Brain stimulation shows promise in treating obesity by reducing food cravings

first_imgMay 21 2018Stimulating the brain to alter its intrinsic reward system shows promise in the treatment of obesity, according to results presented in Barcelona at the European Society of Endocrinology annual meeting, ECE 2018. The technique has yielded positive results after just a single treatment session, revealing its potential to become a safer alternative to treat obesity, avoiding invasive surgery and drug side effects.Obesity is a global epidemic, with approximately 650 million adults and 340 million children and adolescents currently considered obese, and the disease contributing to an estimated 2.8 million deaths per year worldwide. It has been reported that, in some obesity cases, the reward system in the brain may be altered, causing a greater reward response to food than in normal weight individuals. This can make patients more vulnerable to craving, and can lead to weight gain. This dysfunction in the reward system can also be seen in cases of addiction to substances, e.g. drugs or alcohol, or behaviors, e.g. gambling.Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (dTMS) is a medical treatment that uses magnetic energy to stimulate neurons in specific areas of the brain. It is used to treat depression and addictive behaviors, and previous studies have suggested that dTMS could be a good option to reduce drug and food cravings. However, the potential mechanism driving these changes had not been investigated until now.In this study, Professor Livio Luzi and colleagues, from the Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Policlinico San Donato, Italy, investigated the effects of dTMS on appetite and satiety in obese people. They studied the effects of a single 30 minute session of dTMS, at high or low frequency, on blood markers potentially associated with food reward in a group of 40 obese patients. They found that high frequency dTMS significantly increased blood levels of beta-endorphins – neurotransmitters involved in producing heightened feelings of reward after food ingestion – compared to low frequency dTMS or controls.Related StoriesDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustRush University Medical Center offers new FDA-approved treatment for brain aneurysmsResearch team to create new technology for tackling concussion”For the first time, this study is able to suggest an explanation of how dTMS could alter food cravings in obese subjects” says Professor Luzi. “We also found that some blood markers potentially associated with food reward, for example glucose, vary according to gender, suggesting male/female differences in how vulnerable patients are to food cravings, and their ability to lose weight.”Since the current study only measures changes in blood markers, the next steps for the research group include using brain imaging studies to directly identify how high frequency dTMS changes the structure and function of the obese brain, both short and long term, and extending this treatment to a larger population of obese patients.”Given the distressing effects of obesity in patients, and the socioeconomic burden of the condition, it is increasingly urgent to identify new strategies to counteract the current obesity trends. dTMS could present a much safer and cheaper alternative to treat obesity compared to drugs or surgery”, Professor Luzi adds. Source:https://www.ese-hormones.org/last_img read more

Research shows greater numbers of new smokers ecigarette users among young adults

first_imgJul 9 2018Millennials living more dangerously and settling down later could be creating a new generation of addicted smokers and e-cigarette users, according to the surprising results of research by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).Statistics highlighted in today’s article in the Journal of Adolescent Health showed greater numbers of new smokers and e-cigarette users among young adults compared to adolescents, marking a reversal of previous social norms.”Historically, it used to be that nearly everything started by age 18. That’s no longer the case, as young adults are experimenting with things once more common during high school years. Young adults are starting to act like adolescents,” said Cheryl Perry, Ph.D., senior author and professor and regional dean at the UTHealth School of Public Health in Austin.Perry was the senior scientific editor of the 1994 Surgeon’s General Report on Preventing Tobacco Use among Young People, which stated, “Tobacco use primarily begins in early adolescence, typically by age 16; almost all first use occurs before the time of high school graduation.”New statistics challenge this premise, revealing people are much more likely to start smoking as young adults rather than as adolescents. Using the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, analysis of cross-sectional data from 2006-2013 shows the rate of onset of cigarette smoking among young adults (6.3 percent) was more than three times higher than onset among adolescents (1.9 percent) during this time.”Last summer I saw these statistics and asked, ‘Is this really true – a quarter of a century later, the conclusion about tobacco first use is now wrong?’ It’s potentially a watershed situation, which could have very alarming health implications,” said Perry, who is part of the School of Public Health Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living.The current paper examined data from both national and state studies to identify trends in tobacco and tobacco-related product usage over one year. In all cases, young adults were significantly more likely than youth to both have ever tried and be a current user of cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes and hookah.”The fact that Texan cohorts looked the same nationally makes this evidence of later onset more compelling. It indicates a massive cultural shift, relating to a behavior that still kills half of its regular customers,” said Perry, who holds the Rockwell Distinguished Chair in Society and Health.Activities traditionally associated with being a teenager, such as hanging out with friends, drinking alcohol, wanting to get a driver’s license and going on a date have become less popular in that age group. There has also been major policy change, including the implementation of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Charged with reducing tobacco use among adolescents under age 18, it gave the Food and Drug Administration the authority in 2009 to regulate the manufacturing, distribution and marketing of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, which was extended to all tobacco products in 2016.Related StoriesEffective stop smoking treatments less likely to be prescribed to people with mental health conditionsEarly genome catastrophes can lead to development of lung cancer in non-smokersFinancial incentives may help people quit smoking and remain smoke-freeBanning various flavors of cigarettes and sponsorship at entertainment or sports events, and prohibiting free sampling of tobacco products and non-tobacco branded items are among the measures, which the study theorizes could explain why among high school students, from 2011 to 2016, the use of cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco significantly decreased. Retailer compliance in prohibiting the sale of tobacco to minors also increased to over 90 percent by 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.In response, according to research cited in the paper, tobacco company marketing is more explicitly aimed at their youngest legal target group – young adults. According to the Federal Trade Commission cigarette report, price discounts accounted for the vast majority (80 percent) of cigarette marketing dollars in 2014 as tobacco companies try to attract price-sensitive young adults.According to a growing body of research, young adults are putting off starting a career, getting married and having children. This could create a window of opportunity for risky behavior, the authors wrote. The report warns that if young adults are now at higher risk of starting to use tobacco, more attention to prevent this behavior before it turns into addiction will be vital to prevent tobacco-related diseases and deaths.”The trend of delayed adolescence is very concerning because young adults are less monitored and more independent, so they are very prone to carrying on smoking and using other associated products, such as e-cigarettes. We need more research, including obtaining data on adults in their 30s, to see whether this is a part of seismic change,” Perry said.There are few prevention programs or policies focusing directly on young adults, the researchers wrote.”If adolescence now extends to age 30, this makes the battle against tobacco much bigger and more complicated. Just when we thought we were nearing the end game, we might have been outsmarted. It’s a challenge, which will demand new ways of trying to communicate with and influence young adults who may be much harder to reach than adolescents,” she said. Source:https://www.uth.edu/media/story.htm?id=86413817-04c0-4ce0-ba76-6015202eb1b2last_img read more

Travel time has major impact on nurse staffing ratios in neurocritical care

first_imgAug 2 2018For specialist nurses on neurocritical care units, accompanying patients for imaging scans and other procedures has a major impact on nurse staffing ratios, reports a study in the Journal of Neuroscience Nursing, official journal of the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses. The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer. “Patients in a neurologic critical care unit require more staffing to account for the frequent neurologic assessments, charting, and traveling,” according to the workflow study by Michelle Hill, MS, RN, AGCNS-BC, CNRN, CCRN, SCRN, and Jessica DeWitt, BSN, RN, of Riverside Methodist Hospital, Columbus, Ohio. The study led to the addition of staff members, including a new “circulating nurse” position, with the goals of improving patient care and nurse retention rates. ‘Are Neurocritical Care Nurses Performing 14 Hours of Work in a 12-Hour Shift?’ “Neurocritical care units are unique from other critical care areas,” according to the authors. These specialist units care for patients with diagnoses like stroke and brain or spinal cord injuries, who require frequent neurological assessments and diagnostic tests. “These imaging and diagnostic examinations are often time sensitive and may happen at any time,” Hill and DeWitt write. During a period of multiple changes, the 32-bed neurocritical care unit at the authors’ hospital was experiencing high nurse turnover rates. “This started us asking the question, ‘Are neurocritical care nurses performing 14 hours of work on a 12-hour shift?'” To answer this question, the authors performed a study to assess relationships between various nursing tasks: neurological assessment, documentation, and traveling with patients for diagnostic tests. The study also looked at the effects of patient acuity (severity of illness) and nurse experience. Related StoriesMercy Medical Center adds O-arm imaging system to improve spinal surgery resultsWearing a hearing aid may mitigate dementia riskAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaOver 30 days, observations showed that neurocritical care nurses spent more than 226 hours traveling with patients. The main tests and procedures involved were computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging scans and vascular interventional radiology procedures. “Approximately 4.5 hours of a 12-hour shift were spent off the unit traveling for these tests, indicating that at least one nurse was off the unit for 38 percent of the shift,” Hill and DeWitt write. “When a nurse travels there is a patient left behind for another nurse to care for,” Michelle Hill explains. “This alters the staffing and requires ‘flexing up’ – meaning that the nurse-patient ratio increases 33 to 50 percent during those times.” On its own, the nurses’ level of experience was not significantly related to the amount of time needed to perform and document the results of neurological assessments. However, less-experienced nurses spent more time documenting the status of higher-acuity patients, compared to veteran nurses. The study also identified an average of 2.5 high-acuity patients per day who required a dedicated one-to-one nurse assignment for procedures and recovery time. Based on their workflow analysis, the authors recommended a new “circulator” nurse position, who would travel and assist with patients, freeing primary nurses on the unit to stay with their patient. They also recommended three new “one-to-one” staff positions, allowing high-acuity patients or those with multiple diagnostic tests scheduled to be assigned to a dedicated nurse. “Implementing additional staffing will counteract this unique characteristic of neurologic critical care patients and provide a possible tool to enhance retention,” Hill and DeWitt conclude. They note previous research showing that higher nurse staffing levels can have positive effects on patient outcomes – but further studies will be needed to evaluate the impact of their changes in staffing on the neurocritical care unit. Source:http://home.lww.com/news.entry.html/2018/08/01/travel_times_affect-aKjH.htmllast_img read more

