Uganda chimpanzees are binge eating clay

first_imgChimpanzees in Uganda’s Budongo Forest have added a new foodstuff to their menu: clay. And they aren’t just taking dainty bites; they’re bingeing, say researchers who report on the novel behavior this week in PLOS ONE. Whereas the chimps in the nearby Kibale Forest regularly consume a mixture of soil and leaves (apparently for the high iron content), the Budongo apes, which scientists have studied since 1990, don’t. These chimps did, however, feed on the decaying pith of Raffia palm trees, which is a good source of minerals. But since 2005, due to widespread destruction of the palms, the apes have largely lost this nutritional source. Instead, they’ve turned to eating and drinking clay from clay pits and termite mounds. Some of the chimps dip leaves into the water in the pits and suck out the clay-soaked liquid. Others use their fingers to dig up lumps of clay, which they then eat (as in the video above). The chimps’ primary diet, which consists largely of fruits and leaves, is high in tannins. The clay, which contains aluminum and other minerals, may help the animals neutralize and digest the tannins. If so, they’ve discovered something that the local Budongo women know as well: When these ladies have an upset stomach, they cure it by eating or drinking forest clay mixed with water.(Video credit: Brittany Fallon)last_img read more

NAS panel tackles—and is tackled by—genome editing in animals

first_imgSuch ease of use will likely encourage  the use of more animal models in the study of human diseases, says Rhonda Wiler, a geneticist at biotech giant Genentech in San Francisco, California, who co-chairs the Roundtable on Science and Welfare in Laboratory Animal Use (which organized the workshop). For example, model mice, which were once modified by a laborious process that required multiple generations of breeding, can now be modified in just one generation. In theory, this approach means that all researchers have to do is simply isolate and modify an unfertilized egg in order to modify a genome. “This will have a massive impact on the use of animals in sciences,” says Peter Hohenstein, a development biologist at the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush in the United Kingdom. Not only is genetic modification easier in mice, but it is likely to become much more feasible in a wide range of other species, including pigs, fish, monkeys, and even humans.In addition, researchers may be able to make more use of less complex, so-called “lower” organisms — say fish instead of mice — in their work, an important goal for animal welfare enthusiasts. And because CRISPR works so well in cells growing in a lab dish, some tests can forgo using animals altogether.Such efforts can also improve conditions for farm animals. In the works is an oinker that will be resistant to swine flu. A company called Recombinetics, based in St. Paul has produced calves that won’t grow horns, so they won’t have to undergo the painful process of being dehorned. It’s taken just a few years to do what breeders would need 50 to 100 years to do, notes Recombinetics’s Scott Fahrenkrug, whose company is working on pigs that will never have to be castrated.However, some worry it’s becoming too easy to make animals “just because,” says Hohenstein, who adds that people may pay less mind to minimizing the use of animals in research. Ethicists cite similar concerns. Researchers in China have created a CRISPR-generated line of micropigs as pets, for example.Still, Angelika Schnieke from the Technical University of Munich, Freising-Weihenstephan, in Germany says that she and her colleagues are trying to ensure they follow the animal welfare principle of minimizing animal use through a European program to coordinate the development of large animal models. She and others are making pigs that get cancer, polycystic kidneys, heart disease, and other conditions.Still up in the air is the role of federal regulation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Food and Drug Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency are all “wanting a little piece of the pie,” says David Kurtz from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Raleigh. In the 1980s, these agencies came up with the Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology, last updated in 1992 and now under review. “Many provisions for the regulation of conventional transgenic animals may not apply to genome editing,” says Susan Harper from the Agricultural Research Service, part of USDA, in Beltsville, Maryland.   But so far no one has been able to reach a consensus. Some of the meeting attendees favored increased or different regulations, some argued that genome editing should be less strictly controlled, and some wanted to maintain the status quo. Among supporters of fewer regulations,  Alison Van Eenennaam, an animal breeder at the University of California, Davis, says that some editing is “just a way to enable base pair changes” that doesn’t actually add new DNA to an organism. She says she is particularly concerned about the cost of complying with regulations, which may be so high that universities and other institutions can’t afford to follow up on good ideas. But others are okay with adding regulatory brakes to genome editing. “That’s the government’s job,” Hohenstein says. “We spend a lot of time and effort in making sure we comply or the public wouldn’t accept what we are doing.” WASHINGTON, D.C.—A 2-day National Academy of Sciences (NAS) workshop here last week exposed just how far scientists, ethicists, and regulators are from agreeing on the best way to move forward with genome editing in animals. Following on the heels of this month’s NAS summit on genome editing in humans, the workshop attracted much less attention, even though the work has more immediate regulatory and scientific implications. It also has the potential to shape how these technologies may one day be used in humans.In one sense, gene editing has been going on for nearly 10,000 years. The selective breeding of livestock leads to changes in a breed’s genetic makeup similar to what can be done with modern techniques. The big difference, say genome-editing advocates, is that these new molecular tools make the process much more efficient, with precise ways of deleting, inserting, or regulating genes. One approach, called CRISPR, has made gene editing so easy that in little more than 2 years, researchers have used it to change the genomes of more than a dozen plants and animals. With CRISPR, researchers have modified or disabled multiple genes at once, in some cases leaving no trace of the foreign DNA that makes it possible. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! 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Cuttingedge stem cell therapy proves safe but will it ever be effective

first_img Kyodo News/Contributor/getty images Cutting-edge stem cell therapy proves safe, but will it ever be effective? Clinical work is progressing much more quickly than I expected. By Dennis NormileMar. 15, 2017 , 5:00 PM Masayo Takahashi (second from left) treated macular degeneration with retinal tissue grown from iPS cells. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country It’s official: The first use of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells in a human has proved safe, if not clearly effective. Japanese researchers reported in this week’s issue of The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) that using the cells to replace eye tissue damaged by age-related macular degeneration (AMD) did not improve a patient’s vision, but did halt disease progression. They had described the outcome at conferences, but publication of the details is an encouraging milestone for other groups gearing up to treat diseased or damaged organs with the versatile replacement cells, which are derived from mature tissues.This initial success “is pretty momentous,” says Alan Trounson, a stem cell scientist at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia. But the broader picture for iPS therapies is mixed, as researchers have retreated from their initial hopes of creating custommade stem cells from each patient’s tissue. That strategy might have ensured that recipients’ immune systems would accept the new cells. But it proved too slow and expensive, says Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University in Japan, who first discovered how to create iPS cells and is a co-author of the NEJM paper. He and others are now developing banks of premade donor cells. “Using stocks of cells, we can proceed much more quickly and cost effectively,” he says.Even so, “clinical work is progressing more quickly than I had expected,” says Yamanaka, who did his groundbreaking work just a decade ago. His collaborator on this trial, Masayo Takahashi of the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan, had a head start. An ophthalmologist, Takahashi was familiar with the ravages of AMD, a condition that progressively damages the macula, the central part of the retina, and is the leading cause of blindness in the elderly. Takahashi started investigating treatments for AMD in 2000, a time when the only cells capable of developing into all the tissues of the body had to be extracted from embryos. But she was stymied by immune reactions to these embryonic stem (ES) cells. When Yamanaka announced that he could induce mature, or somatic cells, to return to an ES cell–like state, Takahashi quickly changed course to develop a treatment based on iPS cells.Her team finally operated on the first patient, a 77-year-old Japanese woman with late-stage AMD, in September 2014. They took a sample of her own skin cells, derived iPS cells, and differentiated them into the kind of retinal cells destroyed by the disease. A surgeon then slipped a small sheet of the cells into the retina of her right eye.An operation on a second patient was called off because a number of minor genetic mutations had crept into his iPS cells during processing, and uncontrolled growth—cancer—has been a worry with such cells. “These changes do not directly induce cancer, but we wanted to make safety the first priority,” Yamanaka says. Also, Takahashi says, AMD drugs had stabilized the patient’s condition so there was no urgency in subjecting him to the risks of surgery, which include hemorrhaging and retinal damage.Immediately after surgery the first patient reported her eyesight was brighter. Takahashi says the surgery halted further deterioration of her eye, even without the drug injections still being used to treat her other eye, and there were no signs of rejection of the graft as of last December. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email Shinya Yamanaka, Kyoto University The result is “a proof of principle that iPS cell–based therapy is feasible,” says Kapil Bharti, a molecular cell biologist at the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Eye Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, who is also developing iPS cells for treating AMD. Takahashi says once her team gains more experience with the technique they will extend it to patients with earlier-stage AMD in an effort to preserve vision.Last month, Takahashi won approval to try the procedure on another five patients with late-stage AMD. But this time, instead of using iPS cells derived from each patient, the team will draw on banked cells from a single donor. “It takes time to create iPS cells, and a lot of time for the safety evaluation,” Yamanaka says. It is also costly, at nearly $900,000 to develop and test the iPS cells for the first trial, Takahashi adds.Using donor cells to create the iPS cells will make it more difficult to ensure immune compatibility. But Yamanaka says that donor iPS cells can be matched to patients based on human leukocyte antigen (HLA) haplotypes—sets of cell-surface proteins that regulate immune reactions. HLA-matched cells should require only small doses of immunosuppressive drugs to prevent rejection, Takahashi says—and perhaps none at all for transplantation into the “immune-privileged” eye.Kyoto University’s Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, which Yamanaka heads, has been developing an iPS cell bank. Just 75 iPS cell lines will cover 80% of the Japanese population through HLA matching, he says. Trounson, a past president of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, a stem cell funding agency, says banked iPS cells have advantages. Donor iPS cells may be safer than cells derived from older patients, whose somatic cells may harbor mutations. And Jordan Lancaster, a physiologist at the University of Arizona in Tucson, likes the speed of the approach. He is devising patches for heart failure patients based on iPS-derived myocardial cells that will be “premanufactured, cryopreserved, and ready to use at a moment’s notice.”Patient-specific iPS cells will still have clinical uses. For one thing, Bharti says it will be difficult for cell banks to cover all HLA haplotypes. And a patient’s own iPS cells could be used to screen for adverse drug reactions, says Min-Han Tan, an oncologist at Singapore’s Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, who recently published a report on the approach.Other human trials are not far behind. Yamanaka says his Kyoto University colleague Jun Takahashi (Masayo Takahashi’s husband) will launch trials of iPS-derived cells to treat Parkinson’s disease within 2 years. Bharti hopes to start human trials of iPS cells for a different type of macular degeneration next year. And as techniques for making and growing iPS cells improve, researchers can contemplate treatments requiring not just 100,000 cells or so—the number in Takahashi’s retinal sheets—but millions, as in Lancaster’s heart patches.As clinical use approaches, Takahashi cautions that researchers need to keep public expectations realistic. For now, iPS treatments may help but won’t fully reverse disease, she says. “Regenerative medicine is not going to cure patients in the way they hope.”last_img read more

