July 2019

first_imgMay 9 2018WHAT:Early during the recent Ebola epidemic in West Africa, scientists speculated that the genetic diversity of the circulating Makona strain of virus (EBOV-Makona) would result in more severe disease and more transmissibility than prior strains. However, using two different animal models, National Institutes of Health scientists have determined that certain mutations stabilized early during the epidemic and did not alter Ebola disease presentation or outcome. Their work, published in Cell Reports, offers further evidence to support previous findings from molecular sequencing that the diversity of EBOV-Makona did not significantly impact the course of disease.Related StoriesResearch sheds light on how hepatitis B virus establishes chronic infectionResearchers compare American, Pacific and Southeast Asian subtypes of Zika virusScientists discover weakness in common cold virusEBOV-Makona swept through Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone from late 2013 to early 2016. Scientists from NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) compared EBOV-Makona isolates from early in the outbreak–March 2014–to isolates circulating between five and nine months later, when certain mutations had emerged in the viral surface glycoprotein and elsewhere. They then infected mice and rhesus macaques with these various virus isolates to assess disease progression and viral shedding.”We were unable to find any significant differences between early and late isolates lacking or carrying those mutations, suggesting that these mutations do not lead to alterations in the disease-causing ability in animal models,” the authors write.They also compared their results from the EBOV-Makona isolates to findings from macaques infected with the original EBOV-Mayinga strain from 1976. They determined that EBOV-Makona is less virulent than EBOV-Mayinga.No convincing finding has been published showing that EBOV-Makona bears unusual biological features explaining increased pathogenicity or transmissibility, the authors write. The NIAID group suggests intensifying studies on non-viral factors that may explain increased case numbers and fatalities. Examples include population mobility, available health care, and virus persistence in survivors–all which may affect outbreak dynamics.ARTICLE:A Marzi et al. Recently identified mutations in the Ebola virus-Makona genome do not alter pathogenicity in animal models. Cell Reports DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.04.027 (2018).WHO:Heinz Feldmann, M.D., Ph.D., chief of NIAID’s Laboratory of Virology, and Andrea Marzi, Ph.D., staff scientist, are available to comment on this study. Source:https://www.niaid.nih.gov/news-events/despite-mutations-makona-ebola-virus-disease-consistent-mice-monkeyslast_img read more

first_img Source:https://carnegiescience.edu/news/new-tool-female-reproductive-genetics May 29 2018The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is a powerful model organism for studying animal and human development and disease. It is low cost, generates rapidly, and there are many tools to genetically modify its cells. One tool is called the Gal4/UAS two-component activation system. It is a biochemical method used to study the process of turning a gene on (gene expression) and gene function. Although it has been a mainstay of Drosophila genetics for twenty-five years, it only functions effectively in non-reproductive cells, not in egg-producing cells. It has not been known why. Now, Carnegie’s Steven DeLuca and Allan Spradling have discovered why and the have developed a new tool that can work in both cell types. The research is published in the June 2018 Genetics.The Gal4 gene is a transcription factor. Transcription factors encode proteins that turn genes on. The Gal4 protein recognizes a so-called upstream activator sequence (UAS), which can induce the expression of a gene of interest. A special version of the UAS was made at the Department of Embryology in 1998, called UASp, to work during egg-cell development. But the fact that different tools are needed for non-reproductive cells and egg-forming cells has been a major limitation.The original pUASt vector–a molecule that ferries foreign genetic material into another cell–contains a promotor called Hsp70. As the name suggests, promotors are bits of DNA that initiate or promote gene transcription. Researchers have developed several varieties to improve its expression. Hsp70 is a member of a family of proteins with similar structures in most all living organisms and are an important for protein folding and for protecting cells from stress. The mechanisms of protein folding are vital to life and to understanding diseases.The variations of UAS, however, did not correct the major problem of poor genetic activity in the female egg-producing system compared with non-reproductive tissues. The main stumbling block to obtaining a widely effective GAL4 vector has been the lack of understanding why UASt functions poorly in egg-producing cells and the lack of research comparing UASp and UASt promoters.Related StoriesStudy confirms role of genetics in determining menopause age and familial longevityIDT unveils latest additions to NGS portfolio at European Human Genetics ConferenceLiver fat biomarker levels linked with metabolic health benefits of exercise, study findsDeLuca and Spradling studied the differences between the UASp and UASt promoters. Their research agreed with previous reports that UASt worked better than UASp in all non-reproductive tissues while UASp worked better in the female egg-producing system.They also looked at the reason for the extremely weak UASt expression in the female reproductive system. The evidence indicated that non-coding RNA molecules (called piRNA ) orchestrated the silencing that limited UASt expression.They then looked at where these UASt-piRNAs originated by testing to see if Hsp70 piRNAs were responsible for silencing. Their results strongly indicated that UASt is normally silenced by Hsp70 piRNAs and that UASt is better than UASp in cells lacking Hsp70 piRNAs.”We next attempted to create a new version of the UAS expression vector that works well in both the non-reproductive cells and the egg-producing system, “remarked DeLuca. “We hypothesized that Hsp70 piRNAs might recognize UASt RNA to initiate piRNA silencing. To prevent Hsp70 piRNAs from recognizing UASt RNA, we trimmed down the UASt vector’s nucleotides–the basic units of DNA and RNA–to be shorter than a single piRNA. We went from 213 nucleotides to 19 nucleotides. We named this shortened variant ‘UASz,’because we hoped it would be the last one anyone would make!”The scientists found that UASz was expressed about 4 times higher than UASp at all stages in the egg-producing system.Spradling remarked, “UASz is a superior expression vector over UASp in all tissues, and it is equivalent to UASt in many, but not all, non-reproductive tissues. It is an unequivocal upgrade for all applications. This is a major hurdle overcome for reproductive studies. We hope it will unlock the floodgates of research in this area and others.”last_img read more

first_imgAug 24 2018Through a study of roundworm nerve cells with severed axons, researchers at Nagoya University showed that a signaling cascade that normally functions in promoting the phagocytosis of apoptotic cells also acts in inducing axon regeneration. The findings shed light on a fundamental feature of nerve repair, which is limited in the central nervous system in humans, and thus could pave the way towards treatments for brain and spinal cord injuries.Researchers at Nagoya University have identified the series of molecules involved in the regeneration of damaged nerves in roundworm, showing that it largely overlaps with the signals used by the intrinsic removal system to take up and process dying cells.The branches of nerve cells called axons are particularly susceptible to damage due to the long distances they extend to communicate with each other. In humans,such damage in peripheral regions of the body can be relatively well repaired,but this repair is less effective in the brain and the spinal cord,which helps to explain why conditions such as brain and spinal cord injuries are so debilitating.In a new paper published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers at Nagoya University have made a major advancement in characterizing how axons regenerate by studying the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans,a species that is widely used in biological research and has a very well-characterized nervous system. Specifically, they have shown that axon repair occurs using largely the same set of molecules that mediate the recognition and engulfment of apoptotic(dying)cells by the surrounding cells. The result suggests that this system has been co-opted for an additional purpose over the course of evolution.The team used a laser to cut roundworm axons and then analyzed the subsequent series of molecular reactions that occurred. They found that this damage resulted in the movement of a lipid called phosphatidylserine(PS)from the inside of cells to their outside,which was mediated by a protein called an ABC transporter. This externalized PS was then recognized by another molecule,triggering a series of reactions that eventually led to repair of the axon. Interestingly,PS is better known as an”eat me”signal that helps the phagocytosis of a dying cell by its neighbors.Related StoriesNeurons rely on their own electrical signals to keep track of normal functionsStudy finds checkpoint stimulator to be safe, reliable alternative to laryngeal electromyographyNerve transfer surgery restores upper limb function in people with tetraplegia”We were able to dissect the complex range of molecules involved in axon repair by using fluorescent labels in and around the severed axon and knocking down the individual components suspected of being involved,”says corresponding author Kunihiro Matsumoto.”Although many of these molecules are also active in promoting phagocytosis of apoptotic cells,in axon repair that creates a’save me’signal rather than an’eat me’one,which enables the axons to regenerate.”The team explains that for the repair of damaged nerves,the PS labeling appears only at the severed sites and exists for only a short time(~1 hr),which is in contrast to the labeling in eliminating dying cells that remains for a long time until the cells are eliminated. The researchers now guess that this difference in signal timing may be one way for the cells to distinguish the meaning of the PS signal -‘eat me’vs.’save me.’According to Naoki Hisamoto,”Now that we know how this system works in the relatively simple roundworm,we should eventually be able to extrapolate the findings to humans. This could provide us with a range of targets for pharmaceutical interventions to treat conditions like brain and spinal cord injuries,in which the human body is not able to repair damaged nerves.”Source: http://en.nagoya-u.ac.jp/research/activities/news/2018/08/signaling-cascade-that-repairs-damaged-nerve-cells-characterized.htmllast_img read more

