors on a computer chip], just-in-time electronics, multifunctional dynamic natural systems [involving biomaterials], uninhabited vehicles—and that was in 1997,” he recites. “Some of those were one-off things, while others, like improving human performance, ran on for several years as we would dig deeper and deeper into the topic.”Tony Tether, who was DARPA’s director from 2001 to 2009, attended the summer sessions and seemed quite eager to hear what the council had to say, according to several members. “The enthusiasm began to wane under Regina [Dugan, who succeeded Tether], and the council never really recovered from that,” Wadley says. “But I don’t blame her. There are other organizations that can run quick studies for them.”Walt takes issue with that last point. The council was never a job-shop, he insists. Unlike its more famous counterpart,  JASON, which advises the government of sensitive military matters, the council didn’t address pressing problems facing the agency or answer questions about specific technologies. Rather, he says, its scientists tried to look into the unknown and then share with DARPA officials what they saw. “We never provided recommendations, and we weren’t asked for our advice,” Walt says.The fact that members received an annual consulting fee—in the low five figures, according to Walt—allowed the council to attract younger scientists who might otherwise not have been able to afford time off from their career ladders. But the real reward, members say, was the opportunity to exercise their minds for a cause greater than themselves.“Our job was to come up with ideas that related to the future needs of the nation,” Walt says. “Sometimes we got it right, and sometimes we got it wrong. But everybody left their egos at home, and there was no huffing and puffing up your own work.”Budgets not a big deal at DARPADARPA directors seem to have a surprisingly blasé attitude toward their annual appropriation from Congress. “I never really felt constrained by money,” says Tony Tether, who led the agency from 2001 to 2009. “I was more constrained by ideas.” In fact, many former directors say that a significantly larger budget than the current $2.9 billion might even damage the agency’s ability to launch new projects and kill those that aren’t working.“When an organization becomes bigger, it becomes more bureaucratic,” says Larry Lynn, DARPA’s director from 1995 to 1998, who says he successfully lobbied Congress to shrink his budget after the Clinton administration had boosted it to “dangerous levels” in 1993 and 1994 to finance the short-lived technology reinvestment program. By 1999 DARPA’s budget had returned to roughly its 1992 level of $2.5 billion after approaching $4 billion in 1994.The 9/11 attacks sent DARPA’s stock soaring again. Tether says Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld floated a 5-year plan that would have boosted DARPA’s budget to $7 billion right after he arrived at DARPA, causing Tether to raise a red flag. “I said, ‘If you want to put it in, go right ahead. But don’t expect me to justify it. I don’t have the slightest idea how to do that.’” Tether says Rumsfeld laughed and said, ‘OK. We can always get it for you later.’”One reason DARPA directors may feel less restricted by their annual budgets than the heads of other research agencies is the high turnover of projects. For most agencies, programs continue indefinitely even as individual grantees may come and go. But at DARPA, roughly one-fifth of its portfolio disappears each year, freeing up a sizeable pot of money for program managers to tap into.DARPA directors have devised various ways to manage that constant flux. “I would bring all the office directors into the room for 2 days, and everybody got the chance to describe their programs,” explains Victor Reis, who served as director under President George H.W. Bush. “Then we rank-ordered them—do you want A or B, and on down the line. We were done within a couple of hours, and every office director got to vote on every program. And we left space for a mulligan.”The ability to move money around so freely is a luxury not available to the heads of many federal agencies. But it can also have its downside—the risk that directors will get too far down into the weeds in reviewing every project. The problem was acute under Tether, who says he wears the label of “nanomanager” with pride.“With only a quarter of the budget coming free each year, he was OK the first year,” says one source familiar with DARPA’s budgeting process. “But eventually it was the entire fricking budget. And you just don’t have the time to do that.“So [Tether] underspent by several hundred millions of dollars every year,” explained the source, who requested anonymity. “And eventually the Pentagon and Congress noticed and started taking the money away.” DARPA’s budget took a steep downturn in the last few years of Tether’s tenure after having risen sharply in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.*You can read our full DARPA feature here.last_img read more

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How earthquakes might trigger faraway volcanoes

