Whale social network reveals surprising allies

first_imgWhen you spend your days battling giant squid, it’s good to have friends you can rely on. New research from the Caribbean suggests that female sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus, pictured) swim with favored companions and form long-term family allegiances. Sperm whales raise their young in communal family groups of about a dozen related females, but mapping out the giant animals’ social lives in much detail has been a challenge for scientists. The whales spend 60% of their lives hunting squid hundreds of meters below the waves, and researchers can watch them interact for only a few minutes at a time when they surface to breathe. But a new multiyear study has created the most detailed map yet of sperm whales’ social networks. Between 2005 and 2010, scientists followed nine whale families along the west coast of the Caribbean island of Dominica and mapped their social relationships by counting which females spent the most time together at the surface between dives. As expected, whales mostly preferred to relax with family members, but within families they played favorites, frequently swimming with the same sister, auntie, or aged granny, the researchers report online this week in Animal Behaviour. The network diagram also revealed three pairs of families that mingled frequently over the years to socialize and share babysitting duty. One of these pairs has been fraternizing since 1995, according to data from other researchers, suggesting that such allegiances can last more than a decade. These observations suggest sperm whale families may be similar to the matriarchal clans of elephants, which also form long-lasting family bonds, the researchers say. Further research may determine whether allied families are actually distant cousins and investigate whether whales use signature songs to find their best friends.last_img read more

Are gravitational waves kicking this black hole out of its galaxy

first_img By Sid PerkinsMar. 23, 2017 , 5:30 PM Astronomers have just spied a black hole with a mass 1 billion times the sun’s hurtling toward our galaxy. But scientists aren’t worried about it making contact: It’s some 8 billion light-years away from Earth and traveling at less than 1% the speed of light. Instead, they’re wondering how it got the boot from its parent galaxy, 3C186 (fuzzy mass in the Hubble telescope image, above). Most black holes lie quietly—if voraciously—at the center of their galaxies, slurping up the occasional passing star. But every once in a while, two galaxies merge, and the black holes in their centers begin to swirl around each other in a pas des deux that eventually leads to a devastating merger. The wandering black hole (bright spot above), may be the result of one such merger. Based on the wavelengths of spectral lines emitted by the luminous gas surrounding the black hole, the object is traveling at a speed of about 7.5 million kilometers per hour—a rate that would carry it from Earth to the moon in about 3 minutes. If the most likely scenario is true, then a massive kick from the merger of two black holes some 1.2 billion years ago would have created a ripple of gravitational waves, the researchers suggest in a forthcoming issue of Astronomy & Astrophysics. And if the precollision black holes didn’t have the same mass and rotation rate as each other, the waves would have been stronger in some directions than others, giving the resulting object a jolt equivalent to the energy of 100 million supernovae exploding simultaneously, the researchers estimate. Other runaway black holes have been proposed, but none of them has yet been confirmed. Are gravitational waves kicking this black hole out of its galaxy?last_img read more

Update NASA declares end of Opportunitys mission

first_img Mars Exploration Rover Mission/Cornell/JPL/NASA Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country In June 2018, a planet-encircling dust storm blotted out the sun over Opportunity for several months, weaning it off solar power and draining its batteries. Since then, JPL has sent the golf cart–size rover 600 commands to revive it. Engineers hoped seasonal winds, running high between November 2018 and the end of January, would clear the solar panels of dust, allowing for its recovery. But that hasn’t happened.“The end of the windy season could spell the end of the rover,” says Steven Squyres, the mission’s principal investigator at Cornell University. “But if this is the end, I can’t imagine a better way for it to happen … 15 years into a 90-day mission and taken out by one of the worst martian dust storms in many years.” *Update, 13 February, 2:10 p.m.: After more than a thousand attempts to revive the Opportunity rover, including a final unanswered command last night, NASA formally declared the end of the rover’s mission today. Read our story from 25 January here: There’s little hope left for rousing NASA’s Opportunity rover, which landed on Mars 15 years ago this month. For the past 6 months, the rover has sat silently and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, is running out of tricks to revive it. In the next few weeks, officials at the agency’s headquarters will decide whether to continue the search, the mission’s scientists say. Update: NASA declares end of Opportunity’s mission Email John Callas, the misson project manager at JPL, says, “We’ve got another week. We’re running out of time.”The martian winter, which in 2011 ended the mission of Opportunity’s twin rover, Spirit, is months away. Sunlight is waning in the southern hemisphere and temperatures are dropping. Efforts to revive the rover have now lasted as long as the past campaign to revive Spirit. JPL is trying a few more long shots, such as commands that would tell Opportunity to switch to back antennas, if it had barely revived and was trying to use a broken antenna. “After that, I don’t know what to do next, if anything,” Callas says. Before the 5-week U.S. government shutdown, the plan was to have NASA headquarters weigh in on whether to continue the efforts after the windy season, he adds. With a plan now in place to reopen the government, such a decision could come soon from NASA science chief Thomas Zurbuchen.Whenever its mission ends, Opportunity will leave a trail of superlatives. Although it was only guaranteed to last 90 days on Mars, it ended up enduring at least 5000. It traversed a path 45 kilometers long, often driving backward because of an overheating steering control. It explored ever-larger impact craters as it went, with their deposits revealing more and more of the martian interior. Even after all that time, its 1-megapixel cameras were still working beautifully, says Jim Bell, a planetary scientist at Arizona State University in Tempe who leads the rover’s color camera team. Bell, for one, isn’t giving up hope. The rover is perched on the rim of Endeavor crater, he notes, and a wind gust could still come and revive Opportunity. “No one has ever won a bet against it. I’m not about to start.”From its landing in Meridiani Planum in 2004, Opportunity quickly revealed the sulfate-rich sandstones it drove on. The stones likely formed as shallow muds in lagoonlike environments, says Raymond Arvidson, a planetary scientist at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and the rover’s deputy principal investigator. “There was an ephemeral lake system, going dry, going wet. That’s a huge discovery.” The rover was intended to explore where Mars could have been habitable in the deep past, Bell adds, and Opportunity was the first to provide possible evidence for it.Subsequent craters explored by the rover revealed that periods of habitability extended far longer in the martian past than once thought. It spotted veins of the mineral gypsum near crater rims, which form thanks to evaporating water. And, in 2013, it provided the first surface observations of 4-billion-year-old clays, from a time on Mars older than the rocks probed by the Curiosity rover, when water could have truly been abundant. The finding, 9 years into its mission, validated observations from orbit, expanding the hunt for such clays, says Alberto Fairén, a planetary scientist at Cornell. “A beautiful example of how collaborative science should be done.”Few expected when they signed up for the Spirit and Opportunity rovers that they’d still be working on one 15 years later. In the end, though, Bell adds, “Mars always wins.” By Paul VoosenFeb. 13, 2019 , 2:10 PM Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) NASA’s Opportunity rover, seen here in a composite image, landed on Mars 15 years ago. Its end is nigh.last_img read more

