Regenacy Pharmaceuticals partners with CMTA to advance ricolinostat for treating hereditary neuropathy

first_imgAug 2 2018Regenacy Pharmaceuticals, LLC, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing breakthrough treatments for diabetic and other peripheral neuropathies, today announced a collaboration with the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association (CMTA), a registered non-profit organization serving the hereditary neuropathy patient community, to validate the role of HDAC6 in multiple forms of Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease and evaluate the efficacy of ricolinostat, a selective HDAC6 inhibitor, in animal models. In addition, the company announced the appointment of David Herrmann, M.B.B.Ch., to its Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Herrmann is Chief of the Neuromuscular Division & Director of the Peripheral Neuropathy Clinics and Cutaneous Innervation Laboratory in the Department of Neurology at the University of Rochester, and a member of the STAR (Strategy to Accelerate Research) advisory board for the CMTA.”We are thrilled to have such a substantial collaboration to broaden our programs for ricolinostat into inherited forms of neuropathy where there is a tremendous unmet need,” said Matt Jarpe, Ph.D., Vice President of R&D of Regenacy Pharmaceuticals. “This alliance with the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association will enable us to expand our understanding of the role of HDAC6 in neuropathic diseases and lead us closer to initiating clinical trials in CMT disease.”CMT disease is a progressive and degenerative nerve disease that usually appears in adolescence or early adulthood. Symptoms can include muscle weakness, decreased muscle size, foot-drop, foot bone abnormalities, fatigue, balance problems, neuropathic and/or musculoskeletal pain, loss of feeling in the hands and feet and loss of coordination in the limbs. There are no FDA approved treatments to stop or reverse the loss of nerve function in CMT. Based on the terms of the collaboration, Regenacy has an opportunity to expand on the groundbreaking work of Dr. Ludo van den Bosch at University of Leuven and Dr. Andrew Grierson at University of Sheffield to show the role of HDAC6 in several forms of CMT Type 2. The collaboration will focus on evaluating the efficacy of ricolinostat in animal models of CMT to support initiation of clinical trials. This relationship is taking advantage of the extensive suite of expert preclinical testing capabilities the CMTA has assembled and makes available to groups such as Regenacy that want to evaluate therapeutic potential in a CMT disorder.Related StoriesNew computational model explores daily pain sensitivity rhythmsAMSBIO offers new, best-in-class CAR-T cell range for research and immunotherapyImplanted device uses microcurrent to exercise heart muscle in cardiomyopathy patients”In parallel to announcing our collaboration with CMTA, we are pleased to welcome Dr. David Herrmann to our Scientific Advisory Board,” added Dr. Jarpe. “Dr. Herrmann brings to Regenacy relevant and valuable experience in clinical outcome measures in peripheral neuropathies, particularly CMT disease. We are looking forward to his contributions and proven strategic expertise as we continue to develop ricolinostat for the treatment of CMT.”Dr. Herrmann is currently Professor of Neurology, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Rochester. He established one of the first cutaneous innervation laboratories in the United States at University of Rochester for diagnosis of small fiber neuropathy. In addition to his role on the STAR advisory board for the CMTA, Dr. Herrmann is a member of the Inherited Neuropathies Consortium. He is currently Principal Investigator in Rochester for the NIH sponsored Inherited Neuropathy Consortium Rare Disease Clinical Research Center. Dr. Herrmann received his medical degree from The University of Witwatersrand Medical School.”I am personally passionate about inherited neuropathies for which there is an urgency to develop treatments,” said Dr. Herrmann. “Current treatment options for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, and related disorders, are very limited so each potential new therapy can make a critical difference for patients in need. I am excited to collaborate with the highly regarded Regenacy team, who are leaders in the field and are committed to bringing forward new treatment options in various types of peripheral neuropathy.”Source: https://regenacy.comlast_img read more

Updated US court rejects New Jerseys request to block research cruise state

A federal judge yesterday rejected a request from the state of New Jersey to block a research cruise that would use sound blasts to map seafloor sediments off the Garden State’s coast. But state officials say they will appeal the decision to a federal appeals court. The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on 3 July asked a federal court to at least temporarily stop the planned research, citing concerns that the acoustic mapping could disturb wildlife and disrupt tourism and fishing. Proponents of the research, however, say the critics are misinformed and plan to move ahead. The research ship is already cruising off the New Jersey coast.In their legal challenge, state officials argue that the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) did not follow proper procedures in conducting environmental impact studies and issuing the necessary permits. NSF finalized its environmental study of the project on 1 July, finding it would have “no significant impact.” And NOAA issued the permits required under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act. 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 (*) Email “We have made our concerns clear … and remain hopeful that, at the very least, this initiative will be rescheduled for a less impactful time of year,” said New Jersey DEP Commissioner Bob Martin in a statement. “The timing of this program will be detrimental to various marine species that migrate and breed off the New Jersey coast and will negatively impact the commercial and recreational fishing industries, and related tourism, that relies heavily on these resources.”Scientists from New Jersey’s Rutgers University and the University of Texas are planning to conduct acoustic imaging within a 12-kilometer by 50-kilometer rectangle 25 km to 85 km off the state’s coast. The study, which would use an NSF-owned vessel operated by Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, is aimed at better understanding sea-level rise that occurred tens of millions of years ago. Scientists say the work could, by shedding insights on the past, inform policymakers on how to prepare for future sea-level rise in a warming world. The issue of sea-level rise has been salient in the Garden State, especially since Superstorm Sandy devastated much of the Jersey shoreline almost 2 years ago.Scientists and environmental groups are usually allies when it comes to studying climate change impacts. But this is not the first time that research using sound-producing “air guns” to map the ocean floor has put the two groups in conflict. The guns, which are towed behind ships, use pressurized air to produce sound waves that penetrate and rebound off of seafloor sediments. Researchers can map and characterize the sediments using instruments that measure the time it takes the sound waves to spread and echo. The approach is widely used in the oil and gas industry to locate potential drilling areas. The noise, however, has been implicated in bothering and possibly even injuring marine mammals and other creatures, leading to increased regulation and lawsuits, which have delayed some research cruises.In New Jersey, such concerns are top-of-mind for environmentalists and politicians from both parties. U.S. representatives Chris Smith (R–NJ) and Frank LoBiondo (R–NJ) have come out in opposition to doing the testing, at least until the federal government gives the public more time to comment and to get a better understanding of the research’s impacts. So has Representative Frank Pallone (D–NJ).The researchers, however, are pressing ahead as their vessel, the Marcus G. Langseth, set off to sea last week. The leader of the project—marine geologist Gregory Mountain of Rutgers—and NSF press officials declined comment, citing the pending litigation. But other institutions running the project are calling opponents’ concerns misinformed. The acoustic-imaging studies are a “noninvasive” procedure, says Carl Blesch, a Rutgers spokesman. And earlier this year, Mountain noted that past imaging studies in the area used sound sources twice as loud as what the researchers plan to use this year, with no documented harm to wildlife.Connie Barclay, a NOAA fisheries spokeswoman, notes that NSF, not NOAA, had the final say on whether the research would happen and adds that public comment on the proposed permits yielded even tougher mitigation measures than originally proposed. They include putting independent observers aboard the ship to monitor for potential disturbances to wildlife. “Those observers are authorized to bring an immediate temporary halt to any surveying until any affected animals have left the area,” Barclay says.Opponents of the project aren’t satisfied. In particular, they argue that NOAA improperly denied New Jersey the chance to review the project for consistency with its own coastal zone management program and that NSF violated its own regulations by not opening its final authorization to 30 days of public comment.*Update, 9 July, 11 a.m.: This story has been updated to include the judge’s rejection of the New Jersey request. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe read more