Update After quick review medical school says no evidence Monsanto ghostwrote professors

first_img The documents, including internal emails written in 2015, reveal Monsanto executives strategizing about ways to work with academic and independent scientists to get out the company’s message that glyphosate poses no risk of cancer. And they include suggestions that company officials “ghost write” portions of scientific papers to be submitted to peer-reviewed technical journals.NYMC learned of the court documents as a result of an inquiry by ScienceInsider, and a public affairs representative said the school would look into the matter. Claiming authorship for work done by others is considered to be a serious ethical breach in the research community, as is not disclosing potential conflicts of interest.Vigorous defenseThe documents provide a window into Monsanto’s efforts to mount a vigorous defense of Roundup’s safety after an international panel concluded in 2015 that glyphosate was a probable human carcinogen. That finding, issued by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a branch of the World Health Organization based in Lyon, France, helped fuel a long-running controversy surrounding glyphosate.The science around the chemical remains unsettled. Though IARC has raised concerns, a number of regulatory agencies have declared they see no evidence that glyphosate causes cancer. The European Chemicals Agency declared last week that the chemical should not be classified as a carcinogen.Monsanto officials had learned in advance of IARC’s 2015 decision, and considered responses aimed at quickly pushing back against the agency’s findings, according to emails among company executives. Several options involved seeking to publish papers in scientific journals buttressing the company’s contention that the chemical didn’t pose a health risk to people. That included sponsoring a wide-ranging paper that, according to an email from one company executive, could cost more than $250,000 to produce.In one email, William Heydens, a Monsanto executive, weighed in on that option, suggesting Monsanto could cut costs by recruiting experts in some areas, but then “ghost write” parts of the paper. “An option would be to add Greim and Kier or Kirkland to have their names on the publication, but we would be keeping the cost down by us doing the writing and they would just sign their names so to speak. Recall this is how we handled Williams Kroes & Munro 2000,” Heydens wrote in an email. (See p. 203 of this PDF.)The lead author on “Williams Kroes & Munro 2000” was NYMC’s Gary Williams, an M.D. whose “research interests include mechanisms of carcinogenesis” and the “metabolic and genetic effects of chemical carcinogens,” according to a university website. Williams did not respond to an email from ScienceInsider seeking comment. His two co-authors, Robert Kroes and Ian Munro, have died, according to media reports. The journal’s editor, Gio Gori, a former National Institutes of Health researcher who drew attention in the 1980s for accepting funding from the tobacco industry and questioning the risks posed by second-hand smoke, could not be reached.Another researcher mentioned in the email, David Kirkland, a genetic toxicologist based in Tadcaster, U.K., was a co-author on a 2016 paper with Williams and several others. That paper, which appeared in the journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology, reviewed the IARC findings and concluded the scientific research didn’t support claims that glyphosate posed a risk of genetic toxicity. He is adamant that  the paper was not ghostwritten. “I’ve been in the field for 35 years. I’ve got a global reputation,” he told ScienceInsider. “I’m not about to try and compromise that by signing up to a paper that has been ghostwritten by someone else.”Kirkland, who works as a private consultant, has served as a consultant for Monsanto on a glyphosate task force in Europe, and Monsanto provided the funding behind the 2016 study, according to disclosures accompanying the paper. Kirkland also co-wrote a 2013 paper reviewing research around the health effects of glyphosate, under a contract with the Glyphosate Task Force, an industry-backed group, he says. But Kirkland says the money’s source didn’t influence his findings. “I make my judgements based on the science and not on any particular stakeholder,” he says.A top Monsanto executive echoes Kirkland, stating that Monsanto employees did not write any portions of either the 2000 or 2016 papers. Rather, Scott Partridge, Monsanto’s vice president of global strategy, says Monsanto scientists will work with outside scientists to help them access research data and other scientific information held by the company.  “There was nothing secret or hidden or underhanded here. What I regret is the unfortunate use of the words ‘ghostwriting.’ That’s an inappropriate way to refer to the collaborative scientific engagement that went on here,” Partridge says.Part of a pattern?But Pearl Robertson, a New York City–based attorney representing some of the plaintiffs suing Monsanto, says the cozy relationship is part of a pattern marked by Monsanto trying to shape the science around glyphosate. She points to a 1999 email in which Heydens, the Monsanto executive, refers to whether the company should continue working with Dr. James Parry, a genetic toxicologist at the Swansea University in the United Kingdom, who has since died. “Let’s step back and look at what we are really trying to achieve here,” Heydens writes. “We want to find/develop someone who is comfortable with the genetox profile of glyphosate/Roundup and who can be influential with regulators and Scientific Outreach operations when genetox. issues arise. My read is that Parry is not currently such a person, and it would take quite some time and $$$/studies to get him there.”Taken together, Robertson says, the internal documents show how Monsanto “perpetually” tries to control “the science and scientific literature that is seen by the public as a whole and by regulatory agencies such as the [Environmental Protection Agency].”Monsanto’s Partridge, however, says the discussions simply reflect the company’s interest in finding scientists who are already familiar with the full range of scientific research on glyphosate and Roundup. “We didn’t want to hire somebody who would propose doing new and additional studies that we believe weren’t necessary,” he says.Sheldon Krimsky, a professor at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, who has written about ghostwriting, says the practice has been an issue in other fields, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry. Hiding the real authors of a paper is forbidden at most journals, he notes, adding that transparency “is what gives science its integrity. And when you violate that, there’s deception,” says Krimsky, a former chair of the Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (which publishes Science). “The last thing we need in science in this day and age is deception.” By Warren CornwallMar. 23, 2017 , 7:45 AM Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Update: After quick review, medical school says no evidence Monsanto ghostwrote professor’s papercenter_img Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide has been the focus of a long running controversy over whether it poses a cancer risk to humans. After a quick investigation, officials at a medical school in New York State say they have found “no evidence” that a faculty member violated the school’s prohibition against authoring a paper ghostwritten by others. The statement came one day after ScienceInsider reported that New York Medical College (NYMC) in Valhalla, New York, would examine a researcher who, according to internal documents released last week by a federal court in California, put his name on a 2000 paper partially ghostwritten by employees at Monsanto, the giant agricultural chemicals company based in St. Louis, Missouri. An NYMC spokesperson declined to provide details of how it conducted its investigation, saying in a statement that NYMC “does not disclose details of its internal investigations, but the college does consider the matter in question to be closed.” (The school later amended its statement, adding: “If new information is provided to us, we will evaluate it. If not, we have no further comment.”)At issue is a 2000 paper published in the journal Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology.  It concluded that a review of studies of one of Monsanto’s most successful products, the widely-used herbicide Roundup, showed no evidence of harmful effects on people.The lead author on the paper is Gary Williams, a pathologist at NYMC. His last name appears briefly in documents unsealed last week as part of a lawsuit against Monsanto by people alleging they developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma from exposure to Roundup and its primary ingredient, glyphosate. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Mike Mozart/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) last_img read more

Future heat waves are going to make air travel a pain

first_imgFuture heat waves are going to make air travel a pain By Sid PerkinsJul. 13, 2017 , 5:30 AM Heat waves associated with rising global temperatures will dramatically affect air travel later this century, occasionally triggering flight delays and bumping passengers and cargo, a new study suggests. When air warms, its density drops—which, in turn, affects the amount of lift air can generate as it rushes across aircraft wings. Less lift means an aircraft can carry less weight, but it also means an airplane—especially a weighty one—needs a longer runway in hot weather, a restriction that can lead to flight delays or cancellations like those caused by record-breaking heat in Phoenix last month. To assess how future heat waves might affect air travel, researchers used climate models to estimate hour-by-hour temperatures throughout the year at 19 particularly busy airports in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, China, and South Asia for the period between 2060 and 2080. At some airports—especially those with long runways in temperate regions and at low altitude where the air is relatively dense, like New York City’s John F. Kennedy, London’s Heathrow, and Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airports—impacts should be minimal, the researchers report today in Climatic Change. But at another New York City airport, La Guardia, shorter runways would trigger weight restrictions on fully laden Boeing 737-800 aircraft more than half the time on the hottest days. Similarly, at Dubai International Airport, a fully booked Boeing 777-300 could be weight-restricted during the hottest part of the day about 55% of the time. Overall, weight restrictions on hot days worldwide could range as high as 4% or more, the researchers say. But even a weight restriction of only 0.5% would result in the bumping of three passengers from an aircraft designed to carry 160 people, the team notes.last_img read more

This ancient skeleton suggests humans were riding donkeys nearly 5000 years ago

first_img This ancient skeleton suggests humans were riding donkeys nearly 5000 years ago By Michael PriceMay. 16, 2018 , 2:00 PM That’s about 1000 years before horses are thought to have arrived in the region. As a result, these ancient herdspeople likely learned to ride donkeys long before horses outpaced them as the preferred mode of transportation—and largely relegated donkeys to being beasts of burden. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country The Tell es-Safi/Gath project 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 Some 4700 years ago, a caravan of Egyptian herders and their donkeys followed a trade route through the foothills of central Israel, destined for the ancient city-state of Tell es-Safi/Gath. There, a Bronze Age builder slaughtered and buried one of the young animals and built a mudbrick house atop it—a sacrificial offering to ensure the edifice’s stability.When a team of archaeologists uncovered the donkey’s skeleton (pictured) in 2008, they noted curious indentations in its lower premolars. The beveling strongly resembled that seen in the teeth of horses and other equids when they wear a bit, a piece of material secured in an animal’s mouth to control its head movements when riding.Now, new radiocarbon dating from elsewhere in the site suggests the animal lived around 2700 B.C.E., providing the earliest evidence yet of donkey ridership in the Near East, the authors report today in PLOS ONE.last_img read more

