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Bank of Canada deputy governor Lynn Patterson to retire on July 19

first_img Sponsored By: May 8, 201912:05 PM EDTLast UpdatedMay 8, 20191:07 PM EDT Filed under News Economy OTTAWA — The Bank of Canada says deputy governor Lynn Patterson will retire on July 19.Patterson joined the Bank of Canada in 2013 as special adviser to the governor and senior representative at the bank’s Toronto regional office.She was appointed a deputy governor in May 2014 and was responsible for overseeing the central bank’s analysis and activities in promoting a stable and efficient financial system. Bank of Canada’s Stephen Poloz issues ’call to arms’ for mortgage market innovations Bank of Canada thinks economy will recover in second half of the year Canada’s economy unexpectedly shrinks as resource sector stalls Before working at the Bank of Canada, Patterson had an extensive career in capital markets, including as president and country head for Bank of America Merrill Lynch Canada.Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz said Patterson has had a tremendous influence during her tenure at the central bank.He noted that she played a key role in advancing important capital market initiatives — including establishing the Canadian Fixed Income Forum. More Comment Facebook Join the conversation → Reddit 0 Comments The Canadian Press Featured Stories Bank of Canada deputy governor Lynn Patterson to retire on July 19 Patterson was responsible for overseeing the central bank’s analysis and activities in promoting a stable and efficient financial system Bank of Canada deputy governor Lynn Patterson in 2016.Jason Franson/Bloomberg advertisement Share this storyBank of Canada deputy governor Lynn Patterson to retire on July 19 Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Twitter Email What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation ← Previous Next →last_img read more


July 21, 2019 0

Norway Is The Place To Be For Tesla Owners and EV Lovers

first_imgSource: Electric Vehicle News Almost 50% Of Passenger Cars Sold In Norway In 2018 Plugged In Source: InsideEVs via Opplysningsrådet for Veitrafikken AS (OFV AS)That said, Tesla had another (albeit different) win in Norway. Electrek reports that, “Norway has historically been Tesla’s biggest market in Europe.” And now, “Avis [just] took delivery of a fleet of around 280 Tesla vehicles.” A good sign for the Silicon Valley automaker. And with its European Model 3 launch imminent, Tesla remains poised for a significant Norway sales spike soon.*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers, free of charge. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX. Check out the site here. Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on January 14, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News Above: In eight years, electrified car sales skyrocketed to 50% of all car sales (Chart: Quartz)Norway’s focus on vehicle electrification has proven beneficial for companies like Tesla.  “Buying a Tesla Model X is not much more expensive than buying a standard premium Volvo because gasoline cars are taxed heavily. That is also the reason Teslas sell well,” says Christina Bu, General Secretary of the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association.In Norway, “Some 36 percent of all new cars sold are SUVs, which provide safety in the country’s tough winters. Tesla’s SUV, the Model X – the motor of choice for well-to-do environmentally-minded Norwegians – costs around 900,000 Norwegian kronor ($106,000)… [and] To date, with its longer battery life, Tesla has dominated the upmarket family car space for electric vehicles.”In contrast, “The premium gas-powered Volvo XC90 SUV, for example, starts at 919,000 kroner ($107,100) in Norway compared with $47,700 in the U.S.”So is Tesla leading electric car sales in Norway? Well… not yet. According to InsideEVs, Nissan’s LEAF wins the #1 spot with 12,303 (8.3% of total volume). Meanwhile, #2 was VW’s Golf with 9,859 (including the company’s e-Golf). Next up, #3 and #4 were higher-end electric cars, the BMW i3 (5,687) and Tesla Model X (4,981), which round out the country’s “unusual” top four in 2018. Electric Cars Accounted For 1/3 Of Norway’s New Car Sales In 2018 Above: Citizens of Norway are proud of the country’s rapid transition to electric vehicles (Image: The Detroit Bureau)EV growth has been remarkable in Norway. It’s reported that, “In 2013, only 6% of the cars sold in the country were all-electric or plug-in hybrids. By 2017, the year for which the most recent data is available for a majority of countries, that number had surged to 39%, making Norway the top-ranked country for electric-car sales. In second place was Iceland, where electric-car sales made up 12% of all cars sold that year, followed by Sweden, at 6%, according to the International Energy Agency.”It’s not surprising electric vehicles are so popular in Norway. According to Reuters, “Norway exempts new electric cars from almost all taxes and grants perks that can be worth thousands of dollars a year in terms of free or subsidized parking, re-charging and use of toll roads, ferries and tunnels. It also generates almost all its electricity from hydropower, so the shift helps to reduce air pollution and climate change.”“No one else is close” in terms of a national share of electric cars, Norwegian Road Federation chief Oeyvind Solberg Thorsen told Reuters. “For the first time we have a fossil-fuel market share below 50 percent.”“It should always be cheaper to have a zero emissions car than a regular car,” adds Climate and Environment Minister Ola Elvestuen, who helped push through a commitment to have only zero-emissions cars sold in Norway by 2025. The plan supports Norway’s CO2 reduction targets under the 2015 Paris climate accord, reports the Associated Press. Avis Ordered 280 Teslas For Fleet Use In Norway NORWAY IS A HOTSPOT FOR TESLA AND ELECTRIC VEHICLESAs the world slowly transitions to vehicle electrification, one country continues to sprint ahead. According to Quartz, “Half of all passenger cars sold in Norway [in 2018] were either all-electric or plug-in hybrids — a global record, according to the Norwegian Road Federation.”*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Matt Pressman. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs.Related Content:last_img read more


July 21, 2019 0

Since 2010 RenaultNissanMitsubishi Alliance Sold 725000 EVs

first_img Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance Increases EV Sales In 2018 Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Reveal Plans For 12 New Electric Vehicles Ghosn – Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance Are Only Automaker Profiting On EVs Alliance EV sales increased by 34%The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance achieved in 2018 combined sales of 10,756,875 units (up 1.4% year-over-year), which makes it the biggest automotive group globally with a market share of one in nine of all cars and light commercial vehicles.The results differ between the three partners (with all its brands):Renault Group – 3,884,295 units (up 3.2%)Nissan Motor – 5,653,683 units (down 2.8%)Mitsubishi Motors – 1,218,897 (up 18.3%) Source: Electric Vehicle Newscenter_img EV sales in 2018The official press release says that in 2018 sales of electric vehicles by the Alliance increased by 34% year-over-year, which outpaces the overall growth.The precise number for 2018 was not released, but we assume at least some 140,000 BEVs (of all the brands), which would translate to up to 1.3% of the total volume.The cumulative sales since 2010 stands now at 724,905.“In 2018, the Alliance maintained its commitment to zero-emission vehicles. Its leadership in the segment with cumulative sales of 724,905 electric vehicles since 2010 was driven by demand for the Renault ZOE and Nissan LEAF, among other EVs.” Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on February 1, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle Newslast_img read more


July 21, 2019 0

Tesla Model 3 Gets Free Power Boost Edmunds Tests It Out

first_img0-60 mph time shortened from 5.3 seconds when the car was new to 5.0 seconds after the updateSource: Electric Vehicle Newslast_img


July 21, 2019 0

Keep It Real – Read FCPA Professor

first_imgUnlike some other sources of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act information, the award-winning FCPA Professor website keeps it real.Real news and real commentary backed by real statistics written by an individual with real FCPA experience. To receive FCPA Professor daily posts directly to your inbox, subscribe at the lower left hand portion of this page.last_img