Humans produced nearly 300 million tons of plastic in 2012, but where does it end up? A new study has found plastic debris in a surprising location: trapped in Arctic sea ice. As the ice melts, it could release a flood of floating plastic onto the world.Scientists already knew that microplastics—polymer beads, fibers, or fragments less than 5 millimeters long—can wind up in the ocean, near coastlines, or in swirling eddies such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. But Rachel Obbard, a materials scientist at Dartmouth College, was shocked to find that currents had carried the stuff to the Arctic.In a study published online this month in Earth’s Future, Obbard and her colleagues argue that, as Arctic ice freezes, it traps floating microplastics—resulting in abundances of hundreds of particles per cubic meter. That’s three orders of magnitude larger than some counts of plastic particles in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. “It was such a surprise to me to find them in such a remote region,” she says. “These particles have come a long way.” Click to view the privacy policy. 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Country The potential ecological hazards of microplastics are still unknown. But the ice trap could help solve a mystery: Industrial plastic production has increased markedly in the last half-century, reaching 288 million tonnes in 2012, according to Plastics Europe, an industry association. But ecologists have not been able to account for the final disposition of much of it. The paper shows that sea ice could be an important sink—albeit one that is melting, says Kara Lavender Law, an oceanographer at the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, who was not part of the study. “There could be freely floating plastics, in short order.” The authors estimate that, under current melting trends, more than 1 trillion pieces of plastic could be released in the next decade.Obbard and her colleagues based their counts on four ice cores gathered during Arctic expeditions in 2005 and 2010. The researchers melted parts of the cores, filtered the water, and put the sediments under a microscope, selecting particles that stood out because of their shape or bright color. The particles’ chemistry was then determined by an infrared spectrometer. Most prevalent among the particles was rayon (54%), technically not a synthetic polymer because it is derived from natural cellulose. The researchers also found polyester (21%), nylon (16%), polypropylene (3%), and 2% each of polystyrene, acrylic, and polyethylene. Co-author Richard Thompson, a marine biologist at the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom, says it’s difficult to pinpoint the source of these materials. Rayon, for instance, can be found in clothing, cigarette filters, and diapers.Abundances are likely to grow as scientists learn to sift more finely. Law points out that microplastic estimates for the Great Pacific Garbage Patch are based on phytoplankton nets that catch only particles bigger than 333 microns. Obbard, who used a much smaller 0.22 micron filter, says she still probably missed many particles herself; searching by eye, she easily could have missed brownish or clear plastic particles that were masquerading as sand grains.What is the consequence of all this plastic floating around? At this point, it is hard to say. Plastic is chemically inert. But the plastic can absorb organic pollutants in high concentrations, says Mark Browne, an ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Browne has performed laboratory experiments with marine organisms showing not only how the microplastics can be retained in tissues, but also how pollutants might be released upon ingestion. “We’re starting to worry a bit more,” he says. read more

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 Email Shocking its partners, Germany has withdrawn from an international collaboration to build the €2 billion Square Kilometre Array (SKA), the world’s biggest radio telescope. Germany’s federal science ministry has informed the U.K.-based SKA Organisation that it intends to end its participation at the end of June 2015. “It came out of the blue. We were not expecting Germany to be withdrawing,” says SKA Director General Philip Diamond.SKA will create a single huge telescope from thousands of individual dishes and antennas across southern Africa and Australia with the aim of testing relativity, studying galactic evolution, and peering back to the era of the very first stars and galaxies. Construction could begin as early as 2017. Twenty countries are supporting the design effort with more than €120 million; according to a statement from the SKA Organisation, Germany’s contribution so far has been small—just €3.8 million—so its withdrawal will not be a huge blow to the project. But the impact on Germany’s astronomy community will be “catastrophic” if the nation doesn’t reconsider, asserts Michael Kramer, director of the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn.Although Germany hadn’t ponied up much cash, financial priorities appear to be the reason for its withdrawal. “SKA Organisation regrets this decision, and understands it is driven by difficult national financial circumstances around the funding of large research infrastructures in Germany and Europe,” the SKA statement said. Germany did not spell out the cause of the financial pressure, but the country is in the process of building two large international facilities on its territory: the European XFEL x-ray laser facility and FAIR, an accelerator center for nuclear physics. According to the SKA Organisation, German institutions, scientists, and companies will continue to participate in the design working groups, but German companies will not be able to bid for construction contracts, and German scientists will have limited opportunities to use the telescope.Kramer says that he is training many young scientists with ambitions to work on SKA. “It will be a real shame if they are not able to exploit it,” he says. “We need to be clear to our partners that this is not a decision reflecting on the science or quality of the SKA project,” says Kramer, who adds that the government decided to withdraw without consulting the astronomy community. A government representative was not available for comment because today is a holiday in Germany.Bernie Fanaroff, director of South Africa’s SKA effort, told the country’s Mail & Guardian newspaper today: “I don’t think we should write off Germany in the long run.” Kramer hopes that’s the case. “SKA will be a fundamental part of exploring the cosmos,” he says. “I want Germany to be part of it.” 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 read more

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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 The current generation of experiments aims to detect WIMPs as they crash into atomic nuclei in ultrasensitive detectors deep underground, where they’re shielded from ordinary radiation. The next generation, to run later in the decade, would be bigger, more sensitive, and more costly. But in 2012, DOE officials estimated that they had only $29 million to spend on second-generation dark matter searches—roughly the amount that either of the two leading teams needed for its planned upgrade.LZ would be a much bigger version of an experiment called the Large Underground Xenon dark matter experiment, or LUX, now running 1480 meters down in the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, South Dakota. It would consist of a tank of 7 tonnes of frigid liquid xenon, which would emit telltale flashes of light when a WIMP strikes a nucleus. In contrast, SuperCDMS would be a larger version of the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search II (CDMS-II), which used hockey puck–sized disks of solid germanium to detect WIMPs through heat and electrical signals and ran in the Soudan Underground Laboratory in Minnesota. SuperCDMS will run in the deeper SNOLAB in Sudbury, Canada.LZ will cost about $55 million, although roughly $20 million would come from foreign partners and the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority. Harry Nelson, a physicist at the University of California (UC), Santa Barbara, and spokesman for the LZ team, says “my jaw hit the floor” when officials from both agencies told him that “they intend to fully fund us.”In contrast, researchers with SuperCDMS didn’t get everything they had wanted. Physicists had hoped to build a detector capable of containing 400 kilograms of germanium and outfitted with an initial 110 kilograms for a cost of $32 million, $3 million of which would come from the government of Canada. Instead, they will start with a full-sized rig, but only 50 kilograms of germanium. And whereas LZ will continue to search for WIMPs weighing several hundred times as much as a proton—as many theorists expect they should—SuperCDMS researchers will narrow their focus to much lighter WIMPs only a few times the weight of a proton. Nevertheless, Cabrera is upbeat. “I think we need a broad approach, and I am perfectly happy to embrace this low-mass region,” he says.In an article in the DOE particle physics publication Symmetry, the two agencies said they will also fund the relatively inexpensive Axion Dark Matter Experiment (ADMX) at the University of Washington, Seattle. ADMX stalks a different type of dark matter particle entirely, the axion, which would be far lighter than WIMPs and could be converted into a photon in a magnetic field.The news was not as good for two other WIMP searches, however. DOE and NSF declined to fund further development of PICO, an experiment at SNOLAB that uses a device called a bubble chamber to track nuclei recoiling from a WIMP collision, and DarkSide, a detector in Italy’s subterranean Gran Sasso National Laboratory that is filled with liquid argon. Researchers who spoke to ScienceInsider say they expect the two agencies to continue funding research on those technologies, however.Federal officials are not saying where the extra money will come from, although a recently released road map for U.S. particle physics by the community calls for increased funding for dark matter searches. UC Santa Barbara’s Nelson says he believes the agencies plan to roughly double their previous investment of $29 million for the next generation of dark matter searches. However, James Whitmore, an NSF program director for particle physics, declined to provide any funding details, and James Siegrist, DOE’s associate director for high-energy physics, did not respond to a request for comment.Researchers also say they’re not counting their chickens just yet. They are worried that the green light will turn yellow if Congress extends current funding levels for all agencies because of its failure to pass a 2015 budget by the start of the fiscal year on 1 October.*Correction, 21 July, 2:34 p.m.: The story has been changed to more accurately explain the original SuperCDMS proposal. For a change, U.S. particle physicists are savoring some good news about government funding. The Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced on Friday that they will try to fund two major experiments to detect particles of the mysterious dark matter whose gravity binds the galaxies instead of just one. The decision allays fears that the funding agencies could afford only one experiment to continue the search for so-called weakly interacting massive particles, or WIMPs. It also averts having to choose between the two leading WIMP-search teams in the United States.”We have the opportunity right now for the U.S. experiments to push further in sensitivity and possibly make a discovery,” says Richard Gaitskell, a physicist at Brown University and a member of the team developing a WIMP detector called LZ, one of the two leading projects. “There’s a real commitment from the community and the funding agencies.” Blas Cabrera, a physicist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, and spokesman for the rival SuperCDMS experiment, says that having to pick only one team “would have been a grave mistake.”For decades, astronomers and astrophysicists have reasoned that some sort of otherwise unobservable dark matter provides most of the gravity that keeps the galaxies from flying apart. Physicists hope to identify that stuff by detecting particles of it floating around us. For example, dark matter could consist of WIMPs, hypothetical particles that would barely interact with ordinary matter and weigh much more than protons. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country read more

