Fannie Freddie to go Public in 2020

first_img « Moving from QE to Just Monetizing Government Categories: Interest Rates Tags: 2024, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac QUESTION: Hi Martin ! always wondered What would be the outcome of Fannie/ Freddie going private ? they have been trying this for years, but now looks like they are giving it another try and may be successful under the guise of ” protect the taxpayer ” …. what do you think will be the ramifications especially for real estate REITS and MREITS as well as homeownership going forward .Thank youJDANSWER: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are two companies that are in the longest conservatorship perhaps on record. Because the law governing these agencies is separate from banking conservatorship law, judges have largely done nothing about Fannie and Freddie shareholder complaints to date. The government’s 2012 net worth took all of the money that they said was worthless back in 2008-2011 that was on the balance sheets. Keep in mind that FHFA was acting as conservator when this was all agreed.Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be allowed to retain capital, but the Senior preferred securities purchase agreement will be amended and the lawsuits will be settled in order for the companies to go to the public markets and raise new money via selling new equity to investors. They would like to do an IPO by 2020. After the balance of the senior preferred gets written off, the warrants will be exercised and the junior preferred will likely equitize some or all of their shares to help facilitate the recapitalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. There will be risks that include higher capital requirements, a shorter timeline to recapitalization, more CRT/STACR deals, more regulation and/or lower guarantee fees.Moreover, we face a period where the interest rate is going to enter a major divergence. Central banks will be forced to create interest rate caps on sovereign debt, assuming people will buy them at these low rates of under 3%. This all hinges upon confidence. When we begin to see economic stress in the sovereign markets, such as in Europe with the ECB unable to stop QE, sovereign rates will become merely artificial and irrelevant. The ECB moved to negative interest rates but that did not lower private interest rates.Expect divergences as we move forward into the next cycle which will peak in 2024. Expect wild movements ahead on the yield curve as well.center_img Printing Money to Cover the Cost of Government »last_img read more

Study identifies neurons involved in control of aggression

first_imgStagkourakis and team hope that the findings can contribute to new approaches to managing aggressive behaviour. Aggressive behaviour and violence cause injury and lasting mental trauma for many people, with costly structural and economic consequences for society. Our study adds fundamental biological knowledge about its origins.”Christian Broberger, Study leader. We also found that the brief activation of the PMv cells could trigger a protracted outburst, which may explain something we all recognise – how after a quarrel has ended, the feeling of antagonism can persist for a long time”Stefanos Stagkourakis By Sally Robertson, B.Sc.May 28 2018Researchers from the Karolinska Insitutet in Sweden have made a new discovery about the biological mechanism underlying aggressive behavior.center_img Credit: Shutterstock / whitehouneIn a study of mice, they identified a group of brain cells that can be linked to aggressive behavior and manipulated to control the aggression response.As reported in Nature Neuroscience, the team was able to control aggressive behaviour in the animals by inhibiting or activating the neurons.Related StoriesScientists improve working memory by extending brain signalsStudy confirms gut-brain link in autismNew gene-editing protocol allows perfect mutation-effect matchingLike all behaviour, aggression originates in the brain, but the neurons involved and how their properties contribute to the expression of aggression is poorly understood.Now, a study of male mice has shown that neurons in the ventral premammillary nucleus (PMv) of the hypothalamus – a part of the brain that controls many fundamental drives – play an important role in initiating aggressive behavior.When a new male was introduced to a cage where other males were living, the animals that responded by expressing aggressive behaviour had more active PMv neurons.Using a technique called optogenetics, where light is used to control neurons, the researchers found that activating the PMv neurons induced aggressive behavior in situations where the animals do not usually attack. They also found that by inhibiting the neurons, they were able to interrupt an attack.Mapping of these neurons also showed that they can activate other regions of the brain including reward centers.Lead author Stefanos Stagkourakis says this could explain why mice naturally gravitate towards places where they have previously experienced an aggressive situation. Source: EurekAlertlast_img read more

Mens Health Week

first_imgJun 11 2018 Diabetes in Men versus WomenDiabetes, especially type 2, is more common in males rather than females. However, females often have more serious complications and a greater risk of death. Low Sugar Foods for DiabetesIt is important for a diabetic to control their blood sugar levels, and one of the easiest ways of doing this is through dietary changes. Symptoms of Male Breast CancerThe male breast is structurally and functionally different from female breast due to the hormones that guide its growth and maturity. It is no surprise then, that men can develop breast cancer too. Prostate Cancer Epidemiology WorldwideProstate cancer is one of the leading causes of death globally. It only affects men, and the risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age. Diabetes in MenNumerous population studies have revealed that men, compared to women, have twice the risk of getting diabetes between the ages of 34-55.center_img Prostate Cancer and ExerciseIt is common for men to reduce their levels of physical activity after a prostate cancer diagnosis, however, many studies have found exercise to be beneficial during the treatment and recovery of prostate cancer. Alcohol and DiabetesAlcohol can both increase and decrease blood sugar levels, exacerbating pre-existing diabetic symptoms. Luckily, there are guidelines in place. Supplements for DiabetesVarious supplements are being investigated for the management of diabetes. The most successful supplements investigated so far are chromium and magnesium. Diabetes Risk FactorsDifferent types of diabetes each have associated risk factors. Investigation into these factors is important as it can inform the development of new approaches to reduce diabetes risk.last_img read more