Stripping the name of Laura Ingalls Wilder from a childrens literature award

first_imgWhen the Association for Library Service to Children, which gives out the “Laura Ingalls Wilder Award” every year, announced that the author’s name would from now on be removed from the prestigious book prize, it touched a nerve. “This decision was made in consideration of the fact that Wilder’s legacy, as represented by her body of work, includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC’s core values of inclusiveness, integrity, and respect, and responsiveness,” said the organization, which gives the award to authors whose work has made a lasting impact on the world of children’s literature.The honor will now be known as the Children’s Literature Legacy Award.Laura Ingalls Wilder, c. 1885.Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series, written in the 1930s, definitely made an impact on generations of readers. The books were cherished in many American homes when they were first published, and later given as gifts from mother to daughter,  and then grandmother to granddaughter.The Little House series was based on Wilder’s life and told the story of her farmer parents and siblings, the Ingalls, as they moved around the Great Plains in the late 19th century. The young settler family was poor and often on the move: from Wisconsin to Missouri to Kansas.Laura and Almanzo Wilder, c. 1885.Laura Ingalls became a teacher at age 16 in one-room schoolhouses, marrying Almanzo Wilder, whose settler family suffered hardship in South Dakota. They had one daughter, Rose (who later became a professional writer). Laura Ingalls Wilder herself became a newspaper columnist in 1911; the family would be wiped out financially by the Great Depression.“Little House in the Big Woods” original cover.The Little House books achieved even greater fame when they were made into a popular TV series, starring Melissa Gilbert and Michael Landon, running for nine years in the 1970s and 1980s.The reason the award’s name was changed was that in her 1930s novels, Wilder was said to have referred to Native Americans and African Americans in terms considered offensive or insensitive.The main character in the book says about the family’s move to Kansas: “…there were no people there. Only Indians lived there.” This is the passage that many critics find most offensive.Caroline and Charles Ingalls, the parents of Laura Ingalls Wilder.However, during her lifetime, Wilder agreed to people’s objections to that sentence and it was changed in later editions to “…there were no settlers there.” She said in a letter in 1952: “It was a stupid blunder of mine. Of course, Indians are people and I did not intend to imply they were not.”The books have been considered hallmarks of American literature for children for decades. Time magazine ranked the series as 22 out of 100 of the “100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time.” Five of the books have been Honor Books for the Newberry Medal.Little House replica at the Little House Wayside.Wilder died on February 10, 1957. In her last decade, she was receiving hundreds of letters every month from children, which she answered.Some of the best slang from the 1930s era.“Updating the award’s name should not be construed as censorship, as we are not demanding that anyone stop reading Wilder’s books, talking about them or making them available to children,” the ALSC said.Photo of TV series Little House on the Prairie. Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty ImagesHowever, defenders of Wilder have decried the name change as censorship and unfair. One wrote: “Rather than being anti-Native and anti-Black, Wilder’s works lead readers of all ages to ponder important truths about American history…Moreover, it sullies Wilder’s literary reputation and creates a slippery slope for excising all literature that doesn’t adhere to a strict definition of ‘inclusivity,’ whether or not that inclusivity accurately reflects American history.”Grace Ingalls, 3 years old.A USA Today columnist wrote: “Yes, there are sentiments in the Wilder books that are concerning. Laura’s adored father wears blackface, and a couple, the Scotts, in ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ seems to hate Native Americans, with the husband saying at one point, ‘The only good Indian is a dead Indian.’ … But delve into the books themselves and there’s nuance. Wilder writes, after the ‘dead Indian’ quote, that ‘Pa said he didn’t know about that. He figured that Indians would be as peaceable as anybody else if they were left alone.’ ”Wilder also attributes the lives of herself, her sisters, and her parents being saved by the intervention of an African-American doctor in one of the books.Laura Ingalls Wilder signing book. Photo Getty ImagesOne celebrity who spoke out was William Shatner, who said on Twitter: “Did you hear about the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award being renamed over negative lines on the indigenous peoples of America? Laura changed the lines in the 50s. I find it disturbing that some take modern opinion & obliterate the past. Isn’t progress @ learning from our mistakes?”Shatner was then widely attacked on Twitter for expressing his views, and told by some in academia he should “stay in his lane” and his opinions did not matter.Read another story from us: In the 19th century, Lithuanians smuggled books in an act of rebellion against Russian controlThe Washington Post wrote that the ALSC decision “makes Wilder the latest target of efforts to purge from the cultural landscape symbols that honor historical figures who owned slaves, espoused racist views, or engaged in racist practices.”Nancy Bilyeau, a former staff editor at Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, and InStyle, has written a trilogy of historical thrillers for Touchstone Books. For more information, go to www.nancybilyeau.com.last_img read more