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe To slosh, a liquid must not have too many crystals, however. It must also have a surface and space to move—therefore sloshing can occur in partly-filled containers—like molten rock in an open volcanic conduit leading to the surface. In magma chambers that are full, however, sloshing may also occur between liquids of different densities, with the lighter liquid giving the other room to move. Such liquid layering is believed to be common in magma chambers, where foamlike bubbly magma overlies denser magma. Accordingly, the team tested the sloshing response of three different “magma” configurations: an open, single-liquid layer; an open, single-foam layer; and a closed, two-layer system where foam overlaid liquid.For each setup, the researchers conducted a variety of tests. They filmed each tank shaking for 10 seconds under different shaking frequencies and amplitudes, with syrup “magmas” of different viscosities, volumes, crystal contents, and bubble fractions.Although fluid sloshing in a magma reservoir would not be powerful enough to overcome the strength of the surrounding rocks, the team found a different effect at play. A large increase in sloshing occurred when the shaking of the tank neared the liquid’s resonant frequency—the frequency at which it is easiest to get an object to vibrate. In the foam layers, this deformed the bubbles, smearing them together until they became interconnected—causing the foam to collapse. Thin foams with larger bubbles were more susceptible to collapse. In a real volcano, the escape of hot gases from collapsed foamy magma in a closed reservoir could increase heat transfer to the surrounding rock, increase magma pressure, and even trigger an eruption, the team says.Furthermore, in the double-layered experimental setup, not only did the foam layer collapse, but the remnant foam mixed with the underlying liquid layer. In a real volcano, such mixing would furnish the lower magma layer with extra crystals and small bubbles, providing new sites at which more gases could then bubble out of the magma. Over time, this would slowly drive up magma pressures, too, causing increased volcanic activity and potentially even a delayed eruption. That may explain how volcanoes could be triggered by earthquakes that happened months before, the team reports this month in the Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research.From their simulations, the researchers explored the earthquake conditions that would cause real magma to undergo foam collapse. They found that for volcanic vents wider than 0.5 meters, low frequency seismic waves would be required—which helps explain why only large earthquakes seem to be capable of triggering volcanic activity. Namiki says that for a typical magma in a 3-meter-wide volcanic tube, a magnitude-7.5 earthquake could cause sloshing-induced foam collapse from as far away as 100 kilometers. In addition to vents, the team proposes that the large (up to around a kilometer in width) spherical magma chambers found at intermediate depths under volcanoes should also be able to resonate with seismic waves, as long as the denser magma layer fills up to a sufficient level in the reservoir.The study is intriguing, not in the least for its bringing of engineering concepts from outside of geology to help understand how the earth works, says geophysicist David Hill of the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California. Hill was not involved in the research, but his work includes a focus on the potential for remote triggering of volcanoes by earthquakes.The experimental work makes a compelling case, agrees Pyle, who was also not involved in the study. “This is an exciting hypothesis that will be testable,” he notes, explaining that volcanoes believed to be triggered by sloshing should erupt rocks containing chemical and textural evidence to show that they came from the mixing of a bubbly and a denser magma. “This offers a neat resolution to a complex problem.” Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) More recently, the massive 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines was suggestively preceded by a magnitude-7.7 earthquake centered 100 kilometers away the previous year. A 2009 study, by volcanologist David Pyle and his colleagues at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, found that eruption rates of volcanoes in Chile significantly increased in the 12 months following any earthquakes of magnitude 8 or above.Scientists have put forward plenty of explanations for a possible link between earthquakes and volcanoes. These include the idea that shockwaves from the quakes can cause mushy semisolid magmas to liquefy into something more likely to erupt, or even that earthquakes can accelerate the growth of bubbles in magma, which can increase magma pressures. But no one has quite managed to explain why only some volcanoes seem affected by earthquakes, why their responses can take anywhere from days to months, and why the events can vary from tiny bursts of gas to full-blown eruptions.“Prior models were able to explain some elements, but not others,” Pyle says. He explains that over time, volcanologists have developed a consensus that the potential for a connection between quakes and eruptions is likely determined by the state of the volcano before the earthquake, along with the presence of bubbly magma.Volcanologists have now proposed a new trigger mechanism: the sloshing of this bubbly magma. Sloshing—the movement of a surface of liquid—is a well-studied issue in engineering. Trucks carrying liquids (such as petroleum) must have specially designed tanks to withstand the sloshing fluid inside. Fractures and roof collapse can sometimes occur in static petroleum storage tanks after the ground motion from earthquakes moves the liquids inside. Inspired by these observations, volcanologist Atsuko Namiki of Hiroshima University in Japan and colleagues wondered what kind of effect earthquakes might have on a different contained liquid—volcanic magma.To find out, the researchers simulated the effect of earthquake shockwaves on a magma chamber in their laboratory, using a rectangular tank attached to a shaking table. In the place of magma, they used a thick glucose syrup, adding in irregularly shaped bits of plastic to simulate suspended crystals of rock that precipitate out of the magma. On 14 April, a magnitude-6.2 earthquake struck the Japanese island of Kyushu. Two days later, Japanese officials reported towering plumes of smoke at Mount Aso, a volcano 42 kilometers away from the quake’s epicenter. A small eruption was occurring. Could the distant earthquake have triggered it? Mount Aso has had far bigger eruptions over the past few years, well before the earthquake occurred, so it was probably just a coincidence. But a new study concludes that the idea of so-called far-field triggering is not so far-fetched. Big earthquakes can slosh around the bubbly magma underneath volcanoes hundreds of kilometers away, researchers have found, releasing gases that can increase magma pressure and even lead to an eruption.In a very general sense, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions tend to be clumped in space and time anyway, because both often occur along the grinding boundaries of tectonic plates in Earth’s crust. Most individual volcanic eruptions are also preceded by tiny tremors, directly underneath, that are associated with the actual movement of magma in underground chambers—an eruption early warning signal that has been monitored effectively by geoscientists.But scientists have long wondered why big earthquakes are sometimes followed by small volcanic eruptions far from the quake’s epicenter. Even Charles Darwin mused about the connection in 1835, wondering whether Chile’s great Concepción earthquake—which devastated the town of the same name—could have been linked to the eruption of the volcano Osorno he observed only a month later.last_img read more