Study finds how the brain perceives and reacts to predators

first_img Source:https://www.uq.edu.au/news/node/122057 Jul 10 2018How the zebrafish brain perceives and reacts to predators has been determined by researchers at The University of Queensland. School of Biomedical Sciences Associate Professor Ethan Scott said the processing of visual threats by the brain represented a really interesting puzzle in neuroscience.“Animals ranging from insects to humans will try to escape physically in response to a visual threat,” Dr Scott said.Related StoriesAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaResearch team to create new technology for tackling concussionWearing a hearing aid may mitigate dementia risk“But we don’t know how the brain recognizes that the stimulus is threatening or decides to escape.“Because zebrafish larvae are small and transparent, we examined activity across the entire brain using microscopes while visual threats were presented.“This gave us a window into the brain’s responses.”Queensland Brain Institute postdoctoral fellow Dr Lucy Heap completed the study while undertaking a PhD at the Faculty of Medicine.She said the study involved showing zebrafish a large threatening shape moving towards them.“We found that visual information received from the eyes was broken down into components, such as shapes and brightness,” Dr Heap said.“These components then needed to be processed separately by two different parts of the brain for the fish to respond appropriately.“When a visual threat appeared, cells in a particular part of the brain, the thalamus, lit up.“But if we interfered with activity in the thalamus, the fish failed to recognize the threat and did not swim away.“These results help to complete our picture of how different sensory information travels through the brain, and how the brain represents the outside world.“Because these functions are abnormal in patients with certain psychiatric disorders, including autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia, this work sets the stage for deeper studies into the disorders’ basic mechanisms.”last_img read more

Twominute bursts of inclass exercise breaks do not disrupt learning and teaching

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Sep 18 2018As childhood obesity rates rise and physical education offerings dwindle, elementary schools keep searching for ways to incorporate the federally mandated half-hour of physical activity into the school day.A series of recent University of Michigan studies found that two-minute bursts of in-class exercise breaks increased the amount of daily exercise for elementary children without hurting math performance. More importantly, when incorporated into classrooms across southeast Michigan, teachers found the breaks were doable and didn’t disrupt learning.”What we’re showing is that we can give kids an additional 16 minutes of health-enhancing physical activity,” said Rebecca Hasson, principal investigator and one of the lead authors.Hasson, U-M associate professor of kinesiology and nutritional sciences, is the director of the Childhood Disparities Research Laboratory, which collaborated on the five studies with the U-M schools of public health, education, and architecture and urban planning, and Project Healthy Schools, a statewide community-Michigan Medicine collaborative.While 16 minutes doesn’t sound like much, it adds up, Hasson said. Kids are supposed to get an hour of exercise a day–30 minutes of that during school. Most don’t.”Many kids don’t have PE every day but they might have recess, and if they get 10 more minutes of activity there, it would meet that school requirement,” Hasson said. “This doesn’t replace PE, it’s a supplement. We’re trying to create a culture of health throughout the entire school day, not just in the gym.”The Active Class Space lab studies examined the effect of activity breaks on mood, cognition, appetite and overall physical activity of 39 children in Hasson’s lab. A study done in real classrooms tested the feasibility of implementing inPACT (Interrupting Prolonged sitting with ACTivity), the exercise program Hasson and her colleagues developed.In the lab studies, kids ages 7-11 completed four experiments: eight hours of sitting, interrupted with two-minute low-, moderate- or high-intensity activity breaks, and eight hours of sitting interrupted with two minutes of sedentary screen time.Findings show that when the sitting was interrupted with high-intensity activity breaks, children maintained their usual activity levels away from the laboratory, thereby burning an additional 150 calories a day without overeating. Unlike adults, children in the study didn’t compensate for the increased exercise by sitting around after school or by eating more, Hasson said.Related StoriesA short bout of exercise improves brain function, study revealsExercise during pregnancy can promote bone health of both mother and childIt’s never too late to take up exercise, advise researchersWhile mood was higher immediately following the screen-time breaks compared to the activity breaks, children reported positive mood during both the sedentary and exercise conditions, and they subsequently rated the activity breaks as more fun.And, after high-intensity activity, overweight and obese children enjoyed improved moods all day, Hasson said. This suggests children reflected upon the exercise and took more satisfaction in it.All of the activity breaks elicited the same level of math performance, and when Hasson took the exercise breaks to real classrooms, teachers could do them.”We got a lot of pushback at first. The fear was that teachers would be overloaded,” Hasson said. “Teachers get a lot of stuff thrown at them. Our experience was that teachers were all very positive about exercise. They know it’s good for the kids. They were open to the idea but they needed more information on how to do it safely.”U-M’s College of Architecture and Urban Planning and School of Education, along with Project Healthy Schools staff, helped design classrooms to accommodate exercise and to safely get kids exercising and then back to class work quickly.”Teachers were worried it would make kids more rowdy, but 99 percent of kids were back on task within 30 seconds of doing activity breaks,” Hasson said. “We even had one teacher who did an activity break in the middle of a math exam–she realized the benefit of getting them up and moving.”Initially, researchers requested that teachers do 10 three-minute breaks, but most teachers averaged between five and six breaks–about 15-18 minutes of activity. Schools in disadvantaged districts didn’t complete as many activity breaks as schools in wealthier districts. Hasson is currently working to eliminate this disparity by adding elements of game playing–point scoring, competition, reward system–to increase physical activity enjoyment in the children.Based on these studies, Hasson said next they’ll try five, four-minute activity breaks totaling 20 minutes, and gauge the impact on mood, activity levels, calorie intake and cognition.​ Source:https://news.umich.edu/new-school-of-thought-in-class-physical-exercise-wont-disrupt-learning-teaching/last_img read more

Study highlights need to remain vigilant in maintaining key infection control processes