July 21, 2019 0

2017 Washington State Patrol AwardsWenatchee Farmers Market Season UnderwayLady Knights Begin NWAC

first_imgThe Washington State Patrol (WSP) awarded the 2017 District 6 Trooper of the Year honor to Trooper Jeff Anderson of Wenatchee.  The State Patrol’s Moses Lake Detachment 3 won District 6 “Detachment of the Year” for the second straight year.Trooper Anderson was nominated as the District 6 Trooper of The Year by Sergeant Ryan Raymond and was unanimously selected by the District Awards Committee.  District 6 serves Okanogan, Chelan, Douglas, Kittitas and Grant Counties.Trooper Anderson understands and supports the importance of Target Zero, which strives to have zero traffic related fatalities by 2030.  Trooper Anderson consistently leads District 6 in DUI apprehension, criminal arrests and focuses his time on collision causing violations.  He is member of the Aggressive Driving Apprehension Team and recently became a Field Training Officer.  He also serves as a member of District 6’s Public Information Officer and Recruiting team.Trooper Anderson regularly organizes speed and traffic safety emphasis’ throughout Chelan and Douglas Counties in areas statistically identified as target enforcement areas.  Trooper Anderson is considered a leader amongst his peers and is often sought upon for guidance.Trooper Anderson was hired by the WSP in January, 2007 and commissioned in April, 2008.  Trooper Anderson continues to exemplify the qualities and characteristics the State Patrol prides itself on.Washington State Patrol’s Moses Lake Detachment 3 won District 6 “Detachment of the Year”.  Detachment 3 continues their strong efforts towards reducing fatality collisions, injury collisions and their overall performance throughout 2017.  The detachment saw a 33% reduction in fatality collisions in support of Target Zero, which strives to have zero traffic fatalities by 2030.  The detachment’s teamwork and commitment to both district and agency goals were clearly evident as they achieved high levels of performance.The Detachment is led by Sergeant Marcus Smith and with his support and leadership, the detachment continues to make a significant difference to the citizens of Grant County.  Their efforts resulted in a 24% decrease in DUI collisions.  Detachment 3 continues to partner with the Columbia Basin Traffic Safety Task Force, Moses Lake Police Department and the Grant County Sheriff’s Office to conduct joint traffic safety emphases to focus on DUI, speed, distracted driving and occupant restraint enforcement.Detachment 3 consistently provides superior quality work.  Detachment members serve in a variety of specialties to include: Certified Technical (collision) Specialists, Field Training Officers, Weapon Instructors, Washington State Patrol Troopers Association Representative, Rapid Deployment Force, Drug Recognition Experts, Executive Protection Unit, Certified Child Restraint Technicians and Aggressive Driving Apprehension Team members.“When you consider the amount of specialty positions within the Detachment, the quality of work they produced is even more impressive” – Sergeant Marcus Smith.Detachment Members:Sergeant Marcus Smith #148Trooper Spike Unruh #970Trooper Sage Schafer #1193Trooper Chris Kottong #680Trooper Jeremy Weber #1100 (Transferred to Wenatchee in November, 2017)Trooper Benjamin Borgman #429Trooper Connor Paysse #555Trooper Collin Cumaravel #738Trooper Michael Valentine #701The two Moses Lake Detachments cover all of Grant County and portions of Douglas, Okanogan and Adams Counties.last_img read more


July 20, 2019 0

Grant County K9 Officer Edo Catches TeensLocal Law Enforcement Team Up for

first_imgK9 Edo put an end to a pursuit in Desert Aire overnight by catching two of three juveniles who took vehicle without permission.Deputy Tyson Voss and his partner Edo were sitting near the Desert Aire fire station about 1:20 this morning when they saw a vehicle run a stop sign at Thunderbird Way and Desert Aire Drive Southeast. Voss and Edo tried to stop the vehicle but the vehicle took off at speeds reaching over 50 miles per hours. The chase continued through Desert Aire, and the fleeing vehicle ran through a cable barrier and into a field near Airport Way and Wren Loop. The vehicle became high centered on a soil mound and the three vehicle occupants took off on foot.Voss warned the three fleeing persons that Edo would be sent after them, and when the three people continued to run, Edo ran and caught two of the three, who turned out to be 13-year-old boys. The boys were taken into custody and treate d by EMTs for Edo’s contact. The two boys named the driver who got away, and were released to their parents. The vehicle had been taken by the son of the registered owner.The three boys, all 13-years-old, face possible charges including taking a motor vehicle without permission, and the driver may face charges of attempt to elude.The investigation continues.last_img read more


July 20, 2019 0

Protect yourself from Carbon Monoxide at Home and at Work

first_imgProtect yourself from Carbon Monoxide at Home and at WorkMarch 23, 2018 By Administrator Every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hundreds of people in the U.S. die from carbon-monoxide (CO) poisoning—and the invisible, odorless gas sickens thousands more.The numbers seem even more tragic when you consider that most of these deaths and illnesses are preventable. Here are tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to help protect yourself and your loved ones at home and at work.At homeMake sure you have CO alarms—and that they work. You should have a CO alarm on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas. Test them and replace batteries regularly, too. The alarms themselves should be replaced every five years or as recommended by the manufacturer.Get your chimney and furnace checked. A chimney or furnace that isn’t functioning properly can lead to CO buildup inside your home. Have a professional examination and/or service before you begin using them.Be careful with generators and grills. Neither should ever be used inside your home or in an enclosed space, such as a garage – even semi-enclosed spaces like porches can be risky, too. Keep generators at least 20 feet away from the house when in operation.At workIn general, the same precautions for homes apply here, but there are a few additional considerations for the workplace, particularly one where gas-powered machinery is used:Be mindful of ventilation. Every year, workers are poisoned by CO while using fuel-burning equipment in areas that don’t have adequate ventilation.Try using different tools indoors. Consider electric tools or ones powered by compressed air, and if possible, avoid using forklifts, pressure washers and other gas-powered equipment. Ensure machinery and tools are maintained properly, too.Report unsafe conditions or issues. If you see something that might cause CO buildup, or you suspect CO poisoning in yourself or a co-worker, get people out of the area and report the problem to your employer immediately.Whether you’re at home or at work, always be on the lookout for symptoms of CO exposure, which include dizziness, drowsiness, headaches and nausea. If you suspect an issue, leave the area as soon as possible and call 911—because when it comes to CO, it’s better to be safe than sorry.Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance.Filed Under: Bloglast_img read more


July 20, 2019 0

Biomarker blood test does not appear to curb antibiotic overuse shows new

first_imgMay 21 2018Overall antibiotic use was not curbed by giving physicians the results of biomarker tests in patients with suspected lower respiratory tract infections, according to findings from the Procalcitonin Antibiotic Consensus Trial (ProACT). The national, randomized clinical trial was coordinated by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The results, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, are being presented at the ATS 2018 International Conference in San Diego.The overuse of antibiotics has become a serious threat to global public health, causing antibiotic resistance and increasing health care costs. Physicians have long known that antibiotics are usually unnecessary for acute bronchitis and for some other cases of lower respiratory tract infections, and that antibiotics treat only bacterial infections, not viral.”But in daily practice, many physicians often prescribe them,” said lead author David Huang, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor in Pitt’s departments of Critical Care Medicine and Emergency Medicine, and director of the Multidisciplinary Acute Care Research Organization (MACRO) Center, and the Clinical Research, Investigation, and Systems Modeling of Acute Illness (CRISMA) Center’s administrative core.Previous research had reported that using a biomarker blood test and following an antibiotic guideline tied to the test results could reduce antibiotic use in lower respiratory tract infections. In February 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the biomarker test that measures procalcitonin – a peptide that typically increases in bacterial infections, but not viral.The ProACT trial involved 14 predominately urban academic hospitals. Researchers enrolled 1,656 adult patients who presented to the hospital emergency department and were initially diagnosed with a lower respiratory tract infection. All the patients were tested for their procalcitonin levels, but the results were shared only with the physicians of the patients randomly assigned to procalcitonin-guided antibiotic prescription.Related StoriesSpecial blood test may predict relapse risk for breast cancer patientsMultifaceted intervention for acute respiratory infection improves antibiotic-prescribingStudy: Surveillance for antibiotic-resistant bacteria continues to be core focus for healthcare facilitiesIn contrast to previous research, the ProACT trial showed that the procalcitonin guideline had little overall impact on whether or not the physicians prescribed antibiotics, although in patients with acute bronchitis, antibiotic prescription in the emergency department was cut in half in patients whose physicians were provided the procalcitonin guideline. Huang noted, however, that the finding for acute bronchitis was a secondary analysis.The exact reasons why the results of this recent research contrast with previous studies are unclear, but the ProACT team found that procalcitonin test results generally matched up with how sick a patient looked as well as their physician’s judgment on how likely it was they had a bacterial infection. The team also found that even when physicians did not know their patient’s procalcitonin result, their decision to prescribe antibiotics was generally the same as when physicians did know the result.”In other words, it seems likely that physicians already commonly withheld antibiotics based on clinical signs alone, and, therefore, instead of the magic bullet I and many others hoped procalcitonin might be, it offered only limited incremental value over clinical judgment,” said Huang.Antibiotic overuse also has received increased attention since the last large trial of procalcitonin and lower respiratory tract infection was completed 10 years ago. Improved prescribing practices may have reduced the chance of the procalcitonin biomarker further decreasing antibiotic use, Huang said.”I hope our results will help physicians decide when to order procalcitonin, and will encourage future research and randomized trials to determine the clinical utility of other novel biomarkers and diagnostic tests in general,” Huang said. Source:http://www.upmc.com/media/NewsReleases/2018/Pages/huang-proact.aspxlast_img read more