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Sealant inspired by slug slime could plug holes in the heart

first_imgSealant inspired by slug slime could plug holes in the heart The whitish, slimy trail that slugs leave behind has inspired a novel type of glue—one that’s extremely flexible and compatible with body fluids. Unlike other types of surgical glues, the new class of sealants, dubbed tough adhesives, is nontoxic and sticks to wet tissues such as heart (pictured) and liver, even when their surfaces are covered with blood. This is because the sealant contains positively charged molecules that form stable bonds with biological tissues, researchers report today in Science. To prove how tough the slime-inspired glue is, the scientists used it to seal a large hole in an explanted pig heart. As the heart was filled up with liquid, the adhesive patch expanded with it and did not leak under up to a 100% strain and tens of thousands of cycles of pumping. When the researchers simulated an emergency surgery and sudden blood loss, the glue effectively stemmed bleeding from a rat liver. Tough adhesives could also be injected to fix cartilage discs, the cushions between vertebrae, or used as band-aids to close wounds on pig skin, the scientists say. By Giorgia GuglielmiJul. 27, 2017 , 2:00 PMlast_img read more

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The little piece of DNA that makes girls boys

first_imgEnhancers for the Sox9 gene are scattered across 2 million bases. So Robin Lovell-Badge, a developmental biologist at The Francis Crick Institute in London worked with Danielle Maatouk and her team at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, to use multiple techniques to find them, including new methods that seek out places where enhancer-activating proteins stick to DNA or the places where DNA has unfolded a little to make way for these proteins. (Maatouk died of cancer 2 years ago.) He and his team looked for these stretches of DNA in mouse embryos just prior to and shortly after their sex was established.The researchers found 16 good candidates for the Sox9 enhancer. With other tests, they homed in on one that was 557 bases long and located half a million bases away from the gene itself. To turn on its target gene, such a distant enhancer is brought in contact with the gene by the looping of the chromosome they are both on.When the researchers knocked out that enhancer in mice, Sox9 was less active, and the switch to male never occurred, Lovell-Badge’s team reports today in Science. “It is the amazing set of experimental approaches that were used in the paper that really make it groundbreaking,” says Blanche Capel, a developmental biologist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.About one in every 5500 human babies born has some problem related to its gender. Some have the male chromosome but no testes, for example, and doctors can figure out the reason for these abnormalities in fewer than half of all cases. Now, they can check to see whether the human version of this enhancer is disrupted in some way, Capel says. Harley, for example, has already started looking at the genomes of his patients to see whether their unexplained sex determination problems can be traced to this switch.“It’s so important in mice, it’s probably important in humans as well,” Lovell-Badge says. “It may be that you could use this [finding] to understand, and perhaps actually change, the gonad function.” Capel predicts an even broader impact of the enhancer-finding methods. The approach taken “may be a way of defining what might be causal for diseases.” What if you could flip a single DNA switch and make a world of only women? That sci-fi vision is unlikely to become reality anytime soon, yet such a switch—one near the gene that prompts the development of male body parts in embryos—has just been discovered in mice. The finding could help explain why some human babies with a male chromosome are born female, and the “groundbreaking” method used to unearth this so-called enhancer might one day identify similar DNA switches that are key to a variety of diseases.“This is pinpointing a region that was a needle in a haystack,” says Vincent Harley, a molecular geneticist at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research in Clayton, Australia, who was not involved in the new study. “[The switch] seems alone to be able to do the job” of making a man.If left to their own devices, all human embryos would develop into girls. But a gene on the Y chromosome, named SRY, brings about a change in early development, causing testes, a penis, and other male traits to form. This gene indirectly turns on another gene called Sox9, which kick-starts the construction of the testes. Although developmental biologists have long known that one or more enhancers flips on Sox9 early in this process, they were at a loss to figure out exactly which ones were most important. Across the genome about 1 million enhancers control nearly 21,000 genes. These short pieces of DNA lie outside a gene but serve as landing spots for the proteins that turn that gene on or off. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) The XY chromosome combination defines a boy, but a tiny piece of regulatory DNA makes it happen. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country The little piece of DNA that makes girls boyscenter_img By Elizabeth PennisiJun. 14, 2018 , 2:00 PM Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Maurizio De Angelis/Science Source last_img read more

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NASAs next Mars rover will land in Jezero crater which once hosted