Massive crater under Greenlands ice points to climatealtering impact in the time

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Chicxulubcrater Massive crater under Greenland’s ice points to climate-altering impact in the time of humans NASA and German aircraft used radar to see the contours of an impact crater beneath the ice of Hiawatha Glacier. 2 Three flights, in May 2016, added 1600 kilometers of fresh data from dozens of transits across the ice—and evidence that Kjær, MacGregor, and their team were onto something. The radar revealed five prominent bumps in the crater’s center, indicating a central peak rising some 50 meters high. And in a sign of a recent impact, the crater bottom is exceptionally jagged. If the asteroid had struck earlier than 100,000 years ago, when the area was ice free, erosion from melting ice farther inland would have scoured the crater smooth, MacGregor says. The radar signals also showed that the deep layers of ice were jumbled up—another sign of a recent impact. The oddly disturbed patterns, MacGregor says, suggest “the ice sheet hasn’t equilibrated with the presence of this impact crater.”But the team wanted direct evidence to overcome the skepticism they knew would greet a claim for a massive young crater, one that seemed to defy the odds of how often large impacts happen. And that’s why Kjær found himself, on that bright July day in 2016, frenetically sampling rocks all along the crescent of terrain encircling Hiawatha’s face. His most crucial stop was in the middle of the semicircle, near the river, where he collected sediments that appeared to have come from the glacier’s interior. It was hectic, he says—”one of those days when you just check your samples, fall on the bed, and don’t rise for some time.”In that outwash, Kjær’s team closed its case. Sifting through the sand, Adam Garde, a geologist at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland in Copenhagen, found glass grains forged at temperatures higher than a volcanic eruption can generate. More important, he discovered shocked crystals of quartz. The crystals contained a distinctive banded pattern that can be formed only in the intense pressures of extraterrestrial impacts or nuclear weapons. The quartz makes the case, Melosh says. “It looks pretty good. All the evidence is pretty compelling.”Now, the team needs to figure out exactly when the collision occurred and how it affected the planet. (GRAPHIC) C. BICKEL/SCIENCE; (DATA) UMN POLAR GEOSPATIAL CENTER; ICEBRIDGE BEDMACHINE GREENLAND/NASA NATIONAL SNOW AND ICE DATA CENTER Hiawathacrater Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe The impact would have been a spectacle for anyone within 500 kilometers. A white fireball four times larger and three times brighter than the sun would have streaked across the sky. If the object struck an ice sheet, it would have tunneled through to the bedrock, vaporizing water and stone alike in a flash. The resulting explosion packed the energy of 700 1-megaton nuclear bombs, and even an observer hundreds of kilometers away would have experienced a buffeting shock wave, a monstrous thunder-clap, and hurricane-force winds. Later, rock debris might have rained down on North America and Europe, and the released steam, a greenhouse gas, could have locally warmed Greenland, melting even more ice.The news of the impact discovery has reawakened an old debate among scientists who study ancient climate. A massive impact on the ice sheet would have sent meltwater pouring into the Atlantic Ocean—potentially disrupting the conveyor belt of ocean currents and causing temperatures to plunge, especially in the Northern Hemisphere. “What would it mean for species or life at the time? It’s a huge open question,” says Jennifer Marlon, a paleoclimatologist at Yale University.A decade ago, a small group of scientists proposed a similar scenario. They were trying to explain a cooling event, more than 1000 years long, called the Younger Dryas, which began 12,800 years ago, as the last ice age was ending. Their controversial solution was to invoke an extraterrestrial agent: the impact of one or more comets. The researchers proposed that besides changing the plumbing of the North Atlantic, the impact also ignited wildfires across two continents that led to the extinction of large mammals and the disappearance of the mammoth-hunting Clovis people of North America. The research group marshaled suggestive but inconclusive evidence, and few other scientists were convinced. But the idea caught the public’s imagination despite an obvious limitation: No one could find an impact crater.Proponents of a Younger Dryas impact now feel vindicated. “I’d unequivocally predict that this crater is the same age as the Younger Dryas,” says James Kennett, a marine geologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, one of the idea’s original boosters.But Jay Melosh, an impact crater expert at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, doubts the strike was so recent. Statistically, impacts the size of Hiawatha occur only every few million years, he says, and so the chance of one just 13,000 years ago is small. No matter who is right, the discovery will give ammunition to Younger Dryas impact theorists—and will turn the Hiawatha impactor into another type of projectile. “This is a hot potato,” Melosh tells Science. “You’re aware you’re going to set off a firestorm?” 3 Email Radar-detectedpeak Disturbed ice Ice-penetratingradar 31 km Washington, D.C. The hidden crater Under a lobe of ice on northwest Greenland, airborne radar and ground sampling have uncovered a giant and remarkably fresh impact crater. Though not as large as thedinosaur-killing Chicxulub impact, Hiawatha crater may have formed as recently as the end of the last ice age, as humans were spreading across North America. Meltwater from the impact could have triggered athousand-year chill in the Northern Hemisphere by disrupting currents in the Atlantic Ocean. None of the drilled Greenland ice cores (red dots) contains meteoritic debris. But one, GISP2, shows a spike in platinum about 12,900 years ago. Where is the impact debris? Radar reflections from volcanic grit trapped in the ice can be tied to dated ice cores drilled elsewhere. Those reflections stop at 11,700 years ago. Below that, the ice is disturbed. The crater’s bed is rough, not yet smoothed down. This points to an actively eroding young crater less than 100,000 years old. 1 A deep disturbance Samples near the gla cier’s outlet contained beads of once-molten glass and shocked quartz—crystals scarred by hightemperatures andpressures. 2 Telltale rocks After an impact, rebounding molten rock piles up in a central peak and sometimes collapses into a peak ring—one way todistinguish an impact crater from a volcano. 3 Rebound effect A Basler BT-67 aircraft, fitted with radars on its belly and wings, criss crossed the crater, looking for reflections. Seeing through ice The impact would have tunneledthrough ice and bedrock, leaving acrater 31 kilometers wide and morethan 300 meters deep. As big as a city Cape Yorkfragments Hiawathacrater Greenland Deep icecore site Camp Century NEEM DYE-3 GRIP NGRIP GISP2 Thule AirBase 200 km 66 35.5 100,000–12,800 years ago 85 km 31 km Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country NASA SCIENTIFIC VISUALIZATION STUDIO Banded patterns in the mineral quartz are diagnostic of shock waves from an extraterrestrial impact.center_img 1 A 1.5-kilometer asteroid, intact or in pieces, may have smashed into an ice sheet just 13,000 years ago. SVEND FUNDER By Paul VoosenNov. 14, 2018 , 2:00 PM JOHN SONNTAG/NASA On a bright July day 2 years ago, Kurt Kjær was in a helicopter flying over northwest Greenland—an expanse of ice, sheer white and sparkling. Soon, his target came into view: Hiawatha Glacier, a slow-moving sheet of ice more than a kilometer thick. It advances on the Arctic Ocean not in a straight wall, but in a conspicuous semicircle, as though spilling out of a basin. Kjær, a geologist at the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen, suspected the glacier was hiding an explosive secret. The helicopter landed near the surging river that drains the glacier, sweeping out rocks from beneath it. Kjær had 18 hours to find the mineral crystals that would confirm his suspicions.What he brought home clinched the case for a grand discovery. Hidden beneath Hiawatha is a 31-kilometer-wide impact crater, big enough to swallow Washington, D.C., Kjær and 21 co-authors report today in a paper in Science Advances. The crater was left when an iron asteroid 1.5 kilometers across slammed into Earth, possibly within the past 100,000 years.Though not as cataclysmic as the dinosaur-killing Chicxulub impact, which carved out a 200-kilometer-wide crater in Mexico about 66 million years ago, the Hiawatha impactor, too, may have left an imprint on the planet’s history. The timing is still up for debate, but some researchers on the discovery team believe the asteroid struck at a crucial moment: roughly 13,000 years ago, just as the world was thawing from the last ice age. That would mean it crashed into Earth when mammoths and other megafauna were in decline and people were spreading across North America. 75 50 25 Millions of years Present Grit layerwithin ice The evidence starts with the ice. In the radar images, grit from distant volcanic eruptions makes some of the boundaries between seasonal layers stand out as bright reflections. Those bright layers can be matched to the same layers of grit in cataloged, dated ice cores from other parts of Greenland. Using that technique, Kjær’s team found that most ice in Hiawatha is perfectly layered through the past 11,700 years. But in the older, disturbed ice below, the bright reflections disappear. Tracing the deep layers, the team matched the jumble with debris-rich surface ice on Hiawatha’s edge that was previously dated to 12,800 years ago. “It was pretty self-consistent that the ice flow was heavily disturbed at or prior to the Younger Dryas,” MacGregor says.Other lines of evidence also suggest Hiawatha could be the Younger Dryas impact. In 2013, Jacobsen examined an ice core from the center of Greenland, 1000 kilometers away. He was expecting to put the Younger Dryas impact theory to rest by showing that, 12,800 years ago, levels of metals that asteroid impacts tend to spread did not spike. Instead, he found a peak in platinum, similar to ones measured in samples from the crater site. “That suggests a connection to the Younger Dryas right there,” Jacobsen says.For Broecker, the coincidences add up. He had first been intrigued by the Firestone paper, but quickly joined the ranks of naysayers. Advocates of the Younger Dryas impact pinned too much on it, he says: the fires, the extinction of the megafauna, the abandonment of the Clovis sites. “They put a bad shine on it.” But the platinum peak Jacobsen found, followed by the discovery of Hiawatha, has made him believe again. “It’s got to be the same thing,” he says.Yet no one can be sure of the timing. The disturbed layers could reflect nothing more than normal stresses deep in the ice sheet. “We know all too well that older ice can be lost by shearing or melting at the base,” says Jeff Severinghaus, a paleoclimatologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California. Richard Alley, a glaciologist at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, believes the impact is much older than 100,000 years and that a subglacial lake can explain the odd textures near the base of the ice. “The ice flow over growing and shrinking lakes interacting with rough topography might have produced fairly complex structures,” Alley says.A recent impact should also have left its mark in the half-dozen deep ice cores drilled at other sites on Greenland, which document the 100,000 years of the current ice sheet’s history. Yet none exhibits the thin layer of rubble that a Hiawatha-size strike should have kicked up. “You really ought to see something,” Severinghaus says.Brandon Johnson, a planetary scientist at Brown University, isn’t so sure. After seeing a draft of the study, Johnson, who models impacts on icy moons such as Europa and Enceladus, used his code to recreate an asteroid impact on a thick ice sheet. An impact digs a crater with a central peak like the one seen at Hiawatha, he found, but the ice suppresses the spread of rocky debris. “Initial results are that it goes a lot less far,” Johnson says. ChesapeakeBay crater It started with a hole. In 2015, Kjær and a colleague were studying a new map of the hidden contours under Greenland’s ice. Based on variations in the ice’s depth and surface flow patterns, the map offered a coarse suggestion of the bedrock topography—including the hint of a hole under Hiawatha.Kjær recalled a massive iron meteorite in his museum’s courtyard, near where he parks his bicycle. Called Agpalilik, Inuit for “the Man,” the 20-ton rock is a fragment of an even larger meteorite, the Cape York, found in pieces on northwest Greenland by Western explorers but long used by Inuit people as a source of iron for harpoon tips and tools. Kjær wondered whether the meteorite might be a remnant of an impactor that dug the circular feature under Hiawatha. But he still wasn’t confident that it was an impact crater. He needed to see it more clearly with radar, which can penetrate ice and reflect off bedrock.Kjær’s team began to work with Joseph MacGregor, a glaciologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, who dug up archival radar data. MacGregor found that NASA aircraft often flew over the site on their way to survey Arctic sea ice, and the instruments were sometimes turned on, in test mode, on the way out. “That was pretty glorious,” MacGregor says.The radar pictures more clearly showed what looked like the rim of a crater, but they were still too fuzzy in the middle. Many features on Earth’s surface, such as volcanic calderas, can masquerade as circles. But only impact craters contain central peaks and peak rings, which form at the center of a newborn crater when—like the splash of a stone in a pond—molten rock rebounds just after a strike. To look for those features, the researchers needed a dedicated radar mission.Coincidentally, the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany, had just purchased a next-generation ice-penetrating radar to mount across the wings and body of their Basler aircraft, a twin-propeller retrofitted DC-3 that’s a workhorse of Arctic science. But they also needed financing and a base close to Hiawatha.Kjær took care of the money. Traditional funding agencies would be too slow, or prone to leaking their idea, he thought. So he petitioned Copenhagen’s Carlsberg Foundation, which uses profits from its global beer sales to finance science. MacGregor, for his part, enlisted NASA colleagues to persuade the U.S. military to let them work out of Thule Air Base, a Cold War outpost on northern Greenland, where German members of the team had been trying to get permission to work for 20 years. “I had retired, very serious German scientists sending me happy-face emojis,” MacGregor says. The Younger Dryas, named after a small white and yellow arctic flower that flourished during the cold snap, has long fascinated scientists. Until human-driven global warming set in, that period reigned as one of the sharpest recent swings in temperature on Earth. As the last ice age waned, about 12,800 years ago, temperatures in parts of the Northern Hemisphere plunged by as much as 8°C, all the way back to ice age readings. They stayed that way for more than 1000 years, turning advancing forest back into tundra.The trigger could have been a disruption in the conveyor belt of ocean currents, including the Gulf Stream that carries heat northward from the tropics. In a 1989 paper in Nature, Kennett, along with Wallace Broecker, a climate scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and others, laid out how meltwater from retreating ice sheets could have shut down the conveyor. As warm water from the tropics travels north at the surface, it cools while evaporation makes it saltier. Both factors boost the water’s density until it sinks into the abyss, helping to drive the conveyor. Adding a pulse of less-dense freshwater could hit the brakes. Paleoclimate researchers have largely endorsed the idea, although evidence for such a flood has been lacking until recently.Then, in 2007, Kennett suggested a new trigger. He teamed up with scientists led by Richard Firestone, a physicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, who proposed a comet strike at the key moment. Exploding over the ice sheet covering North America, the comet or comets would have tossed light-blocking dust into the sky, cooling the region. Farther south, fiery projectiles would have set forests alight, producing soot that deepened the gloom and the cooling. The impact also could have destabilized ice and unleashed meltwater that would have disrupted the Atlantic circulation.The climate chaos, the team suggested, could explain why the Clovis settlements emptied and the megafauna vanished soon afterward. But the evidence was scanty. Firestone and his colleagues flagged thin sediment layers at dozens of archaeological sites in North America. Those sediments seemed to contain geochemical traces of an extraterrestrial impact, such as a peak in iridium, the exotic element that helped cement the case for a Chicxulub impact. The layers also yielded tiny beads of glass and iron—possible meteoritic debris—and heavy loads of soot and charcoal, indicating fires.The team met immediate criticism. The decline of mammoths, giant sloths, and other species had started well before the Younger Dryas. In addition, no sign existed of a human die-off in North America, archaeologists said. The nomadic Clovis people wouldn’t have stayed long in any site. The distinctive spear points that marked their presence probably vanished not because the people died out, but rather because those weapons were no longer useful once the mammoths waned, says Vance Holliday, an archaeologist at The University of Arizona in Tucson. The impact hypothesis was trying to solve problems that didn’t need solving.The geochemical evidence also began to erode. Outside scientists could not detect the iridium spike in the group’s samples. The beads were real, but they were abundant across many geological times, and soot and charcoal did not seem to spike at the time of the Younger Dryas. “They listed all these things that aren’t quite sufficient,” says Stein Jacobsen, a geochemist at Harvard University who studies craters.Yet the impact hypothesis never quite died. Its proponents continued to study the putative debris layer at other sites in Europe and the Middle East. They also reported finding microscopic diamonds at different sites that, they say, could have been formed only by an impact. (Outside researchers question the claims of diamonds.)Now, with the discovery of Hiawatha crater, “I think we have the smoking gun,” says Wendy Wolbach, a geochemist at De-Paul University in Chicago, Illinois, who has done work on fires during the era.The impact would have melted 1500 gigatons of ice, the team estimates—about as much ice as Antarctica has lost because of global warming in the past decade. The local greenhouse effect from the released steam and the residual heat in the crater rock would have added more melt. Much of that freshwater could have ended up in the nearby Labrador Sea, a primary site pumping the Atlantic Ocean’s overturning circulation. “That potentially could perturb the circulation,” says Sophia Hines, a marine paleoclimatologist at Lamont-Doherty.Leery of the earlier controversy, Kjær won’t endorse that scenario. “I’m not putting myself in front of that bandwagon,” he says. But in drafts of the paper, he admits, the team explicitly called out a possible connection between the Hiawatha impact and the Younger Dryas. In 2016, Kurt Kjær looked for evidence of an impact in sand washed out from underneath Hiawatha Glacier. He would find glassy beads and shocked crystals of quartz. Even if the asteroid struck at the right moment, it might not have unleashed all the disasters envisioned by proponents of the Younger Dryas impact. “It’s too small and too far away to kill off the Pleistocene mammals in the continental United States,” Melosh says. And how a strike could spark flames in such a cold, barren region is hard to see. “I can’t imagine how something like this impact in this location could have caused massive fires in North America,” Marlon says.It might not even have triggered the Younger Dryas. Ocean sediment cores show no trace of a surge of freshwater into the Labrador Sea from Greenland, says Lloyd Keigwin, a paleoclimatologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. The best recent evidence, he adds, suggests a flood into the Arctic Ocean through western Canada instead.An external trigger may be unnecessary in any case, Alley says. During the last ice age, the North Atlantic saw 25 other cooling spells, probably triggered by disruptions to the Atlantic’s overturning circulation. None of those spells, known as Dansgaard-Oeschger (D-O) events, was as severe as the Younger Dryas, but their frequency suggests an internal cycle played a role in the Younger Dryas, too. Even Broecker agrees that the impact was not the ultimate cause of the cooling. If D-O events represent abrupt transitions between two regular states of the ocean, he says, “you could say the ocean was approaching instability and somehow this event knocked it over.”Still, Hiawatha’s full story will come down to its age. Even an exposed impact crater can be a challenge for dating, which requires capturing the moment when the impact altered existing rocks—not the original age of the impactor or its target. Kjær’s team has been trying. They fired lasers at the glassy spherules to release argon for dating, but the samples were too contaminated. The researchers are inspecting a blue crystal of the mineral apatite for lines left by the decay of uranium, but it’s a long shot. The team also found traces of carbon in other samples, which might someday yield a date, Kjær says. But the ultimate answer may require drilling through the ice to the crater floor, to rock that melted in the impact, resetting its radioactive clock. With large enough samples, researchers should be able to pin down Hiawatha’s age.Given the remote location, a drilling expedition to the hole at the top of the world would be costly. But an understanding of recent climate history—and what a giant impact can do to the planet—is at stake. “Somebody’s got to go drill in there,” Keigwin says. “That’s all there is to it.” ADAM GARDE, GEUS last_img read more