July 20, 2019 0

Food increases thermogenesis of brown fat

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Aug 29 2018Brown fat consumes energy, which is the reason why it could be important for preventing obesity and diabetes. Working together with an international team, researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) were able to demonstrate that food also increases the thermogenesis of brown fat, and not just cold as previously assumed.Brown adipose tissue in humans has been the subject of numerous studies, as it has the exact opposite function of white adipose tissue, which stores energy in the form of storage fats called triacylglycerides. Specifically, brown fat burns the energy of the triacylglycerides (thermogenesis).However, the activity of this physiologically highly favorable adipose tissue changes over time: It decreases with age, just as it does in obese individuals and diabetics. Hence, ways to heat up thermogenesis in brown fat are being sought which can be used to prevent obesity and diabetes.Brown adipose tissue can be trainedTo date, only one option has been acknowledged in this context: Cold-induced thermogenesis. “Studies showed that participants who spent hours in the cold chamber daily not only experienced an increase in the heat output of brown fat in the cold as they got used to the lower temperatures, but also an improvement in the control of blood sugar via insulin,” reports Professor Martin Klingenspor, head of the Chair for Molecular Nutritional Medicine at the Else Kröner-Fresenius Center at TU Munich.Carbohydrate-rich meal as effective as cold stimuliFor the current study by the University of Turku in collaboration with international experts, among them Professor Martin Klingenspor with his team from the Else Kröner-Fresenius Center of TUM, it was investigated how a carbohydrate-rich meal affected the activity of brown adipose tissue. “For the first time, it could be demonstrated that heat generation in brown adipose tissue could be activated by a test meal just as it would be by exposure to cold,” said Klingenspor, summarizing the findings.Related StoriesDiet and physical exercise do not reduce risk of gestational diabetesNovel program in England’s third largest city helps reduce childhood obesityObese patients with Type 1 diabetes could safely receive robotic pancreas transplantFor the study, the same subjects were investigated twice: once after exposure to a cold stimulus, and a second time after ingestion of a carbohydrate-rich meal. In addition, a control group was included. Important markers for thermogenesis were measured before and after, which not only included the absorption of glucose and fatty acids, but also the oxygen consumption in brown fat. To do so, the researchers employed indirect calorimetry in combination with positron emission tomography and computer tomography (PET/CT).”Ten percent of daily energy input is lost due to the thermogenic effect of the food,” says Prof. Martin Klingenspor. This postprandial thermogenesis after eating comes not only from the obligatory heat generation due to muscle activity in the intestines, secretion, and digestive processes. There is apparently also a facultative component to which brown fat contributes.The next step of the experiments will now be to find out whether this is energy that is simply “lost” or whether this phenomenon has another function. “We now know that the activation of brown adipose tissue could be linked to a feeling of being full,” reports Klingenspor. Further studies will now be conducted to prove this.​ Source:https://www.tum.de/nc/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/detail/article/34917/last_img read more


July 20, 2019 0

How blind people use batlike sonar

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) 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 Blind from infancy due to retinal cancer, Daniel Kish learned as a young boy to judge his height while climbing trees by making rapid clicking noises and listening for their echoes off the ground. No one taught him the technique, which is now recognized as a human form of echolocation. “He just used it, without knowing that he behaved like a bat,” says Lutz Wiegrebe, a neurobiologist at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany.Like Kish, a handful of blind echolocators worldwide have taught themselves to use clicks and echoes to navigate their surroundings with impressive ease—Kish can even ride his bike down the street, as his daring YouTube videos show. A study of sighted people newly trained to echolocate now suggests that the secret to Kish’s skill isn’t just supersensitive ears. Instead, the entire body, neck, and head are key to “seeing” with sound—an insight that could assist blind people learning the skill.Bats and other animals that rely on sounds to detect prey in the dark move their ears much like humans use their eyes to track an object of interest, making constant adjustments to their ear positions. When bats echolocate, they emit rapid-fire, high-frequency clicks (usually out of range of human hearing), then swivel their ears like radar dishes to catch the echoes, a system sensitive enough to detect objects as thin as a human hair and tiny, night-flying insects. Unlike bats’ large, mobile ears, however, human ears are small and fixed—an obstacle to blind people who use their ears to “see.”center_img Email To test the extent to which people can compensate for this immobility, Wiegrebe and colleagues recruited eight undergraduates with normal vision to don blindfolds and learn some basic echolocation skills. The students were first taught to produce sharp, high-frequency clicks with their tongues. Then they were blindfolded and led into a long, narrow corridor, where they practiced sensing the position of the walls based on how long it took for an echoed click to reach their ears. Although some people are more naturally talented than others at echolocation, most got “quite good” after 2 to 3 weeks of training, Wiegrebe says, and could reliably orient themselves to walk down the corridor without running into any walls using just clicks and echoes.Next, the researchers created a virtual version of the corridor to test how important head and body movements, rather than hearing alone, had been to the students’ accuracy. Blindfolded subjects sat in a chair wearing headphones while a computer program simulated the acoustics of the real-life corridor when they clicked into a microphone. To ensure that the acoustics of the simulated room were realistic, the researchers asked two blind echolocation experts to navigate it first; both were quickly able to orient their bodies toward the center of the aisle.The blindfolded students were also instructed to use their clicks and echoes to line up their bodies with the center of the corridor. In one test, they were told to rotate the virtual corridor without making any head or body movements, using a joystick. In another, the corridor was fixed and participants were allowed to swivel their chairs and heads to determine their position in the room.The difference between the two conditions was stark, Wiegrebe says. When the participants couldn’t move their heads or torsos, they zigzagged down the virtual hall and were unable to self-correct before hitting a “wall.” When the corridor’s position was fixed and their bodies and heads were free to move, however, the novice echolocators soon righted themselves, the team reports online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.The virtual corridor is a “very creative” way to determine just how important body movements are to echolocation, says Lore Thaler, a psychologist at Durham University in the United Kingdom. The findings fit well with her own recent study, which showed that head movements can enable blind echolocation experts to sense an object’s contours, she says. The research also provides a new way of studying echolocation that can’t be done in animals, she notes. After all, “a bat can’t use a joystick.”Echolocation is a skill that has evolved independently several times in the animal kingdom in response to low visibility conditions—whether at night, as with bats and a few nocturnal birds, or in murky water, as with whales and dolphins, Wiegrebe notes. “It’s not magic.” Though the research is still in its early stages, he hopes that a virtual reality program similar to that used in the study will eventually help blind people learn to use echolocation in the safety and privacy of their homes.last_img read more


July 20, 2019 0

Giddyup Horses are running faster than ever

first_imgOn 6 June, American Pharoah (pictured) became the first horse in 37 years to win all three of horseracing’s most prestigious titles and secure the coveted Triple Crown. But despite more than 4 decades of meticulous breeding and scientific advancement, Pharoah’s time of 2:26.65 in his third race—at Belmont Stakes—put him more than a full second behind the track record (2:24.00) set by Secretariat in 1973. Long-standing records like these have caused racing experts to debate whether horse speeds have reached a plateau, and many previous studies have supported the hypothesis. However, research published online today in Biology Letters argues that racehorses are still getting faster—it’s just that the increases are only being seen in short races. Based on a statistical analysis of the United Kingdom’s comprehensive record of horserace times from the mid-1800s to present, the researchers conclude that in races of 10 or 17 furlongs (2011.68 m and 3419.86 m, respectively), speeds haven’t increased much in contemporary times. But in shorter races, performance is still on the rise: In the 6 furlong (1207 meters) category, horses have finished an average of 0.11% faster every year since 1997. The change could be the result of continued evolutionary pressure from selective breeding, or it could reflect a shift in the focus of British breeders who might value sprint speed over marathon speed. The team concedes that racehorse speeds over longer distances may indeed have reached their limit—and because all three Triple Crown races are longer than 9 furlongs, it seems Secretariat’s records may stand up well into the future.last_img read more


