July 2019

Teslas stock jumps as China agrees to lower tariffs on US cars

first_imgTesla had a rough time in China over the last few months due to tariffs imposed on US cars in the escalating trade war with Trump’s administration.Now it looks like they achieved a truce as Trump claims that China agreed to lower the tariffs on US cars. more…The post Tesla’s stock jumps as China agrees to lower tariffs on US cars, says Trump appeared first on Electrek. Source: Charge Forwardlast_img

VDL Expands Electric Bus Offer With Citea LLE115 Electric

first_imgSource: Electric Vehicle News Electric Bus Orders More Than Doubled Last Year In Europe EV business is good, so new models comingDutch manufacturer VDL Bus & Coach announced further expansion of its electric bus portfolio. After two years since the introduction of the Citea LLE-99 Electric (in the photo), which is a Light Low Entry, 9.9-meter long bus, company will introduce a longer Citea LLE-115 Electric version (11.5 meters).As always, the new model will be available with various charging options, door configurations and flexible interior solutions.VDL news Standard battery option for Citea LLE-115 Electric will be 180 kWh, which is enough for 100-150 km (62-93 miles) of range in real-world conditions. Charging power reaches 270 kW (1.5C).“The expansion of the VDL Citea Electric range with the 11.5-metre Light Low Entry Electric is a logical step in making public transport in regional areas more sustainable. The Citea LLE-115 Electric has a higher passenger capacity, with a maximum seating arrangement of 35+4+1. The new length variant is equipped as standard with the 180 kWh battery pack. This makes it possible to achieve an action radius of 100-150 kilometres without any interim recharging. Thanks to the high-quality batteries and smart charging solutions, it is possible to achieve an action radius of up to 500 kilometres per day with interim recharging. In addition to the standard CCS plug, a pantograph can be used for quick charging at up to 270 kW.The 11.5 metre length variant of the Citea Light Low Entry Electric is a nice addition to the VDL electric product range. The electric product range consists of 3 models, namely the Low Floor (also available as the Low Floor Articulated), Low Entry and Light Low Entry. The lengths vary from 9.9 metres to 18.7 metres. This gives the operator a high degree of flexibility and the ability to perfectly match deployment needs and operational preferences.”So far, several hundred VDL buses covered more than 22 million km. VDL Citeas SLE Electric Bus Ready For Work 22 Hours A Day Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on February 5, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News VDL To Deliver 31 Electric Citeas Buses For Transport In Amsterdamlast_img read more

Sun Joe 16inch Reel Lawn Mower is 68 more in todays Green

first_imgHome Depot offers the Sun Joe 16-inch Manual Walk-Behind Reel Lawn Mower for $67.99 shipped. Regularly $85, this is $2 less than our previous mention and the best price we can find. Ditch the oil and gas…and electric for that matter this summer for an old school reel lawn mower. This model weighs under 25-pounds and sports a 16-inch blade. A nine position adjustable system lets you get just the right cut. Includes a two-year warranty for added peace of mind. Rated 4.1/5 stars. More deals below. more…Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1zk7Eb8r-s&list=PL_Qf0A10763mA7Byw9ncZqxjke6Gjz0MtThe post Sun Joe 16-inch Reel Lawn Mower is $68, more in today’s Green Deals appeared first on Electrek. Source: Charge Forwardlast_img read more

Development From The Other Universe – In Dismissing FCPARelated Civil Claims Judge