first_imgSex comes at a high cost for female bedbugs. A male pokes a hole into her abdomen to fertilize her, and, as a result, the puncture wound spills fluids and hemolymph (bug blood). Biological models of this sort of “sexual conflict” predict that the female will evolve resistance in the form of a thicker abdomen or vigorous self-defense strategies to prevent damage from the male sex organ. The male would then counterevolve a sharper or stiffer penis, leading to an evolutionary arms race. However, researchers report online today in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface that females appear to be opting for tolerance instead of resistance. Using a suite of microscopes, scientists discovered that female bedbugs have begun to incorporate elastic proteins called resilins into a specific region of their abdomens most likely to be punctured. The stretchier region, known as spermalege, is easier for males to puncture, causing less tissue damage and fluid loss. Unlike many traditional resistance methods employed by females, the easier penetration didn’t appear to reduce the male’s health or life span. Even better, a strategy of tolerance as opposed to resistance frees both sexes from the evolutionary arms race of escalating sexual conflict.last_img read more

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country In what scientists call a “sinister development,” a malaria parasite resistant to a widely used drug combination is on the march in Southeast Asia. It has rapidly made its way in an arc from western Cambodia, through northeastern Thailand, to southern Laos; now it has landed in southern Vietnam, where it is causing alarming rates of treatment failure.What’s more, the team from the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Bangkok writes in the October issue of The Lancet Infectious Diseases, this strain, resistant to an artemisinin combination therapy (ACT), is outcompeting others and becoming dominant in parts of what is known as the Greater Mekong subregion. That’s not only bad news for the region, the researchers say; should this bug spread to Africa, where more than 90% of malaria deaths occur, the consequences could be disastrous. The outspoken head of the Mahidol group, Nicholas White, has urged the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland, to declare a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, a designation reserved for the most serious outbreaks that pose a global threat.But the letter—which triggered media stories warning of a “superbug” on the loose—and White’s warning irked many in the famously contentious malaria research community, where personal animosities and longstanding grudges run deep. WHO experts dismissed the report as “nothing new” and decried what they see as overblown claims from a group that they say has cried wolf before. “Parasite resistance to antimalarial medicines is a serious problem. But we must not create unnecessary alarm,” the head of WHO’s Global Malaria Programme, Pedro Alonso, said in a 29 September statement. The critics don’t question the group’s genetic studies of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, but they dispute the interpretation that they spell disaster. “This is not a superstrain,” asserts Dyann Wirth, a malaria researcher at Harvard University who chaired a WHO panel that reviewed the group’s earlier data in December. “It has not reached the proportion where the world should panic.”In May, the group described the strain’s spread to Thailand and Laos in an extensive analysis in the same journal; now, in a one-page letter, they report that it has reached Bình Phước province in southern Vietnam. “We wanted to publish this quickly,” says co-author Arjen Dondorp of the Mahidol group. By Leslie RobertsOct. 11, 2017 , 12:23 PM 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 Children rest under a mosquito net in Pailin in western Cambodia, where a new, multidrug-resistant strain of malaria originated. PAULA BRONSTEIN/GETTY IMAGES Drug-resistant malaria is spreading, but experts clash over its global risk (MAP) G. GRULLÓN/SCIENCE; (DATA) M. IMWONG ET AL., THE LANCET INFECTIOUS DISEASES 17, 10 © ELSEVIER LIMITED Path of resistance A P. falciparum strain carrying the C580Y mutation is outcompeting others in parts of the Mekong. ACTs pair the drug artemisinin or one of its derivatives with one of five partner drugs; different combinations are used in different parts of the world. They all pack a one-two punch: Artemisinin hits hard and fast, wiping out malaria parasites in hours , while the longer-acting partner drug mops up any stragglers. White has long been one of the strongest proponents of ACTs, which are now the gold standard.Around 2008, two teams, including one led by Dondorp, found that parasites were developing resistance to artemisinin in western Cambodia. White warned, too loudly some say, that the loss of artemisinin could cause a repeat of the chloroquine disaster of the 1980s, when resistant parasites spread from the Greater Mekong to Africa and millions died. He repeatedly slammed WHO for its slow, bureaucratic response to the threat.Things got worse in 2015, when scientists found that the partner drug used in Cambodia, piperaquine, was failing, too. When parasites are resistant to the artemisinin component, the drug still works, but more slowly. When piperaquine resistance emerges as well, treatment fails: Patients get better, but a month later they are sick again. The failure rate for this ACT has now reached 90% in western Cambodia; in Vietnam, it has already hit 30%.Researchers have been tracking the spread of artemisinin-resistant parasites first by looking for signs in patients, and later by using multiple mutations in the parasite’s Kelch13, or K13, gene, as molecular markers for resistance. When multidrug-resistant malaria was detected, researchers were initially handicapped by the lack of a marker for piperaquine resistance; now, they have one, the presence of multiple copies of the plasmepsin 2 gene. (Both markers were discovered by Didier Ménard, who previously worked in Phnom Penh at the Pasteur Institute in Cambodia and is now at its counterpart in Paris.)With that tool in hand, the Mahidol group says it has detected an ominous pattern. One strain carrying a mutation named C580Y in the K13 gene is pushing out the others; in the process, it has acquired piperaquine resistance as well. The group traced this lineage back to one that was first detected in Pailin, a sleepy town in western Cambodia on the Thai border.The new evidence is solid and “very alarming,” says Chris Plowe, who runs the Institute for Global Health at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine in Baltimore. For reasons still unclear, resistance to older malaria drugs—including chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine—emerged in Pailin as well and then spread broadly, Plowe points out. “If multidrugresistance can spread from Cambodia to Vietnam, it can and will spread elsewhere,” he says. The pattern is all too familiar, says Philippe Guérin, director of the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network in London. “The theoretical risk is becoming real.”But  WHO’s expert group, assembled after White’s December presentation, took issue with many of the claims. Although the K13 C580Y strain is becoming dominant in parts of the region, the group said in a carefully worded report in March, that is not the case everywhere in the Greater Mekong, where several lineages are circulating more or less in equilibrium. The risk of spread to Africa “cannot be discounted,” they acknowledged, but they deemed it fairly low because various genetic factors decrease the chance that the parasite could take off in a new environment. And if it somehow did, Africa is much better equipped to deal with than it was in the 1980s when chloroquine resistance hit, WHO experts say, with strong national malaria programs in place and increased monitoring of drug efficacy.Besides, the panel said, a plan WHO and the six countries of the Greater Mekong launched in 2015 to eliminate P. falciparum malaria by 2025 should halt the spread of resistant strains, and the project just got a $242 million boost from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. “We are winning the battle,” Alonso asserted in his statement.Malaria experts have been encouraged because so far, parasites resistant to piperaquine are still susceptible to an older drug, mefloquine, that has regained its efficacy after years on the shelf. The Cambodian government has already switched to an ACT that contains mefloquine instead of piperaquine, and Vietnam is doing the same. The expert group recommends increased surveillance in the Mekong, Africa, and elsewhere specifically for the K13 C580Y strain, so other countries can act quickly and switch drugs if needed. But Dondorp and others predict that “mefloquine resistance will emerge quickly,” as will resistance to other partner drugs—raising the prospect of untreatable malaria.Dondorp fears the constant bickering and conflicting statements will confuse participating countries and lower the sense of urgency. “The landscape is very politically charged,” agrees Guérin. “We need more attention to the data and less attention to the politics.”last_img read more