July 20, 2019 0

UK research charity will selfpublish results from its grantees

first_imgThis isn’t the first time that the $24 billion charity has pushed for open-access publishing. Wellcome launched the open-access journal eLife in 2012 in collaboration with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and the Max Planck Society headquartered in Munich, Germany—and all three cover the author processing charges if their scientists publish in that journal. But the Wellcome’s new journal will take openness a radical step further.Normally, peer review is anonymous and happens before publication of a paper. The charity’s journal, called Wellcome Open Research, will encourage researchers to post their work immediately on the site, as a full research paper or even just a data set. Only then does the peer review begin, and in this case the reviewers selected by the journal’s editors will be publicly known. “The transparent peer review process will encourage constructive feedback from experts,” the Wellcome Trust’s press release reads, “[focusing] on helping the authors improve their work rather than on making an editorial decision to accept or reject an article.” Some other scientific journals and preprint servers such as arXiv similarly use postpublication peer review, although the concept has so far failed to be fully embraced by the research community.This really is a potential game changer for a major funder to be taking control of the research output.Paul GinspargF1000, the scientific publishing service of the London-based Science Navigation Group, will manage the journal’s production on behalf of the research charity. “The costs [per article] are between $150 and $1000—dependent upon the length of the article—and will be paid directly by Wellcome,” an F1000 spokesperson tells Science. In comparison, publishing an article in one of the open-access journals of the Public Library of Science costs authors between $1500 and $2900.When asked why longer articles will cost more to publish online, the F1000 spokesperson noted that for studies with more graphs and tables “there is substantially more work in checking we have the underlying data, and then dealing with that data (checking format, labeling, suitable storage, etc.).” Wrangling peer reviewers for longer articles is also more difficult, she notes. “Hence we have based our pricing around broad bands of word counts, excluding references.”Not everyone is confident the new journal will have the game-changing impact desired by Ginsparg, even though they applaud Wellcome’s effort. “Even if successful, researchers will not wholly abandon journals with more hidebound peer-review processes,” says Todd Vision, an ecologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who founded Dryad, the scientific data archive. “I prefer a different metaphor: It shifts the needle.” Timothy Gowers, a mathematician at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, who is an outspoken critic of traditional publishing, is equally measured. “I think it is a very interesting development. Whether or not it will be a game changer depends on the extent to which it is taken up. And that will probably depend on whether [biomedical researchers] are prepared to start judging each other in new, and, in my opinion, better, ways.” Starting sometime this fall, the Wellcome Trust, the charity in London that has become one of the biggest nongovernmental funders of biomedical research, will launch its own open-access online journal. Publication will be limited to the thousands of scientists worldwide working on research funded by a Wellcome grant, and it will be free not only for readers, but authors—the charity is covering the costs charged by the company that will provide the journal’s software and online platform.The move has excited many critics of the traditional scientific publishing industry. “This really is a potential game changer for a major funder to be taking control of the research output,” says Paul Ginsparg, the Cornell University physicist who founded arXiv.org, the massive online scientific preprint server. He hopes that U.S. funding agencies will follow suit. “It would be a miracle.”From the point of view of Wellcome and other nonprofit groups that fund science, academic journals can be an expensive drain on time and money. Publication can take months or even years before anyone gets to read the output of the research they back, and with traditional subscription journals the reader then pays for the privilege. One fix is the open-access publishing model: Authors pay up front and then anyone can read the work online for free. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Click to view the privacy policy. 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July 20, 2019 0

NIH aims to beef up clinical trial design as part of new

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 Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Emailcenter_img Drug companies and academic researchers will have to step up their public reporting of clinical trial results under new federal policies released today. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, also laid out a new plan for submitting clinical trial proposals that aims to beef up the rigor of the studies.Researchers can no longer submit an unsolicited idea, but must respond to a request for applications that will include specific design requirements. The goal is to cut down on the number of “small crappy studies,” that don’t include sufficient numbers of patients or veer off from the original study plan, NIH staffers say. The agency wants to “reengineer the process by which clinical investigators develop ideas for new trials,” NIH officials explain in a commentary today in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).NIH is timing these changes with the release today of a final U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulation that expands requirements that sponsors of trials regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) submit summary results no more than 1 year after a trial ends to ClinicalTrials.gov, the NIH-run public database. Companies will now have to report results not only for approved products, but also for mid- and late-stage (phase II and III) trials of FDA-regulated drugs and devices that haven’t yet been approved and may never reach the market. That will help increase the efficiency of research by letting others know about trials that failed, officials say. A new NIH policy will also require submission of summary results to ClinicalTrials.gov for all clinical research supported by the agency, including early phase I safety trials and behavioral research. At the moment, even many major academic medical centers aren’t publishing trial results of NIH-funded trials within the required time frame.The data reporting policies largely mirror proposals released for comment in 2014. One noteworthy addition, however, is that the final HHS rule requires that sponsors submit their protocol and original statistical analysis plan along with the summary results. That will dissuade researchers from trying new ways of analyzing their data to get a more interesting result, or “P-value hacking, where people sort of shop around for a statistical test to give them the P value that they love,” said NIH Director Francis Collins in a call with reporters.HHS declined, however, to add narrative summaries to the bare-bones results tables now in ClinicalTrials.gov because it would have been difficult to ensure that the summaries were not biased to suggest that a treatment worked. Instead, officials will continue to encourage patient advocates and other groups to build on the data summaries.The agencies also didn’t feel ready to require that trial sponsors share data for individual patients because experts are still working out how to do that without compromising privacy. University of California, San Francisco, medical informatics researcher Ida Sim, who is co-leading one such project, agrees with that decision. “I think this is an appropriate scope at this moment,” says Sim, who served on a 2015 Institute of Medicine panel urging broader sharing of clinical trial results.The new rules go into effect 18 January 2017 and trial sponsors will have 90 days to begin complying; companies can request an exemption for up to 2 years if FDA hasn’t yet approved sale of the drug. The NIH policy covers studies funded after 18 January 2017. Trial sponsors who fail to comply could face FDA fines and suspension of NIH funding for clinical research.NIH today also announced new guidance for clinical trial proposals, such as a suggested protocol template and training requirements. In addition, instead of sending their trial proposals to NIH as investigator-initiated grant applications, investigators will need to respond to a so-called funding opportunity announcement (FOA). That means NIH will be able to include “review criteria that focus on the rationale, design, and operational and analysis plans,” such as whether sample sizes are adequate, the JAMA article explains. The change will also ensure that proposed trials are routed to peer review panels with the expertise to evaluate those technical details, NIH officials say.In the past, NIH says, a scientifically interesting proposal could sail through peer review and receive funding, even though the design was weak. The changes follow on other new NIH review standards to improve the rigor and reproducibility of NIH-funded preclinical research.“We want to be sure that we are receiving and having the chance to review the most effective applications for clinical trials. It doesn’t work very well for them to sort of slide in randomly through various doorways without having some standardization of exactly what information is going to be included and also a clear path for its review by experts,” Collins explained.The changes may trigger some pushback. But Collins says that researchers shouldn’t worry that the FOAs will be used to limit the scope of the clinical trials. Researchers will still be able to study “a broad range of important medical problems,” he says.*Correction, 16 September, 1:31 p.m.: The article has been clarified to indicate that the final rule requiring that results from certain U.S. Food and Drug Administration-regulated clinical trials be posted in ClinicalTrials.gov was issued by HHS, not FDA.last_img read more