first_img Connect Save Money With FCPA Connect Keep it simple. Not all FCPA issues warrant a team of lawyers or other professional advisers. Achieve client and business objectives in a more efficient manner through FCPA Connect. Candid, Comprehensive, and Cost-Effective. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act issues often co-exist in two parallel universes.One universe is ruled by perceived all-powerful gods with big and sharp sticks in which subjects dare challenge the gods. Another universe consists of checks and balances in which independent actors call the balls and strikes.The first universe refers to FCPA enforcement by the DOJ and SEC. The second universe refers to litigation of FCPA-related claims in which judges make decisions in the context of an adversarial legal system. This second universe is often referred to as the rule of law universe.There are several examples of theories used in the first universe that do not work in the second universe.For instance, the SEC frequently advances what seems like a woulda, coulda, shoulda approach to enforcing the FCPA’s internal controls provisions. In other words, with the perfect benefit of hindsight, the issuer woulda, coulda, shoulda done x, y or z and if only the issuer did x, y or z the alleged legal violation would have never occurred.Lost in the analysis is that neither the FCPA, nor any implementing rule or regulation, actually requires issuers to do x, y or z. Indeed, all the law requires is that issuers “devise and maintain a system of internal accounting controls sufficient to provide reasonable assurances” that the vague standards of the provisions are met.The theory of enforcement, as explored in several prior posts including this one, amounts to little more than ipse dixit. (Latin for He himself said it – an unsupported statement that rests solely on the authority of the individual who makes it). In other words, the failure to do x, y or z is an internal controls violations merely because the SEC says it is.Thus, in the SEC’s $7.5 million FCPA enforcement action against Qualcomm in March 2016, an enforcement action not subjected to one ounce of judicial scrutiny, the SEC found that the company, with the perfect of hindsight, woulda, coulda, shoulda done more to ensure that various things of value were not provided to “foreign officials.”As sure as the sun rises in the the east, plaintiff attorneys representing Qualcomm shareholders salivated and filed various civil actions against Qualcomm officers and directors for alleged breach of fiduciary duty.Yet, these claims are actually litigated and subjected to judicial scrutiny and, as is often the case, were recently dismissed (see this recent Delaware Court of Chancery opinion authored by Vice Chancellor Tamika Montgomery-Reeves).The opinion begins with the following summary.“The Complaint alleges that the Qualcomm Inc. (“Qualcomm”) board’s conscious disregard for red flags resulted in violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) and a March 2016 U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) cease-and-desist order. Plaintiffs’ Complaint asserts claims for breach of fiduciary duty, waste, and unjust enrichment against the Qualcomm directors and former Chief Financial Officer. Defendants moved to dismiss under Court of Chancery Rule 23.1 for failure to make demand or allege demand futility and Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. For the reasons stated herein, I grant Defendants’ Rule 23.1 motion to dismiss all counts in Plaintiffs’ Complaint.”As to the March 2016 SEC enforcement action, the opinion states:“On March 1, 2016, the SEC determined that between 2002 and 2012, Qualcomm violated the FCPA. The FCPA is a federal anti-bribery statute that forbids illicit payments to foreign government officials to obtain or retain business overseas. It also requires that publicly traded companies like Qualcomm establish adequate internal controls to ensure (1) that they execute only authorized transactions and (2) that all company transactions are accurately recorded. The FCPA further requires that publicly traded companies actually make and keep accurate accounting records for all transactions and dispositions of company assets.The Red FlagsPlaintiffs allege that the Qualcomm board pursued a business expansion plan emphasizing the Asia Pacific region, particularly China, which resulted in FCPA violations. According to the Complaint, China is a country of focus for U.S. FCPA regulators because of the large number of state-owned enterprises and the culture of gift giving. As such, Plaintiffs assert that U.S. companies doing business in China are on notice of the importance of FCPA compliance.The Complaint alleges that the Qualcomm board and its Audit Committee knew of several red flags regarding FCPA compliance in China and Korea. On April 20, 2009, the Qualcomm Audit Committee was presented with an Internal Audit Update, which showed that certain gifts were not being appropriately logged on the Qualcomm gift logs. At the Audit Committee’s July 20, 2009 meeting, committee members received reports of potential FCPA violations. And in December 2009, the Audit Committee learned of whistleblower allegations of FCPA violations. In addition, a presentation given at the January 25, 2010 Audit Committee meeting shows that “[a] large number of activities such as business meals, business entertainment, marketing and gifts with known government related entities have not been recorded in the Qualcomm China Gift logs.”  A similar problem was presented with respect to Korean gift logs at the same meeting. Finally, for the audit period from January 1, 2010 through March 31, 2011, the Complaint alleges that PricewaterhouseCoopers noted that “QCA” did not have certain FCPA compliance processes in place. Defendants assert that QCA is a company that Qualcomm had recently acquired, but the Complaint does not allege what QCA is.The SEC Cease-and-Desist OrderOn March 1, 2016, the SEC determined that cease-and-desist proceedings should be instituted against Qualcomm as a result of alleged FCPA violations. In anticipation of the institution of cease-and-desist proceedings, Qualcomm reached a settlement with the SEC, which was announced simultaneously with the cease-and-desist proceedings. The SEC released the terms of the settlement in the form of a cease-and-desist order.The cease-and-desist order shows that the SEC found that Qualcomm violated the FCPA in the following ways: (1) from 2002 until 2012, Qualcomm provided frequent meals, gifts, and entertainment to Chinese officials who were considering whether to adopt Qualcomm technology; (2) Qualcomm hired relatives of Chinese officials, including a Chinese executive’s son that Qualcomm’s human resources department originally determined was not “a skills match” and should not be hired; (3) Qualcomm’s books and records did not fairly and accurately account for the illegal gifts but rather recorded them as generic marketing or sales expenses; and (4) Qualcomm lacked adequate