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Top stories: Creating the perfect wave—with science—and saving sick kids with gene-edited skin Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe By Roni DenglerNov. 10, 2017 , 4:51 PM (LEFT TO RIGHT): © WSL/SEAN ROWLAND; MICK ELLISON/AMNH; MARK WITTON Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Court demands that search engines and internet service providers block Sci-HubThe American Chemical Society (ACS) has won a lawsuit it filed in June against Sci-Hub, a website providing illicit free access to millions of paywalled scientific papers. ACS had alleged copyright infringement, trademark counterfeiting, and trademark infringement; a district court in Virginia ruled on 3 November that Sci-Hub should pay the ACS $4.8 million in damages after Sci-Hub representatives failed to attend court.A boy with a rare disease gets new skin, thanks to gene-corrected stem cells A 7-year-old who lost most of his skin to a rare genetic disease has made a dramatic recovery after receiving an experimental gene therapy, researchers announced Wednesday. The treatment—a whole-body graft of genetically modified stem cells—is the most ambitious attempt yet to treat a severe form of epidermolysis bullosa (EB), an often-fatal group of conditions that cause skin to blister and tear off at the slightest touch.When dinosaurs went extinct, many animals literally came out of the darkThe demise of dinosaurs was good news for mammals, whose numbers exploded in the aftermath of the extinction. Now, a new study suggests that mammals’ behavior changed rapidly as well, as the first of our furry ancestors began venturing out in the daylight after living a primarily nocturnal existence. The switch may have even sparked the eventual evolution of humankind.Ancient lizardlike creature bridged gap between land and seaA beautifully preserved, nearly complete fossil is shedding new light on the evolution of the aquatic, ancient reptiles called pleurosaurs. The 155-million-year-old bones belong to a new species whose anatomical features weren’t fully adapted to water, but were on the way to enabling an aquatic lifestyle researchers reported this week. The pleurosaurs may provide scientists with insights about how evolution might have progressed among other ancient creatures that also undertook the land-to-sea transition.A surfer and a scientist teamed up to create the perfect waveGood surfing waves are a rarity—few beaches have a bottom contour that can transform a swell into waves that surfers want to ride, and even then, the vagaries of the swell—its size, angle, periodicity—mixed with ever-changing winds and tides mean great surf sessions are few and far between. Now, a champion surfer and a fluid mechanics specialist have teamed up to make a surfing wave of unearthly perfection.last_img read more

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Ingo Oeland/Alamy Stock Photo Australian scientists welcome boosts in new federal budget Scientific infrastructure and health research in Australia will both gain in the new federal budget, unveiled yesterday evening in Canberra. “This is a good budget for science,” says Andrew Holmes, president of the Australian Academy of Science and a chemist at the University of Melbourne.Holmes particularly points to a 12-year, AU$1.9 billion (US$1.4 billion) National Research Infrastructure Investment Plan. Details are yet to be worked out, but priorities were outlined in a road map produced by an expert group last year. The road map recommended supporting the development of advanced microscopes, new types of instrumentation, and device fabrication techniques to support research in materials science, biology, medicine, and the environment. For astronomy, the investment plan will likely cover continuing support for Australian institutions to participate in international consortia operating large optical and radio telescopes.The road map pointed to the need to modernize the Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong for its research supporting the livestock industry and for studies of emerging diseases that affect humans. Following a road map recommendation to upgrade computing facilities, the budget announcement specifically provides AU$140 million for upgrades to two existing national high-performance computing centers. By Dennis NormileMay. 9, 2018 , 3:50 PM Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)center_img The new budget provides $399 million to protect the Great Barrier Reef, an amount scientists call “a small step” toward what is needed. 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 Health research is another big winner, getting AU$1.3 billion over 10 years, including AU$500 million for a genomic health initiative covering basic research through to clinical trials for rare diseases and cancers. The initiative is an opportunity to “take a truly strategic approach to the development of genomic medicine,” says Christopher Goodnow, an immunologist at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia.Funding to establish a space agency, at AU$26 million over 4 years, turned out to be half of what had been rumored to be coming. There is an additional AU$15 million over 3 years to support applied space projects. “This is all reasonable and a good start,” says Matthew Colless, an astrophysicist at Australian National University in Canberra. He adds that the language in the budget announcement seems to acknowledge “there will need to be more funding in due course.”The budget also provides AU$4.5 million for new measures to encourage girls and women to pursue education and careers in science, engineering, and mathematics. And an artificial intelligence initiative is getting AU$25 million. Not everyone is happy, however. The budget allocates AU$536 million to protect the Great Barrier Reef by reducing pollution in agricultural runoff, developing coral restoration techniques, and combating outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish, which feed on corals. The appropriation, “while certainly welcome, is a very small step” toward tackling a “wicked problem,” says Albert Gabric, a marine biogeochemist at Griffith University near Brisbane, Australia. Environmentalists were also disappointed. “Once again, [the budget] failed to address climate change,” says environmental scientist Martin Rice, head of research for the Sydney-based Climate Council of Australia. The council projects that spending related to climate change is dropping from AU$3 billion this year to AU$1.6 billion next year. Rice notes that the nation’s emissions of greenhouse gases have risen for three consecutive years. And the planned phaseout of a renewable energy target and other measures “could bring Australia’s renewables boom grinding to a halt,” he says.The budget covers the year starting 1 July.last_img read more