first_img Northeast Syrtis NASA/JPL/JHUAPL/MSSS/BROWN UNIVERSITY Left out of those plans is the last leading candidate site: Columbia Hills. “I have a sense there’s a hill to climb,” says the site’s chief advocate, Steven Ruff, a planetary scientist at Arizona State University in Tempe. “I’ll go in with a lot of questions of whether they can make that drive between Midway and Jezero.” Columbia Hills sits within the large Gusev crater that the Spirit rover explored from 2004 to 2010. Driving backward while dragging a bad front wheel, Spirit gouged a trench that revealed opaline silica, a mineral that on Earth is a sure sign of life-supporting hot springs. Ruff has even proposed that the martian silica deposits are stromatolites.The engineers building Mars 2020 will be glad to settle on a destination, says Matt Wallace, the rover’s deputy project manager at JPL. The lab’s clean room is starting to fill up. The “sky crane” that will lower the rover to the surface is done. The spacecraft that will shepherd the rover to Mars is nearly complete—it just needs a heat shield, which is being rebuilt after testing revealed a crack. Several weeks ago, the chassis of the rover arrived and is now being filled with computers, batteries, and other electronics. Assembly of its complex drilling and sample storage system is underway, with other scientific instruments due by the end of February. “This is the mad scramble,” Farley adds. “It is full bore get it done, get it done now.”At the workshop’s end, scientists will vote on the candidates, followed by a closed-door meeting of the rover team to make a final choice. Engineers have deemed the sites safe for landing, Golombek adds, so it will come down to the science. The team’s recommendation won’t be the final word—the choice is ultimately up to NASA science chief Thomas Zurbuchen. But expect a decision within the next few months, if not sooner.*Correction, 12 October, 11:20 a.m.: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that no rover has traveled more than 37 kilometers or visited 4-billion-year-old martian terrain. The Opportunity rover has done both. Spirit rover Curiosity rover Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Jezero Elysium Mons OlympusMons Columbia Hills S30⁰ North pole NASA’s next Mars rover will land in Jezero crater, which once hosted a lake and a river delta Sometimes, a problem really can be solved by meeting halfway. For the past 4 years, planetary scientists have wrestled over where to send NASA’s next Mars rover, a $2.5 billion machine to be launched in 2020 that will collect rock samples for eventual return to Earth. Next week, nearly 200 Mars scientists will gather for a final landing site workshop in Glendale, California, where they will debate the merits of the three candidate sites that rose to the top of previous discussions. Two, Jezero and Northeast Syrtis, hold evidence of a fossilized river delta and mineral springs, both promising environments for ancient life. Scientists yearn to visit both, but they are 37 kilometers apart—much farther than any martian rover has traveled except Opportunity.Now, the Mars 2020 science team is injecting a compromise site, called Midway, into the mix. John Grant, a planetary scientist at the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Earth and Planetary Studies at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., who co-leads the landing site workshops, says the team wanted to know whether a rover might be able to study the terrains found at Jezero and Northeast Syrtis by landing somewhere in the middle.So far, the answer appears to be yes. The Mars 2020 rover borrows much from the design of the Curiosity rover that has been exploring another Mars site for 6 years. But it includes advances such as a belly-mounted camera that will help it avoid landing hazards during its harrowing descent to the surface. This capability allowed scientists to consider Midway, just 25 kilometers from Jezero and close enough to drive there. At the same time, Midway’s rocks resemble those of Northeast Syrtis, says Bethany Ehlmann, a planetary scientist at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena and member of the Mars 2020 science team.Midway and Northeast Syrtis both hail from a time, some 4 billion years ago, when Mars was warmer and wetter. Surveys from orbit suggest the sites