Facebook fact checker has ties to news outlet that promotes climate doubt

first_img Originally published by E&E NewsFacebook’s newest fact checking partner is connected to an enterprise that was founded by a conservative Fox News host and that routinely promotes climate doubt.The social media giant is partnering with CheckYourFact.com to provide third-party oversight of news on its platform, Facebook announced last week. Check Your Fact is an affiliate of The Daily Caller, the right-leaning news outlet co-founded by Fox News host Tucker Carlson. Climate scientists and advocates are worried that the new partnership means climate articles will be downplayed on Facebook.The climate stories published by The Daily Caller create a false impression of the level of certainty about human-caused global warming within the climate science field, said Susan Joy Hassol, director of the science outreach nonprofit group Climate Communication, which operates as a project of the Aspen Global Change Institute in Basalt, Colorado. In particular, The Daily Caller has mastered a form of partial truth telling that isn’t technically wrong but doesn’t give the full picture, either, she said.“You can really mislead people without outright lying, and in a way that’s more dangerous,” she said. “You can’t prove it false; you can’t say what they’ve said is inaccurate, that it’s a lie; you can’t say any of that. Then somebody would have to say it’s true — well, it’s not true because it’s not the whole truth.”Carlson co-founded The Daily Caller with Neil Patel, former chief policy adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney. Many of its stories are produced by the staff of the Daily Caller News Foundation, which receives funding from the Charles Koch Foundation, as well as a number of other conservative foundations that fund groups that attack climate science.Check Your Fact is wholly owned by The Daily Caller, and its work is routinely promoted by the news organization. While it is editorially independent and has its own staff, Check Your Fact receives funding from both The Daily Caller, as well as the Daily Caller News Foundation, according to the company.Joel Kaplan, a vice president at Facebook and a former White House aide to President George W. Bush, pushed for the company to partner with The Daily Caller for about a year, The Wall Street Journal reported last year. Kaplan, who is an ally of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, has sought changes at Facebook amid complaints by some conservatives that the company is biased against them.Check Your Fact is one of just six organizations that Facebook currently lists as fact checkers in the United States. The others include Pulitzer Prize winners such as the Associated Press and PolitiFact. All of the fact checkers have passed an assessment test implemented by the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network.Facebook set up its fact checking operation as a response to extensive criticism that the platform is often used to spread misinformation. Russia exploited Facebook in the 2016 election to spread divisions and false information to the public. The platform is still home to a number of climate denial groups that use it to spread falsehoods about climate science.The social media company gives its fact checkers tremendous power to reduce the number of viewers who can see news in their feeds.“If a fact-checker rates content as false, it will appear lower in News Feed,” the Facebook fact checking page states. “This significantly reduces the number of people who see it.”Facebook did not respond to requests for comment on how exactly the new partnership with Check Your Fact will work.“We’re fair”David Sivak, editor at Check Your Fact, said the organization does not have an editorial position on global warming.“We don’t have an editorial stance on climate change, or any other topic for that matter,” he wrote in response to questions. “We’re fact checkers, and we take our credibility seriously. Look through any of the articles Check Your Fact has published over the last two years, and you’ll quickly see that. We’re fair and always give the reader a complete picture.”Check Your Fact recently fact checked President Trump’s incorrect statement that wind turbines cause cancer.While the website labeled the claim as false—and quoted cancer experts saying as much—it also quoted National Wind Watch, an antiwind group that organizes and fights against wind turbines throughout the country. A spokesman for that group claimed the president was correct; he said turbines cause a lack of sleep and stress, which can lead to cancer.In March, Check Your Fact gave credence to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s claims that the Green New Deal would cost more than every dollar the federal government has spent in its history. The Kentucky Republican and Check Your Fact relied on a single study, produced by a conservative think tank, the American Action Forum.But the author of that study has acknowledged that its calculation of a $93 trillion price tag is essentially a guess, since the Green New Deal is currently a vague resolution. E&E News has reported on how the American Action Forum is connected to a web of conservative groups that fund political attacks through undisclosed donors and that have been funded by fossil fuel lobbying interests opposed to environmental regulations (Climatewire, April 1).Highlighting skepticsThe Daily Caller, for its part, has a long history of giving its readers the impression that climate science is largely a political fight, rather than a rigorous scientific inquiry. It regularly attacks mainstream news outlets for their reporting on climate science, instead amplifying conservative think tanks and skeptical Republicans and the small number of climate scientists with legitimate academic credentials. Its climate reporting focuses on doubt and highlights data that suggests climate concerns from the world’s leading science agencies and organizations are incorrect.Just this week, the news organization published a piece that called into doubt the accuracy of climate models. The piece claimed that “many climate scientists are skeptical of the extreme warming predicted by next-generation climate models.” The article cited a few skeptical researchers but did not sample the far greater range of researchers who have shown that climate predictions from years past have held up to actual observations. Scientists are largely confident in climate models, even as they seek to improve their forecasting of future conditions.In fact, the American Meteorology Society released a statement on climate change that included praise for the accuracy of climate models.“Climate models successfully replicate the global warming of the twentieth century, and they agree that further warming and other global and regional changes can be expected this century,” the statement read.Last fall, when the Trump administration released the National Climate Assessment, The Daily Caller trumpeted a series of headlines that framed the report as a controversial, political document—rather than one crafted over years through the Obama and Trump administrations and that was reliant on dozens of peer-reviewed studies. The National Climate Assessment was produced by 300 scientists across 13 federal agencies and was reviewed by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.The Daily Caller’s reporting on the national assessment focused on climate skeptics who have been critical of the larger field of climate science for years.In one of its first stories on the report, the news organization relied on University of Colorado scientist Roger Pielke Jr., who believes humans are contributing to climate change but questions links between warming and extreme weather events.“‘EMBARRASSING’: CLIMATE EXPERT EXPLAINS WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE WHITE HOUSE’S NEW CLIMATE REPORT,” The Daily Caller stated.After the report was released, President Trump told reporters from Axios, while making an ocean wave motion with his hand, that climate goes up and down.“Is there climate change? Yeah. Will it go back like this, I mean, will it change back? Probably,” Trump said.News outlets around the world corrected Trump’s misstatement. The Daily Caller found a different angle: “REPORTERS PRESS TRUMP ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING, HE ANSWERS WITH FACTS.”“Kernel of doubt”One frequent target of The Daily Caller’s reporting is climate scientist Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University in State College. He said he was disturbed to hear that Facebook is giving the outlet a much broader platform on which to attack climate science.“It is truly disturbing to hear that Facebook, already known to be a dubious organization with an ethically challenged CEO, is partnering with Daily Caller, which is essentially a climate change-denying Koch Brothers front group masquerading as a media outlet,” he said. “If they fail to cease and desist in outsourcing their ‘fact checking’ to this bad faith, agenda-driven outlet, they will face serious repercussions.”Hassol, the climate communications expert, said allowing The Daily Caller network and Check Your Fact to have oversight of news on a platform notorious for spreading false information is “a nightmare.”She worried that the platform could play a major role in highlighting climate uncertainty.“All they have to do is introduce a kernel of doubt. That’s been the playbook,” she said. “They don’t have to prove anything. All they have to do is create doubt and leave people questioning.”Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from E&E News. Copyright 2019. E&E provides essential news for energy and environment professionals at www.eenews.net Email By Scott Waldman, E&E NewsApr. 25, 2019 , 1:55 PM Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe CJG-Technology/Alamy Stock Photo center_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Facebook fact checker has ties to news outlet that promotes climate doubt Read more…last_img read more