first_imgMaureen Condic Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country By Jeffrey MervisNov. 26, 2018 , 6:00 AM On Wednesday, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will welcome the first cohort of members appointed by President Donald Trump to its oversight body, the National Science Board. Most of the seven fit the mold of senior academic leaders, prominent scientists, and corporate research managers who typically sit on the 24-member board. But Maureen Condic is somewhat different.An associate professor of neurobiology at The University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Condic works in spinal cord regeneration, a field NSF does not fund. Bioethics is a passion of hers, and she has weighed in publicly on highly partisan debates in Congress over the use of human fetal tissue from elective abortions and embryonic stem cells in research—issues on which the science board defers to other federal agencies. She also believes scientists should stick to their expertise in advising the government and has chastised researchers for claiming to have a better understanding than nonscientists about how new technologies and techniques should be used.“I’m very much an advocate for broader public input on science policy, and less reliance on the opinions of scientists who have a vested interest in the outcome,” Condic told ScienceInsider in an interview shortly after her appointment was announced. “We tend to take the attitude that what scientists say is good for their enterprise is good for society. But that may not be true.” Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) “I think that scientists feel they are not always listened to,” she adds. “But often it’s because they believe their own expertise should determine what the government should do, and that if we can do something, we should do it. They will tell policymakers that the technology is safe, that there are no ethical problems with it, and that the public will support it.”A career shiftCondic is a product of the research enterprise whose behavior she has questioned. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago in Illinois, her Ph.D. in neurobiology from the University of California, Berkeley, and did a postdoc at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis before joining the Utah faculty in 1997, where she is an associate professor at the university’s medical school. In 2001, she published a single-author paper in her field’s leading journal reporting that alterations in a single gene could help adult neurons regenerate.That paper, along with two grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), established her in the field. But it also led to some soul searching that would take her career in a new direction.She says she was careful to describe her 2001 paper as basic research involving rats, without immediate relevance to clinical medicine. Yet Utah’s press release declared that the work might open the door to “new approaches for treating brain and spinal cord injury.” Reacting to those words, people suffering from such injuries and desperate for a cure started to contact her, she says. And a heart-wrenching conversation with one member of that community compelled her to rethink her role as a scientist.“I saw the need for more public education,” she says, “and for more accurate dissemination of what we know, even if the message isn’t easy or encouraging. That was a long time ago, but it started me down the road as a bioethicist. And it’s become a bigger job than I thought it would be.”Over the next decade, Condic also shifted the focus of her research away from neural development—in part, she says, because of rude behavior by colleagues.“It’s an enormously complex problem that would benefit from a team-oriented approach to research,” she says about cortical regeneration. “But oddly enough, the involvement of [actor] Christopher Reeve [who suffered a serious spinal injury in a horse riding accident] and other celebrities attracted a group of scientists who took a less collaborative approach. They wanted to be the ones in the limelight for finding a cure. People stopped sharing—after 20 emails and five phone calls, people still wouldn’t send you an antibody—and it got really frustrating.”She says that “sour atmosphere” caused her to seek out colleagues in the medical school working on a completely different problem—how to treat those with congenital heart defects. Her role, she says, has been to study the characteristics of stem cells taken from amniotic fluid with the hope that someday they might become a readily available source of healthy cardiac cells for patients.“It’s a field that wasn’t quite so much in the news,” she says. “It provides an opportunity to help patients without all the drama.” Although some of the work is supported by NIH, Condic is no longer an independent investigator. “My work in science policy and bioethics has taken me away from active funding for my lab,” she says.In the policy arenaCondic’s first major appearance on the policy stage came in 2013, when she testified at a U.S. House of Representatives hearing in favor of a proposed nationwide ban on abortions starting at 20 weeks after fertilization. (The Supreme Court has upheld the right to an abortion through the second trimester, or 24 weeks after conception.) A key premise of the bill, which twice passed the Republican-led House but was never taken up by the Senate, is that a fetus can feel pain at as early as 8 weeks.Appearing before the House Judiciary Committee’s civil justice panel, Condic asserted that an 8-week-old fetus can experience pain, a claim many fetal development experts dispute. But Condic appeared to deliver a contradictory message in the course of her testimony.“There is universal agreement that pain is detected by the fetus in the first trimester,” she told lawmakers midway through her opening statement. “The debate concerns how pain is experienced, that is, whether a fetus has the same pain experience a newborn or an adult would have.” In her closing comments, however, she asserted, “It is entirely uncontested that a fetus experiences pain in some capacity from as early as 8 weeks.”Many neuroscientists would draw a distinction between how spinal cord cells react to a pain stimulus in an 8-week-old fetus, as Condic initially described, and the point at which there’s a cognitive reaction to pain (which was the rationale for the legislation). Asked about the difference, Condic says she was a last-minute substitute for another witness and “maybe I wrote [her testimony] wrong.”She says her main goal in testifying was to knock down an argument made by abortion rights advocates that “later arising cortical structures are required for a conscious awareness of the experience of pain. And I believe that view is not supported.”Condic’s next foray into biopolicymaking came in 2016, when she provided scientific advice to an investigation launched by House Republicans opposed to the use in biomedical research of human fetal tissue from elective abortions that would otherwise be discarded. That use is legal under a 1993 law. A special House investigative panel, led by then-Representative (now Senator-elect) Marsha Blackburn (R–TN), was looking into media allegations that Planned Parenthood had illegally profited in obtaining fetal tissue from legal abortions for medical research.The January 2017 report from the Special Panel on Infant Lives recommended ending federal funding for Planned Parenthood and barring NIH funding for research using human fetal tissue from elective abortions. The 470-page report also asserted there is no need for human fetal tissue in biomedical research, suggesting it had played no role in treating patients, preventing disease, and improving human health.More than a dozen investigations launched by state and federal agencies found no evidence of illegal activity by Planned Parenthood. And experts have refuted many of the claims in the report. But Cordic says she feels the report “did a good job of presenting the scientific evidence” and that the criticism it received “doesn’t reflect an accurate understanding of what the report said.”Advice to scientistsA recurring theme in Condic’s writing and statements is the need for scientists to stick to their field of expertise when they weigh into policy debates. In a 2003 paper co-authored with her brother, Samuel Condic, then a graduate student in philosophy, she condemns the so-called Nobel syndrome, in which Nobel laureates feel qualified to take positions on topics that are both outside their discipline and beyond the scope of scientific inquiry. That’s wrong, she says, and policymakers shouldn’t succumb to that pressure.Scientific groups can display a condescending attitude that only makes the problem worse, she writes. “The sentiment underlying many of the advocacy positions taken by scientific societies appears to be: Leave us alone to do as we see fit, you who cannot understand or evaluate what we are about.” The paper suggests several reasons for giving the views of scientists less weight in policy debates, including their inherent bias for “what may be possible” and their “substantial disregard” for “the broader interests of society.”In her interview with ScienceInsider, Condic ticked off three areas in which she feels scientists have run roughshod over public opinion. “I would say CRISPR genome editing, human embryonic stem cell research, and human-animal chimeras are three good examples of where the science is having a disproportionately large impact on the development of public policy without adequately accounting for the concerns of the public—ignorant, informed, or otherwise.” She says the December 2015 International Summit on Human Gene Editing—which was convened by the leading national scientific academies in the United States, China, and the United Kingdom and featured scientists, physicians, and bioethicists from around the world—was the latest example of that hubris.“I mean, we live in a society,” she says. “And if people have concerns, it’s not OK to simply ignore them. And sometimes when you engage in a conversation, you come to appreciate their different views. In the field of stem cell research, for example, I haven’t heard a lot of sympathy expressed for the concerns of people opposed to human embryonic stem cell research.”Condic knows both what it’s like to be part of the in-crowd and how it feels to be excluded. In Utah, officials of the Catholic Church cited the “sacrifices” Condic has made in praising her 2015 appointment to the Pontifical Academy for Life, a group of bioethicists and medical scientists that advises the Vatican on issues regarding the sanctity of life.“As a diocese, we’re very proud of her, of the work she has done as a Catholic, as a committed woman, and as a scientist,” the Most Rev. John Wester, bishop of Salt Lake City, said in a statement after the Vatican announced her appointment. “She’s really been an advocate for a pro-life message and she has done this at great personal sacrifice. It has not always been easy for her; she has suffered in her profession because of the very strong stance she has taken in defending life, and yet she has not wavered.”Condic serves on a Pontifical Academy committee that is looking into human gene editing. “We are trying to take an objective view of what is being done, the pros and cons,” she says. One major issue, she says, is whether the technology will be applied “equitably” in the developing world. She and her brother have also just published a book offering scientific and philosophical arguments for the idea that human life begins at the moment of fertilization.A secret admirerCondic says she has no idea how she was picked to sit on the science board, whose mandate is to “recommend and encourage the pursuit of national policies for the promotion of research and education in science and engineering.” Appointees sometimes acknowledge their benefactors, who may be sitting members of Congress. But, Condic says, “I’m a pretty apolitical person. So, I was somewhat surprised to be nominated.”Members are chosen through a confidential process in which names are forwarded to the White House. The science board also weighs in, although there have been times when its slate of candidates has been completely ignored. Eight members are named every 2 years to replace those who have rotated off the board, although members can also be reappointed to a second, 6-year term.“The White House Office of Presidential Personnel has a list of people who have been supportive of the president and who want to be helpful,” explains Neal Lane, a former NSF director and science adviser to former President Bill Clinton who is now at Rice University in Houston, Texas. “There are a lot more [presidentially appointed] committee slots than there are Cabinet positions or ambassadorships,” he notes, “so it’s more likely that a scientist would wind up on one of those advisory committees.”Condic’s first chance to share her thoughts with her new colleagues comes when the board convenes this week at NSF headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. If her paperwork has cleared—a 2012 law removed the need for the Senate to confirm science board members—she’ll get to vote as well as participate in the 2 days of discussions. Among the agenda items is one that should resonate with Condic: an update on a contest NSF launched this fall to solicit public input on the agency’s funding priorities for 2026.center_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email Charlie Ehlert, University of Utah Health Crashing the boards: Neuroscientist Maureen Condic brings a different voice to NSF oversight bodylast_img read more

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Audrey Velasco By Helen SantoroJun. 5, 2019 , 11:00 AM Five hundred meters below the ocean’s surface off the coast of California lives a creepy looking sea monster with a huge jaw and sharp rows of teeth. Even creepier, these teeth are transparent. Now, scientists think they know what makes them this way.Researchers collected 10 dragonfish (Aristostomias scintillans, pictured) with a fishing net. They analyzed 40 of their teeth using detailed imaging to capture the teeth’s colors, makeup, and structure.Like human teeth, the dragonfish’s teeth have a dense inner dentin layer surrounded by an outer enamellike layer. Dispersed throughout the enamel, however, the researchers found tiny nanocrystals that prevent light from reflecting off of the teeth’s surface and camouflage them in the deep ocean, the team reports today in the journal Matter. The teeth are also thinner than most predators’, which helps them scatter less light and appear translucent. The transparent teeth of this dragonfish evolved for one lethal purpose Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Despite dragonfish’s small size—only about 15 centimeters long—they are apex predators and can kill fish up to 50% of their size. Their teeth may be key: Because the fish have jet-black mouths, their teeth are practically invisible, so most prey never see them coming.last_img read more