July 20, 2019 0

Researchers teach selfdriving cars to see better at night

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Signe BrewsterMar. 20, 2017 , 5:15 PM Researchers teach self-driving cars to ‘see’ better at night Self-driving cars navigating down a street have to be able to interpret traffic signs. Sample analysis of traffic signs. The method, which was tested on previously captured images of roads in the United States, Germany, and South Korea, does all this quickly and with a relatively modest amount of computing power, Yeongwoo Choi, an artificial intelligence and computer graphics researcher at Sookmyung, and his colleagues report this month in PLOS ONE. This is made possible by a computing platform called the DRIVE PX 2. Built by the California-based firm NVIDIA specifically for autonomous vehicles, it’s a small but powerful computer that can combine data from multiple sensors and cameras to help the car make sense of its surroundings. The boost in computing power means the system is able to evaluate high-definition images that contain multiple signs while still being speedy enough to give the car timely information.In the real world, this should mean that an autonomous car can drive down the street and accurately pinpoint and decipher every single sign it passes. It would take a picture of a road scene, find the octagon-shaped sign, and decide it’s a stop sign, with enough time left for the car to stop at the intersection. Another self-driving car might miss some signs because of bad weather or have to use less processing power to identify each sign, causing it to be less accurate.Kang-Hyun Jo, a self-driving car researcher at the University of Ulsan in South Korea who is not involved with the research, says it would be impossible for a self-driving car to safely navigate a complex road environment without a strong traffic sign recognition system. “Autonomous cars should see and recognize arbitrary objects because we can’t guarantee what happens outside ourselves,” he says. “To perform this task, it is so important to figure out and identify the information that directly endows the car with safe navigation.”As fully autonomous vehicles are not yet ready for the real world, carmakers are experimenting with hybrid features that delegate some tasks to the car and some to the human driver. Semiautonomous cars that can recognize street signs could correct for human mistakes by automatically stopping at a stop sign or alerting drivers when they drive above the speed limit.Choi says his team will continue improving on their method, with a specific focus on country-specific signs. The team is also working on recognition for general road features like lane markers, though this has yet to be tested in the real world. 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 ANGELO MERENDINO/AFP/Getty Images Today’s autonomous cars can already harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI) software to drive from Los Angeles, California, to New York City without any human input, as long as it’s a sunny day. But they still struggle to spot a stop sign in the rain. Now, researchers say they are on the cusp of giving self-driving cars the ability to read road signs in all sorts of weather and light conditions, an AI advance that brings the vehicles one step closer to being safe enough for everyday people to operate.Self-driving cars usually identify traffic signs, such as those indicating stops or speed limits, by detecting their distinctive shape, color, or other features with a camera. But rain, dark, and even trees can obscure these signs, often making it too difficult for an autonomous car to confidently read them. That forces drivers to step in and manually take control when approaching an obscured sign—or stick to driving in the day.To overcome these obstacles, researchers at Sookmyung Women’s University and Yonsei University in Seoul focused on the relative reflectiveness of road signs. Their approach requires autonomous cars to continuously capture images of their surroundings. Each image is evaluated by a machine learning algorithm—a computer program that can quickly look through an image and decide whether it matches a known pattern. In this case, the algorithm is looking for a section of the image that is likely to contain a sign. It’s able to simultaneously evaluate multiple sections of the image—a departure from previous systems that considered parts of an image one by one. At this stage, it’s possible it will also detect irrelevant signs placed along roads. The section of the image flagged as a possible sign then passes through what’s known as a convolutional neural network. Inspired by how humans see, this network picks up on specific features like shapes, symbols, and numbers in the image to decide which type of sign it most likely depicts. For example, in some countries it knows that a circular sign will depict a traffic rule whereas a triangular shape indicates a warning. From there, it can go on to look for a number that indicates a speed limit or a symbol that clarifies the warning. If it’s not a traffic sign, it’s discarded. If it is, it’s passed along so the car can decide what to do with the information. K. Lim et al., PLOS ONE 12, 3 (6 March 2017) PLOS Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more


July 20, 2019 0

In advance of Brexit UK scientists are stockpiling supplies

first_img HARRY HORSLEY In September 2018, when bioengineer Alicia El Haj took her lab to the University of Birmingham from a nearby U.K. university, the move was complicated by a larger shift: the looming departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union, known as Brexit. El Haj, a leading researcher in regenerative medicine, has had to reassure potential Ph.D. students and postdocs from elsewhere in Europe that her EU funding will remain intact. Given uncertainty about visas after Brexit, she’s tried to get them into her lab before 29 March, when the breakup is set to happen. Meanwhile, her lab manager is hustling not only to outfit the lab—German microscopes are on backorder—but also to get a 6- to 12-month supply of stem cells, in case trade is disrupted. “We have thought about staffing, grants, and supplies,” El Haj says, “so that we can carry on if it all goes pear-shaped.”It wasn’t supposed to be like this. After the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in June 2016, Prime Minister Theresa May and the European Union negotiated an exit deal with a 2-year transition period, during which EU regulations and access to funding would remain in place. But in January, the U.K. Parliament overwhelmingly rejected the deal. Without any arrangements in place, a “no-deal” Brexit could paralyze trade and damage the economy—and science.”To crash out of the EU with no deal is one of the biggest threats that U.K. universities have ever faced,” says Joanna Burton, a senior policy analyst with the Russell Group in London, which represents two dozen U.K. research universities. Research supplies are an immediate worry. Jennifer Rohn, a cell biologist at University College London, has bought up a 6-month supply of cell media and other specialized materials. “I really hope none of this is necessary,” she says. Rohn suspects the stockpiling nationwide is creating shortages: Some cell culture plates are now on backorder for the first time, she says.Brexit also appears to be discouraging EU researchers from coming to the United Kingdom. The government was initially reluctant to grant EU nationals who were already present the right to remain after Brexit, and a proposed new immigration system has also raised concerns among scientists. “I do really worry about the signal Brexit sends, that people won’t necessarily want to come,” says Beth Thompson, head of U.K. and EU policy for the Wellcome Trust, a charity and major science funder based in London. The fraction of EU nationals applying for Wellcome’s early career fellowships fell from 45% to 31% in the 2 years after the Brexit vote.Funding is another concern. After a nodeal Brexit, U.K.-based researchers would not be eligible to apply for grants from the European Research Council (ERC) and fellowships called Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCAs). Over the past 2 years, these have provided €1.46 billion to U.K. researchers. “I don’t think the academic community realized this cutoff would be so severe and sharp,” says Ian Shipsey, who heads the department of physics at the University of Oxford, where 48 positions are wholly dependent on EU funding. His department’s grant applications for EU funding increased nearly 75% over the past 2 years, as researchers accelerated their proposals ahead of Brexit.The main U.K. funding agency, UK Research and Innovation, is discussing programs that could replace ERC grants and MSCAs, but the government has not yet committed to bankrolling them. Any U.K. replacement, says Kieron Flanagan, a science policy researcher at the University of Manchester, would lack some of the key attractions of these grants, such as their portability between EU countries.Some U.K. researchers worry about their existing EU grants as well. After a no-deal Brexit, the European Union will stop payments to U.K. researchers. The U.K. government’s pledge to underwrite these grants hasn’t allayed fears. If the U.K. economy tanks, the government might sacrifice research funding, says Carlos Garcia de Leaniz, a fish ecologist at Swansea University. “It’s not hard to imagine that science will be at the bottom of the priorities.”Researchers elsewhere may be reluctant to collaborate with U.K. teams if researchers there can’t lead EU-funded projects, says Garcia de Leaniz, who heads a multinational EU project to map dams. Burton says major research universities report no slowdown in collaborative proposals, but Garcia de Leaniz says he feels a chill. “Very few people want to team up with leaders in the U.K.” In late January, the Research Council of Norway published a warning about a no-deal Brexit and cautioned Norwegian scientists to “consider the potential risks of cooperation with British partners.”U.K. universities have been trying to preserve ties with European universities by signing agreements that facilitate student exchanges and joint research projects. One, inked in late January, links the University of Birmingham and Trinity College Dublin. El Haj hopes the agreement might allow her lab and those of her Birmingham colleagues to access EU grants, if they spend enough time in Dublin.Despite preparations for a no-deal Brexit, Flanagan says some problems will be impossible to predict. The politics are also uncertain. May hopes to negotiate changes to her exit deal with the European Union in hopes of winning a new vote. Some Parliament members want a delay to Brexit or a second referendum. University of Sheffield astrophysicist Paul Crowther says a delay is the best remaining option, “so that we don’t have this terrible cliff edge.” Email By Erik StokstadFeb. 27, 2019 , 11:30 AM In advance of Brexit, U.K. scientists are stockpiling suppliescenter_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) 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 Jennifer Rohn has stockpiled lab supplies in advance of Brexit.last_img read more