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

first_imgJezero crater holds a fossil river delta, which may have concentrated and preserved signs of life. Spirit rover Landing sites under consideration 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. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) S30⁰ Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email Columbia Hills Equator 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. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Elysium Mons North pole NASA’s next Mars rover will land in Jezero crater, which once hosted a lake and a river deltacenter_img Elysium Mons Midway North pole By Paul VoosenNov. 19, 2018 , 12:35 PM NASA/JPL/JHUAPL/MSSS/BROWN UNIVERSITY Jezero Curiosity rover 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: Northeast Syrtis OlympusMons N30⁰ (GRAPHIC) A. CUADRA/SCIENCE; (DATA) NASA 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.last_img read more

STEM candidates elected to US House prepare for their new jobs

first_img STEM candidates elected to U.S. House prepare for their new jobs Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo Email They’ve won their elections and are headed to Washington, D.C. Their next challenge is using their expertise to make Congress work better.Among the more than 100 newly elected members of the U.S. House of Representatives are six who touted their backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields and medicine on the campaign trail. All Democrats, they helped their party seize control of the 435-seat House for the first time since 2010. At the same time, they promised constituents they would reach across the aisle to get things done—something they will have many chances to do with Republicans maintaining their grip on the Senate and Republican President Donald Trump in the White House.Fresh off their electoral victories, the new STEM members talked with Science last week about national issues that also affect the scientific community. Topics included whether scientific facilities should be part of any upgrading of the country’s infrastructure, how to provide accessible and affordable health care, and how the billions spent on political campaigns limit who can run for office. They also described their preferences for committee assignments, which are determined by party leaders, and their thoughts on being part of the largest Democratic gain in the House since the 1974 post-Watergate class. The comments below are based on individual interviews with biochemical engineer Sean Casten of Illinois, industrial engineer Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania, pediatrician Kim Schrier of Washington, nuclear engineer Elaine Luria of Virginia, ocean engineer Joe Cunningham of South Carolina, and nurse and health policy analyst Lauren Underwood of Illinois.On campaign finance reformAll the new members mentioned the need for greater transparency and, in particular, their support for disclosing who contributes to so-called super PACs, political action committees that fund politically charged ads but operate independently of any candidate. Requiring disclosure would “make sure that people don’t lose confidence in our democracy, because everybody assumes the worse if you don’t know,” Casten says.But Casten thinks that’s not nearly enough to ensure a level playing field in elections. “In the longer term, we really need to have public financing of campaigns,” he argues. “It’s not lost on me that, had I not just sold a company, I wouldn’t have been able to run.” He’s referring to Recycled Energy Development, a company he and his father formed in 2007. Casten used some of the money from its sale to bankroll his successful race against Representative Peter Roskam (R–IL), in which each man spent more than $6 million.Now that he’s won a seat, Casten is concerned that the need to fund his reelection campaign in 2020 will crimp his ability to do his job as a legislator. “The practical reality is that, given the amount of time you have to spend raising money, the taxpayers are, in effect, paying members of Congress to raise money,” he notes. “If we want to pay them to legislate and be informed on the issues, we need to free up their day.”Houlahan also thinks public financing would directly benefit STEM-trained professionals and others who have traditionally not participated in the political process. “I have been running for Congress for the past 20 months, all in, and that is without holding another job—this is a 60- to 80-hour-a-week job by itself,” she says. “And that means you can’t guarantee that this is a democratic process if people must take the better part of 2 years out of their working lives to take a swing at this.”“As a STEM person, I understand that scientists are not likely to have the networks and be part of a business culture of helping one another run for office, as other professions do,” she adds. “So, I think we need to look at it in a more holistic manner. The current process simply doesn’t promote the type of diversity that we need for our democracy to work as it should.”On infrastructure improvementsBoth Trump and Democrats have suggested an infrastructure spending bill could be an area of cooperation. Luria hopes it would accomplish three goals: Modernize the country’s transportation system, create jobs, and address climate change. The last is especially important for her southeastern Virginia district, where sea-level rise not only disrupts daily life with periodic flooding, but also threatens the country’s largest naval base. She also hopes some infrastructure money would trickle down to two federal research installations in her district—the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility and NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. But the problem is how to pay for what many Democrats say should be a trillion-dollar investment.“We didn’t do ourselves any favors by passing a tax bill that incurs $3.9 trillion in debt,” Luria says, referring to a measure passed earlier this year by the Republican-led Congress. She and her Democratic colleagues opposed the Trump-sponsored cut, which she felt helped corporations at the expense of the middle class. At the same time, she thinks Republican votes will be needed to pass an infrastructure bill. “Nobody thinks that improving infrastructure is a bad idea. The question is what’s in the package, and the timeline. I hope we can work across the aisle to agree on priorities.”Cunningham, who claimed an open seat in a very conservative district, says he wouldn’t want an infrastructure a bill to increase overall federal spending. And he says a good place to find savings is in what the government spends on prescription drugs for seniors.“If Medicare could negotiate the price of drugs, we could save hundreds of millions of dollars a year,” he says. “And there are lots of other areas in which government is inefficient and needs to be tuned up.”On restoring earmarksCongressional leaders stopped the practice of directing money to a specific project in a member’s district in 2011, after some glaring abuses. But many members in both parties would like to see earmarking return. They argue it dovetails with Congress’s constitutional authority to appropriate funds and can also be used as a carrot to persuade otherwise reluctant lawmakers to sign on to pending legislation.That tactic is what turns off good-government advocates on both sides of the aisle. And the new STEM candidates are divided in whether earmarks should be brought back.“A lot of people who I respect have said that there was more comity in Congress when earmarks existed because it was a political currency that could be exchanged,” Casten says. “And that makes intuitive sense to me. So, I’d like to have that tool in my belt, And then I can be judged by how responsible I am in using it.”Cunningham is less convinced of the value of earmarks, but he doesn’t rule them out. “If you have people who can reach across the aisle, then you don’t need earmarks,” he says, reiterating his campaign pledge to work with Republicans. “I’d rather focus on bringing people together, and then use earmarks as a last resort.”Schrier doesn’t even want to go there. After narrowly defeating Dino Rossi for an open seat in a district outside Seattle, Washington, that has traditionally voted Republican, she says she is focused on improving a “broken” U.S. health care system and that earmarks are not on her radar.On preferred committee assignmentsWhat is important to Schrier is getting a seat on a House committee that lets her apply the knowledge she’s gained as a primary care physician. She’ll be the only female doctor in Congress, and she doesn’t think the current contingent of physicians in the House, most of whom are Republican, have represented the profession well.“You would not know it, by looking at the doctors in Congress, that most doctors have as their goal to make sure their patients are covered and to improve health care,” she says. “That is the voice that I will bring, and I would love to have the opportunity to pursue those issues by serving on the Energy and Commerce Committee [which oversees most federal health care agencies].”Underwood has likewise set her sights on a panel that deals with health care, a list that includes Ways and Means and the Committee on Education and the Workforce, as well as Energy and Commerce. She also knows freshmen rarely get chosen for such “A” level committees, but she doesn’t see that as an obstacle. “I think that I will be able to have an impact on legislation that comes to the floor of the House no matter what committees I serve on,” she says.Her north-central Illinois district is home to DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, a world leader in high-energy physics. But the science committee is not an option, she says, because two other members of the Illinois delegation—representatives Dan Lipinski (D) and Bill Foster (D)—already sit on the panel. “I’ve been informally encouraged to look at committees on which there is not already robust representation from my state,” she says.Another member from her home state now sits on the committee, but Republican Randy Hultgren won’t be returning to Congress because Underwood defeated him this month.Luria says she’d be happy to serve on the science committee because it oversees federal research efforts to improve resiliency against climate change. “I think my technical background would allow me to understand the issues they tackle,” she notes. However, she also cited geographic balance as a possible barrier, although one of the two Virginians on the panel, Republican Barbara Comstock, also lost her seat in last week’s elections.Being part of a waveThe 116th Congress will contain a number of “first-ever” Democrat members of the House, as well as the most women—more than 100—in history.For Schrier, that record number means “a lot of women decided at the same time to lead, to roll up their sleeves and get involved. Our percentages are still low, but we’ve gone from under 20% to almost 25% [of House members]. And that’s moving toward 50%. So, yes, I do feel that I am part of a wave, and I look forward to bringing in even more women.”Houlahan also feels her victory is part of a bigger movement. “It’s a wave of people elected that provide diversity on many dimensions,” she says. “Not just gender, but with their STEM backgrounds. And I’m also one of several veterans and an entrepreneur in the class. I think those backgrounds are missing in Congress right now.”On the next House speakerCunningham is the only one in the group who said he would definitely vote “no” on a bid by Representative Nancy Pelosi (D–CA), the longtime leader of House Democrats, to become speaker of the House again. But he doesn’t have a favorite. “I want to see who else is running,” he said last week. “Before you hire somebody, you want to interview them see their qualifications. And I don’t know yet who all will be running.”The other new members are taking a wait-and-see approach. “What I have said to Pelosi and anybody else who may be considering a run is that I want to sit down and chat about your goals,” Casten says. “And after meeting them I can be an informed voter.” Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)center_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country By Jeffrey MervisNov. 15, 2018 , 4:05 PM Representative-elect Joe Cunningham (D–SC) arrives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and infant son for an orientation for newly elected members. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwelast_img read more