Sixth extinction rivaling that of the dinosaurs should join the big five

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email 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 Zimbabwecenter_img But the older, less studied Capitanian extinction has been dogged by criticism that it may have been a regional event, or just part of a gradual trend en route to the larger Permian extinction. Some of those criticisms may be quelled by the new evidence, which comes from Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago off the coast of Norway in the Arctic Ocean. There, Bond and his colleagues examined chert rocks—silica formations, created by the skeletons of dead sponges, that also contain many species of brachiopods. At the time, the rocks would have been forming in tens of meters of cooler water at midlatitudes. But at a stark point in the rock record, the fossils disappeared.“They all drop out,” says study co-author Paul Wignall, a paleontologist at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. “It’s like a blackout zone and there’s nothing around.” A little further in the rock record, a few brachiopod species recover, Wignall says, and then mollusks take over en masse, before the devastation of the Permian extinction, 8 million years later.The research team had a hard time tying the new record to the same moment in fossil records in China. Isotopic dating systems are too uncertain to provide a helpful absolute date. Another standard biostratigraphic method—linking the timing of different rock layers by the comings and goings of fossilized teeth of tiny eellike creatures called conodonts—also couldn’t be used, because the same species didn’t live in cool and tropical waters. Instead, the team points out that similar swings in different isotopes’ levels, occurring in both parts of the world, suggest that the two regions were experiencing the same changes in ocean chemistry at the same time.That’s part of the problem, says Matthew Clapham, a paleontologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He thinks the study team has dated something a bit younger—maybe 255 million years old. “They’ve definitely identified a real event, which is really interesting,” he says. “Their age model is less convincing.” He also says that recent work in China on the extent of the Capitanian extinction across different species shows it may not have been quite as bad as originally thought. Clapham thinks the Capitanian is probably 30th or 40th in the hierarchy of extinctions, not sixth.But Bond is still convinced that the Capitanian will go down in the history books as one of the world’s worst. “You have to change a lot of people’s minds,” he says. He is now studying fossil records in Russia and Greenland that could further buttress his arguments for a global disaster. Clapham, too, wants to see more work done on this enigmatic stretch of Earth history. “It’s a very mysterious event—it’s an interesting thing to study,” he says. Earth has seen its share of catastrophes, the worst being the “big five” mass extinctions scientists traditionally talk about. Now, paleontologists are arguing that a sixth extinction, 260 million years ago, at the end of a geological age called the Capitanian, deserves to be a member of the exclusive club. In a new study, they offer evidence for a massive die-off in shallow, cool waters in what is now Norway. That finding, combined with previous evidence of extinctions in tropical waters, means that the Capitanian was a global catastrophe.“It’s the first time we can say this is a true global extinction,” says David Bond, a paleontologist at the University of Hull in the United Kingdom. Bond led a study that was published online this week in the Geological Society of America Bulletin. He adds that in magnitude, the Capitanian event was on par with the dinosaur-killing extinction 66 million year ago. “I’d put this up there with it, albeit with slightly less attractive victims,” Bond says.Interest in the Capitanian began in the early 1990s, when paleontologists found evidence for fossil extinctions in rock formations in China. The rocks had originally formed on the floor of a shallow tropical sea. Most foraminifera—tiny, shelled protozoans—were wiped out, along with many species of clamlike brachiopods. There was also a possible trigger to blame: a set of ancient volcanic outbursts in China that solidified into rocks called the Emeishan Traps. The hot flood basalts would have released huge amounts of sulfur and carbon dioxide, potentially causing a quick global chill followed by a longer period of global warming. The gases could have also driven acidification and oxygen depletion in the oceans. Many scientists think that a similar massive burst of volcanic activity in Siberia touched off the biggest extinction of all time, just 8 million years later, at the end of the Permian period.last_img read more

Melting glaciers around Mount Everest may be forming killer lakes

first_img Email Melting glaciers around Mount Everest may be forming killer lakes Researchers measure ice loss in land- and lake-terminating glaciers around Mount Everest. By Katherine KorneiFeb. 17, 2017 , 11:45 AM 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 Of the roughly 198,000 glaciers on the planet, more than a quarter are found in the Himalayas. But even this frigid expanse of ice and snow—home to nine of the world’s 10 highest peaks—is reeling from climate change. Many Himalayan glaciers are receding—and a new study of 32 glaciers around Mount Everest has found that those terminating in lakes have lost more ice mass than landlocked glaciers. That’s a worrying trend because many glacial lakes form behind unstable debris dams that are poised to collapse and send disastrous floods hurtling down valleys.Himalayan glaciers are losing ice mass because of decreased snowfall and higher average air temperatures that melt existing ice. “The landscape is primed for lake development,” says Owen King, a glaciologist at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, who led the study. As meltwater lakes swell, the risk of a breach heightens. According to Joseph Shea, a glacier hydrologist at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada, who was not involved in the research, “Bigger lakes may increase the risk of catastrophic dam failure.”Just that happened in 1985, when a debris dam at Dig Tsho, a glacial lake in eastern Nepal, burst, spilling millions of cubic meters of water on the village of Ghat. The flooding destroyed houses, bridges, and a new hydroelectric plant. To avert a similar disaster, the Nepalese government last year drained part of Imja Tsho, one of the fastest-growing glacier lakes in the country.center_img Now, King and his collaborators have used satellite data to reveal how nine glaciers terminating in lakes and 23 terminating on land in Nepal and Tibet changed over 15 years. Armed with digital elevation maps obtained in 2000 and 2015 and images of the glaciers themselves, the team compared how the ice mass, ice area, and height of the glaciers changed. They found that the glaciers melting into lakes had lost 32% more ice mass per year than land-terminating glaciers, they report this month in The Cryosphere. The lake-terminating glaciers had also lost more height and area than the landlocked glaciers.King’s team believes lake water erodes the underside of glaciers, causing them to calve icebergs. That process would efficiently remove ice mass, they suggest. But other scientists say the issue isn’t settled. “It’s still unclear why lake-terminating glaciers are losing more mass than land-terminating glaciers,” says Patrick Wagnon, a glaciologist at the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development in Marseille, who was not involved in the study.Fresh findings may shed further light. King and his colleagues, for instance, recently returned from two expeditions to the Everest region for a close-up look at how glacial lakes influence glaciers. “I’m knee-deep in field data,” he says. The researchers also plan to study glacier changes in the Himalayas over longer timescales, using satellite images taken as far back as the 1970s. 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 (*) Image courtesy of Owen King last_img read more

Meet the shrew with the incredible shrinking head

first_img By Giorgia GuglielmiOct. 23, 2017 , 12:00 PM Karol Zub Meet the shrew with the incredible shrinking headcenter_img A shrinking skull would be fatal to most animals, but not to this red-toothed shrew (Sorex araneus, pictured). The head of this tiny mammal shrinks by up to 20% every winter, and grows back at the onset of spring, according to a study published today in Current Biology. To document this phenomenon, the researchers used live traps to capture 12 shrews from June 2014 to October 2015. Then they anesthetized the animals before microchipping them for later identification and x-raying of their heads. At the beginning of winter, the shrews reduced the size of their skull by 15.3% on average, which regrew by an average 9.3% in spring. How this process works is not clear, but scientists think tissue within the fibrous joints connecting the skull bones might degrade and then regenerate. Several of the shrews’ major organs, including their brains, also lose mass during winter. All of this shrinkage may help the animals live through times of food shortage, the scientists say.last_img read more