Regular bedtime and wake time important for heart metabolic health even among

first_img Source:https://corporate.dukehealth.org/news-listing/it%E2%80%99s-not-just-kids-even-adults-appear-benefit-regular-bedtime Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Sep 21 2018Sufficient sleep has been proven to help keep the body healthy and the mind sharp. But it’s not just an issue of logging at least seven hours of Z’s.A new study on sleep patterns suggests that a regular bedtime and wake time are just as important for heart and metabolic health among older adults.In a study of 1,978 older adults publishing Sept. 21 in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers at Duke Health and the Duke Clinical Research Institute found people with irregular sleep patterns weighed more, had higher blood sugar, higher blood pressure, and a higher projected risk of having a heart attack or stroke within 10 years than those who slept and woke at the same times every day.Irregular sleepers were also more likely to report depression and stress than regular sleepers, both of which are tied to heart health.African-Americans had the most irregular sleep patterns compared to participants who were white, Chinese-American or Hispanic, the data showed.The findings show an association — not a cause-and-effect relationship — between sleep regularity and heart and metabolic health.”From our study, we can’t conclude that sleep irregularity results in health risks, or whether health conditions affect sleep,” said Jessica Lunsford-Avery, Ph.D., an assistant professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences and the study’s lead author. “Perhaps all of these things are impacting each other.”Still, the data suggest tracking sleep regularity could help identify people at risk of disease, and where health disparities may impact specific groups, such as African Americans.”Heart disease and diabetes are extremely common in the United States, are extremely costly and also are leading causes of death in this country,” she said. “To the extent we can predict individuals at risk for these diseases, we may be able to prevent or delay their onset.”Related StoriesNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerNovel bed system with VR brainwave-control for sleep blissUnpleasant experiences could be countered with a good night’s REM sleepParticipants used devices that tracked sleep schedules down to the minute so researchers could learn whether even subtle changes — going to bed at 10:10 p.m. instead of the usual 10 p.m. — were linked to the health of participants. Their ages ranged from 54 to 93, and people with diagnosed sleep disorders such as sleep apnea were not included.The study also tracked the duration of participants’ sleep and preferred timing — whether someone turned in early or was a night owl. According to these measures, people with hypertension tended to sleep more hours, and people with obesity tended to stay up later.Of all three measures, however, regularity was the best at predicting someone’s heart and metabolic disease risk, the researchers found.As one might expect, irregular sleepers experienced more sleepiness during the day and were less active — perhaps because they were tired, Lunsford-Avery said.Researchers plan to conduct more studies over longer periods in hopes of determining how biology causes changes in sleep regularity and vice-versa.”Perhaps there’s something about obesity that disrupts sleep regularity,” Lunsford-Avery said. “Or, as some research suggests, perhaps poor sleep interferes with the body’s metabolism which can lead to weight gain, and it’s a vicious cycle. With more research, we hope to understand what’s going on biologically, and perhaps then we could say what’s coming first or which is the chicken and which is the egg.”last_img read more

Tornadoes striking United States in bunches

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 Email To identify the trend, both teams had to work with a tricky database. In 1953, NOAA’s National Weather Service began collecting tornado data based on eyewitness reports, and in the mid-1970s, the agency began classifying the tornadoes based on how much damage they cause. The scheme, now called the Enhanced Fujita scale, ranks tornadoes from a 0 to a 5, from least damaging to most. But the database relies on human judgment, and the zeroes, in particular, were problematic. There appear to be many more zeroes now than there were a half century ago, simply because these relatively minor tornadoes weren’t reported as often in the past. Brooks’s and Elsner’s groups each found that by discarding these tornados and focusing on the stronger, more reliably reported ones, they were left with a relatively unbiased data set—one that put the rising variability on vivid display.Connecting the variability to a physical cause has proved more challenging, as is predicting how tornado patterns may continue to change in a warming world. In part, that’s because tornadoes are localized phenomena that are too small to be resolved by climate models. But scientists know that tornadoes, like severe thunderstorms, are driven primarily by two atmospheric factors: a convective component associated with updrafts of warm, moist, energy-laden warm air, and a shear component associated with differences in horizontal winds that can lead to rotation. The convective component, which depends on moisture and temperature over land, will rise as the globe warms, climate scientists say. But the shear component is ultimately linked to the temperature difference between polar regions and midlatitudes, and this is expected to drop in the long term, because the poles are warming faster than the rest of the planet. The two factors may now be canceling each other out—and perhaps that has something to do with the fact that there are no more tornadoes on average these days than in the past, Elsner says.On the other hand, some studies have suggested that the convective factor will dominate over the shear factor in the long run, producing more severe storms and tornadoes. “I don’t think we have a straight answer yet,” Elsner says. “It’s not clear how this is going to play out. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Every year, nearly 500 damaging tornadoes strike the United States, an average that hasn’t changed in recent decades. But several new studies, including one published online today in Science, are finding that tornado patterns have changed since 1970. There are more days with many tornadoes, and more days with no tornadoes at all. The start of the tornado season—typically in spring—has also become more capricious, with some years starting a month or two earlier than the norm and other years starting late.The finding has a practical consequence: It implies that insurance companies should be keeping more capital on hand to gird themselves for large but infrequent tornado catastrophes. And emergency responders should be ready to respond to tornado clusters with sufficient equipment and manpower, says Harold Brooks, an atmospheric scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma. “We need more resources … even if we don’t use them very often.”Researchers have begun to link this increased volatility to variability in atmospheric factors that drive tornadoes, such as temperature, moisture content, and shear winds. Pointing a finger at climate change, however, is still not possible. “The links in the chain connecting them aren’t complete yet,” says Brooks, who led the Science study. Among other things, Brooks found that in the 1970s, there were on average 150 days a year with at least one damaging tornado, and that number has now dropped to 100 days. But the bad days have gotten worse: In recent years, there were on average 3 days with more than 30 tornadoes, compared with just 1 day a year 4 decades ago. In August, a study published in Climate Dynamics, led by James Elsner, a climatologist at Florida State University in Tallahassee, came to the same conclusion. “They are coming in bunches,” Elsner says. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)last_img read more