July 20, 2019 0

Parents emotional trauma may change their childrens biology Studies in mice show

first_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 By Andrew CurryJul. 18, 2019 , 2:05 PM Trauma Still, mouse data in hand, Mansuy has been looking for similar epigenetic changes in people. She analyzed blood samples from Dutch soldiers, collected before and after deployment to Afghanistan between 2005 and 2008. And she’s working with clinicians in Nice, France, to examine blood samples from survivors of a horrific 2015 terror attack.Other researchers had found altered sncRNAs in the blood of the soldiers. In 2017, for example, Dutch researchers showed soldiers exposed to combat trauma had recognizable differences in dozens of sncRNA groups, some of them correlated with PTSD. But Mansuy couldn’t find the same kinds of RNA changes that appeared in her lab’s mice. That could be because the soldiers’ samples were years old, or simply because mice and people are different, showing the limits of mouse models. But Mansuy hopes it means epigenetic changes are sensitive to the type of trauma and when it occurs in the life course. Mice can never perfectly replicate human suffering, but, she says, “the best approach” for research “is to select a population of humans who have gone through conditions which are as similar as possible to our model.”That’s where the Pakistani orphans come in. The children’s chaotic early years may have some similarities to what the mice in Mansuy’s lab experience, she says, including unpredictable separation from their mothers.Early results are promising. “We have overlapping findings with the mouse model,” Jawaid says. In a preprint uploaded last month to bioRxiv, Mansuy and Jawaid documented changes in the levels of fatty acids in the orphans’ blood and saliva that mimicked changes in the traumatized mice—as well as similar sncRNA alterations. The presence of similar biomarkers “suggests that comparable pathways are operating after trauma in mice and children,” Mansuy says.In a conceptually similar effort to go from mice to people, biologist Larry Feig at Tufts University in Boston exposed male mice to social stress by routinely changing their cage mates. Their sperm had altered levels of specific sncRNA groups—albeit different ones from those altered in Mansuy’s mice—and their offspring were more anxious and less sociable than the offspring of unstressed parents.Working with a sperm bank, Feig then looked for the same sncRNAs in human sperm. He also asked donors to fill out the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) questionnaire, which asks about abusive or dysfunctional family history. The higher the men’s ACE score, the more likely they were to have sperm sncRNA profiles matching what Feig had seen in mice.But this body of research hasn’t convinced everyone. Geneticist John Greally at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City has been a vocal critic of the evidence for epigenetic inheritance of trauma, pointing at small sample sizes and an overreliance on epidemiological studies. For now, he says, “Mouse models are the way to go.” He’s not yet seen definitive experiments even in mice, he says. “I’d like to see us be more bold and brave and move from preliminary association studies to definitive studies—and be open to the idea that there may be nothing there.”In a darkened room down the hall from Mansuy’s office, just outside the mouse breeding area, two cages stand side by side on a table. One is a standard lab mouse enclosure, not much bigger than a shoebox. Wood chip–strewn cages like this are where most lab mice, including most of Mansuy’s animals, spend their lives.Next to it, black-furred, pink-tailed mice scurry up and down in a luxury two-story mouse house, equipped with three running wheels and a miniature maze. Their environment is designed to stimulate their senses and engage more of their brains in play and exploration.In 2016, Mansuy published evidence that traumatized mice raised in this enriched environment didn’t pass the symptoms of trauma to their offspring. The limited data—Mansuy says her lab is now working on an expanded study—suggest life experience can be healing as well as hurtful at the molecular level. “Environmental enrichment at the right time could eventually help correct some of the alterations which are induced by trauma,” Mansuy says.This and a few other studies suggesting epigenetic change is reversible have the potential to change the narrative of doom around the topic, researchers say. “If it’s epigenetic, it’s responsive to the environment,” says Feig, who more than a decade ago found similar effects on brain function across generations by giving mice play tubes, running wheels, toys, and larger cages. “That means negative environmental effects are likely reversible.”In public talks and interviews, Mansuy says she’s careful not to promise too much. As confident as she is in her mouse model, she says, there’s lots more work to be done. “I don’t think the field is moving too fast,” Mansuy says. “I think it’s moving too slow.” Troubled offspring To explore how trauma affects generations of mice, such as the grandfather, father, and son below, researchers stressed mother mice. Their pups then exhibited both molecular and behavioral changes, such as taking more risks on an elevated maze. These changes persisted for up to five generations. Ali Jawaid (back right) works with children in a Pakistani orphanage. One boy has just given a blood sample for an epigenetics study. But proving that emotional trauma, as distinct from physical stress, can be passed on to subsequent generations in people is a challenge. “The difficulty … is being able to disentangle what comes through social inheritance—which must be massive—and what doesn’t,” says neuroscientist Johannes Bohacek of ETH Zurich. “The jury is still out on humans.”Some of the field’s biggest names also worry that the idea could have dangerous consequences. Rachel Yehuda of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City studied the children of 40 Holocaust survivors and found lower baseline levels of the stress hormone cortisol as well as a distinctive pattern of DNA methylation, an epigenetic marker. But in a paper last year, she said it would be “premature” to conclude that trauma causes heritable changes, adding that hyped media coverage could promote a misleading narrative of hopelessness, suggesting that one generation’s trauma permanently scars later generations.”There’s a lot of overinterpretation of initial results,” says Columbia University biologist Katherine Crocker, who studies nongenetic inheritance in crickets. “What is out there in the public mind about epigenetics probably can never be proved.”To investigate, Jawaid is collecting blood and saliva samples from the Pakistani orphans and from classmates who live with parents. As a researcher in the lab of Isabelle Mansuy of UZH and ETH Zurich, he hopes to learn whether the trauma of loss and forced separation has left identifiable marks at the cellular level. But to really prove transgenerational inheritance, he’d have to study the orphans for years—until they have children of their own. That’s why Mansuy herself has turned to mice.One recent afternoon, Mansuy donned a fresh lab coat and blue sanitary booties and gently cracked the door of a darkened room at her lab at UZH. A powerful smell—something like dog chow mixed with animal musk—wafted out on a gust of warm air. Inside were hundreds of mice in 40 breeding cages. “We keep it dark during the day to preserve their circadian rhythm when we work with them,” Mansuy says in a hushed voice. “This is our 31st cohort.”The idea Mansuy is exploring—that not all inherited characteristics are rooted in DNA—dates back more than half a century. Tantalizing early results came from maize, in which plants with identical DNA had variations in traits such as kernel color that persisted for hundreds of generations. The work was initially controversial, as geneticists saw it as a revival of the non-Darwinian ideas of 19th century scientist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck.But experiments in many organisms suggested epigenetic inheritance was real. In simple creatures like Caenorhabditis elegans worms, researchers found that genes turned off once by altering the RNA they produced remained silenced for 80 generations or more. Some examples were even more dramatic: Water fleas exposed to the scent of a predator have offspring with spiky, armored heads. And in mice, researchers including Skinner found that parents exposed to altered diets, low temperatures, or toxins had descendants with behavioral changes and weight gain. V. ALTOUNIAN/SCIENCE Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Isabelle Mansuy is searching for molecular changes that could explain how trauma in mice affects their offspring. ZURICH, SWITZERLAND—The children living in SOS Children’s Villages orphanages in Pakistan have had a rough start in life. Many have lost their fathers, which in conservative Pakistani society can effectively mean losing their mothers, too: Destitute widows often struggle to find enough work to support their families and may have to give up their children.The orphanages, in Multan, Lahore, and Islamabad, provide shelter and health care and send kids to local schools, trying to provide “the best possible support,” says University of Zurich (UZH) physician and neuroscientist Ali Jawaid. “But despite that, these children experience symptoms similar to PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder],” including anxiety and depression.Beyond these psychological burdens, Jawaid wonders about a potential hidden consequence of the children’s experience. He has set up a study with the orphanages to probe the disturbing possibility that the emotional trauma of separation from their parents also triggers subtle biological alterations—changes so lasting that the children might even pass them to their