Ice cliffs spotted on Mars

first_imgThick bands of ice (blue) have been spotted in steep cliff faces. 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 NASA/JPL/UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA/USGS For more than a decade, Colin Dundas, a geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Flagstaff, Arizona, has had a daily routine: inspecting a dozen or so high-resolution images beamed back every day from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). A few years ago, something surprising popped out from the planet’s sea of rust: a pale sliver of blue.What Dundas saw that day, and subsequently found at seven other sites, are steep cliffs, up to 100 meters tall, that expose what appears to be nearly pure ice. The discovery points to large stores of underground ice buried only a meter or two below the surface at surprisingly low martian latitudes. “This kind of ice is more widespread than previously thought,” says Dundas, who, with his co-authors, describes the cliffs this week in Science. Each cliff seems to be the naked face of a glacier, tantalizing scientists with the promise of a layer-cake record of past martian climates and space enthusiasts with a potential resource for future human bases.Finding ice on Mars is nothing new. Ice covers the poles, and a radar instrument on the MRO has detected signatures of thick, buried ice across the planet’s belly. Some researchers suggested these deposits could be the remnants of glaciers that existed millions of years ago when the planet’s spin axis and orbit were different. But the depth of the ice and whether it exists as relatively pure sheets or as granules frozen in the pore spaces of martian soil have been uncertain. 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! Countrycenter_img Email By Paul VoosenJan. 11, 2018 , 2:00 PM Ice cliffs spotted on Mars A decade ago, researchers using the MRO spotted a related clue: pools of seemingly pure ice in the floors of small craters carved out by fresh meteorite impacts. But it was unclear whether these frozen pools were connected to the buried glaciers or were merely isolated patches. At the ice cliffs, Dundas and his team could see the glaciers in cross section, and they patiently revisited the sites to see how they changed over time.They found that the ice persisted through the martian summer, when any ephemeral frost would have vaporized. And last year, the MRO caught several boulders tumbling out of one of the cliff faces, suggesting that gradual erosion had released them from a massive ice deposit. Evidently the near-surface ice and the large subsurface deposits are one and the same, says Ali Bramson, a co-author and graduate student at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “This deep, thick, pure ice extends almost all the way up to the surface.”Banding and subtly varying shades of blue suggest that the slabs of ice are stacked. That implies that the deposits built up over many seasons as layers of snow were compressed in a previous climate cycle, says Susan Conway, a planetary geologist at the University of Nantes in France. Winds then buried the ice sheets in grit. “It’s the only reasonable explanation,” she says.Drilling a core from one of these deposits and returning it to Earth would offer a treasure trove of information to geologists about the past martian climate, says G. Scott Hubbard, a space scientist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. “That preserved record would be of extreme importance to go back to,” he says.These sites are “very exciting” for potential human bases as well, says Angel Abbud-Madrid, director of the Center for Space Resources at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, who led a recent NASA study exploring potential landing sites for astronauts. Water is a crucial resource for astronauts, because it could be combined with carbon dioxide, the main ingredient in Mars’s atmosphere, to create oxygen to breathe and methane, a rocket propellant. And although researchers suspected the subsurface glaciers existed, they would only be a useful resource if they were no more than a few meters below the surface. The ice cliffs promise abundant, accessible ice, Abbud-Madrid says.The cliffs are all found at latitudes about 55° north or south, however, which grow frigid and dark in the martian winter—unpromising latitudes for a solar-powered human base. For this reason, the NASA study was limited to sites to within 50° of the equator. Now, Hubbard wants NASA’s human exploration program to look for similar cliffs closer to the equator. “What’s the cutoff point?” he asks. He hopes the next surprise will be ice closer to the martian tropics.last_img read more

Cosmic cacophony of colliding black holes continues

first_img Infinitesimal ripples in space called gravitational waves have revealed four more instances in which two massive black holes have spiraled into each other and merged with mind-bending violence. Spied between 30 November 2016 and 25 August 2017, the events bring the total number of black hole mergers to 10, report physicists with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and the Virgo gravitational wave detector. With help from Virgo’s detector in Pisa, Italy, LIGO’s twin detectors—in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington—are seeing such mergers about once every 15 days of observations, physicists report today at a workshop at the University of Maryland in College Park.Gravitational waves are mind-bogglingly small distortions of space-time itself that can be set off when two massive objects whirl into each other. LIGO researchers electrified the world in February 2016 when they reported the first observation of such waves, which emanated from two black holes 29 and 36 times as massive as the sun, spiraling together. Twenty months later, LIGO and Virgo wowed the world again when they reported the merger of two much smaller neutron stars. For astronomers, that collision was even more of a gold mine because it produced a gamma ray burst and other electromagnetic signals that, for example, revealed the birth of copious heavy nuclei. (Because they involve no matter, black hole mergers produce only invisible gravitational waves.) Just over a year ago, the developers of LIGO shared the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics. Virgo came on in 2017 and has also seen three of 11 total sources, helping pinpoint their locations on the sky.The latest observations set some new records. In particular, a merger spotted on 29 July 2017 was a staggering 9 billion light-years from Earth, and it involved black holes 50 and 34 times as massive as the sun. Physicists still aren’t sure how such big stellar mass black holes form or how they pair. For example, scientists don’t know whether they start out as pairs of stars that collapse into their own black holes or instead start as individual black holes that somehow latch onto each other. The details from a bigger sample of such events could help sort out the correct models. LIGO and Virgo are currently down for maintenance and tuning, and they should resume their searching early next year. Cosmic cacophony of colliding black holes continues SXS, the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes project center_img By Adrian ChoDec. 3, 2018 , 5:45 PMlast_img read more

DASPA security receives customer service training

first_imgShareTweetSharePinAvenice ThompsonA week-long customer service training programme for security officers of the Dominica Air and Sea Ports Authority (DASPA) began today.The purpose of the training is to enhance the ability of DASPA’S security officers in making the customer’s first and last impression count while maintaining the integrity and standards required for security within the airport and seaport environment. DASPA held an opening ceremony for the trainees of the ‘Customer Training Within The Ports’ programme on April 29, 2019 at the conference/training room at the security building at Woodbridge Bay PortTraining Facilitator from St.Kitts and Nevis, Avenice Thompson, who spoke at the ceremony, expressed her support for the initiative by DASPA and called on the trainees to appreciate it as an investment in their development and as something that is important for their daily operation. “If any port is supposed to survive…I don’t necessarily mean the physical structure, I’m talking about Dominica as an island and DASPA as an entity. If you are supposed to be surviving, financially and otherwise, customer service must be at the core, so I commend the management for make this brave decision…to spend the money on the staff. I assure you it’s a great investment, continue to do it,” Thompson advised the DASPA employees.She also encouraged the staff to use this training as a form of personal development to invest and improve themselves selves.Thompson has 28 years of experience in Aviation Security Awareness and Customer Service in ports.Oliver Henderson is the Financial Controller at DASPAMeantime, Financial Controller of DASPA, Oliver Henderson said the authority invests in its  staff to ensure they are properly trained and have the correct attitude when interacting with visitors.“DASPA represents all the ports on the island and as a direct result, we being the first point of entry, it is very important that our securities have the ability to welcome our visitors,” he said. “We need to ensure that on an annual basis at least, that our staff is really put to an understanding their purpose when visitors arrive. It is a very important aspect for us at DASPA to keep our staff well trained and in tune with the realities of this world.”Henderson said the advent of terrorist attacks around the world has evoked a fear of travel in people so it is important that port security personnel are well trained to make travelers feel comfortable and secure.He said there will be a new uniform for DASPA’S security officers.“We at DASPA realize that we need to have a new look. The previous uniform, that is, the brown uniform has been in use for many years and like everything else as time goes along it’s always important to make a change and make people see a different aspect of it,” Henderson said. “The yellow and black uniform is the new look DASPA. We’re trying to ensure that when persons approach a security, they know that this security represents DASPA in general and so therefore, we saw the need to give them a new color.”Henderson said DASPA is working hard and is trying its best to ensure that customers continue to receive good service and satisfaction.Port officers in their new uniformslast_img read more