Excalibur the sword of King Arthur is a central theme of legends

first_imgThe legend of the sword Excalibur is an exceptional worldwide legend with a narrative that has obviously withstood the test of time from its emergence in Medieval times until today. There are many versions of the multilayered story of Arthur Pendragon, Guinevere, Merlin, and the Knights of the Round Table that have developed over the centuries. But the myth of the hero-warrior has endured and is an influential piece of British heritage. After the tales caught the imagination of one seven-year-old schoolgirl, she made a discovery that seemed to turn the legend into a modern-day reality.As a tiny reminder, Excalibur is the sword of King Arthur, a legendary British king who appears in medieval British romances as the leader of the fellowship known as the Knights of the Round Table.Arthur was given Excalibur by the mythical “Lady of the Lake” as a lucky charm that would bring him strength in battles as well as good fortune.The Lady of the Lake offering Arthur Excalibur, by Alfred Kappes (1880).Arthur lost his life in the Battle of Camlann and, according to the legend, Sir Bedivere returned his king’s sword to the lake. The mystery around the figure of Arthur still remains and it is not certain whether it was based on an actual person. Historical researchers have proposed a few different theories about the factual basis of the stories.A similar uncertainty goes for Excalibur as it unknown if it was an actual object for combat or an element which embellished the Arthurian legends and symbolized power and strength.The origins of the legend are determined as Welsh or Celtic, deriving from Wales or northern Britain.Excalibur the Sword.In the 15th century, the popular work of Sir Thomas Malory named Le Morte D’Arthur tells his version of the tales of King Arthur. Malory’s accounts tell the story of how Merlin, Arthur’s magical advisor, requested the sword to be given to Arthur after his first sword (the one he pulled from the stone) was broken.Other historical records name the sword as “Caliburnus,” some examples being the 12th century book History of the Kings of Britain as well as several ancient poems written by Chretien de Troyes around 1160. In these poems, Excalibur is in the possession of Sir Gawain, the son of Arthur’s half-sister, Morgause.Sir Gawain was regarded as the most loyal and honored knight of King Arthur and the only one with the privilege to use the sword Excalibur in battles.Excalibur from the 1981 film Excalibur at the London Film Museum. Photo by Eduardo Otubo CC BY 2.0The brother of Sir Gawain, Mordred (Medraut), is the leading villain in the Arthurian legends, who fought with Arthur in his last battle. The battle is mentioned in an entry dated 537 from the 10th century historical compilation Annales Cambriae:Gueith Camlann in qua Arthur et Medraut corruerunt. “The strife of Camlann, in which Arthur and Medraut fell.”6 of the Biggest Treasure Troves Ever DiscoveredArthur told his knights that whatever the battle’s outcome, the sword must be taken back to the Lady of the Lake. Sir Bedivere reluctantly follows this order and throws Excalibur into the lake. The hand of the Lady emerges from the water, catches it and sinks back into the depths.Queen Morgana Loses Excalibur His Sheath, by Howard Pyle (1903).There are several candidates hailed to be the Excalibur lake; one of these is Dozmary Pool on Bodmin Moor, Cornwall.On a hot late-summer day in 2017, the Jones family from Yorkshire, who were on vacation in the area, took a day trip to Bodmin Moor. Mr Jones is a great admirer of Arthurian legends and enjoyed telling them to his children, so they paid a visit to the lake.Arthur pulls the sword from the stone in an early-20th century illustration.In the legend, the lake is bottomless, however Dozmary Pool is known to be just a few feet deep. On such a hot day, his seven-year-old daughter could not resist stepping into the shallow pool to cool off. Waist deep in the water, Matilda made a discovery. She had spotted a sword on the bottom of the lake!Mr. Jones was convinced that she was just overwhelmed with impressions from the story, but when he went over to look, there really was a four-feet-long sword laying in the mud.The sword from the Lady of the Lake in a late-19th century illustration.It was not heavy enough to be a real medieval sword. Mr. Jones guessed it was an old film prop — excluding the possibility of his young daughter being the lucky finder of Excalibur and the future Queen of Britain.Later it was confirmed that the sword that Matilda discovered was definitely not the real Excalibur, according to Mark Wilkins, who claims he put the sword in the Cornish lake sometime in the 1980s, as an offering to Celtic gods.Read another story from us: Joyeuse, King Charlemagne’s legendary sword, was said to change colors 30 times a day“Back in the 80s I was very into spiritualism and followed the Celtic religion. It’s well known in Celtic belief that if you want to honor the Gods you can make a sacrifice or an offering.” Wilkins told Cornwall Live.All in all, the legend of Arthur and Excalibur will apparently never stop resonating and prompt hope, excitement, and imagination even in modern times.last_img read more