After Election 2014 ADVANCED MANUFACTURING

first_imgThis story is the second in ScienceInsider’s After Election 2014 series. Through Election Day on 4 November, we will periodically examine research issues that will face U.S. lawmakers when they return to Washington, D.C., for a lame-duck session and when a new Congress convenes in January. Click here to see all the stories published so far; click here for a list of published and planned stories.Today, a look at an issue that both Democrats and Republicans can embrace: advanced manufacturing.Conventional wisdom holds that today’s hyperpartisan environment in Washington, D.C., has poisoned any chance of political compromise. If so, then advanced manufacturing may be the antidote. Lawmakers from both parties have embraced the idea of a national network of centers aimed at developing better manufacturing technologies, materials, and processes, an idea originally put forth by President Barack Obama. And Congress is well on the way toward turning that idea into reality.Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill (H.R. 2996) that would allow the government to create such a manufacturing network. The legislation contains many elements found in Obama’s 2012 proposal for a $1 billion, 15-node National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). Even before Congress authorizes such a network, the White House has funneled money to an initial cluster of six centers. The centers cover a range of topics; the first is focusing on 3D printing, for example, while the most recent will target integrated photonics.That kind of unilateral White House action typically makes many congressional Republicans apoplectic. Not this time. Although much of the administration’s legislative agenda—in health care, energy, climate, and immigration, to cite just a few examples—has been blocked by partisan fights, advanced manufacturing has become an issue that everyone can rally around. Its promise of generating lots of well-paying jobs is especially appealing to politicians anxious about a still-precarious economic recovery. “This bill is an opportunity for the United States to bring jobs back to our shores, so we can make it here and sell it there,” proclaims Representative Tom Reed (R–NY), the House bill’s lead Republican sponsor.For such a bipartisan coalition to exist, Republicans like Reed have had to abandon what party leaders a generation ago would have dismissed as unnecessary “industrial policy” and an inappropriate government intrusion into the private sector. For their part, Democrats have had to dial back their preference for launching a program by growing the federal budget. In this instance, that has meant acquiescing to fiscally conservative Republicans in putting more resources into advanced manufacturing without an overall increase in spending. In the case of the House-passed bill, the money would come from an existing program within the Department of Energy that fosters energy-saving and green manufacturing technologies.The Senate has so far failed to act on a companion bill (S. 1468) that is similar to the House bill. But advocates say it’s still possible that Congress will return after the election and take the final steps needed to both authorize the network and adopt related policies aimed at strengthening U.S. manufacturing.A national networkWhat exactly is advanced manufacturing? And why has it become a front-burner issue?Advanced manufacturing is not simply having companies find more efficient ways to make better widgets. It also requires training technically savvy workers, revising tax and regulatory policies, and supporting fundamental research that will lead to the breakthrough technologies needed to keep U.S. companies ahead of their global competitors.All manner of high-ranking advisory bodies have weighed in on the subject in recent years, and Obama has mentioned it in his last two State of the Union addresses as well as on several other occasions. A January 2014 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service does an excellent job of summarizing the history of the idea, including the work of an interagency panel, and the challenges that lie ahead. Last month, for example, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology adopted an Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Strategy 2.0 that builds upon a 2012 report describing what changes are needed.Some ascribe near-mythic powers to advanced manufacturing. The Republican floor manager for the recently passed House bill, Representative Larry Bucshon (R–IN), extolled the sector’s ability to “create good-paying, family-supporting, community-sustaining jobs.” And sports metaphors abound when politicians talk about the subject. “This is the kind of approach that … will keep America in the manufacturing game,” Obama said in March 2012 as he rolled out his vision during a visit to a Petersburg, Virginia, plant making disks for jet engines.For researchers, the payoff is a bit more tangible. On 3 October, Obama flew to southern Indiana to announce that the Department of Defense (DOD) has committed $100 million to the winner of an upcoming competition for a national center on integrated photonics manufacturing.“This is a major addition of funding for optics and photonics,” says Eric Van Stryland of the University of Central Florida, Orlando, about a technology to produce silicon-based integrated circuits and communications equipment using light instead of electronics. “Anytime you dump $200 million into a field, it had better have a big impact.” (Stryland’s $200 million figure refers to the fact that the winner of the competition must at least match DOD’s contribution with funding from dozens of industrial, academic, and nonfederal public partners.)The photonics center would be the sixth node in the emerging network. DOD has already pledged $70 million apiece to support two other existing Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation (IMIs)—one on digital manufacturing and design innovation led by the University of Illinois and based in Chicago, and the second on lightweight and modern metals manufacturing innovation based in Detroit. The Department of Energy is investing $70 million in an IMI on next-generation power electronics manufacturing based at North Carolina State University and will soon announce the winner of a center on composite materials. The first IMI, a pilot focused on 3D printing and based in Youngstown, Ohio, was launched less than 6 months after Obama’s Virginia speech by several agencies, with the largest contribution—$30 million over 3 years—coming from DOD. And DOD plans to follow up its choice of an integrated photonics center with a second center focused on another topic chosen from a list of six candidate fields.In addition to assembling top talent in a particular field, each institute is expected to drive regional economic development. The idea that hosting an IMI will help their state or district become a leading center of manufacturing innovation in a particular field is a powerful lure for politicians.That promise is why Bucshon, normally a fierce critic of the administration’s social and economic policies, joined Mike Pence, the state’s Republican governor, on an airport tarmac in southern Indiana to greet the president when he flew in to tout the new DOD-backed center on integrated photonics. It’s also why Representative Mike Honda (D–CA), who represents part of Silicon Valley, felt free to mark last month’s positive House vote by noting, “Hopefully, once this bill is enacted, we can win one of these centers.”Striking a compromiseWhile the IMIs created by the White House represent a real financial commitment, the pending legislation is at most an expression of congressional intent. It would authorize the government to spend money on the centers, leaving the final decision to appropriators. That two-step process makes passage of the bill a slightly lower priority for lobbyists like Tom Hausken, a senior adviser at the Optical Society in Washington, D.C., which pushed hard for the creation of the integrated photonics IMI.“We certainly support the RAMI legislation,” he says, using the acronym for the bills’ title, Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act. But the Pentagon’s recent announcement means “we have a bird in the hand,” says Hausken, who praises Obama for “doing [IMIs] within the existing budgetary authority.”  Still, the legislation could lead to additional centers in related fields. Both the House and Senate bills would give the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) the authority to spend $300 million over 10 years to stand up four or more centers for manufacturing innovation. Both also would create a $10 million program to support regional innovation clusters and require outside experts to conduct a quadrennial assessment of the nation’s progress in meeting its goals to improve U.S. manufacturing.Appropriators have signaled their support with language in the 2014 omnibus bill that funded NIST and every other federal agency. The only reason the bill did not include money for NNMI, the lawmakers wrote earlier this year, was because the proposal had not yet “been considered or approved by the Congress.”That language was an implicit acknowledgement that House and Senate lawmakers must first reconcile their differences on how to fund the network. The House bill would shift $250 million from an existing program within the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) that supports advanced manufacturing technologies aimed at lowering energy costs and promoting renewables. (The remaining $50 million, to operate a program office and conduct relevant studies like the quadrennial review, would come from an existing NIST account that provides technical support to industry.) In contrast, the Senate bill would create a $300 million fund for NIST, to be offset by taking money from some unspecified federal account.The choice of moving money from EERE by House Republicans is deliberate. Its programs are a perennial target for opponents of the administration’s climate and energy policies. The shift would potentially drain the EERE program: Its current budget includes $81 million for the type of facilities represented by the IMIs. (The White House’s 2015 budget for the program asks for $190 million.)The shift in funds also allows Republicans to keep their pledge to fund new activities only by tapping programs deemed a lower priority. “The NMI [Network for Manufacturing Innovation] will not increase spending,” asserted Representative Lamar Smith (R–TX), chair of the House science committee with oversight of both agencies, during the 15 September House debate on Reed’s bill.That requirement was a hard pill for House Democrats to swallow. “The shifting of funds was the price that had to be paid for winning GOP support,” explains Ken Scudder, Honda’s communications director. “Fortunately, the offset is spread out over 9 years, and the secretary of energy would have the discretion to decide how much to transfer. The secretary is unlikely to act in a way that would decimate the department’s programs.”The provisions in the bill on where the money would come from could create a problem down the line, warned Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D–TX), the science panel’s ranking Democrat. In general, appropriators view such language as an infringement on their ability to allocate federal dollars. In the floor debate, Johnson called it “an unnecessary obstacle … that could make it difficult to stand up and sustain this program.”In the end, however, she and her fellow Democrats decided that the bill was too good an opportunity to pass up. “I strongly support this legislation, and I urge all of my colleagues to do the same,” Johnson declared. Minutes later, on a voice vote, they did.Three days after the House acted, participants in the four regional centers already operating came to Washington to tout their accomplishments and build momentum for NNMI and RAMI. In welcoming them to the Capitol Hill event, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker described the bipartisan legislation as an essential piece of the administration’s plans for advanced manufacturing. “These institutes present a clear reminder that making this bill the law of the land would spur more innovation, continue the comeback of American manufacturers, and send an unmistakable message to our competitors around the world—that America is open for business,” Pritzker told attendees. “That is why [passing] the RAMI Act is so critical.”    With everybody on the bandwagon, advanced manufacturing seems well-positioned to deliver a rare win-win for both parties.ScienceInsider’s After Election 2014 series will look at a range of issues that will be on policymakers’ agenda once the voters have spoken on 4 November. Look for stories on:BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH FUNDING NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION POLICY Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! 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Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) FUSION SCIENCE STREAM AND WETLAND PROTECTION EASING RESEARCH REGULATIONcenter_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 ADVANCED MANUFACTURING STEM EDUCATION R&D TAX CREDIT 21ST CENTURY CURESlast_img read more

Microsoft mogul to create new cell science center

first_imgEleven years after he established an institute dedicated to mapping the brain, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is announcing a sequel: the Allen Institute for Cell Science. Just like its predecessor, the new institute will be seeded with $100 million from Allen himself; will embrace big-team science, bringing together cell biologists, mathematicians, computational biologists, and other specialists; and will seek to decipher a world whose complexity is still largely uncharted.The buzz began just over a year ago, but the details weren’t revealed until today. At a press conference in downtown Philadelphia this afternoon, during the annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology, the scientists guiding the new institute spoke of it as science fiction come true.  “We are embarking on an amazing journey,” declared Rick Horwitz, the new institute’s executive director, who until recently was a professor of cell biology at the University of Virginia.The venture will be housed in the same Seattle, Washington, building as the Allen Institute for Brain Science, and initial plans call for hiring 75 scientists to fill it. Its goal is grand: Decode the human cell by deciphering how its various pieces of machinery work together and how they are perturbed by gene mutations, drugs, and other forces. Ultimately, its leaders want to be able to predict how specific cells will behave in different circumstances. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email But the institute’s first project will be narrower. Researchers plan to study how induced pluripotent stem cells transform into heart muscle and epithelial cells and compare and contrast how these transformations occur. The data and models generated will be made publicly available.The $100 million infusion will last 5 years, until 2020, said Allan Jones, the CEO of the Allen Institute for Brain Science, who was also present for the big announcement. And after that? Jones hinted that the new institute would likely follow a trajectory similar to his own, which in 2012 received another $300 million from Allen, while supplementing this philanthropy with federal grants.Allen didn’t appear at today’s unveiling. But in response to a reporter’s question about why he was captivated by the cell, Jones pointed to its intricate machinery, which, from 10,000 feet up, isn’t all that different than the brain’s. “The issue of complexity is one” Allen keeps coming back to, he said.center_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)last_img read more

Astronomers spot firstgeneration stars made from big bang

first_imgA team of astronomers has found the best evidence yet for the very first generation of stars, ones made only from ingredients provided directly by the big bang. Made of essentially only hydrogen and helium, these so-called population III stars are predicted to be enormous in size and to live fast and die young. Until recently, many astronomers had thought they would never be able to see such stars, because they would have all burned and died in the universe’s early history—too far for us to see. But using new instruments on the world’s top telescopes, the team found a uniquely bright galaxy that seems to bear all the hallmarks of containing population III stars.“The evidence is strong. They did a careful job,” says Avi Loeb, chair of Harvard University’s astronomy department.Theorists predict that the clouds of gas in the early universe would have remained relatively warm from the big bang and so would resist condensing down to form stars. Mixing in a small amount of heavier elements helps gas clouds cool, because those elements are easier to ionize and so shed heat as radiation. But those heavy elements hadn’t yet formed in the early universe, so stars grew to enormous sizes—hundreds or even a thousand times as big as our sun—before their cores were dense enough to spark fusion. Once they did get started, they burned fast and hot, emitting lots of ultraviolet light and burning out in a few million years. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)center_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country It was such burning that created the heavier elements that now populate the universe. Fusion in the cores of stars meld light atoms into heavier ones, all the carbon, oxygen, iron, and everything else needed to make dust clouds, planets, and life. These heavier elements are scattered around when a star ends its life and explodes. So all the gas that exists in the universe now has a smattering of heavier elements, which allow it to cool more easily. As a result, stars tend to be smaller, burn less brightly, and live longer than their ancient forebears.Scientists thought population III stars probably resided in small dim primordial galaxies that astronomers would never see. But a team led by David Sobral of the University of Lisbon carried out a survey with the 8.2-meter Subaru Telescope at Mauna Kea, Hawaii, of galaxies shining brightly at ultraviolet wavelengths back as far as about 800 million years after the big bang, when the universe was about 6% its current age. They found an unexpected number of bright candidates. To rule out other possible objects that shine in the ultraviolet, they made follow-up observations of the two most promising sources using Europe’s Very Large Telescope in Chile, the Keck telescopes on Mauna Kea, and the Hubble Space Telescope.The more interesting of the two, a galaxy dubbed CR7, proved to be the brightest galaxy yet found in the early universe—three times as bright as the previous record-holder. As well as its strong ultraviolet light from ionized hydrogen, it emitted a strong signal from helium—an expected signature from a galaxy of population III stars—but nothing else, suggesting that the stars lacked heavier elements. “There was no trace of other lines, only helium and hydrogen,” Sobral says. Looking at CR7 more closely with Hubble, the team made out three distinct regions with different emissions: one looking distinctly like population III stars and the others containing cooler, more normal stars, the team will report in an upcoming issue of The Astrophysical Journal. This, Sobral says, suggests a wave of star formation through the galaxy, with the first region to start shining later burning out and population III stars starting up elsewhere and so on. Such a wave at this stage of the universe’s evolution, “would be what you would expect,” Loeb says.“This field, of first-generation stars and galaxies, was mostly theoretical until recently,” Loeb says. “It’s gratifying to see evidence that these are real things.” Mark Dijkstra of the University of Oslo cautions, however, that there are still some unexplained aspects of CR7, such as why such a massive population III galaxy would exist so long after the big bang. “Even if CR7 is not powered by population III stars at all, it will at least give us new insights into galaxy (and possibly black hole) formation in the early universe.”But Sobral says the group’s survey has already turned up “even more spectacular” candidates. “This is just the beginning,” he says.last_img read more