Lokpal cant function fully yet to get complaint format nod

first_img Anna Hazare to launch hunger strike for Lokpal tomorrow Simply put: The search for a Lokpal Advertising Advertising Supreme Court gives Centre two weeks to apprise it of steps for appointing Lokpal Lokpal, Lokpal bill, Lokyukta act, Lokpal committee, Pinaki chandra ghose, lokpal complaint format, indian express Sources told The Indian Express that the format for receiving a complaint, the basic prerequisite, has been sent to the government by the Lokpal, headed by Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose. (Photo: Supreme Court website)Established almost three months ago to inquire into allegations of corruption against public functionaries, the office of Lokpal is not yet fully functional because the anti-corruption ombudsman is still waiting for the Centre’s approval on notifying the “format” for receiving a complaint. Sources said that the “majority” cases received by the Lokpal are related to “public grievance redress, pension and service related matters” which do not fall under the ambit of the Lokpal Act. “As many as 480 cases, which don’t fall under the ambit of the Act, have been disposed by the Lokpal,” sources said.The Lokpal, temporarily operating from The Ashok hotel in New Delhi, has jurisdiction to inquire into allegations of corruption against anyone who is or has been Prime Minister, or a Minister in the Union government, or a Member of Parliament, as well as officials of the Union Government under Groups A, B, C and D; it can also investigate corruption complaints against chairpersons, members, officers and directors of any board, corporation, society, trust or autonomous body either established by an Act of Parliament or wholly or partly funded by the Union or State government ; it also covers any society or trust or body that receives foreign contribution above Rs 10 lakh.Under the Act, the Inquiry Wing will have to complete its preliminary inquiry and submit a report to the Lokpal within 60 days. The Lokpal bench then shall consider the preliminary inquiry report and, after giving an opportunity to the public servant accused of corruption for his defence, decide whether it should proceed with the investigation. A bench of at least three members will consider the report and may grant sanction to the Prosecution Wing to proceed against the public servant based on the agency’s chargesheet.Sources said that Lokpal benches have not been formally constituted. Currently, besides the chairperson, former Chief Justices of different High Courts — Justices Dilip B Bhosale, Pradip Kumar Mohanty, Abhilasha Kumari and Ajay Kumar Tripathi — are judicial members. Former Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) chief Archana Ramasundaram, former Maharashtra Chief Secretary Dinesh Kumar Jain, former IRS officer Mahender Singh and Gujarat cadre ex-IAS officer Indrajeet Prasad Gautam are non-judicial members. Written by Kaunain Sheriff M | New Delhi | Updated: July 3, 2019 6:58:42 am Sources told The Indian Express that the format for receiving a complaint, the basic prerequisite, has been sent to the government by the Lokpal, headed by Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose, to be notified as per the requirement under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013. The government, sources said, is yet to respond to the Lokpal on notifying the format.Sources said the format for receiving the complaint has been sent to government in accordance with Section 2 (1) (e) of the Lokpal Act which states that a complaint has to be “made in such form as may be prescribed”, alleging that a public servant has committed an offence punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.“When a complaint is received, the Inquiry Wing of the Lokpal ordinarily may order a preliminary inquiry. Also, if there is a prima facie case, the Lokpal can refer for an investigation by a probe agency like the CBI. Currently, the Lokpal is only examining complaints. And those which are not under the ambit of Lokpal Act are being disposed. Only once the format of the complaint is notified, other processes can begin as per law,” sources said. Related News 1 Comment(s)last_img read more

Republicans in US Congress push back on Trump weapons packages to Saudi

first_imgBy Reuters |Washington | Published: June 13, 2019 10:30:41 am Companies that would benefit include Raytheon Co precision-guided munitions (PGMs), support for Boeing Co F-15 aircraft, and Javelin anti-tank missiles, which are made by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin Corp. Virat Kohli won’t have a say in choosing new coach Taking stock of monsoon rain Unbowed, Trump intensifies attacks on four Democratic congresswomen Kulbhushan Jadhav ‘guilty of crimes’, will proceed further as per law: Imran Khan Members of Congress had been blocking sales of military equipment to Saudi Arabia and the UAE for months, angry about the deaths of civilians in their air campaign in Yemen, as well as human rights abuses such as the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate in Turkey last year.The Trump administration is pressing Riyadh to show “tangible progress” toward holding to account those behind Khashoggi’s killing, a senior administration official said on Tuesday.The ranking Republican on the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committee, Michael McCaul, said at a hearing on Wednesday that he supports “the efforts of Saudi Arabia to defend themselves against Iran,” but “the recent use of this emergency authority, in my judgment, was unfortunate.” Cooper said that some of the weapons have already been sent to the customer since the emergency declaration and before Wednesday’s hearing. “Anything that’s what’s called ‘off the shelf’ then it’s already moving” to customers, Cooper said. But Cooper said “there was nothing new in these 22 sales,” indicating that the packages had been previously notified to Congress, but did not progress through the established channels for weapons sales notifications.US Senators have drafted 22 “resolutions of disapproval.” The resolutions are intended to “protect and reaffirm Congress’ role of approving arms sales to foreign governments.” Advertising More Explained Another Republican, Representative Ann Wagner, asked for a better understanding of the administration’s move to sidestep congressional oversight given Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses.Citing an Iran-related emergency, the Trump administration told congressional committees on May 24 that it would go ahead with 22 military deals worth $8.1 billion to Saudi Arabia, UAE and Jordan, circumventing a long-standing precedent for lawmakers to review major weapons sales.Strains between Washington and Tehran have increased in recent weeks, a year after Trump, a Republican, abandoned a 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and world powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.Trump’s administration announced that it was sending 1,500 additional troops to the Middle East, which it described as an effort to bolster defences against what it sees as a threat of potential attack by Iran. Advertising Hold the applause until Hafiz Saeed is convicted: US committee to Donald Trump Advertising donald trump, us congress,republicans, us-iran conflict, us defence deal, saudi arabia, uae, iran, united states, world news, indian express Trump’s administration announced that it was sending 1,500 additional troops to the Middle East, which it described as an effort to bolster defences against what it sees as a threat of potential attack by Iran. (REUTERS)US Republican members of Congress pushed back on Wednesday against President Donald Trump’s plan to sell $8 billion in weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, saying it was “unfortunate” the administration used an emergency declaration to avoid Congressional review. Related News 0 Comment(s) US House rejects Saudi weapons sales; Trump to veto Best Of Express LiveKarnataka floor test: Will Kumaraswamy’s 14-month-old govt survive? Iran has warned against any military aggression. “Iran will never initiate a war but will give a crushing response to any aggression,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday.In a memorandum justifying the emergency declaration, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “Iranian malign activity poses a fundamental threat to the stability of the Middle East and to American security at home and abroad.”Democrats on the committee called the emergency declaration phony. Defending the administration’s position at Wednesday’s hearing, assistant secretary of state for Political-military affairs Clarke Cooper said, “This is an emergency, this is a one-time event.”However, Cooper later said a “one time event is conditions-based,” and that this was the fifth time in history that such an emergency was used to push through the sale of weapons.last_img read more

Call on Sidhus resignation today says Punjab CM Amarinder Singh

first_img Best Of Express Out in the cold, Sidhu says have quit Punjab ministry By Express News Service |Chandigarh/new Delhi | Published: July 17, 2019 12:18:52 pm ‘Truth, justice have prevailed’: PM Modi on Kulbhushan Jadhav verdict Post Comment(s) Call on Sidhu’s resignation today, said Punjab CM Amarinder Singh “At the moment, I do not even have a power minister,” Singh quipped, in an apparent reference to Sidhu’s resignation. (File Photo)Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Tuesday said he will decide on Navjot Singh Sidhu’s resignation from Punjab Cabinet Wednesday after going through the contents of his letter. Advertising “I will decide on his resignation only tomorrow, after I return to Chandigarh. I will have to look into the contents of the resignation letter before taking a decision,” he told PTI.Sidhu had on Sunday made public a June 10 letter he had sent to the AICC president resigning from the Punjab cabinet. On Monday, he took to social media to inform that he has sent his resignation to the chief minister and that it has been delivered.The former cricketer resigned from the cabinet following a long stalemate with the CM, who in a Cabinet rejig on June 6 had stripped him of local government and tourism portfolios while giving him power department. Sidhu, however, did not assume charge of the new department. If Sidhu doesn’t want to do his job, there’s nothing I can do about it: Amarinder center_img In his fight with Punjab CM Amarinder Singh, no Congress voice in Sidhu support Related News The Chief Minister has been personally monitoring the Power department functioning on a day to day basis, in view of the ongoing Paddy season, which requires continuous Power. The state has been witnessing unprecedented peak demand of Power in view of the erratic monsoon, leading to shortfall in rains in some areas.In response to another question, the Chief Minister said he had never had any problems working with the Centre. Cordial relations between the central and state governments were important in a federal structure, and he had no issues dealing with any government at the Centre in the interest of Punjab, he added.Amarinder also held a meeting with party MPs from Punjab in the central hall of Parliament. “Met the Congress MPs from Punjab in the Parliament today. Happy to see they are consistently raising issues of importance that concern Punjab and Punjabis,” he tweeted.All Punjab MPs — Preneet Kaur, Manish Tewari, Gurjeet Singh Aujla, Jasbir Singh Gill, Santokh Singh Chaudhary, Mohammad Sadique and Amar Singh were present so was AICC in-charge for the party’s state unit Asha Kumari. Meanwhile, asked if Punjab was setting up atomic energy units in Bathinda and Ropar power plants, Amarinder said he was yet to receive any proposal from the central government.“Talks on the subject of using atomic energy for power production had been going on for a long time but there is nothing concrete yet on the table,” he said after meeting Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan in Delhi.“At the moment, I do not even have a power minister,” Singh quipped, in an apparent reference to Sidhu’s resignation.Amamrinder has been personally monitoring the power department’s functioning on a day to day basis, in view of the ongoing paddy season, which requires continuous power. The state has been witnessing unprecedented peak demand of power in view of the erratic monsoon, leading to shortfall in rains in some areas. After Masood Azhar blacklisting, ICJ verdict in Kulbhushan case isolates Pakistan Jharkhand court drops ‘donate Quran’ condition for bail to Ranchi woman over offensive post Advertisinglast_img read more