own offspring. PIOTR PIWOWARSKI Mother separatedfrom pups andtraumatized.Mother oftenignores pups.Three-month-oldmale offspring mated with untraumatized females.Offspring showepigenetic andbehavioral changeswithout havingexperienced trauma.Breeding carried outfor six generations. Trauma experiencedBehavioral changesMotherOffspring Parents’ emotional trauma may change their children’s biology. Studies in mice show how Epidemiological studies of people have revealed similar patterns. One of the best-known cases is the Dutch hunger winter, a famine that gripped the Netherlands in the closing months of World War II. The children of women pregnant during the food shortages died earlier than peers born just before, and had higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and schizophrenia. Studies of other groups suggested the children of parents who had starved early in life—even in the womb—had more heart disease. And a look last year at historical records showed the sons of Civil War soldiers who had spent time as prisoners of war (POWs) were more likely to die early than the sons of their fellow veterans. (The researchers controlled for socioeconomic status and maternal health.)But the human studies faced an obvious objection: The trauma could have been transmitted through parenting rather than epigenetics. Something about the POW experience, for example, might have made those veterans poor fathers, to the detriment of their sons’ lives. The psychological impact of growing up with a parent who starved as a child or survived the Holocaust could itself be enough to shape a child’s behavior. Answering that objection is where mouse models come in.Mansuy began in 2001 by designing a mouse intervention that re-creates some aspects of childhood trauma. She separates mouse mothers from their pups at unpredictable intervals and further disrupts parenting by confining the mothers in tubes or dropping them in water, both stressful experiences for mice. When the mothers return to the cage and their pups, they’re frantic and distracted. They often ignore the pups, compounding the stress of the separation on their offspring.Mansuy says the mice’s suffering has a purpose. “We’re applying a paradigm that is inspired by human conditions,” she says. “We’re doing it to gain understanding for better child health.”Unsurprisingly, the pups of stressed mothers displayed altered behavior as adults. But to Mansuy’s surprise, the behavioral changes persisted in the offspring’s offspring. Initially, she thought this could be a result of the offspring’s own behavior: Mice traumatized as pups could have been bad parents, replicating the neglect they experienced in childhood. Thus they might simply be passing on a behavioral legacy—the same lasting psychological effect that might explain such findings in humans.To rule out that possibility, Mansuy studied only the male line, breeding untraumatized, “naïve” female mice with traumatized males, and then removing males from the mother’s cage so that their behavior did not impact their offspring. After weaning, she raised the mice in mixed groups to prevent litter mates from reinforcing each other’s behaviors.Her lab repeated the procedure, sometimes going out six generations. “It worked immediately,” she says of the protocol. “We could see that there were symptoms [in descendants] that were similar to the animals that were themselves separated.” Descendants of stressed fathers displayed more risk-taking behavior, like exploring exposed areas of a platform suspended off the ground. When dropped in water, they “gave up” and stopped swimming sooner than control mice, an indicator of depressivelike behavior in mice.Mansuy is “definitely a pioneer,” says Romain Barrès, a molecular biologist at the University of Copenhagen. Other researchers have developed conceptually similar models, for example giving male mice altered diets or exposing them to nicotine and tracing metabolic and behavioral changes out for generations.”If you’re asking, ‘Does the experience of the parent influence the process of development?’ the answer is yes,” says epigenetics researcher Michael Meaney at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, whose own studies have shown that differences in maternal care can have epigenetic effects on brain development. “Isabelle and others have documented the degree to which the experience of the parent can be passed on. The question [is] how.”Three massive freezers down the hall from Mansuy’s office are filled with samples of mouse blood, liver, milk, microbiome, and other tissues. These serve as a −80°C archive of more than 10 years of data. Mansuy estimates she’s collected behavioral data and tissue samples from thousands of mice altogether. PIOTR PIWOWARSKI (…) That idea would have been laughed at 20 years ago. But today the hypothesis that an individual’s experience might alter the cells and behavior of their children and grandchildren has become widely accepted. In animals, exposure to stress, cold, or high-fat diets has been shown to trigger metabolic changes in later generations. And small studies in humans exposed to traumatic conditions—among them the children of Holocaust survivors—suggest subtle biological and health changes in their children.The implications are profound. If our experiences can have consequences that reverberate to our children or our children’s children, that’s a powerful argument against everything from smoking to immigration policies that split families. “This is really scary stuff. If what your grandmother and grandfather were exposed to is going to change your disease risk, the things we’re doing today that we thought were erased are affecting our great-great-grandchildren,” says Michael Skinner, a biologist at Washington State University in Pullman.Skinner’s own research in animals suggests changes to the epigenome, a swirl of biological factors that affect how genes are expressed, can be passed down through multiple generations. If trauma can trigger such epigenetic changes in people, the alterations could serve as biomarkers to identify individuals at greater risk for mental illness or other health problems—and as targets for interventions that might reverse that legacy. ALI JAWAID Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Trauma to a mother mouse can alter the behavior of her descendants over multiple generations, like this father, son, and grandson. Epigenetic changes, such as methylation of DNA and alteration of RNA She hopes the biological markers of trauma are hidden in those freezers, waiting to be revealed. Many of the early mammalian epigenetics studies focused on DNA methylation, which “tags” DNA with methyl groups that switch genes off. But those changes seemed unlikely to be directly inherited: In mammals, methylation is mostly erased when egg and sperm come together to form an embryo.Mansuy and others still think methylation could have some role. But they are also zeroing in on tiny information-rich molecules called small noncoding RNAs (sncRNAs). Most RNA is copied from DNA, and then acts as a messenger to instruct the cell’s ribosomes to produce specific proteins. But cells also contain short strands of RNA that don’t produce proteins. Instead, these noncoding RNAs piggyback on the messenger RNAs, interfering with or amplifying their function, thus causing more or less of certain proteins to be produced.Mansuy and others think stress may influence sncRNAs, along with the many other biochemical changes it causes, from higher levels of hormones like cortisol to inflammation. They have focused on the sncRNAs in sperm, which may be especially vulnerable to stress during the weeks that newly formed sperm spend maturing in a twisting tube on top of the testes. Later, when sperm and egg come together, altered sncRNAs could modify the production of proteins at the very beginning of development in a way that ripples through the millions and millions of cell divisions that follow. “Hosts of signals happen as those cells become a zygote,” says epigeneticist Tracy Bale at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. “If dad brings small noncoding RNAs that have an effect on mom’s RNAs, that can change the trajectory of embryo development.”Bale found evidence that trauma can affect sncRNAs in sperm—and that the effects might be transmitted to offspring. She stressed mice during adolescence by barraging them for weeks at unpredictable intervals, with things like fox odors, loud noises, and bright light. Then, she examined the sncRNAs in their sperm and offspring. She found differences in nine types of sncRNAs, including one that regulates SIRT1, a gene that affects metabolism and cell growth.She then created RNA molecules with similar alterations and injected them into early-stage embryos. When those embryos grew to adults, they carried RNA alterations like those seen in the sperm. This second generation also had lower levels of corticosterone, the mouse equivalent of cortisol, after a stressful spell inside a tight tube. “If you do the same RNA changes, you produce offspring with the same phenotype,” Bale says.Mansuy found similar RNA changes in her male mice traumatized as pups. They had higher levels of specific sncRNAs, including miR-375, which plays a role in stress response. Mansuy is convinced those molecular changes account for some of the inherited behavioral traits she documented. In one experiment, her team injected RNA from traumatized male sperm into the fertilized eggs of untraumatized parents and saw the same behavioral changes in the resulting mice.But although the cause, in the form of altered RNA, and the effect, in the form of altered behavior and physiology, are identifiable in mouse experiments, everything else remains maddeningly difficult to untangle, especially in people. “The field has come a long way in the last 5 years,” Bale says. “But we don’t know what’s going on in humans because we don’t have a controlled environment.”last_img read more