James Gandolfinis Son to Play a Young Tony Soprano in Prequel Movie

first_imgThe Sopranos was always a family affair, at least in an organized crime sense. Now it’s connected by family, with the news that Michael Gandolfini is to play a young Tony Soprano in the prequel film The Many Saints of Newark. Michael’s father James made his name as the grown up version in the HBO hit, created by David Chase. The forthcoming movie takes place in Newark, New Jersey during the 1960s.Photo by Getty ImagesBetween July 12th and 17th, 1967 an infamous riot took place in the city. Racial tension between Italians and African Americans led to gang warfare, into which Soprano Jr. finds himself thrust.Vera Farmiga, Jon Bernthal and Corey Stoll have been announced as part of the ensemble cast, with Alessandro Nivola taking the part of Dickie Moltisanti, who becomes a mentor to Tony.James Gandolfini. Photo by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff CC BY 2.0Chase has co-written and is producing the project alongside Lawrence Konner. Alan Taylor is directing. Konner and Taylor also worked on The Sopranos.Despite Michael Gandolfini’s uncanny resemblance to his father, he wasn’t a shoo-in for the role. Deadline, who broke the story, wrote, “The filmmakers engaged in an extensive audition process to find the young Tony before Gandolfini won the role. Insiders said that his screen presence, mastery of Tony’s mannerisms, coupled with his resemblance to the elder Gandolfini made him the standout choice for the role because no one there understood the character better.”Michael Gandolfini attends HBO’s Official Golden Globe Awards After Party at Circa 55 Restaurant on January 6, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty ImagesGandolfini himself commented to the site, “It’s a profound honor to continue my dad’s legacy while stepping into the shoes of a young Tony Soprano.”The emerging actor has also appeared on HBO’s The Deuce, as well as in the movie Ocean’s Eight.The Sopranos. Photo By Getty ImagesTony Soprano was James Gandolfini’s best-known role. A flawed gang boss who secretly sought professional help from psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco), he was highly influential in the development of the small screen anti-hero. Some commentators believe he paved the way for characters such as Breaking Bad’s Walter White.Starting with the premise of a gangster with personal anxieties, the drama expanded to include a raft of characters, such as his mother Olivia (Nancy Marchand), relative Christopher (son of Dickie Moltisanti, played by Michael Imperioli) and cousin Tony Blundetto (Steve Buscemi).Steve Buscemi at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival for the premiere of Blank City. Photo by David Shankbone CC BY 3.0Gandolfini Sr. won multiple awards and played Tony for the entire run of the show between 1999 and 2007. The sixth and final season ended on an ambiguous note, with speculation rife as to whether Soprano lived or died.Indiewire previewed the related tome Difficult Men: Behind The Scenes of a Creative Revolution by Brett Martin in 2013. The prologue refers to the actor’s efforts, saying “Some actors — notably Edie Falco, who played Tony’s wife, Carmela Soprano — are capable of plumbing such depths without getting in over their heads… Not so Gandolfini… Crew members grew accustomed to hearing grunts and curses coming from his trailer as he worked up to the emotional pitch of a scene by, say, destroying a boom box radio.”Gandolfini also had a successful career on the big screen, featuring in The Mexican and Killing Them Softly with Brad Pitt, and supporting Billy Bob Thornton and Frances McDormand in the Coen Brothers’ drama The Man Who Wasn’t There.Read another story from us: Jeff Bridges to Bring Back ‘The Dude’ for the Super Bowl – Possibly MoreHe passed away from a heart attack in 2013 aged 51. His penultimate role was an acclaimed comedy drama Enough Said, where he played a softer character starting a relationship with Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ divorced masseuse. He also posthumously starred in The Drop with Tom Hardy.The Many Saints of Newark is expected to arrive in 2020.last_img read more

Holbrook High School covaledictorians for the Class of 2018

first_img RelatedSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Ad May 16, 2018 Holbrook High School co-valedictorians for the Class of 2018center_img Photos courtesy of Holbrook High SchoolThe Holbrook High School co-valedictorians for the Class of 2018 are Kallee Reidhead (left), the daughter of Kamron and Tracy Reidhead, and Tyler Christensen (center), the son of Ryan and Holly Christensen. The salutatorian is Garrison Hawk (right) the son of Dwayne and Kreslie Hawk.last_img

Opposition MPs from Tamil Nadu protest Kiran Bedis remarks on state

first_img DMK protests against Kiran Bedi for calling Tamils ‘selfish and cowardly’ Kiran Bedi expressed regret, put issue to rest: Rajnath Singh in Parliament Birla urged the members to take their seat on multiple occasions. “We are giving an opportunity to first-time women members to speak and you are obstructing the process. This is not proper,” he said.When his pleas had little effect, he told the members to sit down and said he would ask Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who was present in the House, to make a statement. As Singh rose to speak, Opposition members took their seats.Citing rules and procedures of Lok Sabha, Singh said, “A discussion on the conduct of a Governor can only be initiated by moving a motion. If the members want a discussion on the issue, they must move a motion.”On Sunday, Bedi had tweeted, “A question with possible answers: India’s 6th largest city Chennai has become the first city in the country to run dry. The same city was in floods due to copious rains just 4 years back. Where lies the problem? Ans: Poor Governance, Corrupt Politics, Indifferent Bureaucracy+.” M Kandasamy, Kiran Bedi, puducherry minister M Kandasamy criticises Kiran Bedi, Kiran Bedi on port issue Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry Kiran Bedi. (File Photo)Lt Governor of Puducherry Kiran Bedi’s remarks that “corrupt politics” of Tamil Nadu has led to the water crisis in Chennai rocked Parliament on Wednesday, with several members from the state belonging to the DMK, Congress and the CPI(M) entering the Well of the House and raising slogans. Kiran Bedi blames Tamil Nadu’s ‘corrupt politics’ for water scarcity; Stalin demands apology 2 Comment(s) Written by Deeptiman Tiwary | New Delhi | Published: July 4, 2019 2:18:35 am Related News Advertising Raising the issue during Zero Hour, DMK member T R Baalu demanded an answer from the government on Bedi’s remarks, made on Sunday.When Speaker Om Birla pointed out that conduct of Constitutional authorities cannot be discussed during Zero Hour, DMK members rose in protest and said that they must be allowed to speak since it is a serious matter and the entire state has been insulted.When the Speaker still did not allow any discussion on the matter, DMK, Congress and CPI(M) MPs from Tamil Nadu stormed the Well, egged on by DMK’s Kanimozhi and Dayanidhi Maran. As they began shouting slogans, they were also joined by Aam Aadmi Party MP Bhagwant Mann and Congress MPs from some other states. Advertisinglast_img read more