Animal tests surge under new US chemical safety law

first_imgOne common chemical safety test involves placing compounds in a rabbit’s eye. 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 Animal tests surge under new U.S. chemical safety law Two years ago, when the U.S. Congress approved a major rewrite of the nation’s chemical safety law, lawmakers ordered federal regulators to take steps to reduce the number of animals that companies use to test compounds for safety. But a recent analysis by two animal welfare groups found that the number of animal tests requested or required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) jumped dramatically last year, from just a few dozen tests involving fewer than 7000 animals in 2016, to more than 300 tests involving some 75,000 rats, rabbits, and other vertebrates.The cause of the increase isn’t clear. But the new law imposes stricter requirements on a broader array of chemicals than its predecessor, including both new products and ones already on the market, and experts say EPA staff may be trying to comply by gathering more test data from companies. Both industry and animal welfare groups are alarmed by the trend, and are asking agency officials to clarify why they are requesting the tests—and how they plan to reduce the number in the future.In a 27 March letter to EPA officials, the two Washington, D.C.–based groups that produced the analysis—People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)—wrote that the “appalling” number of animals being used in tests “indicates EPA is failing to balance” its responsibility to evaluate chemicals’ risks against its obligation to pursue alternatives to animal testing. By Vanessa ZainzingerMay. 8, 2018 , 4:20 PMcenter_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 Jose Luis Mendez Fernandez/Alamy Stock Photo Email In 2016, many animal welfare activists applauded lawmakers for including a provision in a major rewrite of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) requiring EPA to develop a plan to “reduce, refine or replace” the use of vertebrate animals in testing. Lawmakers suggested the agency could save time and money by harnessing advances in computer modeling, biochemistry, and cell-based testing methods to replace test animals. They ordered EPA to finalize a long-term strategy for increasing the use of such alternatives by this year.EPA released a draft of that strategy for public comment in March. In preparing a response, PETA and PCRM used a government database to tally the agency’s TSCA-related animal tests over the past 3 years. In 2015, EPA required or requested 21 tests involving 8881 animals, the groups found; in 2016, it asked for 37 tests involving 6539 animals. In 2017, the first full year that the new law was in force, the numbers jumped to 331 tests and 76,523 animals. Some tests involve rats inhaling substances, whereas others call for placing chemicals into the eyes of rabbits.The two groups argue that the agency hasn’t adequately explained why it can’t obtain the needed data from nonanimal tests. A major chemical industry advocacy group, the Washington, D.C.–based American Chemistry Council (ACC), echoes that concern. EPA sometimes appears “unwilling” to rely on data from computational modeling, for example, “even when it is generated from agency-recommended programs,” says Jon Corley, an ACC spokesperson.EPA did not respond to a request for comment on the surge in testing or what might be driving it. One factor might be that EPA staff are not yet fully aware of proven alternatives to animal tests, says Kristie Sullivan, PCRM’s vice president of research policy. They might need more training and funding “to stay abreast of new developments in toxicology, so that they can quickly incorporate new methods and kinds of data into their decision-making process,” she says.Other groups, however, are urging patience in allowing EPA to pursue alternatives to animal testing while adapting to the new law. “We need to ensure that the alternative testing methods that are implemented are able to actually identify toxicity, exposure and potential adverse effects of chemicals,” says Daniel Rosenberg, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, D.C. “That’s not something that was ever going to happen overnight. We need to bend the curve slowly over time as science evolves.”EPA’s views on the matter could become clearer soon. The comment period on its draft strategy for reducing animal tests closes Friday, and the agency is required to issue a final plan by 22 June.last_img read more

Where Are Black Writers Covering Game Of Thrones

first_img The Celebrity Guide To Understanding Game Of Thrones Game of Thrones s8 e3Source: HBOWhether you watch “Game Of Thrones” or not, you’re probably well aware of the iconic cultural moment the show gave us this past Sunday. The episode was a culmination of eight years of storyline buildup loaded into 90 minutes of high drama. About 18 million people watched the show live and about double that will have watched the episode by week’s end. If you haven’t seen it, you still probably have some clue what happened – some little girl killed some zombie thing. You know you know? Because all week, your social media news feeds have been inundated with memes, gifs and jokes about the pivotal moments from the episode. And I’m willing to bet those memes had some reference to something that was Black as hell – Arya Stark with a cigarette in her mouth mimicking the popular LeBron meme, Jill Scott clips used for reactions, and, of course, Jay-Z and Beyoncé pics.The jokes have been spread and made popular the same way most viral memes and jokes spread on social media: through creative Black people. The weekend was full of such memes not only for “Game Of Thrones” but for “Avengers: Endgame” – two crossover cultural moments that Black folks were all the way dialed in on. In fact, on Sunday, #DemThrones – a hashtag started by Black social media user @FiyaStarter to talk about the show – was trending across the world. In many regards, the social media and pop culture legs that vehicles like “Game Of Thrones” and “Avengers: Endgame” enjoy come from Black folks’ creative content, jokes and analysis beyond the show or movie’s expiration date.But there’s a problem. While Black voices are pushing these moments’ popularity on social media and in our own Black-owned outlets, white publications are leaving their bylines – and paychecks – to white writers. I searched many of the large publications – 20 in all – for Black writers who reviewed “Endgame” or “Game Of Thrones” and literally couldn’t find one. There isn’t a single Black face in the list of top critics for “Endgame” on Rotten Tomatoes, nor did any come up in any Google or Twitter searches. I did manage to find a few Black writers who did tangential stories and straight-up news stories – casting, reactions, the occasional box office news – but for the most part, the analysis and reviewing was left up to white writers. Black writers, it seems, are only asked to pen long-form thoughts on these shows and movies whenever the issues revolve around race. Want to know about the politics of Greyworm? Get a Black writer. We’re ghettoized into talking about race and white entertainment but never asked to offer our perspectives on these topics as a whole. Meanwhile, Black creatives are pumping out tremendous content and recaps about the show, but we have to use our own means and outlets to get them out.I am a lifelong comic book “nerd” who was a huge fan of Marvel books before the MCU was just a twinkle in Kevin Feige’s eye. This has not been a secret as my social media has been littered with the geekiest tweets you’ll ever see. Can you guess which MCU movie, out of all 22 I was ever asked to write about? That’s right: “Black Panther.” I’m not alone here, obviously, as the breakthrough movie had an endless catalog of great writing from Black writers for just about every publication you can name. But so few of these writers were asked to write about any of the other movies in the MCU. There’s no excuse, either, as most of these writers showed enough of an understanding of the Universe that Black Panther lives in to continue writing about it whether he’s a central figure in the movies or not.This all speaks to a larger American problem. Black folks are the people constantly pushing the culture. If there is a monoculture anymore, it’s centered around Black brilliance. Yet when it’s time to actually pay people for their commentary on important cultural moments, Black folks are often left out. Black folks are central in any transcendent American event and it’s time we get treated like it. Lack of inclusion for Black folks in talking about “Game Of Thrones” or “Endgame” is a failure of journalism, the entertainment industry and the culture as a whole. Any publication that has excluded Black folks in its coverage needs to reevaluate its approach because neglecting us is nothing more than a deliberate effort to leave us out of conversations we’ve most likely started in the first place. center_img Avengers: Endgame , Black Journalists , Black Writers , game of thrones David Dennis, Jr. is a writer and adjunct professor of Journalism at Morehouse College. David’s writing has appeared in The Guardian, The Smoking Section, Uproxx, Playboy, The Atlantic, Complex.com and wherever people argue about things on the internet.SEE ALSO:The Mueller Report Is A Metaphor For White PowerNipsey Hussle And A Black Man’s Fear Of Leaving His Family Behind AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisMoreShare to EmailEmailEmaillast_img read more