July 20, 2019 0

Heres what scientists think a black hole looks like

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe By Daniel CleryApr. 8, 2019 , 1:10 PM More than half a dozen scientific press conferences are set for 10 April, raising hopes that astronomers have for the first time imaged a black hole, objects with gravitational fields so strong that even light cannot escape. Although their existence is now almost universally accepted, mostly from the effect of their gravity on nearby objects, no one has actually seen one. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Related content Improvements in computer power and software brought vivid new images. This gallery shows a nonrotating black hole and its accretion disk from various angles. Q: Were you surprised by the curious shapes that you discovered?A: Not at all, because before writing a computer program with equations I always try to get a preliminary idea from geometrical considerations. In this case, simple geometrical reasoning suggested that, due to gravitational lensing, no part of the disk could be hidden, even its rear side! And simple considerations about the relativistic rotation of the disk implied that a strong Doppler shift would cause a strong asymmetry of the apparent flux.     Q: The first image you produced, using a pen and ink, was impressive. What was the reaction to it from astronomers and the public?A: As I was very young it was my former Ph.D. adviser Brandon Carter who began to publicize my work by showing the picture at a meeting of the Royal Society in London. After I received reprint requests from all over the world, my picture was reproduced in popular science magazines such as Scientific American, Sky & Telescope, and so on, and in monographs by other astronomers. Q: Soon after, astronomers realized that some, if not all, galaxies have a supermassive black hole at their centers. What challenges did this pose?A: The difficulty in visualizing the environments of massive black holes at galactic centers is that you don’t know if the accretion structure is a thin disk (as in most simulations), a thick one (like a 3D torus), or a cloud of gas, or if you have jets and so on. For instance, in very active galactic nuclei and quasars the accretion flow is very important and the disk is probably thick. Luckily, Sagittarius A* and M87* are not active galaxies, so the hypothesis of a thin disk is reasonable. It depends also (but not so much) on whether the black hole is rotating or not.Q: With Jean-Alain Marck in the 1990s you moved on to sweeping animations of movement around a black hole. Did this help with understanding, or was it more for public engagement?A: It was essentially to provide more engaging (colored, animated) pictures for the public. Curiously enough, the scientific community considered these simulations as a game and did not realize their future importance. J. A. Marck/J.-P. Luminet Here’s what scientists think a black hole looks like Black holes themselves are entirely dark and featureless. The giant ones at the centers of galaxies are also surprisingly small, despite containing millions or billions of times the mass of our sun. To make observing them yet more difficult, those giants are shrouded in clouds of dust and gas. But streams of superhot gas swirl around the holes, emanating radio waves about a millimeter in wavelength that can penetrate those clouds.Two years ago, an international collaboration known as the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) corralled time on eight different radio telescopes around the world to try to image the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, known as Sagittarius A*, and another at the center of nearby galaxy M87. They used a technique known as interferometry to combine the output of the globally scattered instruments to produce images as if from a single dish as wide as Earth. A dish that large is needed to see the details of something that would fit easily within the orbit of Mercury and is 26,000 light-years away.center_img Jean-Pierre Luminet’s 1979 black hole visualization. Using computer data, he drew several thousand black dots on a white sheet by hand and took a photographic negative to get the final image. Gas racing around the black hole toward us is brighter from a Doppler boost. The part of the gas disk behind the black hole is visible above it, because its light has been bent by the black hole’s gravity. J. A. Marck/J.-P. Luminet AF archive/Alamy Stock Photo A still from a video produced in 1991 by Jean-Pierre Luminet and colleagues for a French TV documentary. It includes additional Doppler distortions and asymmetries. For the first time, you can see what a black hole looks like Their 5 nights of observing produced 4 petabytes of data. If that amount of data was music stored as MP3s, it would take 8000 years to play. The team has spent the past 2 years correlating, calibrating, and interpreting the data and they are now preparing to show us the results.If the EHT has an image, it may reveal the shadow of the black hole’s event horizon, the point of no return for anything falling in toward the black hole, against a backdrop of the bright swirl of gas in orbit around it. The size of that shadow and the shape of the swirling gas, lensed by the hole’s gravity, will help confirm many theories about these enigmatic objects.As we wait for this week’s announcement, Science spoke with someone who has spent much of his career imagining what black holes might look like. In February, in anticipation of the EHT results, Jean-Pierre Luminet of the Paris Observatory in Meudon, France, released an illustrated history of black hole imaging that records decades of progress from pen-and-ink drawings to supercomputer simulations and Hollywood movies. This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.Q: What prompted you to start to work on visualizations of black holes back in 1978?A: The challenge was to show something of an object that is by definition invisible, plus my natural interest in optical illusions and space-time distortions, and moreover the fact that nobody had previously had the idea to calculate something realistic! J.-P. Luminet The black hole Gargantua from the movie Interstellar, produced by the visual effects company Double Negative in London. Email Q: What do you think of the visualizations produced for the movie Interstellar? A: I wrote a lot of things about this in my blog. In short, geometrically good but physically wrong because they neglected the physical properties of the accretion disk and the Doppler shift effects.Q: Has the EHT added impetus to the visualization field as people try to figure out what they would actually see? A: Sure. I stopped my history of black hole imaging in 2002 precisely because as soon as imaging a black hole with the EHT became a possibility, there was a burst of so many simulations that I couldn’t fit them in. Sadly, most of these simulations did not cite our pioneering ones.   Q: What sort of image do you think the EHT team will reveal this week? A: It will depend on many factors: for instance, on the inclination angle of the observer with respect to the accretion disk. If it is almost face-on, the luminosity asymmetry due to the Doppler shift will not be strong. Also, on the environments of Sagittarius A* and M87*, on the thickness of the disk (if there is one), and so on. I suspect for various reasons that M87* should provide a cleaner image than Sagittarius A*. In any case, if there is a thin accretion disk (as I’m sure is the case for M87*) the image should not be far from one of the views calculated by Jean-Alain Marck in 1989.last_img read more


July 20, 2019 0

Floyd Capitolin says he will not apologize

first_imgShareTweetSharePinCapitolen (r) has refused to apologize and says he stands ready to defend himself, if sued“I have no apology to make…I stand ready to retain counsel to defend myself if sued” – the words of Floyd Capitolin in response to a demand letter from attorney-at-law, Joshua Francis.Francis, who is the deputy political leader of the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) and the Member of Parliament for the Roseau South constituency, demanded in a letter sent through his attorneys Dyer and Dyer to Capitolin on May 31, 2019, that he, Capitolin, apologize and issue a retraction for publication of what the letter alleges were defamatory statements which he made on social media about Francis.The two-page letter with which Capitolin was served on May 31st, demanded that he “immediately submit a draft of a clear and unqualified apology as well as a retraction for publication in an equally conspicuous manner as depicted and played out on social media and also national radio in the Commonwealth of Dominica.”The letter further stated that in view of Francis’ position as an attorney-at-law of long standing in the Commonwealth of Dominica, the OECS and the wider Caribbean, “your defamatory statements are meant to injure, not only his profession as an attorney, but his character as an elected member of Parliament and Deputy Leader of the official Parliamentary Opposition in the Commonwealth of Dominica.”The letter also asked that Capitolin submit a proposal for “substantial compensation” which it indicated would be donated to a charitable organization in Dominica.“Should you fail to submit a satisfactory reply within the next 4 days upon receipt of this letter, our instructions are to issue a writ without further notice. In the meantime, you are to cease and desist all defamation of our client’s character and reputation,” the letter stated.In his response, dated June 4, 2019 to Francis’ attorneys, Capitolin stated that “Francis was charged on November 4, 2016 for the criminal offence of indecent assault and remains charged as at this date. That, instead of facing his day in court, he sought judicial review to have the charges dismissed or delayed and that as a result of using this strategy, the charges have not yet been read to him and the criminal process delayed.”Capitolin’s letter continues, “Further, your client’s wife has filed a divorce petition in which very serious assertions of fact were made against your client. I believe her as I find no other reason than a sincere desire for protection, for a wife and mother to make such assertions. In my mind, these assertions reflect seriously on your client’s state of mind and conduct against your daughter.”The letter adds, “I am also fully aware of his conduct on February 7, 2017. I should add that I am, and I am hoping you are as well, aware of your client’s history. This history cannot be swept aside or under the carpet. This history includes the fact that your client’s wife being your own daughter, did obtain an order of Protection against Domestic Violence so the facts are clear and they speak for themselves. In the circumstances, I have no apology to make. I stand ready to retain counsel to defend myself, if sued.”last_img read more


July 19, 2019 0

Holbrook Levees flap gate is damaged by vandalism

first_imgJune 18, 2018 By Toni Gibbons During a routine inspection of the Little Colorado Levee on June 13, Holbrook’s Facilities Manager and Levee Superintendent Tim Kelley found that one of the flap gates on the main levee hadSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Ad Photo by Tim KelleyThe broken flap gate on the Little Colorado Levee was discovered on June 13. Repairs are expected to be made by early next week.center_img Holbrook Levee’s flap gate is damaged by vandalismlast_img read more


July 19, 2019 0