internal controls to provide reasonable assurances that only authorized transactions were executed and that all transactions were accurately recorded. The order required that Qualcomm pay a penalty of $7.5 million and make periodic reports to the SEC for two years.”Applying the relevant legal standard to the plaintiffs’c civil claims, the opinion states:“Count I of the Complaint alleges a breach of fiduciary duty claim for improper oversight, also known as a Caremark claim. The Delaware Supreme Court in Stone v. Ritter reiterated the two bases on which directors may be held liable on a Caremark claim as: “(a) the directors utterly failed to implement any reporting or information system or controls; or (b) having implemented such a system or controls, consciously failed to monitor or oversee its operations thus disabling themselves from being informed of risks or problems requiring their attention.” Where, as here, plaintiffs rely on the second basis for a Caremark claim, a complaint must allege “(1) that the directors knew or should have known that the corporation was violating the law, (2) that the directors acted in bad faith by failing to prevent or remedy those violations, and (3) that such failure resulted in damage to the corporation.”Plaintiffs generally “attempt to satisfy the elements of a Caremark claim by pleading that the board had knowledge of certain ‘red flags’ indicating corporate misconduct and acted in bad faith by consciously disregarding its duty to address that misconduct.” Additionally, a plaintiff may adequately plead bad faith by alleging that the board intentionally directed the corporation to violate the law. “Under Delaware law, a fiduciary may not choose to manage an entity in an illegal fashion, even if the fiduciary believes that the illegal activity will result in profits for the entity.” “Delaware law does not charter law breakers,” and “a fiduciary of a Delaware corporation cannot be loyal to a Delaware corporation by knowingly causing it to seek profit by violating the law.”Here, Plaintiffs do not argue that the Qualcomm board intentionally caused Qualcomm to violate the law. As such, to adequately plead bad faith, “Plaintiff[s] must plead particularized facts from which it is reasonably inferable that the [b]oard consciously disregarded its duties by ‘intentionally fail[ing] to act in the face of a known duty to act.’” “Conscious disregard involves an intentional dereliction of duty which is more culpable than simple inattention or failure to be informed of all facts material to the decision.” Further, “[s]imply alleging that a board incorrectly exercised its business judgment and made a ‘wrong’ decision in response to red flags . . . is insufficient to plead bad faith.”The Complaint in this case fails to allege particularized facts giving rise to an inference that a majority of the board faces a substantial likelihood of liability on the Caremark claim alleged. As in Melbourne, I need not address whether the alleged red flags actually constitute red flags or whether the board’s response to the alleged red flags caused damage to Qualcomm because the Complaint fails to plead facts giving rise to an inference that the board acted in bad faith.Assuming for purposes of this analysis that the various reports to the Audit Committee and the board constituted red flags, the Complaint does not allege that the board consciously disregarded the red flags. Many of the documents the Complaint cites as red flags also include planned remedial actions. For example, Plaintiffs cite the April 20, 2009 presentation to the Audit Committee, which states that “2 of the FCPA related events tested were not recorded on the gift log of the respective office.” But the next line on that page provides recommendations to address the issue. It states that “the listing of departments and individuals that receive the annual FCPA certification should be formally reviewed on an annual basis” and the Senior Vice President of Government Affairs “should re-iterate to all employees assigned to the Government Affairs department the requirement to record all FCPA related activities in the gift log.” Further, Plaintiffs cite a January 25, 2010 Audit Committee presentation where the committee was informed that “[a] large number of activities such as business meals, business entertainment, marketing and gifts with known government related entities have not been recorded in the Qualcomm China Gift logs.” But the same page states corrective actions that the company will take, including that the Executive Vice President for the Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa “will hold an all-hands meeting with the employees of QC China to explain the approval, expense tracking and record keeping requirements of the Corporate FCPA policy and to emphasize the significance of employee compliance.” It also states that “[k]ey individuals, which meet with government officials, should be required to submit the completed FCPA log with their expense report for reimbursement. The QC China Director of Finance should review these expense reports to verify the accuracy and completeness of the Gift logs.”These responses to the red flags show that the board did not act in bad faith. There is no indication that the board believed Qualcomm could continue to violate the FCPA without consequences. And no allegations suggest that the Qualcomm board consciously disregarded the red flags. The allegations in the Complaint do not adequately plead “an intentional dereliction of duty” after the board was aware of the risk of future FCPA violations through the red flags. In fact, Plaintiffs point to only two factual allegations as evidence of a failure to respond to the red flags: a December 31, 2013 target date for the translation of its FCPA compliance materials into Chinese (which Plaintiffs allege was too late) and the company’s plan to formulate a long-range FCPA plan (which Plaintiffs again contend was too late because it remained outstanding as of January 27, 2014). These board decisions do not rise to the level of bad faith. Instead, Plaintiffs here simply seek to second-guess the timing and manner of the board’s response to the red flags, which fails to state a Caremark claim.”*****Plaintiffs also argue that the FCPA establishes a statutory floor for adequate internal controls, and because the Qualcomm cease-and-desist order describes internal control violations of the FCPA, the Complaint necessarily states a claim. But that argument is misplaced here. A corporation’s violation of the FCPA alone is not enough for director liability under Caremark. “Delaware courts routinely reject the conclusory allegation that because illegal behavior occurred, internal controls must have been deficient, and the board must have known so.” Delaware law, not the FCPA, establishes the standard for director liability, and under Delaware law, Plaintiffs’ Complaint does not allege bad faith.”For more on the recent Qualcomm decision, see here from the always informative D&O Diary.last_img read more