Antifungal drug could help cystic fibrosis patients for whom common treatments dont

first_img Martin Burke (right) and his graduate students—Katrina Muraglia (center) and Rajeev Chorghade (left)—in the lab. A series of revolutionary new drugs have helped restore at least partial function to CFTR channels. One helps ensure CFTR proteins form properly, for example, whereas others increase the transport of bicarbonate through the cellular pores. But some cystic fibrosis patients have CFTR mutations that don’t respond to the drugs, whereas others lack the CFTR gene altogether. “We don’t have many options for the patients that don’t produce CFTR,” Cutting says. Antifungal drug could help cystic fibrosis patients for whom common treatments don’t work For one in 10 cystic fibrosis patients, current therapies don’t work, leaving them ravaged by shortness of breath and bouts of pneumonia and other infections. Now, there hope for them in the form of a medicine that’s already approved to fight fungal infections, researchers report today. The treatment appears to restore healthy function in human cells affected by cystic fibrosis as well as in pigs with the disease.“This is a wonderful development,” says Garry Cutting, a cystic fibrosis expert at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, who was not involved with the work. “This type of drug could provide a viable option for cystic fibrosis patients who are not eligible for any of the revolutionary treatments.”Cystic fibrosis results from mutations in a gene that codes for a protein called cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). The protein forms pores in cells that line the airways of the lungs, known as epithelial cells. These cells build up a compound called bicarbonate. The pores help the cells release bicarbonate into the lungs’ mucous lining, where it helps fight bacteria that infect lung tissue. In cystic fibrosis patients, these pores don’t work properly, so patients suffer from repeated and sometimes life-threatening lung infections. Artificial pores in cells lining the lung release a compound (red) that fights infections that afflict cystic fibrosis patients. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Fred Zwicky That may soon change. In recent years, researchers led by Martin Burke, a chemist at the University of Illinois in Urbana, have been closely studying a U.S. Food and Drug Association–approved antifungal compound called amphotericin B (Am B). Am B forms aggregates that extract molecules, called sterols, from cell membranes. That can kill fungal cells, as their sterol—ergosterol—is essential for cell membrane stability. Am B can also be toxic to human cells, as it extracts cholesterol, the human sterol, from cell membranes. But at low concentrations, complexes of Am B and sterol take on a second role, forming pores that embed themselves in the cell membranes. Could the Am B–sterol complex also form pores in lung epithelial cells, helping cystic fibrosis patients’ lungs release bicarbonate?To find out, Burke and his colleagues tested Am B on lung tissue donated by cystic fibrosis patients who had a variety of mutations of the CFTR gene, including mutations that produce no CFTR. In epithelial cells grown in a lab dish, Am B produced pores, which released bicarbonate. The researchers also treated pigs with cystic fibrosis, using a version of Am B formulated for delivery to the lungs. Here, too, they saw production of the infection-fighting properties in the liquid lining the lung surfaces, they report today in Nature.The new pores aren’t exactly like the real thing, because they allow molecules other than bicarbonate to pass through. But that didn’t appear to produce side effects in the pigs.“We are incredibly excited about this,” says cystic fibrosis patient Emily Kramer-Golinkoff, who co-founded a nonprofit research foundation called Emily’s Entourage in Merion Station, Pennsylvania, which helped support Burke’s research. She says she’s been delighted to watch many of her friends’ diseases respond to recently developed CFTR drugs. However, as one of the 10% with a nonresponsive CFTR mutation she says, “I feel like I’m still on that sinking ship.”The new result gives Kramer-Golinkoff hope. The early data look good, she says, and if the therapy works in humans, Am B could be made available to patients quickly, because the drug is already an approved medicine. “A lot of people like me don’t have time to wait.” By Robert F. ServiceMar. 13, 2019 , 2:00 PM Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Email Rebecca Schultz Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwelast_img read more

Social media details now required for US visa

first_imgShareTweetSharePinDominicans and nearly everyone applying for United States Visas should take note that from the month of July, the content of their social media page could now affect their application for legal access into the U.S.That’s because the State Department is now requiring nearly all applicants for U.S. visas to submit their social media usernames, previous email addresses and phone numbers.So this means even if someone deletes their account, the information is still relevant.The US department is not only looking for terrorists but would use the facebook, instagram, twitter and other social media forums to scrutinize a person’s character.According to media reports, it’s a vast expansion of the Trump administration’s enhanced screening of potential immigrants and visitors.In a move that’s just taken effect after approval of the revised application forms, the department says it has updated its immigrant and non-immigrant visa forms to request the additional information, including “social media identifiers,” from almost all U.S. applicants.The change, which was proposed in March 2018, is expected to affect about 15 million foreigners who apply for visas to enter the United States each year.“National security is our top priority when adjudicating visa applications, and every prospective traveler and immigrant to the United States undergoes extensive security screening,” the department said. “We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening processes to protect U.S. citizens, while supporting legitimate travel to the United States.”Social media, email and phone number histories had only been sought in the past from applicants who were identified for extra scrutiny, such as people who had traveled to areas controlled by terrorist organizations. An estimated 65,000 applicants per year had fallen into that category.The department says collecting the additional information from more applicants “will strengthen our process for vetting these applicants and confirming their identity.”The new rules apply to virtually all applicants for immigrant and non-immigrant visas. When it filed its initial notice to make the change, the department estimated it would affect 710,000 immigrant visa applicants and 14 million non-immigrant visa applicants, including those who want to come to the U.S. for business or education.The new visa application forms list a number of social media platforms and require the applicant to provide any account names they may have had on them over the previous five years. They also give applicants the option to volunteer information about social media accounts on platforms not listed on the form.In addition to their social media histories, visa applicants are now asked for five years of previously used telephone numbers, email addresses, international travel and deportation status, as well as whether any family members have been involved in terrorist activities.Only applicants for certain diplomatic and official visa types are exempted from the requirements.last_img read more

Accident in Castle Comfort

first_imgShareTweetSharePinAn accident involving an HR-V and passenger bus occurred this evening on the highway near the McMillan gas station in Castle Comfort.Eye witness reports indicate that the HR-V which was travelling in a northerly direction hit the edge of the west side of the road and went airborne colliding with the front and side of the passenger bus which was travelling in a southerly direction.Reports indicate that the driver of the HR-V and some passengers suffered injuries and were transported to the Princess Margaret Hospital via ambulance. The extent of those injuries is unclear at this time.The driver of the passenger bus who was seen at the scene of the accident afterwards did not appear to be injured.last_img

Trump loses loyalist Sarah Sanders in another White House departure

first_img Advertising Hold the applause until Hafiz Saeed is convicted: US committee to Donald Trump Sanders, who has worked with Trump since the early days of his unconventional run for office and became a national public figure in her own right, is the latest in a long line of senior advisers to leave the White House.Sanders, 36, who often compared the antics of the press corps to the behavior of her three young children and had largely backed Trump’s dismissal of the news media as “the enemy of the people,” called the job “an honor of a lifetime.”“I’ve loved every minute, even the hard minutes,” Sanders said at a White House event, called onstage by Trump to a standing ovation, he voice trembling with emotion. “I have three amazing kids and I’m going to spend a little more time with them.”After 3 1/2 years, our wonderful Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be leaving the White House at the end of the month and going home to the Great State of Arkansas….— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2019“She’s a warrior,” said Trump, who announced her departure on Twitter shortly before the event. “We’ve been through a lot together, and she’s tough, but she’s good.” LiveKarnataka floor test: Will Kumaraswamy’s 14-month-old govt survive? Unbowed, Trump intensifies attacks on four Democratic congresswomen Best Of Express Advertising White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders leaving job at end of month White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House (File/AP Photo)Sanders’ role had developed into that of a senior adviser and confidante of the president, one who is regularly brought into senior-level meetings.Speculation immediately turned to whether she might someday run for governor of Arkansas, a position once held by her father, Mike Huckabee, who twice ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination, including in 2016.“If we can get her to run for the governor of Arkansas, I think she’ll do very well,” Trump said.‘COUNTLESS MEMBERS OF THE FBI’Trump, who has seen almost a complete turnover in his press and communications teams, did not immediately name a replacement. Related News sarah sanders, sarah sanders resign, donald trump, trump sarah sanders, white house press secretary, Sarah Sanders white house, Sarah Sanders resignation, Donald Trump, World news, indian express, latest news U.S. President Donald Trump brings White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders onto the stage after it was announced she will leave her job at the end of the month during a second chance hiring prisoner reentry event, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, US, June 13, 2019. (REUTERS)White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, a fierce loyalist of President Donald Trump who became one of his closest advisers, will leave her job at the end of the month to return to her home state of Arkansas, Trump said on Thursday. US President Donald Trump with White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. (Reuters)His first press secretary, Sean Spicer, resigned abruptly after six months, having become the butt of late-night comedy lampoons for his blustery and fact-challenged arguments for Trump.Sanders, who had been Spicer’s deputy, initially had a less combustive approach with journalists. But her fiery defenses of her boss drew criticism.In 2017, Sanders told reporters she had heard from “countless members of the FBI” who wanted Trump to fire his FBI Director James Comey – an assertion she later cast as a “slip of the tongue” during the probe of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.Her relationship with the press corps became particularly strained a year ago after a comedian hired by the White House Correspondents’ Association for its annual dinner mocked her appearance and penchant for spinning the truth as Sanders sat nearby at the head table. Virat Kohli won’t have a say in choosing new coach “She burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smokey eye,” comedian Michelle Wolf said.In the months afterward, she was asked to leave a restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, because of her association with the Trump administration.Over time, Sanders retreated from the lectern, frustrating reporters by ending the long tradition of daily press briefings. Trump preferred to take questions himself from reporters and command the White House stage, and relegated Sanders and other staff to appearances on television to defend his policies.Sanders’ last briefing was 94 days ago, but Trump answers questions from reporters on a near-daily basis, including two extended sessions with them on Wednesday.Sanders became a popular figure at Trump rallies, sought after for selfies by his supporters. In November, at his final rallies ahead of the congressional elections, Trump invited her on stage to speak briefly to the cheering crowds.Sanders has long been rumored as a future gubernatorial candidate in Arkansas. The current governor, Republican Asa Hutchinson, began his second and final four-year term in January. The state’s next regular gubernatorial election would be in 2022.“Arkansas is a very red state, the Huckabee name carries a lot of weight there and if she ran, I can’t think of anyone that would have a chance of beating her if she decided to run,” said Alice Stewart, a Republican strategist in Washington who is from Arkansas and worked for Huckabee while he was governor and then on his presidential campaign. US House rejects Saudi weapons sales; Trump to veto By Reuters |Washington | Updated: June 14, 2019 8:04:42 am More Explained Kulbhushan Jadhav ‘guilty of crimes’, will proceed further as per law: Imran Khan Taking stock of monsoon rain Advertising “The Republicans in Arkansas would welcome her back with open arms, they applaud the work she’s done,” Stewart said. Post Comment(s)last_img read more