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Sep 21 2018Healthcare-associated infections can be reduced by up to 55 percent by systematically implementing evidence-based infection prevention and control strategies, according to a review of 144 studies published today in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA). The study suggests that there is considerable room for improvement in infection prevention and control practices, regardless of the economic status of the country.The release of the meta-analysis is timed to Outbreak Prevention and Response Week, hosted by SHEA and key partners, to raise awareness and provide resources to healthcare professionals, the infection prevention community, patients and families on ways to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.”Healthcare-associated infections come at a considerable expense to patients and families, but also cost the U.S. healthcare system an estimated $9.8 billion each year,” said Keith Kaye, MD, MPH, president of the SHEA and a healthcare epidemiologist who was not involved in this study. “There have been tremendous advancements in developing strategies to prevent and control HAIs. This study demonstrates a need to remain vigilant in identifying and maintaining key infection control processes to ensure they can be optimally used to prevent infections, which in some cases, are life-threatening.”Researchers from University Hospital Zurich and Swissnoso, the Swiss National Center for Infection Control, reviewed 144 studies published around the world–including 56 conducted in the United States–between 2005 and 2016 to determine the proportion of HAIs prevented through infection control interventions in different economic settings. All the papers included in the analysis studied efforts designed to prevent at least one of the five most common healthcare-associated infections using a combination of two or more interventions–such as education and surveillance or preoperative skin decolonization and preoperative changes in the skin disinfection protocol.Related StoriesSmart phone health monitoring devices will revolutionize healthcareFDA’s added sugar label could have substantial health and cost-saving benefitsMany healthcare workers often care for patients while sick, study findsThe interventions consistently produced a 35 percent to 55 percent reduction in new infections. The largest effect was for prevention of central line-associated bloodstream infections. Other infections studied were catheter-associated urinary tract infections, surgical site infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia, and healthcare associated pneumonia.”Our analysis shows that even in high income countries and in institutions that supposedly have implemented the standard-of-care infection prevention and control measures, improvements may still be possible,” said Peter W. Schreiber, MD, the study’s lead author and a researcher from the Division of Infectious Diseases and Hospital Epidemiology at the University Hospital of Zurich. “Healthcare institutions have a responsibility to improve quality of patient care and reduce infection rates by effectively implementing customized multifaceted strategies and improve patient outcomes.””While medical innovations create less invasive procedures that reduce the risk of infection, these same advances in technology allow physicians to perform interventions on previously ineligible patients who are less healthy and more vulnerable to infection,” said Stefan Kuster, another author on the study and a researcher from the University Hospital Zurich and Swissnoso. “Continuous efforts in infection prevention and control are needed to keep up with medical progress.”The group of studies analyzed included controlled and uncontrolled before-and-after studies, randomized controlled trials, cluster-randomized control trials, and a time-series analysis. Limitations of the study include that most of the studies analyzed were not blinded trials and, therefore, could be biased, and that smaller trials with negative results may have remained unpublished. Source:http://shea-online.org/last_img read more

Top stories An icepocalypse hand transplants and new evidence for a gay

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Galápagos research center may shut downA 50-year-old conservation organization dedicated to preserving the biodiversity hotspot that inspired Charles Darwin is about to fall off a financial cliff and could close before the end of the year. The Charles Darwin Foundation, based in Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands, has helped control goats, blackberries, and other invasive species while working to restore populations of endangered species, notably giant tortoises and mangrove finches. It also helps review applications to the Galápagos National Park from researchers and handles logistics for the approved projects.Arctic faces an ice-pocalypse Emailcenter_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Thick sheets of ice coating roads, homes, and pastures. Dead reindeer, no radio transmissions, and flights canceled for days. When ice came to an Arctic mining outpost called Longyearbyen on the Svalbard archipelago two winters ago, it crippled the community for weeks and devastated wildlife for months. Now, scientists are saying such weather extremes in the Arctic—known as rain-on-snow events—may become more frequent in the future.People with hand transplants can gain near-normal sense of touchRapid changes unfold in the brain after a person’s hand is amputated. Within days—and possibly even hours—neurons that once processed sensations from the palm and fingers start to shift their allegiances, beginning to fire in response to sensations in other body parts, such as the face. But a hand transplant can bring these neurons back into the fold, restoring the sense of touch nearly back to normal, according to a study presented this week at the annual conference of the Society for Neuroscience in Washington, D.C.Body’s bacteria may keep our brains healthyThe microbes that live in your body outnumber your cells 10 to one. Recent studies suggest these tiny organisms help us digest food and maintain our immune system. Now, researchers have discovered yet another way microbes keep us healthy: They are needed for closing the blood-brain barrier, a molecular fence that shuts out pathogens and molecules that could harm the brain.Gecko-inspired adhesives allow people to climb wallsIn the 2011 movie Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, Tom Cruise climbs the exterior of the world’s tallest building, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, using nothing more than a pair of gloves. Now, scientists have invented the real deal: hand-sized, gecko-inspired adhesives that can lift a human up glass walls—and that one day may even catch space junk.Study of gay brothers may confirm X chromosome link to homosexualityDean Hamer finally feels vindicated. More than 20 years ago, in a study that triggered both scientific and cultural controversy, the molecular biologist offered the first direct evidence of a “gay gene,” by identifying a stretch on the X chromosome likely associated with homosexuality. But several subsequent studies called his finding into question. Now the largest independent replication effort so far, looking at 409 pairs of gay brothers, fingers the same region on the X. “When you first find something out of the entire genome, you’re always wondering if it was just by chance,” says Hamer, who asserts that new research “clarifies the matter absolutely.”last_img read more

Kublai Khan was a notorious … polluter

first_imgKublai Khan and his imperial Mongol brethren were legendary warriors, masters of the Silk Road, and, according to a new study, terrible polluters due to silver mining. Geologists discovered this legacy by visiting Erhai Lake (pictured above) in the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan. The team extracted 2.5-meter-long sediment cores that accounted for the last 4500 years of the lakebed’s history. They scanned the silt for heavy metal pollutants, namely copper, lead, silver, cadmium, and zinc. They noted a bump in copper contaminants around 1500 B.C.E., which corresponds with the start of China’s Bronze Age and the broader adoption of metal mining. But mining pollution remained low and relatively stable for the next two-and-a-half millennia—until the Mongols conquered China in the late 1200s C.E. The imperialists loved using silver—for coins, jewelry, art, and taxes—but the wood-fire smelting process released ash clouds filled with metal impurities like lead oxide. These plumes settle onto the earth or bodies of water. Lead, for instance, spiked in Erhai Lake, reaching a peak of 119 micrograms per gram of sediment by 1300 C.E. Heavy metal pollution during the Mongol (Yuan) dynasty was three to four times higher than modern industrialized mining, the authors reported online this month in Environmental Science & Technology. Although preindustrial pollution has been detected in lake sediments (and ice cores) around the globe, only a handful of studies have seen levels that exceed modern day—and this observation is the first from China. Lead in sediments can impact aquatic organisms for centuries, so the environmental consequences for Erhai Lake likely persist to this day.last_img read more