Ajinomoto Buys José Olés Manufacturer for 800 Million

first_img Username Lost your password? Password Remember mecenter_img Jones Day represented Ajinomoto and Baker Botts represented Windsor, a private Houston-based manufacturer of ethnic frozen foods in the U.S. that owns brands including José Olé, Ling Ling and Tai Pei . . .You must be a subscriber to The Texas Lawbook to access this content. Not a subscriber? Sign up for The Texas Lawbook.last_img

Strasburger Castillo Snyder and Neligan Foley Lead 120M Settlement for Stanford Ponzi

first_img Lost your password? Not a subscriber? Sign up for The Texas Lawbook. Password Three Texas-based law firms announced Wednesday that they secured a $120 million settlement agreement this week for the 18,000 investors victimized by Houston financier Allen Stanford . . .You must be a subscriber to The Texas Lawbook to access this content.center_img Username Remember melast_img

Exclusive Saudi Prince Wins 3M From Irvings Youtoo Media

first_img Remember me Lost your password? In a unanimous verdict, five women and three men ordered Youtoo Media and its general partner, Christopher Wyatt, to pay more than $3 million to Prince Mansour Bin Abdullah Al-Saud of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for his lost investment. The court also tossed a $6 million claim the prince’s courtroom opponents brought against him . . .You must be a subscriber to The Texas Lawbook to access this content. Usernamecenter_img Password Not a subscriber? Sign up for The Texas Lawbook.last_img read more

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