China warns Canada of consequences of helping US in Huawei case

first_img Related News Huawei Mate 30 Pro leaked screen cover shows 90-degree curved display Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of the company’s founder, is accused of lying to banks about the company’s dealings with Iran in violation of US trade sanctions. Her attorney has argued that comments by US President Donald Trump suggest the case against her is politically motivated.Washington has pressured other countries to limit the use of Huawei’s technology, warning they could be opening themselves up to surveillance and theft of information. China and the US are currently embroiled in a trade dispute that is weighing heavily on global financial markets.Another Canadian held in China, Robert Schellenberg, was re-sentenced to death in a drug case following Meng’s detention. His case is currently under appeal. In their joint statement, Pence and Trudeau said: “The United States and Canada stand together to firmly reject the wrongful detention of two Canadian citizens, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, and call for their immediate release.China’s actions are damaging its international reputation and a deep concern for all countries that uphold the rule of law.” “Canada and the United States welcome constructive, results-oriented engagement with China that concretely demonstrates respect for the rule of law, human rights, and fair and reciprocal trade,” the statement said. Huawei plans to cut jobs in US-based R&D unit: Report Both were arrested on December 10 after Canada detained a Huawei executive wanted by the United States on fraud charges. While China has denied they were taken in retaliation, it has repeatedly implied that there is a strong connection between the cases.Korvig, a former diplomat and Asia expert at the International Crisis Group, and Spavor, a businessman, have been accused of colluding to steal state secrets. Canada has repeatedly urged their immediate release, calling their detentions arbitrary. Neither has been permitted access to lawyers or family members.“We hope that the Canadian side can have a clear understanding of the consequences of endangering itself for the gains of the US and take immediate actions to correct its mistakes so as to spare itself the suffering from growing damage,” Geng said at a daily news briefing. China warns Canada of 'consequences' of helping US in Huawei case Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig were arrested  on December 10 after Canada detained a Huawei executive wanted by the United States on fraud chargesChina warned Canada that it needs to be aware of the consequences of aiding the US in an extradition case involving Chinese tech giant Huawei that is believed to have sparked the detentions of two Canadians in China. Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang’s comments came after US Vice President Mike Pence and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. Advertising 5G rollout: How far has India progressed, and where does it stand on Huawei? By AP |Beijing | Published: June 1, 2019 9:48:35 am Advertising 1 Comment(s)last_img read more

Madhya Pradesh government spent Rs 68 crore on advertisement since taking over

first_imgChief Minister Kamal Nath provided the information, which pertains to the period between December 17 last year and June 20 this year, on a query by BJP MLA Umakant Sharma. Nath also holds the Public Relations portfolio in thegovernment.Giving a break-up of the advertisement spends Nath said Rs 51.84 crore was given to print media while the electronic media got Rs 16.39 crore. March saw the highest spend of Rs 17.14 crore, comprising both print and electronic media advertisements, Nath told the Assembly.The expenditure on this account for January and February was Rs 15.44 crore and Rs 15.43 respectively, hesaid. Bill to jail cow vigilantes tabled in Madhya Pradesh Assembly Post Comment(s) By PTI |Bhopal | Published: July 9, 2019 7:24:02 pm Related News Advertising MP government may consider building temple at site linked to Ramayana in Sri Lanka Politics goes to the dogs in Madhya Pradesh Kamal Nath, Kamal Nath chief minister, Madhya Pradesh, Expediture on Advertisement, Madhya Pradesh government, Adertisement expenditure Madhya Pradesh government, Madhya Pradesh news, Indian Express news Out of spent Rs 68.23 spent on advertisement, the maximum was given to print media, the chief minister informed the state assembly. (Representational Image)The Congress-led Madhya Pradesh government Tuesday informed the state Assembly that it had spent Rs 68.23 crore in advertisements since it took over in December last year.last_img read more

Report that NIH will cancel fetal tissue research contract fuels controversy

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 Tim Evanson/Flickr (CC BY-SA) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Email In the online story posted yesterday, the Post reported that an official at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), part of HHS, had told researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), that the agency would be canceling a 7-year contract awarded in 2013 that funds the humanized mouse work, and that “the decision was coming from the ‘highest levels,’ according to a virologist familiar with the events.” The Post story appeared 2 days after a columnist for CNS News, a politically conservative outlet, published a news story pointedly probing NIH’s plans for the UCSF contract, and the same day, The Hill newspaper ran an opinion piece by Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life in Washington, D.C., demanding that the contract be canceled.Today, Caitlin Oakley, an HHS spokesperson, issued a statement challenging the Post’s reporting. It reads in part: Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) The dueling versions of the contract’s status come amid HHS’s review of all U.S.-funded research using human fetal tissue from elective abortions—a review being led by Admiral Brett Giroir, HHS’s assistant secretary for health, who described the administration in a recent letter to Representative Mark Meadows (R–NC) as “pro-life, pro-science.” HHS launched the review in September, on the heels of pressure from antiabortion groups; 3 weeks ago, Giroir and other senior HHS officials met with research advocates in a “listening session” that is part of the review. NIH estimates it provided $103 million for research using human fetal tissue in 2018. HHS in September began to audit all department contracts that involve human fetal tissue. It has already canceled a $15,900 Food and Drug Administration contract that also used fetal tissue to develop humanized mice.The contract between UCSF and NIH’s National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is extendable, year by year, through 2020. (The most recent year of the contract expired late in November, and the 1-year renewal was required by today, according to NIH’s RePORTER database.) Under it, researchers use immune tissues from electively aborted fetuses that would otherwise have been discarded to create mice with humanlike immune systems that are used to evaluate potential HIV drugs. (Such mice are also used to study other dangerous infectious diseases, like Ebola and Marburg.) [T]he Washington Post chose to publish a story based on anonymous sources providing inaccurate information by telephone with no traceable records despite the fact that HHS provided multiple, on-the-record assurances … that the claims by the anonymous source were incorrect. … No contracting official would have had the authority to impart any communication to UCSF that the contract was being cancelled because no decision has been made. Report that NIH will cancel fetal tissue research contract fuels controversy The biomedical community is watching the fate of the UCSF process closely, and with some angst. One investigator at an institution with substantial NIH funding for fetal tissue research said his group has not had any communication from HHS or NIH indicating that the funding is in peril. But he is worried nonetheless. “Fetal tissue really is a powerful tool,” said the researcher, who asked to remain anonymous because he did not want to draw attention to the fact that his group uses fetal tissue. “A lot of basic research on diseases would be left reeling” if funding is cut off, he said, naming HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, and cancer research among those that would be affected.Alta Charo, a bioethicist and lawyer at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, says the HHS review, including the imperiling of the UCSF contract, “continues to set a tone in which political symbolism trumps real public health needs. Because there is absolutely no evidence that any woman has ever decided to abort because of this research.”Weissman adds that he is concerned by an invitation he recently received from NIAID to participate in an 18 December workshop exploring alternatives to the use of fetal tissue to generate humanized mice.“Why are we having this discussion?” Weissman asked. “The force behind this discussion is coming not from scientists working in the field and trying to understand and treat these diseases. It’s a political force apparently coming from above the NIH level.”With reporting by Jocelyn Kaiser.*Update, 6 December, 4:35 p.m.: This article has been updated to include comments from Irving Weissman on the Stem Cell Reports paper and quotations from the 3 December letter. Texas A&M University System/Wikimedia Commons The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is disputing a news report that it has decided to end a multimillion-dollar contract that funds the use of human fetal tissue for HIV drug testing. Admiral Brett Giroir, U.S. assistant secretary for health, is heading a government review of human fetal tissue research. *Update, 6 December, 11:45 a.m.: Responding to a Freedom of Information Act request from ScienceInsider, NIH has released its 3 December letter to UCSF indicating that a contract involving humanized mice might be terminated. Here is our original story from 5 December:The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in Washington, D.C., is vigorously contesting a report, published by The Washington Post, that it has decided to cancel a $2-million-a-year contract that funds work using human fetal tissue to develop mice with humanlike immune systems for testing drugs against HIV.HHS officials insist they have made no decision on the contract, and say they are still in the process of completing a previously announced review of all federally funded research that uses human fetal tissue derived from elective abortions. But the report comes as antiabortion groups have stepped up their long-standing efforts to end federal funding for research using human fetal tissue, which is legal under a 1993 law. And the battle over the contract is being followed closely by other researchers who rely on fetal tissue in their work. If the contract is killed, “we are all going to lose the kind of research that is important to fight an epidemic that we still can’t cure and still can’t vaccinate against,” says Irving Weissman, an immunologist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, who has long used such mice for HIV studies.But opponents of fetal tissue use say the scrutiny is welcome. “Irv Weissman says there is no alternative,” says David Prentice, research director at the Charlotte Lozier Institute in Arlington, Virginia, which opposes human fetal tissue research. “But there is at least one publication that shows neonatal thymus produces a better humanized mouse.” He pointed to this paper in Stem Cell Reports, in which humanized mice were developed using thymuses obtained from newborn babies who had undergone surgery to repair congenital heart defects.(After reviewing the paper, Weissman argued the technique it describes would require additional invasive procedures to withdraw bone marrow from the infant donors, in order to replicate the method used now to create humanized mice using fetal tissue. He added that the method has not been reproduced in other labs, nor is it known whether the mice are susceptible to HIV infection. “It is unwise to ban a system that works in favor of an unproven system,” he wrote in an email.)Yesterday, the Post reported that 5 days after UCSF had been told verbally that the contract would be canceled, the university received this letter from NIAID, notifying UCSF that the contract would be extended for 90 days, through 5 March, not the usual 1 year. The letter, dated Monday, 3 December, instructs the UCSF researchers to “finish ongoing studies.” But it adds: “Do not obtain or [implant] new fetal tissue” in mice; “do not produce” new mice; and “do not start new experiments in the mice,” unless otherwise instructed. It adds in black bolded letters that this “preliminary notice does not commit the Government to an extension” of the contract after 5 March.The principal investigator on the contract did not respond to an email requesting comment. Instead, the office of Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California system, of which UCSF is a part, issued a statement that did not address the contract directly. It reads in part: By Meredith WadmanDec. 5, 2018 , 6:00 PM The University of California conducts research using fetal tissue that is vital to finding treatments and cures for a wide variety of adult and childhood diseases and medical conditions. This research is conducted in full compliance with federal and state law, as well as ethical standards, and is in keeping with the university’s education, research and public service missions.last_img read more