How to court an isolated tribe

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 In June 1909, a Brazilian military engineer instructed his assistant, Severiano Godofredo d’Albuquerque, to tame and pacify the Nambikwara, an isolated group living in the path of a new telegraph line pushing into the upper Amazon River Basin in western Brazil. Albuquerque and his men followed a practice pioneered by missionaries: They set up an “attraction front,” building a small frontier post in Nambikwara territory, planting a garden nearby, and allowing the tribe to raid the crops. As the sorties increased, Albuquerque began leaving out metal tools, too. Finally, in August 1910, when a Nambikwara chief appeared during daylight in the garden, Albuquerque made contact, embracing the chief and dressing him and six of his companions in European clothing.Nearly 60 years later, during a taped interview with American anthropologist David Price of Cornell University, an elderly Nambikwara described what happened next. Vitorino Nambikwara explained that his people initially traded woven ornaments and manioc flour for the newcomers’ metal tools. But soon the men at the post demanded more. “When we asked for something, we had to work for it,” Nambikwara recalled. If he and others refused to do physical labor, they were cut off from the steel machetes, axes, and other metal goods that they had come to depend on.Such attraction fronts were an engine of sweeping cultural change. Brazilian missionaries used them to draw isolated, animistic societies out of the forest and into missions, where the people could be converted to Christianity. Government officials used the fronts early in the 20th century to transform traditional tribespeople into a settled workforce capable of building telegraph lines and roads in the Amazon’s harsh conditions. Many saw the policy as enlightened. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Timeline: “How Europeans brought sickness to the New World” Editorial: “Protecting isolated tribes” Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country But for indigenous groups, the attraction fronts were the beginning of disease and dependence. Government employees often hugged the tribespeople, ate with them, and gave them “clothes and hammocks,” says Antenor Vaz, a former senior official at FUNAI, the federal agency responsible for Brazil’s indigenous peoples. In doing so, they also shared their pathogens, to which the newly contacted had no immunity.The Nambikwara, for example, suffered devastating losses. Price estimated that the group numbered some 5000 people at the beginning of the 20th century. By 1969, that number had plummeted to 550, according to a census he conducted, and by 2010 the count was still only 1950, according to a census by Brazil’s National Health Foundation.In the wake of such repeated tragedies, FUNAI frontiersmen helped convince the Brazilian government to abandon attraction fronts and adopt a no-contact policy in 1988 (see main story). Today, anthropologists consider the fronts a shameful chapter in Brazil’s history. “It was a mess,” says anthropologist Cristhian Teófilo da Silva of the University of Brasília. “And it has been proven to be genocide.”Reporting for this story was supported in part by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.Related content:”Feature: From deep in Peru’s rainforests, isolated people emerge” Email “Feature: Is Brazil prepared for a ‘decade of contacts’ with emerging tribes?” “Will a road through the rainforest bring prosperity or disaster?” “A visitor brings doom to an isolated tribe”last_img read more

How do you save a sick coral reef Pop an antacid

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 Their calculations, published today in Nature, suggest that human alteration of ocean pH since the preindustrial era has reduced reefs’ ability to calcify by 12%. The study “provides new field-based evidence that ocean acidification-induced changes in coral reef growth are already underway,” Albright’s team said in a press release.Biological oceanographer Chris Langdon of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, who wasn’t part of the research team, says the “marvelous” study “helps us establish what the effect of ocean acidification is, which has been very hard to isolate.”Ocean acidification harms not only reefs but also shelled animals like clams and ctenophores, known as sea butterflies. To help reverse ocean acidification on a global scale, some researchers have proposed a massive effort to scale up the One Tree Reef experiment: Dump huge quantities of basic solution into the global ocean. But Carnegie geochemist Ken Caldeira, who oversaw the new study, says that approach is infeasible. “Just to keep the oceans where they are and compensate for ongoing CO2 uptake,” he says, “you would need to add over 20 billion tons of limestone to the ocean each year. Not impossible, but a huge job. To undo the acidification that has already occurred you would need to add over a trillion tons of dissolved limestone. Not impossible, but highly unlikely.”The best way to protect reefs, he says, is to “stop treating the atmosphere like a sewer” by dumping CO2 into it, where the pollutant alters the climate and acidifies the oceans. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Email Experimental seawater flowing over the the lagoon where the experiment was done. A pink dye tracer was used to track the movement of seawater. To tease out the effect of acidification, scientists led by Rebecca Albright of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, California, set out to restore ocean chemistry to its preindustrial state at the One Tree Reef in the southern Great Barrier system. They released an antacidlike solution of sodium hydroxide into a lagoon in the reef, reversing acidification. After this alkaline treatment, they monitored the chemistry of the water flowing out of the lagoon. By comparing its levels of alkalinity to how much sodium hydroxide they had added, they could get an accurate measurement of how the reef had calcified during the experiment, since that process itself affects the pH of the water. To account for loss of the solution because of mixing, the team also released a dye into the lagoon, and measured its outflow.  Anyone who has ever dissolved a piece of chalk in vinegar knows that ocean acidification—the result of seawater absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution from the air—has to be bad for calcareous creatures like coral. But just how big a role does ocean acidification play in the sickly state of many reefs? A new study borrows from a common after-dinner practice: popping a Tums to neutralize the acid and thereby isolate its effect on reef health.Near shores across the planet, the health of reefs is in decline. Global studies have shown that major reef systems are calcifying—building their stony skeletons—more slowly, with one study suggesting growth rates of the Great Barrier Reef off Australia have plummeted 40% in just 3 decades.But lots of factors contribute to this harm: diseases, warming water, pollution, and sediment runoff, along with the 0.1 unit drop in the pH of the global ocean since the preindustrial era. Rebecca Albright Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)last_img read more

Hubble unveils monster stars

first_imgThe star cluster R136 is already home to the largest known star in the universe, a giant more than 250 times the mass of the sun. Now, astronomers observing the cluster in ultraviolet light using the Hubble Space Telescope have found a total of nine stars with masses of more than 100 suns, the largest collection of very massive stars found to date. This pack of heavyweights—located in the Tarantula Nebula (shown above with R136 right of center) some 170,000 light-years from Earth—burns bright and fast, collectively outshining the sun 30 million times and ejecting every month material equivalent to the mass of Earth. But how they form is a mystery—the current theory of star formation cannot explain how such behemoths could come together from the collapse of a cloud of gas and dust. It has been suggested that they grow through the merger of pairs of binary stars but, as the team explains today in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, current understanding of binary mergers cannot explain this number of giants in close proximity. The team plans to continue observing R136 with Hubble in visible light, searching for binaries that could merge to produce such massive stars.last_img read more