One of the worlds largest organisms is shrinking

first_imgSunlight filtering through fall foliage at the Pando aspen grove in central Utah. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email USDA Aerial Photography Field Office, Salt Lake City, Utah By David ShultzOct. 17, 2018 , 2:30 PM Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Aerial photos of the Pando grove spanning 1939 to 2011, which show the grove thinning over time 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 National Geographic Image Collection/Alamy Stock Photo The Pando aspen grove, located in central Utah, is the largest organism on the planet by weight. From the surface, it may look like a forest that spans more than 100 U.S. football fields, but each tree shares the exact same DNA and is connected to its clonal brethren through an elaborate underground root system. Although not quite as large in terms of area as the massive Armillaria gallica fungus in Michigan, Pando is much heavier, weighing in at more than 6 million kilograms. Now, researchers say, the grove is in danger, being slowly eaten away by mule deer and other herbivores—and putting the fate of its ecosystem in jeopardy.“This is a really unusual habitat type,” says Luke Painter, an ecologist at Oregon State University in Corvallis who was not involved with the research. “A lot of animals depend on it.”Aspen forests such as the Pando grove and many others reproduce in two ways. The first is the familiar system in which mature trees drop seeds that grow into new trees. But more commonly, aspen and some other tree species reproduce by sending out sprouts from their roots, which grow up through the soil into entire new trees. The exact amount of time it took the Pando grove to reach its modern extent is unknown, says Paul Rogers, an ecologist at Utah State University in Logan. “However, it’s very likely that it’s centuries old, and it’s just as likely that it’s millennia old.” One of the world’s largest organisms is shrinking Scientists first noticed the Pando shrinking in the late ’90s. They suspected elk, cattle, and most prominently deer were eating the new shoots, so in the new study Rogers and colleagues divided the forest into three experimental groups. One section was completely unfenced, allowing animals to forage freely on the baby aspen. A second section was fenced and left alone. And a third section was fenced and then treated in some places with strategies to spur aspen growth, such as shrub removal and controlled burning; in other places it was left untreated. The results were surprising: Simply keeping the deer out was enough to allow the grove to successfully recover, the team reports today in PLOS ONE. Even in the fenced-off plots where there was no burning or shrub removal, young trees were thriving.The good news, at least for Pando, is that it appears that keeping out the deer is enough to solve the problem. But fencing the entirety of the grove is neither practical nor palatable, says Rogers, who partners with the U.S. Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station in Fort Collins, Colorado, as part of the Western Aspen Alliance, a group committed to improving aspen management and restoring their ecosystems. “Everybody, including myself, doesn’t want fences around this iconic grove. We don’t want to go to nature to see a bunch of fences.”The alternative, he says, is to do something about the mule deer population. The thinning of the forest has only started to occur in the past century or so. This time frame roughly coincides with when humans entered the area, building cabins, banning hunting, and removing carnivores like wolves that would ordinarily prey on the deer. These human activities, Rogers says, has turned Pando into a safe haven for the deer, artificially inflating their numbers in the area.With the new data in hand, he’s planning to advocate for a culling of the deer population in the area. Although that may seem extreme, it may be the only chance to give Pando a chance a long-term survival. “The real problem,” Rogers says, “is that there are too many mouths to feed in this area.”last_img read more

Indonesian woman jailed for reporting sexual harassment to seek amnesty

first_imgBy Reuters |Jakarta | Published: July 8, 2019 8:39:56 pm Related News Face of Indonesia disaster relief efforts dies at 49 Maknun had complained of getting lewd phone calls from the principal of the school where she worked from 2012, court documents showed. She secretly recorded some of the calls and gave a recording to a colleague, allegedly passing it on via an electronic device. But that opened her up to an accusation of spreading pornography under a communications law.Last week, the Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s decision to acquit her, imposed the jail term and also ordered her to pay a 500 million rupiah ($35,474) fine. Widodo, who was recently re-elected for a second term, has indicated he would pardon Maknun if she applied for amnesty, but he has also asked the public to honour the Supreme Court’s decision.Minister of Law and Human Rights Yasonna Laoly said women would not speak up if Maknun was not freed.“If she is not given an amnesty, there are tens of thousands of women, victims of sexual assault or harassment who won’t be brave enough to report it,” Laoly told reporters after meeting Maknun in Jakarta.The Supreme Court defended its verdict saying it was not asked to rule on sexual harassment allegations, but rather on whether or not Maknun had electronically disseminated pornographic content and violated the communications law. The Supreme Court last week jailed Baiq Nuril Maknun, a former teacher from the island of Lombok, for six months for breaking a communications law, after she recorded lewd phone calls from the principal of the school she worked at and reported them to a colleague.Maknun, who is due to start serving her prison sentence next week, told reporters she would file for amnesty as soon as possible and she hoped the president would grant it. “As a child, who should I go to but a father,” said a softly spoken Maknun, 41, as she struggled to hold back tears.Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim country and is predominantly conservative. While some women have recounted experiences of sexual harassment as part of a #MeToo movement, in general, women are less likely to speak out about abuse compared with women in some other countries. Undersea quake south of Indonesia’s Bali causes brief panic sexual harassment, Women harassment, Baiq Nuril Maknun, Baiq Nuril Maknun amnesty, Indonesia, sexual harassment, indonesian woman,Women harassment, Indonesia Women harassment Indonesia, indonesia news, World news, The Indian Express news Indonesia’s Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly talks to journalists during a press conference with Baiq Nuril Maknun, a teacher on the island of Lombok who was jailed after she tried to report sexual harassment, in Jakarta, Indonesia, July 8. (Photo: Reuters)An Indonesian woman sentenced to prison for reporting her employer for sexual harassment said on Monday she will ask President Joko Widodo for an amnesty. Advertising Advertising Strong quake causes panic in eastern Indonesia, tsunami warning lifted 1 Comment(s)last_img read more