harbor rocks that formed underground in the presence of water and iron, a potential food for microbes. The rocks, exposed on the flanks of mesas, include a layer of carbonate deposits that many scientists believe were formed by underground mineral springs. Sheltered from a harsh surface environment, these springs would have been hospitable to life, Ehlmann says. “We should go where the action was.”Nearby Jezero crater has its own allure, etched on the surface: a fossilized river delta. Nearly 4 billion years ago, water spilled into the crater, creating the delta. “It’s right there,” says Ray Arvidson, a planetary geologist at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. “It’s beautiful.” Geologists know deltas concentrate and preserve the remnants of life; they can see that on Earth in offshore deposits of oil—itself preserved organic matter—fed by deltas like the Mississippi’s. New work to be presented at the workshop by Briony Horgan, a planetary scientist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, will show that Jezero crater has a bathtub ring of carbonate—a strong sign that it once contained a lake. On Earth, such layers are often home to stromatolites, cauliflowerlike minerals created by ancient microbial life.Right now, the Mars 2020 team favors landing at Jezero and driving uphill to Midway, says Matt Golombek, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) in Pasadena, and the other workshop co-leader. For the past year, the team has scoured potential routes between the two. “We haven’t identified any deal-breakers,” says Ken Farley, the mission’s project scientist and a Caltech geologist. The rover’s advanced autonomous driving should allow it to cover more ground than Curiosity, which often stops to plan routes. Even so, the path from Jezero to Midway would take nearly 2 years, Farley says. That means the rover could explore only one site during its primary 2-year mission, when it must drill and store 20 rock cores, to be picked up by future sample return missions. Exploration of the second site would have to come during an extended mission, after the rover’s warranty expires. “The further away you land from your gold mine, the higher the risk you might not get there,” Arvidson says.center_img Landing sites under consideration N30⁰ A happy medium Jezero and Northeast Syrtis, two attractive landing sites for NASA’s Mars 2020 rover, are close to each other. A new landing site, Midway, might allow the rover to study rocks from both terrains. Email North pole Jezero crater holds a fossil river delta, which may have concentrated and preserved signs of life. Update: NASA today announced the destination for its next Mars rover, due for launch in 2020. The agency said it would send the rover to the 50-kilometer-wide Jezero crater, which billions of years ago harbored a lake that half filled the 500-meter-deep basin. The crater also contains within its rim a fossilized river delta, the sediments from a river that spilled into the crater—a promising place to search for evidence of past life. “Getting samples from this unique area will revolutionize how we think about Mars and its ability to harbor life,”  Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for science in Washington, D.C., said in a press conference.Mars scientists also wanted to visit a nearby site, called Northeast Syrtis, which contains rocks formed in the presence of mineral springs. So NASA dangled the possibility of a two-for-one special—that after visiting Jezero, the rover might climb out of the crater and travel 25 kilometers to Midway, a site that contains many of the same rocks as Northeast Syrtis. Zurbuchen said the possibility of an extended mission to Midway is not ruled out, but he wants the team to focus on Jezero crater for now. “Come the time, we want to talk about it,” he said. “But at this moment we’re focusing on the prime mission.”The 2020 rover will be tasked with gathering and caching rock and soil samples for eventual return to Earth by subsequent missions. At a workshop attended by hundreds of Mars scientists a month ago, Jezero was one of the leading landing sites. Here is our previous story from 10 October: By Paul VoosenNov. 19, 2018 , 12:35 PM Midway Elysium Mons Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) (GRAPHIC) A. CUADRA/SCIENCE; (DATA) NASA Equatorlast_img read more