Sentenced to 1year in sedition case Never sought lenient judgment says Vaiko

first_img LiveKarnataka floor test: Will Kumaraswamy’s 14-month-old govt survive? MDMK general secreatry Vaiko.A special court in Chennai on Friday sentenced MDMK general secretary Vaiko to one-year imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 in a sedition case filed in 2010. A case was lodged against the veteran Tamil leader under DMK rule for his speech in 2009 backing the LTTE and blaming the Indian government for killings of Tamils in Sri Lanka through its support to the then Rajapaksa government.Vaiko had made the speech during the launch of ‘Naan Kutram Sattugiren’, the Tamil version of his book ‘I Accuse’, in July 15, 2009. The case was filed at the Thousand Lights police station in Chennai.Read in Tamil here. Kulbhushan Jadhav ‘guilty of crimes’, will proceed further as per law: Imran Khan Top News Virat Kohli won’t have a say in choosing new coach Written by Arun Janardhanan | New Delhi | Updated: July 6, 2019 12:16:14 am Advertising Judge J Shanthi has allowed Vaiko (75) to appeal against the sentence before an appellate court and he has been given one month’s time to appeal. Vaiko’s response on the court premises led to some dramatic scenes. When his lawyer noted a portion in the judgment that mentioned that Vaiko had sought a lenient punishment, he objected and said that he never sought a lenient punishment. Interacting with the media outside the court, he said, “This is the happiest day for me” —- his statement interrupted by slogans raised by his supporters. “For admiring LTTE (I am being punished)…I condemned the Indian government for assisting Sri Lanka’s majority Sinhala government led by Rajapaksa with finance and weapons, that helped them to buy more weapons to kill lakhs of Tamils in Sri Lanka. I met the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh 17 times with memorandums. Compiling these memorandums, I published a book titled ‘I Accuse’. For that, they imposed sedition charges… for saying that I will dare to lead the youth from here with weapons to fight if Lankan Tamils face genocide,” he said.An unrelenting Vaiko said it was a very important day in his life. “I never asked for a lenient judgement. Give me the maximum punishment, life sentence or whatever. Unless there is poison and venom in the mind of a judge, no judge can make such a false claim about me. Such an atrocious sentence wouldn’t have entered the judgment. I said that I will continue to admire LTTE and I will speak for them. If this judgment is for sowing the seeds of LTTE in the minds of youth, I will continue to do that… I am the follower of Thanthai Periyar,” Vaiko said. 3 Comment(s)last_img read more

Two days after he was beaten up Nadia man dies BJP MP

first_img Delhi court summons Mamta Banerjee’s nephew over ‘false affidavit’ Advertising Debnath was rushed to Shantinagar Hospital in the area first. As his health deteriorated, he was taken to NRS Hospital in Kolkata, where he succumbed to injuries on Friday night.The police said the family has alleged that three people had called Debnath and led him away that night. All three are absconding since the incident. The family has filed a police complaint.On Saturday, as Debnath’s body reached Swarupganj, irate villagers blocked the road and protested before the local police station. Local BJP leaders raised slogans against the TMC, accusing the state’s ruling party’s “goons” of murdering him. Senior BJP leader Mukul Roy today met the victim’s family and the police.Denying the BJP’s allegations, TMC Gram Panchayat chief Sirajul Sheikh said: “The BJP has a habit of giving political colour to all murders. The TMC has no connection with this case. There is no relation between the Jai Shri Ram chant and the incident. The man was drunk and misbehaved with local woman, so he was beaten up by some local people. The BJP is trying to politicise the matter to create a controversy.” Kolkata: CM Mamata Banerjee hits streets to raise awareness on water conservation Mamata to MLAs: Don’t cede an inch to BJP, apologise to people Wets Bengal, Dilip Ghosh, Mamata Banerjee, BJP worker, Mob lynching, Jai shree ram, Ram slogan, Jais Shri Ram Bengal, Kolkata, nadia, mukul roy, Indian Express The TMC termed the allegations ”baseless”.  (Express Photo)Two days after he was beaten up by a group of people in Swarupganj, under Nabadwip block of West Bengal’s Nadia district, a 31-year-old man succumbed to injuries at Kolkata’s NRS Medical College and Hospital on Friday night.State BJP leaders alleged that the deceased, identified as Krishna Debnath, was killed by TMC supporters for chanting “Jai Shri Ram”.A local TMC leader denied the allegation and accused Debnath of having misbehaved with women after getting inebriated, after which a group of local residents beat him up. Related News Advertising A senior district police officer said, “The reason behind the murder is still unclear. It is not clear how and why he was killed. However, prima facie it seems to have no connection with any political party. Investigation is underway.” BJP Lok Sabha MP Babul Supriyo, however, accused the TMC for the murder and said, “A youngster named Krishna Debnath was brutally murdered by TMC goons for supporting BJP and chanting Jai Shri Ram. Mamata Banerjee’s bloodthirsty politics will soon see its end.”He also said, “Such incidents are taking place every day. Mamata Banerjee established her hatred towards this slogan (Jai Shri Ram), and now her party workers are retaliating…”According to the police, Debnath, who mostly stayed outside Swarupganj on work, had arrived home on Wednesday (July 3), and the same night a group of local people called him out and took him to an isolated place. Debnath’s family has told the police that he remained missing that night, and was found, bleeding profusely, near a local club the following morning. Written by SWEETY KUMARI | Kolkata | Updated: July 7, 2019 4:40:41 am 18 Comment(s)last_img read more

QA Why fishery managers need to overhaul recreational fishing rules

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Q: Can you describe the appeal of recreational fishing?A: I’ve been fishing since I was a child. For many nonanglers, this comes across as the most boring activity you can imagine. But there’s nothing else that really taps into all of the senses, the environment, smelling the water, seeing the birds, and being with your buddies in a challenging environment on a boat. It has to do with the unknown—you don’t know whether you’ll catch a fish. It’s kind of the ultimate experience, with the benefit of bringing home sustainable seafood. I know so many people who can’t think about life without angling.Q: What’s changing in recreational fisheries?A: Some fisheries are experiencing increasing pressure while stocks decline, and therefore conflicts are escalating, for example in the Baltic cod fisheries. In Germany, there’s a lot of rebellion. Anglers are organizing themselves, they’re fighting policymakers that recently implemented daily limits for cod. They want to maintain unregulated access to the resource and they feel unfairly treated. There’s also increasing conflicts in freshwater areas. We see currently a lot of movement from nature conservation agencies and the associated NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] to designate conservation areas and then ban or severely constrain recreational fishing. And this creates a lot of anger and local and regional debate.Q: Why is it more challenging to manage a recreational fishery?A: First of all, it’s the sheer number of people who aren’t very organized. And they differ in their objectives, preferences, and therefore behavior. A sizable fraction of anglers really enjoy having fish for dinner, so they seek opportunities for a good catch, and let’s say liberal harvest regulations. And then there are trophy anglers, maybe who don’t eat any fish and release them instead. But they seek trophies and they don’t mind traveling far, to places where fish have good growth and little mortality. We really have to account for the diversity of preferences.Q: So what should be done?A: The first step is explicitly considering recreational fisheries. Often, a management agency just looks at commercial goals and objectives, and that’s not necessarily the best target for recreational resources. There are solutions. We can explicitly manage for diversity in, let’s say, the freshwater landscape where we have many different lakes. But in Germany, for example, we have a one-size-fits-all harvest policy in state law. That is superimposed on all lakes no matter what productivity they have and which type of angler you have locally.Q: What does it mean to manage a fishery for diversity? A: To really think about the different experiences that you want produce. On a family outing with your children, you want them to catch a few fish easily. Then you have the specialized high-avidity anglers. They have no problem spending weeks in the year waiting for one bite from, say, a trophy carp. The harder the challenge, the greater the achievement, and for some anglers that’s the perfect fishing experience. In a landscape with many lakes, you could have a set of lakes for the harvest-oriented people and a set of lakes for the families and a set of lakes for trophy fishing. If you manage fisheries cleverly, you can create outcomes with happy people and limited overfishing.Q: Do fishing associations already do this, or do you see a need for action by governments or authorities?A: Some angling clubs in central Europe do that diversified management. But they could benefit from more strategic advice, because it’s often done from a gut feeling. In the U.S., as an extreme example, you have public agencies overseeing a whole state and anglers are basically unorganized and buy an annual license for the whole state. They do have special regulation waters, but again these are often done in an ad hoc fashion, based on political pressure. They may not systematically evaluate what it means if you change the regulation of one lake, what that means for the other lakes around them, because the angler effort will shift.Q: Do you have a success story of an effective angler organization?A: I like the central European approach. Basically, for freshwater systems the fishing rights are given to angler organizations, but also the duty to keep these lakes in good shape. And so that creates a perfect incentive structure. We have studied such systems very intensively in Germany. We were amazed how much voluntary input people give, how much money they invest for resource management and for all sorts of things. They really, really care and they invest heavily in local compliance and enforcement—something that is extremely hard to accomplish in marine fisheries, where you have open systems and everybody kind of battles for the same fish. So creating some form of property rights can foster a lot of good incentives.Q: Could that management system work in other places?A: It certainly has limitations under certain property rights regimes. My colleagues in the U.S. say this model of complete devolution of rights to the local scale—not only catches, but also management—is unthinkable because of the public trust doctrine and allowing free access to everybody. Yet there are intermediate systems. For example, in Wisconsin, lake associations care for local water bodies. You have similar systems like this in Canada in some provinces. And it would simply be a matter of public agencies giving associations a bit more rights and involving them more than they could have the same outcome as you have in central Europe.Q: Any downsides to private management of lake fishing?A: The negative side is certainly that access is restricted and local managers might be too active. Take the example of stocking lakes with extra fish. Some managers try to support their fisheries by buying young fish from all sorts of catchments and they mix populations. Stocking can harm biodiversity. You can have issues with spread of nonnative species and so on; that is a risk and it’s not well addressed under such a system.Q: What about coastal fishing?A: In the marine environment it’s more difficult for sure. Particularly because the fish move around and aren’t confined to lakes. And there are more stocks that are in trouble—exploited, for example, by both commercial and recreational fisheries. For these, I think other policy changes are needed to get the incentives right. They should move away from simply setting out an annual license that an individual can buy—and then get basically unlimited access to that fishery—to a system of issuing harvest tags. So, like wildlife management, you buy the right to keep a fish. And these tags are given out in limited numbers commensurate with a biological state of the resource. I think the system would be very good for stocks with a great deal of conflict, such as red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico, the Baltic cod fishery, or the bluefin tuna fishery in the Mediterranean.Q: What does the harvest tag system require?A: You have to have a system in place to monitor the catch. But with technology, smartphone apps and so on, this could be done. Obviously, anglers don’t like to be regulated; for the most part, they don’t like to be monitored either. So this really can create a lot of conflict. And one has to seriously consider the distributional aspects; these tags should not be so expensive that poorer people don’t have access. So maybe a certain number could be released by lotteries or some other way that is fair to all. Q: Can science help?A: Harvest tags are a great idea, but this needs to be tested with bio-economic models to really look at how people and the entire fishery respond to different policy options. And how do you allocate different regulations in space? How do anglers respond to those changes, where do they go? How do you decide what to do where and what type of sampling to assess the status? If you’re dealing with thousands of lakes it’s financially impossible to do regular monitoring. And there are many biological questions. How do different fish respond to catch and release? Do they die?Q: What questions do you find most intriguing?A: I’m intrigued by a hypothesis we put out recently called fisheries-induced timidity. The idea is that in recreational fishing, the fish decides whether it takes the bait or not. We have some experimental evidence now that fish become more timid, less eager to take the bait. And that is really important to know, because the catch rates will go down—even if the abundance of fish is not declining, and anglers will be very unhappy. And also important is that our ability to assess fish stocks also declines.Q: Your paper talks about “optimizing angler well-being.” What’s an ideal fishing experience for you?A: If I go fishing with my son, who’s 6 years old, it’s high catch rates and being home in 2 hours. If I go with my buddies, the ideal fishing trip is being alone, beautiful scenery, and the chance of catching a big fish. In that sense, it’s more a trophy experience that I like, in nature and away from it all. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) For environmental conflict and political drama, it’s hard to beat fishing. Almost all the fish consumed by developed countries comes from industrial fisheries, which generate not just a lot of revenue, but controversy over their impact, such as accidentally harming seabirds or scraping the sea floor. Meanwhile, recreational fishing usually escapes notice. Although it also has a large impact, both environmental and economic, amateur fishing is often ignored by regulators or swept under the same kind of rules as commercial fishing. This needs to change, researchers argue in a commentary published online yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).Each year, recreational anglers catch an estimated 47 billion fish. About half are let go, but there can be a sizable impact on fish stocks. Populations can be depleted in small lakes, for example. Intense fishing can cause fish to evolve to smaller sizes and adopt new behaviors. And some management practices designed to please freshwater anglers, such as the release of popular but nonnative species, can harm biodiversity. Off the coast, saltwater anglers are sometimes chasing the same fish as commercial boats, leading to conflicts between the two groups.Researchers have been thinking about how to improve management of recreational fisheries and reduce conflicts, and a group of experts offers recommendations in the PNAS article. ScienceInsider spoke with one of the lead authors, biologist Robert Arlinghaus of Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Berlin. Arlinghaus is also an avid angler. The interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. Robert Arlinghaus with a sea trout he caught off the Danish coastcenter_img By Erik StokstadMar. 20, 2019 , 12:10 PM Christian Skov Email Q&A: Why fishery managers need to overhaul recreational fishing ruleslast_img read more