These flower mites may avoid pesticides by hiding out in a roses

first_img While stopping and smelling the roses, keep an eye out for signs of the tiny mites that may be living inside them. The rose bud mite (Phyllocoptes fructiphilus) is half as big as a grain of salt, and it spreads a virus that has been devastating roses across the United States since the 1940s. So far, this virus has been deemed incurable. Now, scientists may have figured out why these mites are so hard to find and control: They take up residence deep within the flower’s internal organs.Rose bud mites transfer the rose rosette virus while feeding on the flower. This virus then transforms the once-beautiful plant into one with excessive thorns, deformed flowers, and tight clusters of flower buds called rosettes. Since the mite was discovered in California, this disease has spread to 30 states.To gain a clearer picture of how these mites wreak such havoc, scientists studied the stems, leaves, and flowers of both diseased and healthy roses from 10 states and Washington, D.C. The team reports in the Journal of Environmental Horticulture that high-resolution images revealed that the mites hide deep within the flowers. By Helen SantoroApr. 10, 2019 , 2:25 PM 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 (*) These flower mites may avoid pesticides by hiding out in a rose’s internal organs Electron and Confocal Microscopy Unit Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country The mites embed themselves in the tiny hairs on a flower’s sepals, the leaflike appendages located at its base. This placement may protect the mites from insecticides and sprays, the scientists suggest.For rose producers, breeders, and enthusiasts, these findings could help find ways to stop the mite from spreading.last_img read more

Taiwan president Tsai Ingwen to visit US this month angering China

first_img Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield Taiwan president heads to Caribbean with US stops China has already expressed its concern to the United States and lodged “stern representations,” he told a daily news briefing.Taiwan has been trying to shore up its diplomatic alliances amid pressure from China, which has been whittling down its few remaining diplomatic allies, especially in the Caribbean and Latin America. The four Caribbean allies share similar ideals with Taiwan, Tsao said, adding that the theme of the visit is “freedom, democracy and sustainable governance”.However, he added that the visit to Haiti, the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation, will be less than 24 hours due to unrest there.Protesters have for months agitated to remove President Jovenel Moise, a former businessman who took office in February 2017. Taiwan confirms request for US tanks, air defence systems After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan Advertising Strike by Taiwan air attendants halts flights for thousands Tsai’s time in the United States will be unusually long, as normally she spends just a night at a time on transit stops.Tsai, who faces re-election in January, has repeatedly called for international support to defend Taiwan’s democracy in the face of Chinese threats. She last went to the United States in March, stopping over in Hawaii at the end of a Pacific tour.Beijing has regularly sent military aircraft and ships to circle Taiwan on drills in the past few years.Taiwan now has formal ties with only 17 countries, almost all small nations in Central America and the Pacific.The Solomon Islands will send a delegation to study Chinese aid in neighbouring countries as it considers a diplomatic switch to Beijing, the delegation leader said last week. Advertisingcenter_img By Reuters |Taipei | Published: July 1, 2019 2:59:15 pm Best Of Express Taiwan president to visit US this month, angering China Taiwan now has formal ties with only 17 countries, almost all small nations in Central America and the Pacific.Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen will spend four nights in the United States this month while visiting Caribbean diplomatic allies, her government said on Monday, angering China, which urged Washington not to allow her to visit. China says self-ruled Taiwan is merely a Chinese province with no right to state-to-state relations, calling it the most sensitive and important issue in ties with the United States, which has no formal ties with Taipei, but is its chief diplomatic backer and supplier of arms. Related News Taiwan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Miguel Tsao said Tsai will spend two nights in the United States each way during her trip to St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, and Haiti from July 11 to 22.Details of the US portion of the trip were still being worked out, he added. Taiwan’s Central News Agency said Tsai was expected to transit in New York and Denver.In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China urges the United States “not to allow Tsai Ing-wen to transit, and cautiously and appropriately handle Taiwan related issues, to avoid harming Sino-U.S. relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait”. Cabinet asks finance panel to consider securing funds for defence Post Comment(s)last_img read more