first_img Sasha Obama And Her Prom Date Broke The Internet Yale University students elect school’s first black student body president https://t.co/qK6VvV7eld pic.twitter.com/vM82eMK6OT— The Hill (@thehill) May 30, 2019 The college junior, who majors in economics and politics, was elected by his fellow classmates in May. He has a passion for civic engagement and one day hopes to pursue a career in politics. In his role as student body president, he wants to build a stronger sense of inclusivity at Yale and plans on addressing issues faced by students of color and underrepresented groups on campus. “I wanted to kind of amplify the voices of the underserved communities on campus, especially students of color. So, being the first black president, I feel like I’m in a position where I can really do that,” he said in a statement. Although Greene believes that Yale has a long way to go in regard to increasing diversity on campus, he says that his appointment is a step in the right direction.There is more racial representation needed at Yale. According to the Philadelphia Tribune, only 7 percent of the Ivy League institution’s student population is Black. There have been several racist incidents that have taken place at the Connecticut-based university. In May 2018, a Black graduate student was reported to the police for taking a nap in her dorm’s common area; sparking outrage and giving birth to the #SleepingWhileBlack hashtag.Despite being underrepresented at several Ivy League schools, Black students are rising up the ranks and taking on leadership roles. In November 2018 the Harvard Crimson—the country’s oldest college newspaper—appointed Kristine E. Guillaume to be it’s president, making her the first Black woman to take on the position. Obama Family Portrait For the first time in Yale University’s 318-year history, a Black student will be at the helm of its student body. According to The Hill, Maryland native Kahlil Greene was selected to serve as president of the Yale College Council. Education , First Black , Ivy League , Kahlil Greene , Yale , Yale College Council , Yale Student Body President SEE ALSO:Harvard Crimson Appoints First Black Woman President14-Year-Old Sydney Wilson Becomes Youngest Student Accepted Into Spelmanlast_img read more

first_imgCemeteries make natural breeding grounds for ghost stories and other fantastic tales. Usually, these fictions swell around Halloween, when a few brave teenagers visit them and scare themselves witless, then the tales fade into the ether for the rest of the year. But Brompton Cemetery in London, England, has become the hub of a wild legend that isn’t a ghost story as much as it is science fiction. One mausoleum has become the focal point of a tale about time travel, Egyptian myths, and teleportation.The largest tomb in the cemetery is the resting place of Hannah Courtoy and two of her daughters. According to local musician Stephen Coates, who has made something of a hobby of studying the tomb, the mausoleum may just be a teleportation chamber. It’s impossible to understand how this story arose without first understanding something about Hannah herself.Brompton Cemetery, Fulham Road, LondonBorn around 1784 (it isn’t clear exactly when), as a young woman Hannah went to work for a wealthy man named John Courtoy, as an employee of the household.He was 70, but when Hannah gave birth to three daughters, she insisted Courtoy was the father. Although many doubted her claim and believed her to be a gold digger, paternity wasn’t provable in the 1800s.Whatever the truth, Hannah took his name and, when he died, a huge battle began over his assets, which wasn’t settled until 1827. Hannah received the bulk of his estate.Hannah Courtoy mausoleum, Brompton Cemetery. Photo by Edwardx CC BY-SA 4.0That money enabled her to indulge her fascination with all things Egyptian. She began a “friendship” with Egyptologist Joseph Bonomi, who dazzled her with stories of Egyptian iconography and astrology.When she died in 1849, Hannah was placed within an elaborate mausoleum, one that was inscribed with hieroglyphics and other Egyptian symbols and had a pyramid shape to its top.It also had a lock and key. The story gets truly weird when Bonomi died; his simple tombstone had a drawing of an Egyptian god that seemed to point toward Hannah’s grave — at least in the minds of those who believe there’s more to her tomb than meets the eye. But for all the speculation, the matter rested there for the following century.Stories abound that this tomb could house a Victorian-era time machine – or, even stranger, an occult teleportation device. Photo by Scott Wylie – Flickr CC BY 2.0Cemeteries, however, are good places for creepy urban legends to evolve, and Brompton is no different. Almost 100 years later, one strange story is still swirling around Hannah’s tomb, thanks in great measure to its missing key.The tale came to light when a reporter with the Associated Press wrote about the tomb in 1998. An associate of Bonomi, one Samuel Alfred Warner, wrote AP, claimed to have built a time machine and wanted it hidden in a cemetery so it wouldn’t attract attention.Hannah Courtoy mausoleum – closeup. Photo by Edwardx CC BY-SA 4.0It is thought that the men were in cahoots to bilk Hannah of her money by telling her they needed funds to get the time machine built.Over the years, the story came into the headlines, then faded away, until 2003, when local musician Drew Mulholland, used the tomb as a backdrop for an album cover, and once more the cemetery made news. The urban legend has persisted so stubbornly that the mausoleum has come to be called, the “Courtoy Time Machine.”Brompton Cemetery. Photo by Scott Wylie – Flickr CC BY 2.0Coates, however, disagrees with this “fantastical idea.” Writing in his blog, The Clerkenwell Kid, he asserts that “In fact the tomb is one of five ‘teleportation’ chambers designed by Joseph Bonomi and built by his occult partner the Clerkenwell inventor Samuel Alfred Warner.”Cemeteries make natural breeding grounds for ghost stories and other fantastic tales. Photo by Edwardx CC BY-SA 4.0His 2011 blog article about Warner and Bonomi’s experiments with an ancient Egyptian “occult method of teleportation” reanimated public interest in the tomb and the stories around it.But when asked directly by Mental Floss if he truly believes the story, he became coy. “It’s an alternative theory based on historical fact,” he said. But, in 2015, Coates and a descendant of Hannah, Roy Godson, told the Independent that they hope to find a way to open the tomb’s door.Warner’s many “talents” included a gift for invention, and Coates told the Independent that, if he is somehow able to open the tomb, what he hopes to find is proof of a bomb that could be teleported a short distance, rather like “a psychic torpedo.”Courtoy Mausoleum. Photo by Edwardx CC BY-SA 4.0Warner claimed to have invented teleportation and managed to convince the Royal Navy that his invention had merit, at least enough to get it tested.Alas, none of the tests supported his assertion that his machine worked. Coates hopes that, if the tomb is opened one day, it will in fact offer up the secrets of Warner’s labors.Not everyone believes tales of time machines and teleporters, of course, but most think it’s all good fun – and good for business. Robert Stephenson, a Brompton Cemetery guide, told the Independent in 2015 that several of the mausoleums there are missing keys; there’s nothing odd about Hannah’s missing one.No one really knows the true story of Hannah, Bonomi, and Warner and how, or even if, their lives intersected. Photo by Edwardx CC BY-SA 4.0He also said that the story brings attention to the cemetery and he enjoys it. “But,” he added with classic British understatement, “I wouldn’t say I was totally behind it.” Nor are Hannah’s descendants convinced that any of the stories are credible.Ray Godson said during the same interview that, although he would find it nice, he doubts the tale’s validity. One individual, Vanessa Woolf, a self-described professional storyteller, loves the whole idea of the tomb’s history – which is not the same as saying she believes it.Ever since she learned of it in 2015, Woolf has hosted presentations at the site to inform audiences about the legend. She told Mental Floss that she describes Warner as a “barking mad” inventor during her sessions, which she has led many times since 2015, after connecting with Coates.The mysterious tale continues to intrigue listeners, thanks in great measure to its missing key. Photo by Edwardx CC BY-SA 4.0She says that Londoners are intrigued by the story and like knowing more about the fabric of the city. She, for one, doesn’t look forward to the tomb being opened.“It’s much nicer, in a way, not having it (the key). It’s really in the minds of the audience. It’s a slab of rock. The real magic is in their minds.” Indeed, no one really knows the true story of Hannah, Bonomi, and Warner and how, or even if, their lives intersected.Read another story from us: Tomb of King Tut Finally Reopened after a Decade Spent Repairing Tourist DamageHannah and the two men took those secrets to their graves. However, the tomb stands in mute testimony to Hannah’s interests. Whether there is a time machine or teleportation device in there seems highly dubious – but the idea will no doubt continue to tantalize imaginations.last_img read more

first_imgShareTweetSharePinThe Caribbean Community (CARICOM) remains united in its desire for a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Venezuela.Underscoring that point, the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia the Honourable Allen Chastanet said despite the differences on certain aspects of the issue, the Community’s guiding principles were supported by all Member States.These principles which the Community reiterated in a statement on the situation in Venezuela issued on Friday are non-interference and non-intervention in the affairs of states, prohibition of threat or use of force, respect for sovereignty, the constitutional framework, human rights and democracy and adherence to the rule of law.Prime Minister Chastanet was speaking at a press conference following a Special Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM on Security, held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on Friday.His view was supported by the host Prime Minister Dr the Honourable Keith Rowley, who stated that regardless to which group individual countries were aligned, the interests of CARICOM remained central to their approach.Speaking on the issue of the regulation of cannabis, the Prime Minister of Barbados the Honourable Mia Mottley stated the Community had the benefit of the recommendations of the report produced by the CARICOM Commission on Marijuana. While each country would be dealing with the issue according to its own national realities, Prime Minister Mottley said there was need for model legislation to guide the process.CARICOM Chairman Dr the Honourable Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis, indicated that his country was moving forward with legislation on the issue  and cited the Jamaican example as providing guidance for the way forward.last_img read more