CRISPR patent hearing produces no clear winner only soft signals

first_img Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Broad filed several patent applications after UC. But it paid a relatively small fee to get a fast-track assessment by USPTO, and since April 2014 has been issued 13 related CRISPR patents. UC, which has one massive patent that is still under review, requested an interference, which was declared on 11 January. Hundreds of documents have now been filed by both sides, and after hearing these oral arguments on key points of contention, the judges are expected to make a ruling that could divide the intellectual property, give it all to one side, or even decide that neither party deserves the patents.In the most colorful moment on the UC side, its lead attorney, Todd Walters, three times said “there was no special sauce here.” He noted that Zhang was one of six labs that showed CRISPR worked in eukaryotes within 6 months of the Doudna-Charpentier paper. Doudna indeed was one of those labs. But the Broad-lead counsel, Steven Trybus, countered that even Doudna acknowledged in a press article that “she experienced ‘many frustrations’ getting CRISPR to work in human cells.” Walters insisted the Doudna never made any statement that it wouldn’t work in eukaryotic cells, and indeed the broadly worded UC patent includes eukaryotic applications. What’s more, Walters said any time scientists perform experiments they have reasonable expectations of success or they’d modify it.“I don’t know that I’m buying the explanation,” said one of the judges.Another judge asked the most probing scientific detail: Would the DNA differences between prokaryotic and eurkaryotic cells—such as the structure of the chromosomal material called chromatin that helps package the nucleic acids—have had an impact on predictions about whether CRISPR would work in prokaryotic cells? UC’s Walters said none of the teams that had success in eurkaryotic cells “indicated chromatin was a problem.”UC also contends that a major difference between the two groups’ inventions is that Doudna and Charpentier created a molecule that does not exist in nature that’s essential to CRISPR’s actions. This “guide RNA” directs the bacterial enzyme to exact spots in the genome, allowing precise DNA cuts.Cook-Deegan said he thought both lawyers were well prepared. “There was more push back than I expected about how easy it is to work in eukaryotes,” he said, noting that one judge pointed out that there’s a difference between expectation and hope.Sherkow, who called the hearing “electric” and agreed that the UC lawyer took the brunt of the grilling, said he expects the judges will issue an opinion by February, although there’s no certain timeline. For more of our coverage on CRISPR visit our topic page. ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA—A long line began to form an hour before the doors opened this morning for a hearing at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that would help decide the fate of the intellectual property behind the revolutionary genome-editing technology dubbed CRISPR. Even those closely following the case were surprised by the size of the crowd, which required a spillover room. “Let’s be honest, this is a patent interference hearing, not a rock concert,” said Jacob Sherkow a patent attorney at New York Law School in New York City. But with billions of dollars at stake, elite university combatants, and high-profile scientists fighting over inventorship, the CRISPR battle has turned into a drama-filled epic, and this hearing was the first time lawyers for the University of California (UC) public faced down their opponents representing the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The three-judge panel allotted each side 20 minutes to argue and rebut, but it offered no decision, which left Sherkow and other onlookers reading tea leaves based on a dozen questions asked and the strength of the answers the lawyers gave.Some have suggested Broad seemed to win the day, but Robert Cook-Deegan, who specializes in patent policy at Arizona State University in Tempe and attended the hearing, said he had no idea how the judges would rule and warned against overinterpreting their questions and responses. “We’re living on soft signals,” he says. “They might just be asking the questions to see how good the arguments are.” 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 (*) The packed hearing room, which only seats 55 people and was half-filled with lawyers from both sides, often strained to hear the federal patent judges, who focused their questions on two central legal issues: “obviousness” and “reasonable expectation of success.” No one disputes that UC Berkeley’s Jennifer Doudna, working with Emmanuelle Charpentier, then with Umeå University in Sweden, developed the key components of the CRISPR technology—a bacterial enzyme that finds a targeted DNA sequence and cuts it—and first showed in the 28 June 2012 online issue of Science that it could edit DNA in prokaryotes. And a team led by the Broad’s Feng Zhang on 3 January 2013 indisputably first showed that CRISPR worked in eukaryotes, which, among other advances, opened the possibility of working on human DNA and making new medical interventions. But UC contends it was “obvious” to extend the prokaryote work to eukaryotes, which is the heart of the Broad patents, and Broad contends that there was no reasonable expectation of success by people who had ordinary skill in the art.last_img read more

This jaw bone bolsters the case for human contact with sabertoothed cats

first_imgNatural History Museum Rotterdam By Gretchen VogelOct. 19, 2017 , 3:00 PM DNA from a 28,000-year-old saber-toothed cat is shaking up the feline family tree. The fossil jaw bone (above), found in 2000 by a trawler in the North Sea, is extremely rare—and puzzling. Scientists have disagreed about when the cats died out in Europe: Several species survived until 11,000 years ago in North America, but most fossils in Europe are at least 300,000 years old. What’s more, researchers weren’t certain how the European species, Homotherium latidens, was related to cats in the Homotherium genus in North America. Now, a team of researchers in Germany has analyzed mitochondrial DNA from the North Sea fossil, comparing it with that from two saber-toothed cat fossils from North and South America. The scientists report today in Current Biology that the DNA in the European bone is very similar to that in a 50,000-year-old Homotherium fossil from the Yukon Territory in Canada—close enough, the researchers say, that they should be considered a single species. Both were only distantly related to the DNA from another saber-toothed cat, Smilodon populator, in a fossil from Chile. That makes today’s tigers and house cats closer cousins than the two types of saber-toothed cats. It also confirms that saber-toothed cats were roaming northern Europe at the same time as early modern humans.center_img This jaw bone bolsters the case for human contact with saber-toothed cats in Europelast_img read more