Moving DNA to a different part of the nucleus can change how

first_img Moving DNA to a different part of the nucleus can change how it works By Elizabeth PennisiOct. 11, 2018 , 11:00 AM Though the 3 meters of DNA inside the nuclei of our cells looks like a jumbled pile of spaghetti, the genome is, in fact, pretty well organized. Now, scientists have discovered—using a modified version of the gene-editing tool CRISPR—that the location of DNA, not just the order of its base pairs, can make a critical difference in how certain parts of the genome work.The nucleus is dynamic, with everything—the chromosomes, the nucleolus, and so on—swirling around seemingly randomly. But in the past decade, researchers have realized that DNA on chromosomes inside can reposition itself in specific ways, ways that may alter the activity of the genes being moved. But, until now, they had no good way of proving that hypothesis.Enter CRISPR: Bioengineers have retooled the gene-editing technique to move specific stretches of DNA from one place to another inside the nucleus itself, they report today in Cell. First, they attach the DNA to a protein that, when prompted by the plant hormone abscisic acid, selectively links up with another protein found only in the target location. The second protein then “snags” the attached DNA, holding it fast in the desired spot. Removing the abscisic acid loosens the connection, freeing the DNA. 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 (*) Researchers demonstrated that the technique worked by shifting several gene pairs from central locations (above right) to the edge of the nucleus (above left). They also used the technique to move stretches of DNA known as telomeres—the tips of chromosomes implicated in aging. When they moved the telomeres to the inner edge of the nucleus, the cell grew much more slowly, if at all. But when they put telomeres close to cajal bodies, aggregations of proteins and genetic material that process RNA, the cell perked up: It grew faster and divided sooner than usual. Thus, the researchers conclude, the positioning of the telomeres is very important to keeping a cell healthy and productive.Other researchers say they are impressed with the new CRISPR-GO technique. (GO stands for “genome organization.”) That’s because it opens up a whole new way of altering the organization of the genome, which could pave the way toward a better understanding how the nucleus works and possibly lead to finer control over gene activity to slow aging or prevent disease. H. Wang et al., Cell 10.1016 (2018) last_img read more

Watch these wooden sponges wick up spilled oil

first_img By Katherine KorneiOct. 29, 2018 , 1:15 PM Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) These sponges are promising for cleaning up a real oil spill in the ocean, say researchers, though they still need to test their technology at scale. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Emailcenter_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Oil spills are messy and harmful to local ecosystems—just ask anyone on the Louisiana coast. So far, there’s no foolproof way to clean them up, and some methods—like burning the oil—can result in even more pollution. Now, researchers have come up with a potential solution: reusable, oil-wicking sponges made of wood that can absorb more than 40 times their weight in oil.To make the sponges, scientists started with balsa wood, a low-density material often used in model airplanes. The researchers used chemicals to break down the wood’s cell walls and remove the polymers, lignin and hemicellulose, that make it rigid and strong. The resulting highly porous “scaffold” had a density just one-third that of balsa wood. The researchers then topped the scaffold with a coating that repelled water but readily absorbed oil.The team tested its sponges on a variety of oils—such as motor oil and the industrial solvent dichloromethane—dispersed in water. The sponges wicked up between 16 and 41 times their weight in oil and could be used as a filter to continuously remove oil from a solution (video above). What’s more, the sponges could be reused more than 10 times after they’ve been wrung out, the researchers report this month in ACS Nano. Watch these wooden sponges wick up spilled oillast_img read more

Chinas economy growth cools further amid US tariff war

first_img ASEAN leaders call for restraint amid sea row, US-China rift Trump’s trip to Asia: Diplomacy with an exclamation point ‘Truth, justice have prevailed’: PM Modi on Kulbhushan Jadhav verdict Salve hails verdict, says ICJ protected Jadhav from being executed Jharkhand court drops ‘donate Quran’ condition for bail to Ranchi woman over offensive post The economy faces a “complex environment both at home and abroad,” the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement.Weaker Chinese activity has global repercussions. This country is the biggest export customer for its Asian neighbours and a major market for global suppliers of food, mobile phones, industrial technology and consumer goods.Growth in retail sales slowed to 8.4% in the first half of 2019, down 0.1 percentage points from the first quarter, the government reported. Growth in factory output decelerated to 6% in the first half, down 0.1 percentage points from the first quarter.Auto sales, reported earlier, fell 7.8% in June, extending a yearlong contraction in the industry’s biggest market. Chinese exports to the United States fell 7.8% in June from a year, depressed by Trump’s penalty tariff hikes. Related News US blacklists 5 Chinese groups working in supercomputing The world’s second-largest economy grew 6.2% over a year ago in the three months ending in June, down from the previous quarter’s 6.4%, government data showed Monday. That was the lowest level since the first quarter of 2009 in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.“The trade war is having a huge impact on the Chinese economy,” said Edward Moya of OANDA in a report. “As trade negotiations struggle for meaningful progress, we are probably not near the bottom for China’s economy.”Chinese leaders have stepped up spending and bank lending to shore up growth and avert politically dangerous job losses. But they face an avalanche of unexpectedly bad news including plunging auto sales as they fight with President Donald Trump over Beijing’s technology ambitions.center_img By AP |Beijing | Published: July 15, 2019 9:30:44 am The fight between Beijing and Washington, the two biggest global traders, has disrupted sales of goods from soybeans to medical equipment, battering exporters on both sides and rattling financial markets.Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed last month to resume negotiations. But economists warn the truce is fragile because the two sides face the same array of disagreements that caused talks to break down in May.Beijing is pumping money into the economy through higher spending on building highways and other public works. That has shored up growth but set back efforts to reduce reliance on investment, which has pushed debt to levels that prompted credit rating agencies to cut China’s credit rating.Investment in factories, real estate and other fixed assets rose 5.8% in the first half of the year, up 0.2 percentage points from the first five months, according to the NBS.Credit growth has accelerated to dangerously high levels, according to Iris Pang of ING. She said that suggests the economy “would be deteriorating” without stimulus.“This worries us,” she said in a report Friday. Best Of Express Advertising Advertising china, beijing, us-china relations, us tariff war, washington, united states, donald trump, xi jinping, world news, indian express Chinese leaders have stepped up spending and bank lending to shore up growth and avert politically dangerous job losses.China’s economic growth slowed to its lowest level in a decade in the latest quarter, adding to pressure on Chinese leaders as they fight a tariff war with Washington. Post Comment(s)last_img read more

Facebook Under Fire for Bizarre Child Predator Survey Question

first_imgFacebook has come under fire after posing a survey question on how it should deal with predatory sexual behavior against children over the weekend.And asked this … and I’m like, er wait it making it secret the best Facebook can offer here? Not, y’know, calling the police? pic.twitter.com/t2UZuKalfk— Jonathan Haynes (@JonathanHaynes) March 4, 2018Survey participants were asked whether sexual predators should be allowed to request photographic images from 14-year-old girls online. Further, users were queried about how Facebook should handle such a request if it learned about it.The survey also asked whether the site should better manage content involving extremist behavior and whether cultural norms should be taken into account. After Jonathan Haynes, digital editor at The Guardian, tweeted how “out of touch” he thought Facebook was in connection with the survey, Guy Rosen, vice president of product at Facebook, issued a response.We run surveys to understand how the community thinks about how we set policies. But this kind of activity is and will always be completely unacceptable on FB. We regularly work with authorities if identified. It shouldn’t have been part of this survey. That was a mistake.— Guy Rosen (@guyro) March 4, 2018At its annual Global Safety Summit last week, Facebook addressed several key issues related to making sure the site offers a safe and protective environment for users to navigate.The summit included panel discussions on a variety of online safety topics that Facebook has had to grapple with over the years — including how to use of cutting-edge technology to combat exploitative and predatory behavior, how to keep children from overusing social media, and how to make Facebook more family-friendly.However, the survey question was unrelated to the event, according to Facebook. Safety issues repeatedly have come up for Facebook in recent years, as it has come under fire for how it deals with abusive and obscene material. How it works with government agencies to combat hate speech and calls for violence from extremists and terrorist organizations also has been a matter of controversy.Other problems include the use of Facebook Live to live-stream suicides and criminal behavior, and the ongoing use of the platform to spread fake news.A coalition of former Google and Facebook executives last month formed a group designed to combat the growing use of social media sites by young children, who increasingly have been engaging with them for so many hours a day that many parents have struggled to prevent them from becoming exposed to strangers.That has been exacerbated by social media sites specifically targeting children with apps for instant messaging and social media interactions.The latest Facebook episode is part of a wider problem that it has been dealing with as it has tried to gain control over all of the fake news that has been filtering through the site, observed Rick Edmonds, media business analyst at Poynter.Facebook has been playing a game of whack-a-mole, in essence, and as soon as one controversy begins to subside, another rears its head, he told TechNewsworld.”Here’s an analogy,” Edmonds said. “If I call up and threaten to kill you, I have committed a crime, but the phone company hasn’t. Facebook would like to be regarded the same way — or did until the events of the last few years.”Activities like threats of violence, sexual grooming of children and spreading fake news shine a spotlight on Facebook’s role as a publisher rather than a passive utility. Regaining Controlcenter_img Mea Culpa David Jones is a freelance writer based in Essex County, New Jersey. He has written for Reuters, Bloomberg, Crain’s New York Business and The New York Times.last_img read more