first_imgHow to Keep PII Safe Unencrypted check-in links from the named airlines direct passengers to a site where they automatically are logged in to the check-in feature for their flight. In some cases, they can make certain changes to their booking and print out their boarding pass.Once a passenger accesses the vulnerable check-in link, a hacker on the same network can intercept the credentials that allow access to the e-ticketing system.Using those credentials, a hacker can visit the e-ticketing system at any point, even multiple times, prior to the flight taking off and access all the personally identifiable information associated with the booking.”This vulnerability does not require a man-in-the-middle attack or malware installation in order to be exploited,” Covington said. “Anyone using the same network as the passenger — wireless or wired — would be able to intercept the credentials for the e-ticketing site.”Airlines “should never give out links in email which present PII data without authentication,” said Anthony James, chief strategy office at CipherCloud.”This just doesn’t make sense to us,” he told TechNewsWorld.Different airlines’ systems expose different types of data.The exposed data could include the following:Email addressesFirst and last namesPassport or ID information — including the document number, the issuing country and the expiration dateBooking referencesFlight numbers and timesSeat assignmentsBaggage selectionsFull boarding passes Partial credit card detailsDetails of booking travel companies Wandera identified the vulnerability in early December, after learning that a customer who accessed the e-ticketing system of one of the eight airlines had been sent travel-related passenger details without encryption.It then looked at whether other airline e-ticketing systems were similarly vulnerable.Wandera notified the airlines affected as it was documenting the vulnerability.It also shared its findings with government agencies responsible for airport security. Vulnerability Details Discovering the Flaw Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. Email Richard. The e-ticketing systems of eight airlines, including Southwest Airlines and Dutch carrier KLM, have a vulnerability that can expose passengers’ personally identifiable information (PII), mobile security vendor Wandera reported Wednesday.They use unencrypted links that hackers can intercept easily. The hackers then can view and, in some cases, even change the victim’s flight booking details, or print their boarding passes.Air France, Vueling, Jetstar, Thomas Cook, Transavia and Air Europa also have this problem, according to Wandera.”Wandera investigated the e-ticketing systems in use by over 40 global airlines,” said Michael Covington, the company’s VP of product.”Only those organizations that had adequate time to respond to our responsible disclosure are included in the list of affected airlines at this time,” he told TechNewsWorld.Wandera gives vendors up to four weeks to provide a patch or relevant fix before publicly disclosing a vulnerability.The company has been communicating with “some of the affected airlines” but has not been able to verify that any fixes have been implemented, Covington said. Clear and Present Network Dangerscenter_img Coming to America Security experts for years have advised travelers to avoid using public WiFi networks and hotel networks for important communications.”Network traffic is more easily intercepted on an unencrypted wireless network or on a typical wired hotel or office network,” Wandera’s Covington pointed out.It is “more challenging for an attacker to observe connections taking place over a carrier network,” he noted, but airlines should “address some fundamental security issues” themselves. Dangers Posed Following are some steps Wandera recommended that airlines should take:Encrypt the entire check-in process;Require user authentication for all steps where PII is accessible, especially when it can be edited; andUse one-time tokens for direct links within emails.”If the link takes you directly to the passenger name record without login, it’s absolutely a potential problem,” CipherCloud’s James said. “You must always require login and authentication.”Users should have an active mobile security service deployed to monitor and block data leaks and phishing attacks, Wandera advised.Passengers on the eight airlines named “should print their boarding pass at home,” Lucy Security’s Bastable suggested, “and avoid using mobile check-in at the airport.” After accessing a passenger’s check-in, the hacker not only gains access to the victim’s PII, but also can add or remove extra bags, change allocated seats, and change the mobile phone number or email associated with the booking.The questionable quality of boarding pass screening at the gates of some airports raises the possibility that a hacker or criminal could print a victim’s boarding pass and try to board a scheduled flight with it, Wandera said.On the other hand, hackers go for targets that offer a high return on investment, CipherCloud’s James pointed out. “Intercepting the email with the ticket link gets the PII of just one traveler.”Further, “everything depends on a boarding and a picture ID to get past security,” James noted. “The picture ID remains the backstop of the security procedure.” KLM and AirFrance “are closely integrated as part of the same company,” noted Colin Bastable, CEO of Lucy Security.They partner with Delta Airlines through SkyTeam, “introducing a potential third-party risk to the United States domestic market via Delta’s eight U.S. hubs,” he told TechNewsWorld.Code-sharing with Air France and KLM “might have expensive consequences for Delta should a data breach occur as a result of this problem” said Bastable, because GDPR regulations “take a bite out of global earnings for data breaches.”Further, new compliance regulations proposed in the U.S., such as the American Data Dissemination Act and the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 may make vendors liable for penalties and violations if they expose PII data without requiring authentication, CipherCloud’s James said.last_img read more

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Sep 26 2018Mesoblast Limited (ASX:MSB, Nasdaq:MESO) today announced that Mesoblast’s proprietary allogeneic mesenchymal precursor cell (MPC) heart failure product candidate MPC-150-IM for use in children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) was featured at the First Cardiac Regenerative Symposium for Congenital Heart Disease in Baltimore, Maryland on the weekend. The symposium focused on the potential for using cellular therapies in the treatment of complex congenital heart conditions.A randomized, placebo-controlled 24-patient trial is ongoing at Boston Children’s Hospital and combines an injection of MPC-150-IM into the left ventricle with corrective heart surgery in children under the age of five with HLHS. To date there have not been any cell-related safety concerns in the trial. Consequently, this trial has the potential to extend the safety profile of MPC-150-IM beyond adults, where it is being studied in two complementary late-stage clinical trials in patients with advanced and end-stage chronic heart failure, to children with congenital heart disease.Dr Sitaram Emani, Associate Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Complex Biventricular Repair Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, and the trial’s Principal Investigator, said: “We believe that a direct injection of Mesoblast’s cellular medicine into the hypoplastic left ventricle as an adjunct to surgical rehabilitation has the potential to promote growth and regeneration of that ventricle and recruit it back into the circulation. This provides a chance for the patient with this congenital disease to regain normal two-ventricle circulation commensurate with improved quality of life and longevity.”The underlying mechanism of action by which MPC-150-IM is thought to exert its therapeutic effects in both pediatric and adult patient populations, based on preclinical evidence, is through reduction of damaging inflammation, maturation of the vasculature, reduction in fibrosis, and cardiac repair.Related StoriesNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerAlternate cell growth pathway could open door to new treatments for metastatic cancersStroke should be treated 15 minutes earlier to save lives, study suggestsA Phase 2b trial comparing an injection of MPC-150-IM or placebo into the left ventricle in 159 adult patients with end-stage heart failure receiving a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implant completed enrollment in September 2017, with all patients having a planned follow-up of at least one year. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Mesoblast a Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapy (RMAT) designation for use of MPC-150-IM in these patients based on prior Phase 2 trial results showing improved heart function, prolonged time to re-hospitalization and improved early survival after a single intra-myocardial injection of Mesoblast’s MPCs at the time of an LVAD implant. Full results of this Phase 2b trial will be presented by the trial’s independent investigators at an upcoming conference.A Phase 3 trial in approximately 600 patients with New York Heart Association (NYHA) Class II/III chronic heart failure is also being actively conducted in the United States, with over 85% of patients enrolled. The objectives of this Phase 3 events-driven trial are to evaluate the ability of a single catheter-based injection of MPC-150-IM to reduce heart failure-related major adverse cardiac events (HF-MACE) in patients with left ventricular dysfunction, as well as delay or prevent disease progression to end-stage heart failure and terminal cardiac events. In a prior Phase 2 trial, HF-MACE events were significantly reduced by a single intra-myocardial injection of MPC-150-IM. This trial has previously been successful in a futility analysis of the primary endpoint. Source:https://rubenstein.com/last_img read more