Desalination plant proposed by govt will put an end to water scarcity

first_img Post Comment(s) Desalination plant proposed by govt will put an end to water scarcity: Gujarat CM Rupani Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.CHIEF MINISTER Vijay Rupani on Wednesday expressed concern over the delayed rains in several parts of Gujarat, and said the problem of water scarcity would be solved once and for all when the government’s proposed seawater desalination plant begins functioning. Advertising Gujarat govt cancels permits to company promoted by Sandesara Rupani said that the desalination plant would have the capacity to convert 10,000 crore litres of seawater into potable water everyday.Under an agreement with a private company which has got the tender, the Gujarat government will buy water at the rate of Rs 57 per 1,000 litres.“This way, we will get a litre at the rate of 5.7 paise,” said Rupani. “The government is not going to invest anything. The (private) company will invest Rs 700 crore, and the agreement with the company will be for a period of 25 years,” the chief minister added.Rupani said that the government was planning to set up at least seven such plants in various parts of the state. He said that this is an action in the direction of getting the state past the problem of water scarcity forever, and so, cost was immaterial.He said that various parts of Gujarat are yet to receive rain this year, and that desalination plants could be an effective measure to deal with the issue of water scarcity. The government is planning to construct the plant at Jodiya in Jamnagar, as a Public-Private-Partnership project at an estimated cost of Rs 700 crore.Rupani made a statement in this regard during Question Hour in the Gujarat Assembly, when a discussion was underway on a question posed by Congress MLA from Jamjodhpur Chirag Kalariya. The MLA had sought details about the proposed desalination plant in Jamnagar district.Water Resources minister Kuvarji Bavaliya provided details about the project. However, following a supplementary question by Congress MLA Lalit Kagathara on the issue, the chief minister made the statement. Related News Army proposes to set up firing range at Dholera SIR Advertising Gujarat govt, Oppositon duel over ‘corruption’ in SAUNI project By Express News Service |Gandhinagar | Published: July 18, 2019 2:53:10 amlast_img read more

We never promised Gorkhaland says Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh

first_img Karnataka: SC to rule today, says Speaker’s powers need relook “We want a permanent political solution to the issue,” he said.Absconding Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leader Bimal Gurung, in an interview to PTI in April this year before the Lok Sabha elections, had claimed the BJP has promised to look into the Gorkhaland demand.Wanted in many cases including sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, murder and rioting, Gurung is on the run for over two years.However, for the first time in about three decades, the Gorkhaland statehood demand was not a poll issue in the Darjeeling Hills as parties, including the GJM and GNLF, sought development and restoration of democracy in the region. By PTI |Nagrakata | Published: July 14, 2019 8:20:32 pm Advertising In undecided Congress, first open call for Priyanka: She should be party chief 1 Comment(s) gorkhaland, dilip ghosh, bengal bjp, bengal bjp chief, gorkhaland agitation, india news, mamata banerjee, BJP Bengal Chief Dilip Ghosh. (File)West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh, whose party swept the north Bengal region including Darjeeling seat in the Lok Sabha elections, Sunday said the party has never promised to create a separate Gorkhaland state. Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts of the state had witnessed a 104-day strike in 2017 seeking creation of separate Gorkhaland state.The agitation saw a split in the GJM, that rules the semi-autonomous Gorkhaland Territorial Administration in the hills, with the Binay Tamang and Anit Thapa faction shifting loyalties to the ruling Trinamool Congress.BJP candidate Raju Sing Bista won the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat.Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency has been returning BJP candidates since 2009, with Jaswant Singh winning the seat that year followed by Surinder Singh Ahluwalia in 2014. Advertisingcenter_img Related News Cooch Behar DM had issued notification: BJP sees appeasement in ‘midday meal dining room’ Ghosh also said the National Register of Citizens (NRC) will soon be implemented in West Bengal on the lines of Assam.“We want development of Gorkha people. We are sympathetic to the Gorkhaland statehood demand, but had never promised a separate state,” he said while speaking to the media after a workers’ meet here in Jalpaiguri district.Reacting to the statement of the BJP chief, Darjeeling MLA and Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) spokesperson Neeraj Zimba said, “Dilip Ghosh has his own political compulsions but that does not stop us from continuing our demand for separate Gorkhaland state.” Make TMC leaders return ‘cut money’ with interest: BJP Best Of Express Dilip Ghosh slams Mamata Banerjee for not visiting protesting doctors at NRS NRC deadline approaching, families stranded in Assam floods stay home last_img read more

Farsight Security COO Alexa Raad Be Your Own Champion

first_imgAlexa RaadChief Operating OfficerFarsight SecurityTechNewsWorld: What is Farsight Security’s mission?Alexa Raad: We believe that everyone is entitled to a safer Internet, and so everything we do starts out with that mission in mind. What we do is provide Internet defenders with very valuable data that they can use to get some context around nefarious acts.As an example, if you think about Internet threats like phishing and botnets and malware — all of those start with a DNS — a domain name system. And so every kind of nefarious act leaves footprints and fingerprints in the DNS. That’s something that cannot be faked. We provide information that is contextual. Vivian Wagner has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. Her main areas of focus are technology, business, CRM, e-commerce, privacy, security, arts, culture and diversity. She has extensive experience reporting on business and technology for a varietyof outlets, including The Atlantic, The Establishment and O, The Oprah Magazine. She holds a PhD in English with a specialty in modern American literature and culture. She received a first-place feature reporting award from the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists.Email Vivian. Alexa Raad is chief operating officer of Farsight Security, based in San Mateo, California. Farsight Security is a provider of real-time actionable Internet threat intelligence solutions.In this exclusive interview, Raad discusses methods of curbing cybercrime by tracking bad actors through the trails they leave in the domain name system. She also offers some encouraging advice to women and girls interested in breaking into the cybersecurity field.center_img To give an example, a lot of the new domain names that are registered are typically registered with bad intent, meaning criminals are going to use them to commit some sort of act, like phishing attacks, etc. When a domain name is registered, it’s fine, but when traffic starts going to those sites, it becomes much more dangerous.When people start actually going to a phishing site, it raises the threat level. We have a global sensor network that picks up these resolutions. We collect this data, but without any personally-identifiable information, which is important.That information allows people to see what’s actually got some traction, and we also add additional information for guilt by association. If a phishing site is actually hosted where there are lots of other bad actors or bad sites, that provides you with some context. You start to follow that and get a better picture of that attack than you would otherwise.We provide real-time and historical information, and both are contextual. The real-time data is important, because you have to fight these battles in near real time. The historical information is important because you want to know if this was the first time we ever saw this URL or domain name. A lot of these patterns repeat themselves. It is unlikely that a site was bad six months ago and all of a sudden it’s reformed. Having that contextual information is important.TNW: Why do you have a passion for cybersecurity? Why do you think it’s an important and vital field?Raad: I believe in the mission of cybersecurity. I want to leave our kids with a safer Internet. The Internet is such a utility — we all rely on it, and we have to have some modicum of expectation that the Internet is safe.The DNS is a fabric that’s equalizing. Regardless of where you are on the Internet, you have a voice. We’re learning that if Internet is not taken care of, there will be unintended consequences.TNW: What are some of the key cybersecurity issues today? What are some prevalent or common problems that we face?Raad: There’s an increasing number of attacks with the Internet of things. The number of Internet-enabled devices is increasing, and all of these connected devices provide vectors for cybersecurity attacks. The race is on for cheaper devices, but the race isn’t necessarily on to create more secure devices.TNW: What advice would you give to girls and women wanting to get into the cybersecurity field?Raad: It’s the ideal field for women. To be really good in cybersecurity, you have to have an inquisitive mind, be a problem-solver, and see things holistically.For a problem that’s complex, you need to think holistically, you can’t compartmentalize. You have to think, how would a criminal look at your DNS architecture? Women tend to think holistically, and if you do, you will excel in this field.The other piece of advice I would give is that you have got to be your own champion. Don’t wait for anyone to propose something to you or to give you the promotion that you deserve. You have to speak up. You have to be your own advocate, and you have to lay out the business case.If you want to be promoted, for instance, you have to say, this is what I’ve done, this is what I’ve accomplished, this is what I can do more of, and this is why it’s in your own best interest to promote me. There is an imbalance in the number of women in power, and it’s also at the executive level. Very few women are CEOs or in the c-suite or on the board, and there is a lot that women can offer and do.Whether it’s because companies recognize the need to hire more women or they have a policy to do so, the opportunities for women are there. The security industry is growing. There aren’t enough people to fill the jobs available, and a lot of them are high-paying, with good benefits. You just need to be your own champion.TNW: What new cyberthreats are emerging, and how can businesses prepare themselves to face them?Raad: You see a lot of ransomware. Just a few weeks ago I was at my dentist, and he told me that he had just been the victim of a ransomware attack, and he ended up paying it. You wouldn’t have thought he would be the victim of an attack like that, but someone in his organization had clicked on a link, and all of his patient records were frozen until he paid the ransom.You will see more of this because it pays well, and it targets people who aren’t well-versed in security hygiene. We’ll see more and more of the security issues and attacks that come because of insecure devices like wearables and Internet-connected devices.There isn’t an incentive for manufacturers to create more security. The economic incentive is more toward creating devices that are cheaper and more affordable than more security, but it really has to be both. It requires both better engineering and better policy.last_img read more