HomePod Devs Stumble Upon Next iPhone Design Clues

first_imgDevelopers combing through the code for the Apple HomePod have found clues to what appear to be features in the next generation of iPhones, and they tweeted their discoveries on Sunday.The firmware for HomePod, Apple’s US$349 smart speaker expected in December, apparently contains much of the codebase for future iPhones. One of the goodies in the HomePod’s code is a new biometric method for unlocking an iPhone.I can confirm reports that HomePod’s firmware reveals the existence of upcoming iPhone’s infra-red face unlock in BiometricKit and elsewhere pic.twitter.com/yLsgCx7OTZ— Steve T-S (@stroughtonsmith) July 31, 2017Me too. New bezel-less form factor as well pic.twitter.com/Y0RrSOk2OO— Guilherme Rambo (@_inside) July 31, 2017The use of facial recognition to unlock a phone has been around in the Android world for more than a year, and reactions have been mixed.”Recent reviews of the face lock feature on Samsung’s Galaxy S8 remarked on the slowness of the process, its ineffectiveness in full daylight, and that early iterations were easily fooled with simple photographs,” noted Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.”Interestingly, face lock can’t be used to authenticate Samsung Pay purchases.,” he told TechNewsWorld. The next iPhone may feature facial recognition for technical reasons, suggested Krewell.”Apple wanted to put the fingerprint sensor under the display, but they haven’t been able to get it to work yet,” he pointed out.Developers scrutinizing HomePod’s code found information about that display. An image in the firmware of the front of the phone appears to show an almost edge-to-edge display that extends around the speakers and sensors at the top of the device.Rumors of an edge-to-edge OLED display in a special anniversary edition iPhone have been circulating for months, and these latest observations by developers are more evidence that those rumors have been on target.Near edge-to-edge screens have become common fare in the Android market.”I’ve used a phone with an edge-to-edge screen, and they’re pretty nice,” said Bob O’Donnell, chief analyst at Technalysis Research.”Once you get used to that complete sheet of glass with nothing around it, it’s hard to go back to screens with bezels around them,” he told TechNewsWorld. John P. Mello Jr. has been an ECT News Network reportersince 2003. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, IT issues, privacy, e-commerce, social media, artificial intelligence, big data and consumer electronics. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including the Boston Business Journal, theBoston Phoenix, Megapixel.Net and GovernmentSecurity News. Email John. Tough to Fool Camera Edge-to-Edge Evidencecenter_img “Facial recognition really hasn’t taken off with Android,” said Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research.Users appear content to use the fingerprint sensors found in most phones, but that may change, he explained.”With display aspect ratios changing, and room disappearing for front-mounted fingerprint sensors, some sensors have been moved to the back of the phone, which can make things trickier for users,” Rubin told TechNewsWorld.Because an infrared camera creates a 3D image of a face, it has advantages over face recognition performed with light-dependent cameras. For example, recognition can be achieved regardless of lighting conditions.What’s more, the technology is more difficult to game than a conventional camera.”Things like a picture or mask of a face won’t unlock a phone if the infrared is done right,” observed Kevin Krewell, principal analyst at Tirias Research.Facial recognition also can be faster than other unlock methods, he told TechNewsWorld.”If face unlock works, you don’t have to use a pin or thumb reader to gain access,” said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies.”In theory, it is even more secure,” he told TechNewsWorld, “since it scans more data points from a face to make sure it is you that is accessing the iPhone.” The “iPhone 8″ — or whatever it is named — will be a premium product selling in the $1,000 to $1,400 price range, by all accounts. If that’s the case, it would makes sense for it to have an edge-to-edge display.”Edge-to-edge is the path that premium phones are taking,” Reticle’s Rubin noted. “If you’re not taking that approach now, it’s perceived that you’re not at the leading edge of design, where Apple wants to be.”As the announcement window for the new iPhones shrinks and the rumors about them get stronger, the buzz is getting louder.”Apple’s launch strategy for the iPhone 8 is right on the money,” said Andreas Scherer, managing partner with Salto Partners.”The expectations associated with its release are rising to a crescendo,” he noted.”The buzz around the new iPhone 8 might take away some of the punch from the standard iPhone 7s models,” Scherer told TechNewsWorld. “Ultimately, though, as Steve Jobs correctly stated, if you don’t cannibalize your own business someone else will.” Buzz Reaching Crescendolast_img read more

Study finds persistent rate of lawnmower injuryrelated emergency department visits

first_img Source:https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/newsroom/news-releases/lawnmower-injuries-a-persistent-source-of-serious-injury-and-high-costs-new-study-affirms Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Sep 25 2018In what Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers call an unusually comprehensive analysis of nationwide data, they conclude that the rate of lawnmower injuries persists at close to 6,400 a year, most of them requiring surgery and hospitalization, and costing an average of $37,000 per patient.A report of the study, tracking eight years of data between 2006 and 2013, was published in the Sept. issue of Public Health Reports.”Despite consumer education programs and warning labels, lawnmower injuries in the United States remain a serious public health concern,” says Deborah Schwengel, M.D., assistant professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the study’s senior author. She is also associated with Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.Overall the new analysis showed that the most frequent injuries were to men (43,567 of 51,151, or 85.2 percent), and that children up to age 4 were six times more likely to have a foot/toe or lower extremity injury and 1.7 times more likely to have an amputation than those age 15 and above. Conversely, older teens and adults age 15 and above were 8.3 times more likely to have an injury to the hand or upper extremity. This, the researchers say, suggests that young children are more likely to get injured by running into the yard while a family member operates the lawnmower or by getting their foot trapped in the machine while sitting in the operating member’s lap, and that the majority of teens and adults sustain injuries from sticking their hands into the mower to clear debris.The data were not able to inform the researchers about the type of mower that caused an individual injury; what mower designs were most likely associated with injuries; or whether those injured were bystanders or doing the mowing.Previous studies, says Schwengel, have generally collected data only on certain types of injuries associated with consumer products without addressing issues of cost or national scope.To better understand the extent of the problem, Schwengel and her team drew on information gathered for the United States Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS), the largest emergency department database in the U.S. Overall, they focused on medical record reports of lawnmower-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations from Jan. 1, 2006, to Dec. 31, 2013. NEDS captures 25 million to 30 million emergency department visits, or 20 percent of all emergency department visits in the U.S., each year.Related StoriesTransobturator sling surgery shows promise for stress urinary incontinenceNew therapeutic food boosts key growth-promoting gut microbes in malnourished childrenNew network for children and youth with special health care needs seeks to improve systems of careThe researchers also collected age, geography, gender and other information about those injured, along with the day of week and month when each visit occurred.For the analysis, the research team identified 14,878 lawnmower injuries over the eight-year period, which, when adapted to reflect national ER visit data, represented an estimated 51,151 injuries, and consisted of about 6,394 cases per year on average.For the entire study population, most of the injuries were lacerations (23,907 of 51,151, or 46.7 percent), fractures (11,433 or 22.4 percent) and amputations (11,013 or 21.5 percent). The most common injury locations were wrist or hand (33,477, or 65.4 percent) and foot or toe (10,122 or 19.8 percent).Of the 51,151 cases, 43,567 (85.2 percent) were in men; 19,162 (37.5 percent) happened in the South; 33,886 (66.3 percent) occurred on a weekday; and the majority, 36,686 (81.7 percent), occurred between April and September.By looking at standardized injury codes, or E-codes, the researchers were able to look at national averages of treatment costs for the codes and determine that emergency room charges totaled an average of $2,482 per patient, and average inpatient charges totaled $36,987 per patient.Schwengel and her colleagues caution that the study was limited to E-codes that are used by hospitals primarily for administrative purposes, and that the collection and reporting of these codes varies from state to state. However, they say the findings are comparable in outcome to previous studies, and that the NEDS data sample allowed for more in-depth analyses of charges, procedures performed and patient demographics for these types of injuries.”Understanding what types of injuries occur in certain groups should help engineers design safer lawnmowers and policymakers create more appropriate prevention policies,” says Schwengel. One example of a better lawnmower design that could prevent injury, the researchers say, would be one with stopping features that automatically activate when human flesh is detected near blades.last_img read more