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Robots—like people—use imagination to learn concepts

first_img By Chris BurnsJan. 16, 2019 , 2:50 PM Robots—like people—use ‘imagination’ to learn concepts Instead of relying on a list of rules or training on a massive data set like standard computers, a new computational framework for learning lets robots come up with their own concepts by detecting abstract differences in images and then recreating them in real life. Watch the video to learn more.last_img

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Top stories reefsupporting fish plasticmunching microbes and Burmese ambers ethical minefield

first_imgPlastic makes up nearly 70% of all ocean litter, putting countless aquatic species at risk. But there is a tiny bit of hope—a teeny, tiny one to be precise: Scientists have discovered that microscopic marine microbes are eating away at the plastic, causing trash to slowly break down.Fossils in Burmese amber offer an exquisite view of dinosaur times—and an ethical minefieldChinese paleontologists are currently building a detailed chronicle of life in a tropical forest 100 million years ago, using amber mined across the border in Myanmar. Hundreds of scientific papers have emerged from the amber finds, and Chinese scientists hint at many more to come. But the fossils’ origins present scientists with an ethical minefield. Much of the amber comes from the conflict-ridden state of Kachin, where amber profits finance armed conflict and are leading to human rights violations.EPA plan to end funding for children’s health research leaves scientists scramblingDespite repeatedly expressing public support for children’s health, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is ending funding for a network of research centers focused on environmental threats to children, imperiling several long-running studies of pollutants’ effects on child development. The move, critics say, is part of a broader effort by President Donald Trump’s administration to downplay science that could lead to stricter regulations on polluting industries.Ship spies largest underwater eruption everLast week, Marc Chaussidon, director of the Institute of Geophysics in Paris, looked at seafloor maps from a recently concluded mission and saw a new mountain. Rising from the Indian Ocean floor between Africa and Madagascar was a giant edifice 800 meters high and 5 kilometers across. In previous maps, there had been nothing. His team, along with scientists from the French national research agency CNRS and other institutes, had seen the birth of a mysterious submarine volcano, the largest such underwater event ever witnessed. Top stories: reef-supporting fish, plastic-munching microbes, and Burmese amber’s ethical minefield By Alex FoxMay. 24, 2019 , 3:00 PM These tiny, mysterious fish may be key to solving coral reef ‘paradox’If a snorkeler or scuba diver is lucky enough to spy a cryptobenthic fish—named for its elusive nature—all they may glimpse is a brief flash of color. But these tiny swimmers may be a cornerstone of coral reefs, making it possible for bigger, more charismatic fish and many invertebrates to thrive, according to a new study.These tiny microbes are munching away at plastic waste in the ocean (Left to right): TANE SINCLAIR-TAYLOR; ASHLEY COOPER PICS/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO; DANIELE MATTIOL Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)last_img read more

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