To seal off dangerous lead pipes just add electricity

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country To seal off dangerous lead pipes, just add electricity U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 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 So far, the potential fix has only been tested in the lab. Later this year, the researchers plan to field test it at a school in Oakland, California, where normal scale buildup isn’t happening in the building’s lead pipes. If the new method works, it could offer cities around the world—including Flint—a fast and cheap way to seal lead in their aging pipes without having to dig them out of the ground. Email ORLANDO, FLORIDA—An estimated 18 million Americans are at risk of lead leaching from old pipes in their homes and city water systems; such exposure can cause neurological problems in adults and—in children—delayed or stunted brain development. The impact of such leaching was on full display in 2015 in Flint, Michigan, when officials changed the source of city water to save money. The new water increased corrosion in the city’s lead pipes, releasing lead into the drinking water and exposing tens of thousands of children.To prevent lead from leaching, many cities add negatively charged compounds called phosphates to their water source. When the phosphates encounter positively charged lead ions in the water, the two react to create lead phosphate, an insoluble minerallike crust that builds up on the inside of the pipe, sealing it and preventing additional lead ions from leaching into the water. But depositing that crust, a process known as scaling, can take years.Now, researchers in California have found a way to speed this process 500-fold, by simply threading a wire down the inside of the pipe and temporarily switching on an electric current. The current actually causes more lead ions to leach into the water, but those ions then react with the phosphates to build up the mineral barrier. Once locked in place, the mineral scaling causes lead levels leaching into the pipe to drop by 99%, the researchers report today here at the semiannual meeting of the American Chemical Society. The process can create a scale in just hours, rather than months or years. By Robert F. ServiceApr. 3, 2019 , 2:45 PMlast_img read more

Stanford says its researchers did not help Chinese biologist who gene edited

first_img Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, has exonerated “several” of its researchers who interacted with He Jiankui, the Chinese biologist now infamous for creating the first gene-edited human babies, twins that were born in October 2018. After a “fact-finding review” conducted by an unnamed member of Stanford’s faculty and an outside investigator, the university concluded in a statement released today that its researchers “expressed serious concerns” to He about his work with human embryos intended for implantation and did not participate in it.Although Stanford did not name the researchers,  bioethicist William Hurlbut and hematologist Matthew Porteus, both at the university, have previously acknowledged discussing the project with He and said they tried to dissuade him. He was also a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Stanford bioengineer Stephen Quake in 2011–12. Quake’s interactions with He were the subject of a lengthy story in The New York Times on Sunday. By Jon CohenApr. 16, 2019 , 8:25 PM The extensive consultations He had with many U.S. researchers about his gene-editing plans has raised questions about whether any of them took enough action to try to stop him before he implanted the embryos. The president of He’s Chinese university wrote to Stanford’s president alleging that Quake had helped He, according to The New York Times. Quake denied that to the paper and said he had encouraged his former mentee to get the appropriate ethics approval. “To the extent that it wasn’t obvious misconduct, what does a person in my position do? Encourage him to do it right, his research, right? I mean, that’s what I believed I was doing,” Quake said to The New York Times.center_img Stanford says its researchers did not help Chinese biologist who gene edited babieslast_img read more

Cancerslaying virus may fight childhood eye tumor

first_imgA child gets an eye exam that could detect retinoblastoma. 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 Cancer-slaying virus may fight childhood eye tumor iStock.com/ferrantraite Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Emailcenter_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Mitch LeslieJan. 23, 2019 , 2:00 PM Curing the childhood eye cancer retinoblastoma often comes at a cost. The tumor, which sprouts in the retina and primarily occurs in children under the age of 5, is fatal if not treated. Yet chemotherapy can cause permanent vision loss, and patients sometimes need surgery to remove one or both eyes. Now, scientists have found that a cancer-slaying virus seems to combat this cancer in mice without serious side effects. A clinical trial has also shown early signs of promise.“It’s potentially a game-changer,” says ophthalmic oncologist David Abramson of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, who wasn’t connected to the study.Researchers have tested cancer-targeting viruses in other types of tumors, but no one had pitted them against retinoblastoma. The tumors grow when there are defects in a molecular pathway that keeps cells from dividing out of control. Oncology researcher Ángel Montero Carcaboso of the Sant Joan de Déu Research Institute in Barcelona, Spain, and colleagues used a type of virus known as adenovirus that typically causes only mild respiratory infections in people. It had been genetically modified so it was missing a key gene and could only reproduce inside cells in which the retinoblastoma pathway had malfunctioned. To determine whether such a virus would be safe, the scientists injected it into the eyes of rabbits without the tumor. The virus triggered side effects such as inflammation and fluid buildup in the eyes, but they disappeared within 6 weeks. Moreover, little of the virus escaped from the eyes, and it didn’t appear to reproduce elsewhere in the animals’ bodies, suggesting it wouldn’t cause harm in other organs.Next, the researchers injected the virus into the eyes of mice with the eye cancer. They gauged its effectiveness by measuring the amount of time required for the cancer to damage an animal’s eye so badly it had to be removed. The rodents’ eyes remained intact roughly twice as long if they received the virus than if they received no treatment. Eye “survival” was also more than twice as long in animals injected with the highest dose of the virus than in mice treated with two types of chemotherapy, the team reports online today in Science Translational Medicine.On the strength of those results, Carcaboso and colleagues have begun a clinical trial to test whether the virus is safe in children with retinoblastomas that haven’t responded to chemotherapy or radiation treatment. Two patients have received the virus so far.The researchers have noted preliminary signs that the virus is targeting the tumors. That discovery was an upside of an unfortunate outcome for one child, whose eye had to be removed because its interior became too cloudy to monitor the tumor. An analysis of the eye showed the virus was reproducing in some tumor cells. The scientists uncovered no evidence that the virus was growing in normal eye cells or damaging the retina.In the second patient, the virus appeared to be shrinking and destroying tumor fragments floating within the eye. These shards, known as vitreous seeds, are dangerous because they can settle on the retina and grow into new tumors, but they are hard to eliminate with chemotherapy. Carcaboso says the researchers plan to enroll more children in the study and further test the virus’s safety and capabilities.“It is exciting that this virus targets molecular signatures of tumor cells, while apparently leaving normal ocular structures undamaged,” says ocular oncologist Anthony Daniels of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, who was not involved with the work. “Whether this approach can achieve a durable cure remains to be seen.”Neurosurgeon E. Antonio Chiocca of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who has tested cancer-targeting viruses as a treatment for brain cancer, agrees that the results are promising. However, he cautions, “We don’t know enough to say whether this will be a therapy.” For example, the authors need to nail down the response of the immune system, he says, which could help destroy the tumor or turn against the viruses and “kill your therapy.”last_img read more