first_imgThe Trick This creates an interesting line for Amazon. If you want to try out the Echo, the Echo Dot at $50 is a good entry point. If you want to give Echo as a gift, then the $100 version is good enough. If you want better sound and to start at the ground floor with home automation, then move up to the Echo Plus at $150. Finally, if you want to add video conferencing and movie watching, go for the Echo Show at $229.Oh, and if you want video but want it for a gift, then you have the Echo Spot at $129. Finally, if you really want the best sound, then go to the Sonos One with Alexa for $199.It is getting close to shopping time, and Amazon clearly wants to own your gift list if you are focused on music. The Echo Plus is a moderate update on the original Echo — not enough to force a replacement or upgrade, but enough to be competitive with what is coming from Apple, Google and Microsoft. When you are the market leader, that’s all you really need, and the Amazon Echo Plus is my product of the week. The news cycle since President Trump was elected seems to have been a whirlwind of mistakes and errors. We seem to move from crisis to crisis, tweet to tweet. Much of what we see is tied to facts that are so obviously false that many of us are left scratching our heads.However, what happens with these false facts is that they engage the various reporters and pundits who gleefully point out that the obviously fake information is fake. They seem to relish doing it, in the belief that this makes them seem much more intelligent than the president or his staff.If it is all a con, though — in other words, intentionally done to control the news cycle — none of these folks are being smart at all. In fact, they’re all being tricked into doing exactly what they are doing.What Scott Adams argues is that our need to feel superior drives us to focus on these false facts and ignore the very real information that surrounds them. Let’s take the wall between Mexico and the U.S.It is a truly stupid idea, because much of the terrain doesn’t lend itself to a wall. Regardless of how high and deep the wall is, getting over or under it in remote areas would still be relatively trivial for folks who currently build massive tunnels under the existing walls. Arguing about the wall keeps Donald Trump in the news, though, and it implies that he is working on protecting the borders, and it confirms him as a major voice on the topic of illegal aliens.If you look at the wall less as an actual wall and more as a mechanism to control dialog, you can see that it has been very successful and instrumental in getting him elected, regardless of the fact that it is a truly stupid idea. Protection From Manipulation We’ve been having a lot of interesting weeks since the presidential election, making more than a few of us wish for simpler times. One of the most interesting things I’ve read of late is by Dilbert creator Scott Adams, who predicted the election outcome and tied it to Trump’s brilliant use of intentional false facts, which he used to dominate the news up to the election.It is an interesting argument: Use false facts to engage the audience and drive home the bigger message. The implication is that fake facts — fake news, if you will — are potentially more powerful than the truth. This implies a very frightening future, when the truth no longer matters.I’ll share some thoughts on that and close with my product of the week: the new Echo hub from Amazon. I’m one of the first Echo users, and I’ve been a fan since day one. The only thing I really would like the company to fix is to allow me to change the name “Alexa” to anything else I want — currently you can change it to “Echo,” “Computer” or “Amazon” — because the Echo in my office seems to want to interrupt my phone call with comments any time she hears “Alexa.” (The other choices wouldn’t be much, if any, better.)The new Alexa Plus has three things going for it. It has better sound than the original Echo — not enough better to swap them out, but much better than the Dot or new cheaper Echo. It is reasonably priced, at around US$150, and it has a more advanced home automation hub. This last sounds better than it now is, because it is still limited, but setting up lights does seem to be easier — so think of this last as a work in progress. AmazonEcho Plus Wrapping Up: Fake News as Manipulation While I was aware that fake news was part of a manipulation scheme, it wasn’t until I read the Scott Adams piece that I considered that it isn’t just the content but the methodology of its use that is important.What is particularly scary is the level of manipulation going on today, from Russia in our elections to Isis and recruiting attackers, like the one in New York last week. We all likely should be undergoing regular training not only to prevent being manipulated ourselves, but also to help protect our kids or aging parents from being tricked and manipulated as well.We aren’t — and I’m suggesting that we should start stepping up and resisting this manipulation more aggressively ourselves. Eventually, our lives may depend on a critical mass of us not being so easily fooled.Yep, I know, we are pretty much screwed… I can’t speak for you, but I sure as hell don’t like being manipulated, and regardless of party affiliation or interest, this goes to the fact that we’re all being manipulated all of the time. Given the Russian influence over the last election, the folks doing it largely don’t have our best interests at heart.Here are some steps you can take to resist fake news distractions:First, you should realize that we all can be manipulated. You should start paying more attention to why things are happening and focus a bit less on the what. For instance, it is likely far more important to understand why the president claimed he was the only one who ever called Gold Star families, than to know that what he said was clearly false. Rather than falling for the distraction, you should start looking harder to see what it is covering up.Second is to realize that one of the most successful ways to trick you is to tell you what you want to hear. If you suddenly find yourself saying “yes” a lot — even to yourself — learn to put up a red flag and check to see if you are being manipulated to do or say something you otherwise wouldn’t want to do or say.It is becoming very clear that Russia used these techniques very effectively during the last election. (By the way, this is often how telemarketers trick you into signing up to buy stuff.)Third, you don’t have to be right about everything. If it isn’t important, let it go. However, if false news is being used as a distraction, you might want to point out that part, rather than just the falsehood itself.Finally, watch for charismatic behavior in the audience. If you are in a group that suddenly stops displaying emotion and is listening to a speaker in what appears to be a daze, maybe it is time to leave and cover the material a different way. Now just any false fact won’t accomplish this. In order to work it at least needs to seem like it could be a truth, because you need people who will argue the point to give you the media coverage and control you need.For instance, if someone were to post that the sun is blue, you’d blow them off as an idiot and likely wouldn’t even bother to respond. Yet if that same person were to post that the sun is entering a cooling cycle, and that global warming is a way to save humans, then there is enough of a foundation of truth to cause folks to disagree.That wouldn’t be enough to really fire people up, though, so perhaps arguing that a mini-ice age is coming would help. Given that both of those links go to coverage that at least looks credible, why aren’t we arguing about mini-ice ages now?In part, it’s likely that other things, like a possible North Korean nuclear attack, have consumed our attention. It’s also likely due to the fact that you need someone who is charismatic to make the claim.Coincidentally, a recent article speaks to the power of charisma, and how our behavior changes when we’re faced with a charismatic speaker or leader.The article relates the experience of a researcher who viewed a talk in person by then President Obama and watched the audience basically turn into zombies (they mostly stopped showing emotion). Since most of the related research focused on leaders rather than followers, the researcher then went on to study the audience. He eventually coined the term “awestruck effect.” Personally, I like my term, “zombies,” better.I personally test as unusually resilient to influence like this, but I can recall a presentation by Steve Jobs after which my entire group, including me, raved about his amazing pitch — only to realize it was all smoke and mirrors. There was no “there” there. Jobs was off the charts when it came to charisma, and that experience showcased that even I could be vulnerable to it. How We Are So Easily Manipulated Rob Enderle has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2003. His areas of interest include AI, autonomous driving, drones, personal technology, emerging technology, regulation, litigation, M&E, and technology in politics. He has undergrad degrees in merchandising and manpower management, and an MBA in human resources, marketing and computer science. He is also a certified management accountant. Enderle currently is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group. He formerly served as a senior research fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester. Email Rob.last_img read more

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 12 2018Today, ASH announced the names of eight investigators who have each been awarded $150,000 through the ASH Bridge Grant Program. Designed to support promising hematology research, ASH Bridge Grants will ensure that innovative research continues at institutions across the country.The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the world’s top provider of medical research grants. Though congressional leaders recognize the importance of funding NIH, the regular threat of continuing resolutions and government shutdowns in recent years has led to an unpredictable, unstable environment in which appropriations are delayed and investigators are unsure of when their grants might be funded. Without reliable funding, some spend valuable research time attempting to identify alternative funding sources, and others stop their important studies altogether.Related StoriesSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds researchScientists develop universal FACS-based approach to heterogenous cell sorting, propelling organoid researchNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerTo sustain promising research amid the uncertainty, the ASH Bridge Grants are designed to serve as a one-year bridge for researchers facing such gaps in multi-year funding, giving them financial support to continue their studies and strengthen their grant applications without the need to pare down laboratory staff or to pause or end their work.Since April 2013, ASH has awarded over $15 million in Bridge Grant support to 115 investigators. More than 70 percent of these recipients have gone on to receive R01 funding from NIH within three years.”Limitations in the federal research budget continue to impact investigators who are submitting proposals for research studies that are deemed meritorious yet are not funded.,” said ASH President Alexis A. Thompson, MD, MPH, of the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. “The ASH Bridge Grants are critical to advancing this important research while maintaining America’s biomedical workforce and our competitive edge in biopharmaceutical technology.”Encompassing a host of basic, translational, and clinical hematology research, projects funded in this 11th round of the ASH Bridge Grant Program include work that will increase the safety of bone marrow transplants and advance our understanding of why some leukemia patients relapse after treatment.Source: http://www.hematology.org/Newsroom/Press-Releases/2018/9053.aspxlast_img read more