Trump fumes as US Supreme Court blocks census citizenship question

first_imgThe Trump administration called the newly surfaced evidence “conspiracy theory.” donald trump, donald trump, trump on citizenship issue, donald trump on citizenship issue US President Donald Trump. (File)The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday handed President Donald Trump a stinging defeat, blocking his contentious citizenship question planned for the 2020 census because officials gave a “contrived” rationale and prompting Trump to suggest an extraordinary delay in the constitutionally mandated population count. US House votes to set aside impeachment resolution against Trump Taking stock of monsoon rain Virat Kohli won’t have a say in choosing new coach Advertising Trump says ‘will take a look’ at accusations over Google, China Best Of Express Advertising Trump said he is exploring whether the census, which the U.S. Constitution requires be carried out every 10 years, can be delayed.“I have asked the lawyers if they can delay the Census, no matter how long, until the United States Supreme Court is given additional information from which it can make a final and decisive decision on this very critical matter,” Trump wrote on Twitter.The census launch date – April 1 – is written into a federal law called the Census Act, known as Title 13. To delay the 2020 census without running afoul of federal law would require Congress to change the law, according to Margo Anderson, a U.S. census historian and professor at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. Delaying the census by executive action would be unprecedented, Anderson added.Trump’s administration has told the courts that its rationale for adding the question was to better enforce a law that protects the voting rights of racial minorities. Critics called that rationale a pretext, with the Supreme Court’s majority embracing that theory. After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan Related News Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the 5-4 ruling, joined by the court’s four liberals, that will make it difficult for the Trump administration to add the query even if officials offer a new explanation for its need, with the clock ticking toward the deadline for printing the census forms.The court upheld a key part of a federal judge’s January decision barring the question in a victory for a group of states including New York and immigrant rights organizations that challenged the legality of the administration’s plan.Critics have called the citizenship question a Republican ploy to scare immigrants into not taking part in the decennial population count and engineer an undercount in Democratic-leaning areas with high immigrant and Latino populations. That would benefit non-Hispanic whites and help Trump’s fellow Republicans gain seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislatures, the critics said. US mulls increasing merit-based immigration to 57% By Reuters |Washington | Published: June 28, 2019 11:45:09 am More Explained Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield As part of the ruling issued on the last day of the court’s current term, the justices sent the issue back to the Commerce Department for it to decide whether to provide a different rationale for requiring people taking part in the census to declare whether they are citizens.Such a determination from a federal agency normally would take weeks or months. The administration previously said census forms need to be printed in the coming days.“There is really no time,” said Dale Ho, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, one of the challengers.Jason Torchinsky, a lawyer and Republican redistricting strategist, said the deadline could be extended to the fall, enabling the Supreme Court to review the new decision.“They don’t need to redo the entire administrative process, they just need to better justify what they did, in a way that can satisfy the Supreme Court,” Torchinsky said.Justice Department spokeswoman Kelly Laco said the administration is disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision.The census is used to allot seats in the U.S. House and distribute some $800 billion in federal funds. Opponents have said the question would instill fear in immigrant households that the information would be shared with law enforcement, deterring them from taking part.Further muddying the waters, there is also ongoing litigation in lower courts over recently unearthed evidence that the challengers have said reveals an illegal discriminatory motive by the administration for adding the question, which the high court could yet weigh in on.In a dissenting opinion, conservative Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that adding a citizenship question is “legally sound” and described the ruling against Trump as “an aberration.”Citizenship has not been asked of all households since the 1950 census, featuring since then only on questionnaires sent to a smaller subset of the population.SETBACK FOR TRUMPThe ruling marked the first major setback for Trump in a ruling in a case argued at the Supreme Court, although both of Trump’s appointees, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, voted in favor of his administration. Roberts was joined by liberal Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.The Supreme Court had handed Trump some major victories since he took office in 2017, in particular a June 2018 ruling upholding his travel ban targeting people from several Muslim-majority countries. The court in January also let Trump’s policy barring many transgender people from the U.S. military go into effect.Manhattan-based U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman ruled on Jan. 15 that the Commerce Department’s decision to add the question violated the Administrative Procedure Act. Federal judges in Maryland and California also have issued rulings to block the question.Furman said the evidence showed that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross concealed his true motives for adding the question and that he and his aides had convinced the Justice Department to request a citizenship query.The Census Bureau’s own experts estimated that households corresponding to 6.5 million people would not respond to the census if the citizenship question were asked.While only U.S. citizens can vote, non-citizens comprise an estimated 7 percent of the population.Evidence surfaced in May that the challengers said showed that the administration’s plan to add a citizenship question was intended to discriminate against racial minorities.Documents created by Republican strategist Thomas Hofeller, who died last year, showed he was instrumental behind the scenes in instigating the addition of the question. He was an expert in drawing electoral district boundaries that maximize Republican chances of winning congressional elections.Hofeller concluded in a 2015 study that asking census respondents whether they are American citizens “would clearly be a disadvantage to the Democrats” and “advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites” in redrawing electoral districts based on census data.Hofeller suggested the voting rights rationale in the newly disclosed documents. Advertising Post Comment(s) Roberts said that under a U.S. law called the Administrative Procedure Act, the federal government is required to give a reasoned explanation for its actions. Roberts said the sole stated rationale – enforcement of the Voting Right Act – “seems to have been contrived” and was “more of a distraction.”“We are presented, in other words, with an explanation for agency action that is incongruent with what the record reveals about the agency’s priorities and decision-making process,” Roberts wrote.“Accepting contrived reasons would defeat the purpose of the enterprise,” Roberts added.The court ruled against the challengers in a separate 5-4 vote, with all the conservative justices in the majority, that the Constitution does not in theory prevent the administration or a future one from adding a citizenship question.last_img read more