The Vanity and Cult of Elena Ceausescu – Hated Wife of the

first_imgFor a time in the late 1970s/1980s, Elena Ceaușescu (1916-89) of Romania was one of the two most powerful women on Earth. The other, the Prime Minister of Great Britain Margaret Thatcher, was elected by the people of her country. Elena Ceausescu was the president’s wife, and was perhaps not only the most powerful woman on the Continent, but the most hated as well. She was the wife of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu (1918-89), who ruled Romania with an iron fist in the years 1965-89. Over the course of his rule, Ceaușescu and his wife organized a cult of personality around the leader, which in many ways paralleled that of Mao, Stalin, and Hitler.Elena and Nicolae Ceaușescu with Emperor Hirohito during a visit in Tokyo in 1975. Photo by Romanian National History MuseumAs his rule went on, Ceauseșcu not only fostered his own cult of personality, but became prey to it. He spent much of Romania’s Gross Domestic Product on his palace (still one of the largest buildings on Earth), and created a security apparatus that was so intrusive that it is estimated that over ten percent of the country’s population were informants.This was done to ensure and prolong his personal rule, not for the benefit of the country. Those opposing Ceaușescu, his wife, their family and cronies many times disappeared – for good.Portrait of Elena Petrescu (Ceauşescu) in 1939. Photo by  Fototeca online a comunismului românesc,Side by side with the President was his wife, Elena. Around her another personality cult was constructed. In official statements, she was referred to as the “Mother of the Nation.” Many Romanians had other not so flattering names for her. By all accounts, Elena was crude, not bright, devious, vindictive and intensely concerned with her not so good looks.She was born to a peasant family and never finished high school. Like many other poor people at the beginning of the 20th century, she turned to communism as a means by which the working poor could have a larger (or the only) say in how the country was run.Elena Ceausescu portrait. Photo by Fototeca online a comunismului românescIn 1939, she met Nicolae Ceaușescu, who by all accounts was a much more dedicated communist than she. As far as anyone can tell, it was “love at first sight” for Nicolae, and many Romanians and historians believe that almost from the start, Elena had him in the palm of her hand. They were married in 1947, at a time when Soviet-sponsored communism was taking over Eastern Europe.Some twenty years later, Nicolae Ceaușescu had risen to the top of the Romanian Communist Party and in 1965 became the head of the Party. Two years later he was elected President of the Republic.Nicolae Ceaușescu (left), his parents (center) and his wife, Elena (right). Photo by The Romanian Communism Online Photo Collection.At first, Ceaușescu was a relatively popular figure, as far as communist leaders go. He did introduce some benefits to workers and over the course of his first years in office, made his own way in foreign policy at a time when most communist regimes in Eastern Europe took their cues from Moscow. To the people of his country, Ceaușescu was a man willing to risk the wrath of the U.S.S.R. to improve his country.However, as time went by, the Ceaușescu’s became more and more enamored of wealth and luxury. When coal miners went on strike in 1977, party apparatchiks told the miners that their “Great Leader” and his wife were personally working on a solution to their problems and couldn’t meet with them. In reality, they were spending time at their Black Sea resort, complete with servants.Elena Ceaușescu receiving an honorary doctorate in Manila (1975). Photo by Romanian National History MuseumAs Elena traveled the world, she became more and more jealous of what others had. In China, she was jealous of the power of Mao Zedong’s wife Jiang Qing (who was eventually imprisoned by Mao’s enemies), and in the Philippines she was jealous of the opulent lifestyle and good looks of Imelda Marcos (also overthrown).As the years went by she became so vain that she would not allow profile pictures of her to be published, and what photos did reach the public eye were usually doctored in some way. Elena was self-conscious of her large nose, posterior and plain “peasant” features.Mr. and Mrs. Ceauşescu in 1970. Photo by André Cros CC BY-SA 4.0When the Communists came to power, Elena was a secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and not a very good one. From 1972 on, however, as her husband solidified his power, she was elevated to more and more powerful government positions.Over the course of the 1970s she was appointed or “elected” to more and more positions within the government and Communist Party, and in 1980, she was made First Deputy Prime Minister – second in power only to her husband.Visit to Bulgaria. Elena Ceausescu (left) with Lyudmila Zhivkova.She was known as an exceptionally vindictive person whose bad side you did not want to be on. Her enemies, real or perceived, found themselves in dead-end jobs in remote parts of the country, or worse, a bunk in a labor camp or at the end of a rifle barrel.Both she and her husband eventually ran the nation less like a communist one and more like their own personal fiefdom – many have compared the Ceaușescu family to a Mafia organization. If there was money to be made, the Ceaușescu’s had their hands in it.Arrival ceremony for President Ceausescu of Romania, south balcony of the White House.Elena was not only jealous of those women who were better looking or more stylish than she, but of anyone with more education. At the end of her life, however, she was a PhD in chemistry, and was the author of many scholarly papers on the subject. However, the real story is that she paid off/coerced noted scientists to write her doctorate and other papers.Those few who refused found themselves never receiving a promotion again or teaching classes in the provinces. Though it was an open secret that Elena never did any of her own work/research, no one, either within Romania or internationally, called her on it – she was the wife of the most powerful man in the country whose nation did millions of dollars in business internationally.Ceausescu’s visit in the UK, June 1978. Photo by http://fototeca.iiccr.roShe was also the head of many different government departments having to do with the sciences. In her role as the head of the countries sciences, she gained a nickname, and not a flattering one: “Codoi,” which is the Romanian pronunciation of the abbreviation of CO². “CO” for “Carbon-Oxygen” and “doi”, the Romanian for “two”.The Ceauşescus’ personality cult on full display, 1986. Photo by fototeca.iiccr.roNo accident that the word “Codoi” is not just an acronym, but an actual word in Romanian meaning “big tail,” which stout Elena Ceausescu had and tried to hide.Read another story from us: The Communist Romanian government had striking miners deliberately irradiated in order to trigger cancerRomania was one of the last Eastern European nations to experience the anti-communist wave of 1989. Bloody revolution broke out in December, and on Christmas Day, Elena and her husband were convicted after a short show trial and shot.Matthew Gaskill holds an MA in European History and writes on a variety of topics from the Medieval World to WWII to genealogy and more. A former educator, he values curiosity and diligent research. He is the author of many best-selling Kindle works on Amazon.last_img read more