ATS releases new guideline to help clinicians manage malignant pleural effusions

first_img Source:http://www.thoracic.org/ In patients with known or suspected MPE, we suggest that ultrasound imaging be used to guide pleural interventions (conditional recommendation, very low confidence in estimate of effects). In patients with known or suspected MPE who are asymptomatic, we suggest that therapeutic pleural interventions not be performed (conditional recommendation, very low confidence in estimate of effects). The panel noted, however, if pleural fluid is required for diagnostic purposes, fluid and/or tissue sampling would be appropriate. In patients with symptomatic MPE, we suggest large-volume thoracentesis if it is uncertain whether the patient’s symptoms are related to the effusion and/or if the lung is expandable (the latter if pleurodesis is contemplated) to assess lung expansion (conditional recommendation, very low confidence in estimate of effects). In patients with MPE with known (or likely) suspected expandable lung and no prior definitive therapy, and whose symptoms are attributable to the effusion, we suggest that either indwelling pleural catheters (IPCs) or chemical pleurodesis be used as first-line definitive intervention for management of dyspnea (conditional recommendation, low confidence in estimate of effects). When choosing one option over the other, the panel wrote, clinicians should factor in a patient’s values and preferences. In patients with symptomatic MPE and expandable lung undergoing talc pleurodesis, we suggest the use of either talc poudrage or talc slurry (conditional recommendation, low confidence in estimate of effects). In patients with symptomatic MPEs with nonexpandable lung, failed pleurodesis, or loculated effusion, we suggest the use of IPCs over chemical pleurodesis (conditional recommendation, very low confidence in estimate of effects). In patients with IPC-associated infections, treating through the infection without catheter removal is usually adequate. We suggest catheter removal if the infection fails to improve (conditional recommendation, very low confidence in estimate of effects). Oct 3 2018A new guideline to help clinicians manage malignant pleural effusions (MPEs) has been developed by the American Thoracic Society, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons and the Society of Thoracic Radiology. The clinical practice guideline is published online in the Oct. 1 American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. MPEs account for 125,000 U.S. hospital admissions each year that are estimated to cost $5 billion. Patients diagnosed with an MPE live on average for four to seven months. Given this short survival period, and the fact that the majority of patients with MPE have significant dyspnea, the 14-member international panel of experts that produced the guideline said that an emphasis should be placed on patient-centered outcomes, such as relieving dyspnea in a minimally invasive manner and reducing, if not eliminating, the need for repeated procedures and health care visits.“In the 17 years since the ATS published its first guidelines on the management of MPE, there has been a significant amount of high-quality research that significantly improves our care of these patients,” said panel co-chair David J. Feller-Kopman, MD, professor of medicine and director of interventional pulmonology at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He noted that guidelines published by the British Thoracic Society in 2010 have not been universally adopted.He added: “Clearly, guidelines are just that, guidelines,” Dr. Feller-Kopman emphasized. “We, as authors, want to stress the importance of individualizing patient care based on patient-specific goals and values, in addition to local expertise and resources.”He added the guideline also emphasizes areas for future research, with a focus on “patient-reported outcome measures rather than on secondary endpoints, such as radiographic improvement.” In formulating the guideline, the panel developed seven questions using the PICO (Population, Intervention, Comparator and Outcomes) format. They then reviewed studies, including recent large randomized, controlled trials, and rated the quality of study findings, along with the certainty of the panel’s recommendations, using the GRADE (Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation) system.The panel made the following recommendations: These new recommendations are the effort of a multidisciplinary group with representation from pulmonary, thoracic surgery and thoracic radiology with the goals of highlighting recent research and increasing ‘buy in’ due to the collaboration of multiple societies.”last_img read more