Antiepileptic drug use associated with elevated stroke risk in Alzheimers patients

first_img Source:http://www.uef.fi/-/epilepsialaakeryhmaan-liittyy-suurentunut-aivoverenkiertohairion-riski-alzheimerin-tautia-sairastavilla?inheritRedirect=true&redirect=%2Fen%2Fetusivu Oct 10 2018Antiepileptic drug use is associated with an increased risk of stroke among persons with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland. The risk did not differ between old and new antiepileptic drugs. The results were published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. The risk of stroke was particularly elevated for the first three months of antiepileptic drug use, and remained elevated after accounting for several chronic disorders, socioeconomic position and use of concomitant medications.Related StoriesStroke should be treated 15 minutes earlier to save lives, study suggestsNew discovery may explain some forms of strokePeople who worked long hours have higher risk of stroke, shows studyAccording to another recent study from the same research group, persons with Alzheimer’s disease use antiepileptic drugs more often than persons without Alzheimer’s disease. The difference was not explained by epilepsy, and there was a considerable increase in antiepileptic drug use around the time when Alzheimer’s disease was diagnosed.Up to 1% of population needs chronic antiepileptic treatment to control epilepsy. Other indications for antiepileptic drug use include neuropathic pain and dementia-related behavioral symptoms in persons with Alzheimer’s disease.The present findings indicate that as persons with Alzheimer’s disease are particularly susceptible to adverse events, the use of antiepileptic drugs for other indications than epilepsy or neuropathic pain should be carefully considered in this vulnerable population.The studies were based on the nationwide register-based MEDALZ cohort that includes all community-dwelling persons with clinically verified diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease in Finland during 2005–2011 (70,718 people). Data on antiepileptic drug use was extracted from the Finnish Prescription Register. To assess the risk of stroke associated with antiepileptic drug use, each antiepileptic drug user was matched to a non-user. The study was conducted at the University of Eastern Finland and funded by the Academy of Finland.last_img read more

Researchers develop new way to deliver treatment for cartilage regeneration

first_img Source:https://www.tamu.edu/ Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Feb 19 2019Researchers from Texas A&M University, led by Dr. Akhilesh K. Gaharwar, have developed a new way to deliver treatment for cartilage regeneration.Gaharwar, assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&M, said the nanoclay-based platform for sustained and prolonged delivery of protein therapeutics has the potential to impact treating osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease that affects nearly 27 million Americans and is caused by breakdown of cartilage that can lead to damage of the underlying bone.As America’s population ages, the number of osteoarthritis incidences is likely to increase. One of the greatest challenges with treating osteoarthritis and subsequent joint damage is repairing the damaged tissue, especially as cartilage tissue is difficult to regenerate.Related StoriesGlucosamine supplements could benefit the heartUGR scientists design new hydrogel that aids in cartilage regenerationStem cells from patient’s own bone marrow holds great potential for osteoarthritisOne method for repair or regeneration of damaged cartilage tissue is to deliver therapeutic growth factors. Growth factors are a special class of proteins that can aid in tissue repair and regeneration. However, current versions of growth factors break down quickly and require a high dose to achieve a therapeutic potential. Recent clinical studies have demonstrated significant adverse effects to this kind of treatment, including uncontrolled tissue formation and inflammation.In Texas A&M’s study, published in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, Gaharwar’s lab has designed two-dimensional (2D) mineral nanoparticles to deliver growth factors for a prolonged duration to overcome this drawback. These nanoparticles provide a high surface area and dual charged characteristics that allow for easy electrostatic attachment of growth factors.”These nanoparticles could prolong delivery of growth factors to human mesenchymal stem cells, which are commonly utilized in cartilage regeneration,” Gaharwar said. “The sustained delivery of growth factors resulted in enhanced stem cell differentiation towards cartilage lineage and can be used for treatment of osteoarthritis.””By utilizing the nanoparticle for therapeutic delivery it is possible to induce robust and stable differentiation of stem cells,” said Dr. Lauren M. Cross, senior author of the study and research assistant in the biomedical engineering department. “In addition, prolonged delivery of the growth factor could reduce overall costs by reducing growth factor concentration as well as minimizing the negative side effects.”last_img read more