Nike Shoe Controversy Brings Betsy Ross into the Spotlight – Who was

first_imgBetsy Ross is the focus on this Fourth of July, but perhaps not the way most people would have predicted. Nike created a shoe with a version of the “Betsy Ross Flag”–a U.S. flag with 13 white stars that was was created during the American Revolution–but then said on July 2nd that it was canceling the release of the flag-themed shoe the week of July 4th because it could “offend and detract” on the holiday. The Wall Street Journal reported that Nike pulled the shoes after NFL-quarterback-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick, who is a Nike endorser, said he found the flag design offensive due to its association with a time of slavery in America. Nike’s decision has caused controversy, with Arizona Governor Doug Ducey calling for the withdrawal of financial incentives for Nike to open a plant in the state.“It shouldn’t take a controversy over a shoe for our kids to know who Betsy Ross is,” Governor Ducey posted on Twitter. “A founding mother. Her story should be taught in all American schools.”Betsy Ross showing Major Ross and Robert Morris how she cut the stars for the American flag. George Washington sits in a chair on the left.The Betsy Ross story has some patchy areas but she is far from a myth. The most well known version of the Betsy Ross legend is that while the colonies were fighting Great Britain for their freedom in 1776, George Washington and other leaders visited Betsy Ross’s upholstery shop in Philadelphia, unannounced, and talked about the need for a flag for the American side. Ross then whipped up a red, white, and blue flag with 13 stripes and 13 stars.The first design of the American flagBetsy Ross, whose full name is Elizabeth Griscom Ross, did exist. She was a fourth-generation American, born on January 1, 1752, one of 17 children, and grew up as a Quaker. The Quakers opposed slavery since the 17th century. The beginnings of their opposition is pinpointed to 1657, when their founder, George Fox, wrote to his slave-holding peers to remind them of the Quaker belief in equality.“The Birth of Old Glory” by Percy Moran, 1917. Betsy Ross and two children presenting the flag to George Washington and three other men.While she was working as an apprentice at an upholsterer, Betsy fell in love with a fellow upholsterer, John Ross, and married him. Since John was an Anglican and not a Quaker, she left her church at that time. Eventually, the couple opened their own upholstery business.It’s contained in the historical record that Betsy Ross made flags for the Pennsylvania navy during the war. She also lost her husband when he was killed by a gunpowder explosion while on militia duty at the Philadelphia waterfront. Following his death, Betsy acquired his property and kept the upholstery business going, working day and night to make flags.Betsy Ross Magazine Advertisement for Horlacher Brewery, 1935Betsy Ross married twice more. After her third husband died in 1817 after 20 years of poor health, she kept the upholstery business going for another 10 years. She had seven children, not all of whom survived infancy. Betsy Ross died on January 30, 1836, at the age of 84. She is not known to have ever owned slaves.There is no historical evidence or documentation that proves Betsy Ross was the one to create the flag attributed to her. She never claimed any contribution to the flag design in her lifetime. A century after the American Revolution, Ross’s grandson, William J. Canby, presented a paper to a state historical society in which he said that his grandmother “made with her hands the first flag” of the United States. The story grew from there.Related Video:In “Betsy Ross and the Making of America,” Marla R. Miller wrote that “there’s no doubt that Ross was working as a Philadelphia flag maker by 1777, and over her sixty-year career she made hundreds of flags.” Supporters of the Betsy Ross flag story said that her first husband had connections to leading patriots, that Washington was in Philadelphia in the spring of 1776, and she was paid a sizable sum of money for making flags. But others have said insisted that Betsy did not have anything to do with the first flag of the U.S., and this was a story invented by her descendants.Related Article: The 50-Star American Flag was Designed by a High School Student“Although the Betsy Ross House, where she is reputed to have made the flag, is one of the most visited tourist sites in Philadelphia, the claim that she once lived there is also matter of dispute,” said Biography. “Despite the unlikelihood of the story for which she is known, Betsy Ross is, however, a fine example of what many women of her time audaciously endured: widowhood, single motherhood, managing household and property independently and quickly remarrying for economic reasons, and her story and her life are nonetheless stitched into the fabric of American history.”Nancy Bilyeau, a former staff editor at Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, and InStyle, has written a trilogy of historical thrillers for Touchstone Books. Her new book, The Blue, is a spy story set in the 18th-century porcelain world. For more information, go to www.nancybilyeau.comlast_img read more

The county urges residents to be prepared in case of emergencies

first_imgThe county urges residents to be prepared in case of emergencies April 24, 2018 By Toni Gibbons “Being prepared is not just for wildfire emergencies,” said Navajo County Emergency Management (NCEM) Interim Director Catrina Jenkins. “It is being prepared for any and all emergency events that can happen fromSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Adlast_img

Pony Express Ride

first_img Photo by Linda Kor Students from Holbrook schools attended the swearing in at the historic Navajo County Courthouse and cheered “Hashknife!” with the help of seasoned rider Steve Reynolds. Photo by L. Parsons Hashknife ridersSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Ad Pony Express Ride Photo by Linda KorHashknife Pony Express riders were officially sworn in on Feb. 5 at the historic Navajo County Courthouse in Holbrook in a ceremony that allowed them to carry the U.S. mail for their 61st annual ride. center_img February 13, 2019last_img read more