Our SciFi Future Silly vs Terrifying

first_imgStar Trek is another often-referenced show whenever the next cool technology looks anything like its holodeck or replicator technology.Perhaps this is because it is easy to compare today’s 3D printers to replicators, even if the principles underlying them are entirely different. It is equally easy — lazy, actually — to suggest that holographic technology eventually could — one day in the far future — create a holodeck like the one on Star Trek.The problem is that beneath the surface, much of the technology seen on the show is different from our current technology and really borders on the impossible. The replicator breaks things down not to the molecular level but to the atomic level.That is as unlikely ever to become reality as the show’s transporter technology — but that didn’t stop the comparisons to the show’s magic means of “beaming” when German scientists created a system of scanning an object and recreating it elsewhere.That isn’t quite the same. The German invention basically combines 3D printing with a fax machine. That is hardly deserving of a “Beam me up, Scotty” reference — even though hardcore fans will happily tell you that exact phrase never has been uttered in any of the TV shows or movies. Cool the Jetsons Many of today’s Internet-based technologies — including 3D and virtual reality, as well as various online worlds — are compared to similar tech in the works of William Gibson, Bruce Sterling and Neal Stephenson.In the past 20 years, there have been many suggestions that various worlds that have emerged online — from Worlds Inc. in 1995 to Second Life in 2005 — were close to a “real life Snow Crash,” the book that introduced readers to the “Metaverse.”The Metaverse is an online world populated with 3D avatars who can mingle, chat and engage with one another while their real-life users are in distant places around the globe.Yes, that does sound much like today’s online video games and the virtual world Second Life. The amazing part in these comparisons isn’t that as a science fiction writer and visionary, Stephenson was so right about where we were headed — but rather than anyone would gleefully laud the fact that we’re closing in on that reality!The worlds presented in Snow Crash and the works of Gibson and Sterling aren’t exactly utopias. These guys didn’t write stories set in perfect worlds free of crime, disease and war. Rather, they are worlds where criminals and giant corporations work hand in hand, as governments have fallen. People are desperate and downtrodden, and they escape to virtual realities because their real lives are awful.Case, the main character in Gibson’s seminal book Neuromancer, is a “console cowboy” — basically a hacker by another, more creative name. The character is down on his luck, and by taking on a job no one wants, he is able to get his life back on track and get out of the game. Case’s story makes for fine reading — but he’s an antihero at best.He’s a criminal who works for bigger criminals. Do we really want to live in such a world — where a few powerful criminals and corporations rule the world?When executives at Facebook’s Oculus VR cite Snow Crash and the Metaverse, one must wonder what part of the vision of the future they’re excited about. It would be akin to developing a robot with true artificial intelligence and proclaiming “it’s just like the Terminator!This might change if a film version of Snow Crash ever materializes — but, for the record, I’m happy that attempts to bring Neuromancer to the big screen have failed. We really don’t need another Gibson story to suffer the fate of Johnny Mnemonic. Cyberpunk stories typically are set in worlds in which corporations control innovation, launch satellites to connect the world to spread information, and maintain private armies. That vision is a lot darker than The Jetsons and Star Trek, of course, but it also is much closer to our reality.Are there now giant corporations that literally control how we access the Internet? Or others that have what appear to be bizarre projects to further spread their reach to remote parts of the world? Doesn’t that pretty much describe tech giants Comcast and Facebook? Or Google?Now imagine a tech visionary who is a billionaire with a private space program, who also is developing new ways to harness solar power. There have been James Bond books and movies with such villains (see Moonraker and The Man With the Golden Gun) — but that description also fits Elon Musk. By no means am I suggesting that Musk is a Bond villain, but I’m not the only one to notice those similarities.Then there is the fact that Musk actually bought the Lotus Esprit submarine car that was used in the film The Spy Who Loved Me for nearly US$1million. Now tell me, that isn’t something a Bond villain would do?The big takeaway is that perhaps it is too easy to see today’s world in past entertainment vehicles and ignore the fact that much of what The Jetsons predicted was completely wrong. We don’t expect to see a flying car that can fold up into a briefcase, ever.Likewise, teleportation and warp speed likely will remain just part of the mythos of Star Trek.When it comes to the darker side of science fiction, we should be cautious about where we are headed. We should heed it as a portent of what to avoid — not a future we should embrace.As for Musk, let’s just hope a super spy is on standby. Brave New World Boldly Going the Same Placecenter_img The Jetsons is one of the cultural references cited most often when new technology emerges. Perhaps this is because so many of today’s tech reporters viewed the shows in syndication or reruns — or perhaps it’s just because the comparisons are so easy to make.Comedian John Oliver mocked TV news programs for their frequent references to The Jetsons when reporting developments in flying cars, video phones and other consumer technologies. Yet, the Smithsonian magazine several years ago published a piece titled “50 Years of the Jetsons: Why The Show Still Matters,” casting it as part of the golden age of futurism.Likewise, Diply.com noted “11 Times The Jetsons Totally Predicted The Future,” while AdvertisingAge asked, “How Much of the Jetsons’ Futuristic World Has Become a Reality?”First, the show shouldn’t matter. It was a cartoon and predicted the future about as accurately as The Flintstones depicted life in the Stone Age. None of The Jetsons’ future tech predictions were revolutionary.Flying cars, flat panel TVs, video phones and robot maids often are called out — yet all of those innovations were envisioned decades before the TV show hit the airwaves. Science fiction writer H.G. Wells suggested we might have small personal aircraft in his work The Shape of Things to Come — and we’re not much closer to having them now than when he came up with the idea in 1933.Flat panel TVs, on the other hand, were in development in the early 1960s around the same time the show was on the air, and were envisioned much earlier.As for video phones, the concept of videotelephony initially became popular in the late 1870s, and Nazi Germany developed a working system in the 1930s. Of course, it is likely more uplifting to compare today’s modern tech to The Jetsons than to give the Nazis credit.As for the robot maid, let’s not forgot that “robots” were introduced in the 1920 play Rossum’s Universal Robots, by Czech writer Karel Čapek, which told of a class of specially created servants. They may not technically have been machines, but they were there to do the jobs people didn’t want to do. The future is now, or at least it is coming soon. Today’s technological developments are looking very much like what once was the domain of science fiction. Maybe we don’t have domed cities and flying cars, but we do have buildings that reach to the heavens, and drones that soon could deliver our packages. Who needs a flying car when the self-driving car — though still on the ground — is just down the road?The media often notes the comparisons of technological advances to science fiction, and the go-to examples cited are often Star Trek, The Jetsons and various 1980s and 90s cyberpunk novels and similar dark fiction. In many cases, this is because many tech advances actually are fairly easy comparisons to what those works of fictions presented.On the other hand, they tend to be really lazy comparisons. Every advance in holographic technology should not immediately evoke Star Trek’s holodeck, and every servant-styled robot should not immediately be compared to Rosie, the maid-robot in The Jetsons. Snow Crash and Burn Peter Suciu has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2012. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile phones, displays, streaming media, pay TV and autonomous vehicles. He has written and edited for numerous publications and websites, including Newsweek, Wired and FoxNews.com.Email Peter.last_img read more

reMarkables Pricey PaperLike Tablet Ready to Ship

first_imgPricing and Demand “Lenovo’s Yoga Book and Yoga A12 are perfect examples of innovation in inking that really adds value to something many people already use,” said Strategy Analytics’ Smith.”Tablets equipped with another pane of glass for digitizing paper notes through EMR panels seems a more functional and less expensive innovation than reMarkable,” he suggested.The tablet “is going to be a really hard sell at such a high price point,” Smith said. “The price, low functionality and complicated workflow to move from connected device to ‘simplified’ reMarkable are big pain points.” A Hard Sell Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. Email Richard. reMarkable on Monday will begin shipping what might best be described as an “untablet” — a device that is, essentially, an electronic piece of paper.The company is proud of its paper tablet’s simplicity, boasting that no other tablet has fewer functionalities.reMarkable users cannot install apps, watch videos or take photos. What they can do is read, write and sketch on a paper-like surface with a modern twist. “I do consider myself a ‘paper person.’ I’m someone who’s excited by the prospect of reading physical books and taking notes by hand,” wrote Avery Hartmans for Business Insider.”For that reason alone, I loved the experience of using reMarkable. It feels a lot like the early Kindles, but with … modern touches. Using it was a pleasant break from being constantly connected, and it was nice to have an excuse to doodle or write down to-do lists and notes,” she added.On the downside, it was “generally slow,” Hartmans pointed out. “For $600 I wanted the device to be quick and responsive, and it simply wasn’t.”Another problem was screen burn-in. Images remained faintly on the screen even after being erased, she noted.Although the reMarkable tablet didn’t quite meet her expectations, “I still think it’s an incredible product,” Hartmans wrote. However, “paying $600 for an E-ink tablet like this in 2017 still seems too steep to me.”The reMarkable tablet’s lack of additional functionalities — the ability to watch movies on it, play games or browse the Web — “is this device’s strongest feature,” Max Parker wrote for Trusted Reviews, because “it sets the [device] apart.”reMarkable is “a great tool for artists,” he said, noting that “the level of detail you can achieve is impressive.”However, he wasn’t impressed by the unremarkable design, and he would have preferred having the option to select a cloud service other than reMarkable’s.”You will be able to livestream from the reMarkable to a computer, however,” Parker pointed out, “which appears to make it an ideal tool for meetings and group working.”center_img Early Reactions reMarkable is about 7×10 inches and a mere quarter-inch thick. It weighs in at .77 pounds. It has no glass parts, and is virtually unbreakable, according to the company.It is powered in part by E Ink Carta technology. The purchase price is US$599 for the reMarkable paper tablet, marker, marker tips and cable.More than 35,000 units already have been sold, according to the company.”With the right targeting, I can imagine a subset of e-reader users would really enjoy this product and could move up to this when deciding to replace their old Kindle or Kobo,” said Eric Smith, director, tablets and touchscreens, at Strategy Analytics.”The problem is, it’s already a limited pool of potential customers for a company with a limited marketing budget and distribution reach,” he told TechNewsWorld. “This is now just as expensive as a 10.5-inch iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil.”The pricing isn’t excessive, said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, because demand for e-paper displays isn’t as strong as for LCD displays.”You don’t get the massive economies of scale that LCD displays enjoy, particularly at this large size,” he told TechNewsWorld. Among reMarkable’s digital powers:10.3-inch monochrome digital paper display with 1872 x 1404 resolution (226 DPI) and multipoint capacitive touch;Marker pen with a high-friction tip and tilt detection — no battery or pairing required; WiFi connectivity; 8 GB of internal storage — the equivalent of 100,000 pages — and 512 MB of DDR3L RAM;Rechargeable battery (micro USB);1-GHz ARM A9 processor;Codex Linux-based operating system, optimized for e-paper;Support for PDF and ePub document formats; reMarkable app for instant syncing with all other devices; One-click file transfer; andOptional secure cloud backup service.last_img read more