Are Smart TV Designs Taking Home Security for Granted

first_imgDavid Jones is a freelance writer based in Essex County, New Jersey. He has written for Reuters, Bloomberg, Crain’s New York Business and The New York Times. Security has been a growing concern with the increased use of smart television and video streaming devices, observed Brett Sappington, director of research at Parks Associates.”For many years, there was no reason to hack a television or a smart streaming media player,” he told TechNewsWorld.It was only with the advent of subscription-based video services and transactional video that you started to see financial data, like credit card numbers, get stored online, Sappington noted.Roku is at the top of the food chain among U.S. streaming video makers. The company controlled 37 percent of the domestic market as of the first quarter 2017, up from about one-third of the market in the same period in 2016, Parks reported last summer. In the global market, Roku is second to Apple, because Apple operates in market across the world with many devices.Sixty-nine percent of new televisions sold have Internet functionality that helps them operate as smart entertainment devices, Consumer Reports noted, citing data from IHS Markit.Adding security and privacy to the menu of consumer product issues it evaluates was a great move on the part of Consumer Reports, as the use of smart devices in the home is rapidly expanding, said Mark Nunnikhoven, vice president, cloud research at Trend Micro.”The issue with the Samsung, Roku and other devices is a simple and, unfortunately, common one,” he told TechNewsWorld. “An API that blindly trusts anyone calling it, or — slightly better — a broken authentication scheme.”Trend Micro has seen similar problems in other devices, Nunnikhoven said, most recently with smart speakers from Bose and Sonos, which compete against Google Home and Amazon Echo at the top end, targeting the audiophile market.These devices were designed with the idea that the network they would connect to would be secure — but home and corporate networks often are not secure, he pointed out. “I wouldn’t consider this a hack, but a flawed design.”These issues don’t pose a direct threat to consumer privacy, but they are symptomatic of a deeper issue, which is a failure to build security and privacy protocols into the fabric of the technology, Nunnikhoven said, and the entire tech community needs to do a better job of addressing that challenge. Industry Pushback Protecting consumer data is one of our top priorities,” Samsung said in a statement provided to TechNewsWorld by spokesperson Zach Dugan. “Samsung’s privacy practices are specifically designed to keep the personal information of consumers secure.”Samsung’s Smart TVs include “a number of features that combine data security with the best possible user experience,” the company said.Before it collects any information on consumers, Samsung always asks for their consent, according to the statement, and it makes “every effort to ensure that data is handled with the utmost care.”Samsung has reached out to Consumer Reports and is looking into the specific points made regarding its smart televisions, it said.The Consumer Reports findings are a “mischaracterization of a feature,” Gary Ellison, vice president for trust engineering at Roku, maintained in an online post.Roku wanted “to assure our customers that there is no security risk,” he added.Roku allows third-party developers to create remote controls, Ellison pointed out.The technology is derived from an open interface that the company designed and published itself, and there is no risk to consumers or to the Roku platform using the API, he explained. Consumers can turn off the feature by clicking Settings>System>Advanced System Settings>External Control>Disabled.As for the Automated Content Recognition, Roku ensures that consumers have to opt in to get the feature, Ellison said, and it is not on by default. Consumers can undo the feature by clicking on Settings>Privacy>Smart TV experience>Use info from TV inputs. center_img Mounting Concerns Millions of smart TVs from Samsung and some streaming devices from Roku recently were found to be vulnerable to cyberattacks, allowing intruders to take control and remotely change channels and volume settings, among other things, according to Consumer Reports research.Vulnerabilities were discovered not only in Samsung televisions, but also in TVs from TCL and other brands that sell sets compatible with the Roku TV smart-TV platform and streaming video devices such as Roku Ultra, according to the report.Further, the affected televisions and devices collect a wide range of personal data, Consumer Reports noted, and users who choose to limit that data collection would risk limiting the functionality of the TV.The report is based on a wide ranging security and privacy review of major brands, including Vizio, LG and Sony.This review was the first conducted as part of Consumer Reports’ new Digital Standard, which is an effort among several nonprofits, including the Cyber Independent Testing Lab and Aspiration, to help set standards for the way electronics makers handle digital rights, cybersecurity and privacy issues.The vulnerability Consumer Reports detected in Samsung TVs did not allow testers to extract data from the affected device or monitor what was playing, said spokesperson James McQueen.Televisions from other makers using the Roku TV platform also were vulnerable to attack, he told TechNewsWorld.This is not the first time an unsecured API has been found to be problematic, McQueen said, noting that this issue has been discussed in forums since 2015.Further legislative action is needed to protect the integrity of consumer data, according to Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports .”Congress needs to pass data security standards for connected products, and federal regulators need to step up and hold companies accountable for privacy, security and safety of these products,” argued Justin Brookman, director of consumer privacy and technology policy at Consumers Union. last_img read more

Ciscos Broader Take on Diversity

first_imgWhile diversity remains a problem in industry, and particularly in the technology market, companies like Cisco, Dell, HP and IBM appear to be fighting it hard. Even these firms could learn from each other and fight harder.We need diversity to make better matches between our companies and the people who buy their products and services, so we all can become far more tolerant and accepting of diversity than we currently are.Diversity represents the future of the human race. We all should become involved more actively, or look for another planet to migrate to, because if we don’t become more diverse, we are even more likely to destroy this one. Generally, I tend to break down the diversity landscape into two camps: the liberal camp that wants diversity but doesn’t want to spend the time either to understand the problem or truly correct it; and the conservative group that is threatened by anything that breaks convention.Because I tend to believe that if you don’t want to do something well you should leave it alone, I tend to favor the conservative camp, but I would like a third choice: diversifying properly by focusing on the causes of the problem, not the optics.For instance, soon after the development of a technology that would help students pick careers they would be most successful in, it was killed due to discrimination. The reasoning was that too many of the targeted students were attended colleges, and colleges didn’t have enough diversity. Thus, pulling from a pool of employees that wasn’t diverse would result in solutions that weren’t diverse either.Rather than focusing on fixing education to create a more diverse pool of potential employees to pull from, the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) was created to enforce diversity, which inadvertently damaged the quality of the workforce.The damage occurred because diversity trumped competency, even though that was not the intent. The result was that it not only failed to fix the problems, but also led to impressions that employees who were hired to increase diversity underperformed. The effort ended up fighting itself.This is what I mean by focusing on the optics of a problem — making the workforce look more diverse — without focusing on the problem itself. There was, and continues to be, a shortage of candidates from diverse backgrounds with the appropriate training for many job openings. Fixing the Problem Four companies stand out: Dell, Cisco, HP and IBM. These four large firms each have very different approaches to focusing on this problem. Dell puts a massive amount of effort on women in technology, and the most powerful woman at Dell, Karen Quintos, has been spearheading this effort along with the company’s female Entrepreneur in Residence.Cisco has taken a broad spectrum approach with its training programs and internal grass roots efforts to increase diversity broadly and to redefine its efforts broadly on a variety of differences.HP, which still employees one of the strongest HR managers in the industry, Harvard-trained Tracy Keogh, has run broad inclusive marketing campaigns to attract and nurture diverse employees.IBM has been incredibly aggressive, not only in recruiting women and veterans, in particular, but in training them and even in locating and placing women who dropped out of the tech market to have children and want their careers back.It is interesting to note that there isn’t a lot of overlap between these different company efforts, suggesting that any one company likely could undertake all of them. I’d argue that most are necessary to address the diversity problem fully. Both Microsoft and Vudu allow downloading on a PC. Suddenly I can watch any of the movies I purchased from any of the services on any of them. This means that finally, I can download and watch my movies on the laptop screen, and use my Kindle Fire tablet for just reading, if I want to, or even read on my phone or PC and leave the tablet at home.The service is backed by Disney, which means you should be able to trust it and it likely will get great Disney Content over time, on top of the other advantages.Because Movies Anywhere fixed my annoying inability to watch downloaded movies on my laptop, it is my product of the week. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network. Part of what really caught my eye on the Cisco slide was how broad it is. It steps outside of race and gender to include military service, religion, sexual orientation, background, and a variety of other differences. Really, diversity is all about differences, and we are all different from each other.These differences allow us to see things from a variety of perspectives; make us better able to talk to, influence (and sell to) a diverse customer base; and help us gain understanding of views we don’t share.Given that we tend to avoid people who are not like us, increasing diversity should reduce that pool, and our interaction skill and acceptance of those different from us should improve. In short, “us” simply becomes a more inclusive term, reducing the need and motivation to act out against people different from “us.” Wrapping Up center_img Rob Enderle has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2003. His areas of interest include AI, autonomous driving, drones, personal technology, emerging technology, regulation, litigation, M&E, and technology in politics. He has an MBA in human resources, marketing and computer science. He is also a certified management accountant. Enderle currently is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group, a consultancy that serves the technology industry. He formerly served as a senior research fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester. Email Rob. There should be no argument that we live in a diverse world, and that the technology industry doesn’t reflect that diversity. The lack of diversity in employees makes it very difficult for companies, both in and out of the tech market, to address their increasingly diverse customer base effectively, whether buyers or end users.This has resulted in books like Technically Wrong, which point to why companies can’t bring out products that women love. They don’t understand women — let alone the other aspects of what generally, and especially specifically, make each of us different.What brought this to mind was a Cisco briefing last week and a slide that spoke to a broader definition of diversity, beyond sex and color. It said, “Cisco is committed to full spectrum diversity, inclusive of gender, age, race, ethnicity, orientation, ability, nationality, religion, veteran status, background, culture, experience, strengths, and perspectives.”I’ll address diversity in its broad sense this week and why it is critical we get this right. I’ll close with my product of the week: Movies Anywhere, a tool that bridges your movie streaming sources. My current favorite laptops are the HP Spectre Folio and the Lenovo Yoga 630 always connected PC. These both stand out on lightness with the HP far more comfortable to carry (it is covered with leather) and the Lenovo with much longer battery life (it is based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon platform).Both products have been great for most things I use a laptop for, but not for watching movies without an Internet connection, like on a plane.Most of the movies I own were purchased from Amazon, but Amazon doesn’t allow you to download them to watch on your PC later. Instead, it focuses on iOS and Android. Now what many folks don’t know is that Microsoft often gets early access to movies, but playing those movies on the TV is problematic unless you have an Xbox.For instance, I picked up the just released Justice League vs. The Fatal Five video on the Microsoft store before Amazon or Netflix had it, but getting it onto my TV was problematic.Well Movies Anywhere fixed this. You can buy movies from this service, but its real claim to fame is that it links services together. If you bought movies from Google Play, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Xfinity, Microsoft, Fandango or iTunes, you can bridge all of these services and get your movies from any of them. Redefining Diversity The Diversity Messlast_img read more