Working Towards a Sustainable Future for the NHS

first_imgInterview conducted by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Oct 12 2018 insights from industryJennifer LeeDirector of Market Access and AdvocacyJanssen UKAn interview with Jennifer Lee, Director of Market Access and Advocacy at Janssen UK, the pharmaceutical company of Johnson & Johnson, discussing the importance of innovation in the private sector and making new technologies available to the NHS. How are Janssen working to ensure the future of the NHS? Do you think the current system is sustainable?The current healthcare system is not sustainable, and I think most people would agree with that. You only need to look at the rising cost of healthcare globally and the aging population in the western world to understand that the current system isn’t sustainable long-term. Image Credit: sheff / ShutterstockTraditionally, companies like Janssen were seen only as suppliers of the healthcare system, but that’s starting to change. We’re seeing more and more joint working initiatives and partnerships between industry, academia, patient groups, and the clinical community.We’re interested in partnering with the NHS because they are our main customer, so if the NHS isn’t sustainable, we as a business are not sustainable – and this will prevent us from getting our medicines to the patients who need them.One of the ways we at Janssen are helping is by making sure our medicines fit into new models of care. We’re also trying to revolutionize the medicines we develop for the NHS.Traditionally, pharmaceutical companies looked to develop medicines that target the most severe stages of a disease, because it is easier to prove that the drug has a significant effect in these patients.We can no longer treat diseases when a patient becomes severely ill. It’s expensive and is the reason that the NHS can no longer afford to provide the same level of service as it once could. That’s why we’re now investing in drugs that act prophylactically. We need to start thinking about living with disease, rather than dying of it.Prophylaxis is not a new concept, just look at how long we’ve been vaccinating against infectious disease! We now need to take this approach with non-communicable diseases.The NHS is currently facing extreme economic hardship. What steps are Janssen taking to reduce this?For the NHS to become sustainable, we need to deliver healthcare in a completely different way. For us, this means moving away from just being a provider of pills and moving towards personalized care and prevention.Image Credit: Manop_Phimsit / ShutterstockBefore the human genome project, for example, all blockbuster drugs such as statin were developed to give to the entire eligible patient population.At Janssen, we are now looking to develop highly targeted, specific, personalized medicines that are much more sophisticated and used in a much smaller population of patients – to ultimately help improve outcomes.This is only part of the solution. The amount of data collated in the UK’s health system is enormous and we’re working on initiatives that will harness this data to provide key insights.For instance, by analyzing all of the interactions a patient has had with the healthcare system could allow doctors to tailor their treatment plan and decide which interventions to use based on other patients with a similar medical history.This could allow clinicians within the NHS to develop more of an understanding of which drugs work in which patients, based on their genotype and phenotype. It could also save money and allows the NHS to become more efficient. They would be paying for patient outcomes, rather than the treatment itself.We want our medicines to do what they say on the tin. We want the NHS to be able to identify cases where what we observe in clinical trials differs from real-life. It’s as simple as not charging the NHS if the treatment isn’t effective in the patient cohorts that it’s designed for.This is called an outcomes-based guarantee, and it’s already in place for some of our most well-established medicines. I think this is the main way that we can help loosen the economic burden on the NHS.When it comes to worldwide access to medication, there are a lot of disparities between different countries. What is the pharmaceutical industry doing to tackle this?Related StoriesSleep disorders in patients with low back pain linked to increased healthcare visits, costsGoing teetotal shown to improve women’s mental healthParticipation in local food projects may have positive effect on healthWe use a tiered pricing model which ensures that if you live in one of the poorest countries in the world and there’s a medicine available that you could benefit from and your country has the healthcare infrastructure to deliver that treatment, you will be given access to it.I can’t speak on behalf of other pharmaceutical companies, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we weren’t the only ones doing this. Our global pricing model is something that we are profoundly proud of, and something that is here to stay.Dr. Janssen was the founder of Janssen. How is the work that Janssen are doing today contributing to his legacy?Dr. Paul Janssen lived by the following words: “Patients are waiting”. I think that everyone working at Janssen believes in this. Patients are at the heart of everything we do and that’s his legacy.Dr. Janssen was a founding father in medicines for mental health, and he believed that those patients deserved treatments that work. Mental health disorders are notoriously difficult to treat, and yet we are still in this disease area because if it was important for Dr. Janssen, it’s important to us.Patients have always come first at Janssen – this ethos is reflected in the Johnson & Johnson Credo and is evidenced in our company each day.For every business decision we make, we ask, is this the right thing to be doing for our patients? If the answer is no, or I’m not sure, then there’s a much deeper discussion to be had. Over the next 100 years, how do you think patient care and the role of the clinician will change?I think everything will change. From the way that healthcare is delivered to the way we view health and disease in general, all of it will change.At the moment, the older population are most in need of healthcare resources. However, broadly speaking, they aren’t very comfortable with technology.This means we aren’t there yet with making technologies such as healthcare apps a part of the NHS, and we won’t be for a while. But, as the millennial generation grows up, their ability to use technology will allow a fundamental shift in the way we deliver care.The NHS will need to go beyond handing out pills to keep the population healthy and start moving towards technologies that can help you manage your overall health and wellbeing. This could be an app, or a wearable, for example.The way you think about it today will be fundamentally different to the way we will think about it 10 years, 20 years, 50 years and 70 years’ time.Clinicians are used to delivering medical care a certain way. They look for specific symptoms and treat the underlying condition whilst doing no harm. In the future, clinicians will need to develop a more holistic approach to care that takes into account the wellbeing of the patient from many different standpoints.This all contributes to the linking together of the health and social care systems by the UK government. It’s about caring for a patient throughout their entire life. The technology is already there in some ways, but there needs to be a cultural shift in clinicians, patients, all of us. This will be the biggest barrier but could also be the biggest enabler.A major step towards this will be patient empowerment. People are tracking the number of likes they get on pictures they upload to social media all the time. If they were given the technology to track their own health too, they would be more informed and more empowered to make lifestyle changes that will improve their overall health.We’re already seeing this with FitBits and health apps, so it’s already happening on some level.Patients who are informed and empowered have less interaction with the healthcare system. Treating patients who have multiple co-morbidities and who are incredibly ill is costly and often it is too late to reverse most of the damage. By monitoring the health of patients early on, physicians and patients themselves can intervene before it gets serious.I think the future has the potential to be really exciting for healthcare in the UK, however, I am concerned about the required cultural shift.We shouldn’t underestimate the significant changes that must take place – from how people think about themselves and their health to the shift needed in the health system, technology, and medicine – everything will eventually need to evolve.About Jennifer Lee“Having joined the company back in 2012, Jennifer Lee is the Director of Health Economics, Market Access, Reimbursement & Advocacy at Janssen UK, the pharmaceutical company of Johnson & Johnson. As part of her role, she has been working in partnership with healthcare systems, continually seeking to improve the way products are delivered in collaboration with regulators and governments.”last_img read more

Byproduct of berry juice production could lower cancer risk

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 7 2018Group of scientists at Kaunas University of Technology (KTU), Lithuania are investigating the possibilities of using berry pomace to increase the safety of meat products and, probably, to mitigate their negative effects on human health. According to the hypothesis raised by the scientists, phytochemicals, i.e. the biologically active natural compounds found in berries, might mitigate the negative impact of additives used in meat products as well as naturally forming hazardous compounds during their processing, thus lowering the risk of cancer.According to World Health Organization, consuming 50 g of processed meat a day (equivalent of two slices of bacon) increases the chance of developing colorectal cancer by 18%. WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies processed meat in the same category as tobacco smoking and asbestos (Group 1, carcinogenic to humans). Processed meat refers to meat that has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavor or to improve preservation.”Nitrites and nitrates, used in meat products for increasing its taste and shelf-life, in the process of digestion can become carcinogenic nitrosoamines. Another type of carcinogenic substances form when meat is heated at very high temperature”, says Professor Rimantas Venskutonis, Chief Researcher at Food Science and Technology Department, KTU, Lithuania.Research group lead by Prof Venskutonis are investigating the properties of phytochemicals derived from berry pomace in order to obtain preliminary information if their usage might be considered for counteracting the damaging effects of hazardous compounds in meat products. After several years of work on the subject, the scientists from different countries have collected great body of scientific evidence on the beneficial properties of bioactive ingredients found in berries – they are strong antioxidants, capable of subduing inflammatory processes in the organism, they can help diminish the risk of cardiovascular diseases and even destroy cancer cells.”There is sufficient scientific evidence, both from our research and from that of our colleagues in other institutions, that some of the active substances found in berries could inhibit the process of carcinogenic substances formation in meat during heating. Moreover, once these substances are present in human organism, they can activate certain defense mechanisms, detoxification systems and in such a way they might reduce the risk associated with the consumption of processed meat”, says Prof Venskutonis.The research project, which concentrates on the impact of berry-derived phytochemicals on meat products has two main goals. The first goal, according to Prof Venskutonis, is a technological one – to prove that substances, extracted from berry pomace can be used in meat products as natural additives. As some of them are strong antioxidants, have antimicrobial properties and other useful properties, these naturally active ingredients can be used for increasing shelf-life of meat products, and improving their colour and other quality characteristics. The second, and more complicated goal is to prove the actual benefits the phytochemicals have on human health. In order to step forward in this direction, the KTU researchers will collaborate with the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences.Related StoriesResearchers identify potential drug target for multiple cancer typesAdding immunotherapy after initial treatment improves survival in metastatic NSCLC patientsStudy: Nearly a quarter of low-risk thyroid cancer patients receive more treatment than necessaryAt the moment, the first stage of the project, the bio-refining process during which bio-chemically active products from berry pomace are being recovered, is completed.”We have scientific proof that berry-derived active substances can inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria and negative oxidation processes in meat products. Therefore, we can recommend using them instead of artificial additives in order to improve shelf-life and quality of meat products. However, in order to scientifically prove the potential health benefits of phytochemicals derived from berry pomace in diminishing the risk of cancer more research needs to be done. We will take the first step into this direction by undertaking the research with our colleagues from biomedical sciences and observing the impact phytochemicals have on cancer cells in vitro. This stage of the project will start shortly”, says Prof Venskutonis.Prof Venskutonis emphasizes that the research group is using green chemistry methods in the bio-refinery process, during which several types of products are extracted from berry pomace. First, lipophilic substances, or, simply, oil is extracted, then, using other solvents, polar substances containing most antioxidants are obtained, and finally, during enzyme assisted extraction dietary fiber-rich ingredients are being made. In the process only food and environmentally friendly solvents such as water and ethanol, and methods such as supercritical carbon dioxide extraction are being used.”We are working with zero waste concept in mind – in our research we are using berry pomace which is a by-product of juice production usually discarded as waste. The bio-refining technology developed by us allows to process berry pomace without any losses: their seed oil is of high value because it is rich in vitamin E, polyunsaturated fatty acids and other valuable compounds, while the beneficial effects of natural antioxidants and dietary fiber on human health is proved by many studies. Many of these functional ingredients can be used in food, cosmetics and even pharmaceutic industry”, says Prof Venskutonis.In the research the pomace of most locally growing berries are being used. Some of them, such as raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, black chokeberries are more common, and some, such as snowball tree berries – less widely consumed and therefore under-investigated. Source:https://en.ktu.edu/news/berry-juice-processing-by-products-could-reduce-the-risk-of-cancer/last_img read more

Air pollutants trigger allergic cough in urban Indian population

first_imgInfections, both viral and bacterial, can lead to complications in people with underlying health conditions such as lung or kidney disease, heart failure, chronic obstructive lung disease or asthma, so a visit to a doctor is a must if high fever lasts for more than two days.Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said: Dec 27 2018It is imperative to take precautionary measures right before the winter season starts Living in India and inhaling lungful of polluted air every day is like being a chronic smoker according to a recent report by India’s State-Level Disease Burden Initiative. This partly explains why many people in urban India have a persistent dry and hacking cough even if they don’t have asthma or have never smoked.Allergic cough is more common in the winter months when drop in temperature prevents air pollutants and allergens from dissipating, trapping them close to the ground in toxic concentrations to trigger asthma, allergic rhinitis, and other allergic disorders. Sudden change in temperature and cold, dry air also makes airways constrict, triggering bouts of annoying coughing that does not constrict breathing, like asthma.Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said: Some tips from HCFI· Wash your hands frequently, especially after you’ve been in a public place.· Always sneeze into the arm of your shirt or in a tissue. Although this may not ease your own symptoms, it will prevent you from spreading infectious diseases.· Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes and mouth, to prevent introducing germs into your system.Source: health-reporters-forum@googlegroups.com Some triggers for the allergic cough that a majority of the urban population in cities such as Delhi is experiencing is air pollutants such as ozone and nitrogen dioxide. The other factors include road and construction dust, pollen, smoke, damp, chalk dust to sudden change in temperature. Dryness and itchiness in the throat can last from weeks to months and vary in intensity. Some other seasonal allergies include runny nose, bouts of sneezing, watery and itchy eyes, and dark circles under the eyes. These dark circles, called allergic shiners, are caused by the pooling of blood under the eyes because of swollen tissue in the nasal cavities. Allergic cough usually becomes intense at night.” With many viruses, there are no known treatments. Your doctor may prescribe medications to manage your symptoms while monitoring your condition. If your doctor suspects a bacterial infection, they may prescribe antibiotics. Getting the MMR and pertussis vaccine can substantially lower your risk of getting a respiratory infection. Other than that, one should also practice good hygiene.”last_img read more