Europe under major threat from vectorborne diseases

first_imgProfessor Jan Semenza from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in Sweden says climate change is not the only factor driving the expansion. Many problems including urbanization, globalization and socio-economic development all need to be addressed to restrict the spread of the diseases.However, the researchers warn that the complicated interplay between all of these factors will make it difficult to project the future burden of disease.The Mediterranean is now a ‘part-time tropical region’Changing weather patterns have enabled the disease-carrying insects to proliferate, adapt to  different seasons and to move into new areas of Europe. Over the last decade, cases of Dengue fever have been seen in France, West Nile Fever in Southeast Europe and malaria in Greece. Outbreaks of the incurable chikungunya virus have also been reported in both Italy and France.Alarmingly, this may only be the tip of the iceberg, say the researchers: By Sally Robertson, B.Sc.Apr 15 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Researchers presenting at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID), which is currently taking place in Amsterdam, have warned that vector-borne diseases are on the rise and threatening to spread into many parts of Europe.Dmitrii Pridannikov | ShutterstockGlobal warming and international travel are two of the factors expanding the geographical range of diseases such as dengue fever, tick-borne encephalitis and leishmaniasis, which are set to spread across much of Europe over the next few decades.The researchers said that even high-altitude regions including part of northern Europe are at risk, if action is not taken to implement preventive measures such as increasing surveillance and monitoring precursors to outbreaks. What steps can you take to protect yourself this summer?Basic steps, including the consumption of clean water, washing hands before handling food and good hygiene practices can help to reduce the likelihood of infection. In addition, using insect repellents and staying away from stagnant pools of water where mosquitoes are likely to breed, may also help. In the future, vaccination may be needed to prevent the spread of these diseases. Source:European experts sound alarm as mosquito- and tick-borne diseases set to flourish in warmer climate. ECCMID Press Release. 13th April 2019. Previously, dengue, which is spread by the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) has mainly been confined to tropical and subtropical regions because its eggs and larvae cannot survive in cold temperatures and the insects cannot live long enough to transmit the disease to humans.However, longer, hotter and wetter seasons could provide ideal conditions for the insects to breed and spread across many parts of Europe within decades.Scandinavia at greatest riskEuropean climate already provides favorable conditions for the spread of tick-borne encephalitis, with a 400% reported a rise in cases over the past 30 years.Longer seasons, warmer winters and hotter summers could make these conditions even more suitable for ticks; climate change models suggest that by 2040−2060, the tick habitat could grow by almost 4%, with Scandinavia thought to be at the greatest risk.Experts on the spread of tropical diseases are calling for more action to be taken to monitor the threat so that regions can be better prepared for warding off outbreaks.Semenza says that given the ongoing spread of invasive mosquitoes and other vectors across Europe, “we must anticipate outbreaks and move to intervene early.”center_img Public health agencies need to improve surveillance, for example through early warning systems, increase awareness of the potential risks among healthcare workers and the general public, as well as adopt innovative control strategies such as community interventions.” The stark reality is that longer hot seasons will enlarge the seasonal window for the potential spread of vector-borne diseases and favor larger outbreaks. We must be prepared to deal with these tropical infections.”Dr. Giovanni Rezza, Istituto Superiore di Sanita in Rome Mediterranean Europe is now a part-time tropical region, where competent vectors like the Tiger mosquito are already established.”last_img read more

Eat nuts three times a week during pregnancy to improve your childs

first_img Source:Gignac, F., et al. Maternal nut intake in pregnancy and child neuropsychological development up to 8 years old: a population-based cohort study in Spain. Eur J Epidemiol (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10654-019-00521-6 We need to replicate these results in other populations. Still, I would recommend that women eat nuts at least three times a week, especially almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts.” The brain undergoes a series of complex processes during gestation and this means that maternal nutrition is a determining factor in fetal brain development and can have long-term effects.”Florence Gignac, First Author Folic acid, for example, has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida developing during the first trimester. It may also confer protection against other birth defects such as cleft palate, limb and heart defects and the development of brain tumors during childhood.Similarly, omega-3 has been proven to help fetal brain development and research has shown that taking these fats during pregnancy can improve learning and coordination. Omega-3 also reduces the likelihood of obesity in childhood and later life, according to research.Furthermore, a 2017 study published in the journal Translational Psychiatry showed that deprivation of omega-3 and omega-6 during the early stages of pregnancy had long lasting effects on offspring. The study identified a molecular cascade linking the nutritional environment to risk for schizophrenia.Schizophrenia and omega-3The link between omega-3 and omega-6 was supported by research by scientists at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan, who deprived pregnant mice of the two fats to see whether their offspring developed schizophrenia-like behaviors in later life. Such symptoms include low motivation, impaired memory, abnormal function in the prefrontal cortex and depression. This was shown to be true and related to the downregulation of specific genes that support the development of oligodendrocytes (the brain cells that surround neurons and aid signal transmission in the brain).‘Eat nuts three times a week’The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists approves of women eating nuts during pregnancy due to their protein content but makes no claims about the effect this has on neurodevelopment.Julvez says that while the study cannot explain the differences in effect between maternal first and third-trimester nut consumption, the scientific literature suggests that the pattern of fetal development varies throughout pregnancy, with some stages being particularly sensitive to maternal diet.He adds that this is the first time he and his colleagues have observed this effect, which is insufficient to inform any changes to guidelines. By Sally Robertson, B.Sc.May 8 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Eating nuts during early pregnancy may boost a child’s cognitive ability, according to a new study by researchers in Spain.3dvin | ShutterstockAccording to the study, children born to mothers who consumed 2 to 3 ounces of nuts per week during the first trimester of pregnancy typically scored higher on I.Q., memory and attention tests, compared with women who did not eat nuts.Previous research has shown that eating nuts is associated with a reduced risk of hypertension, diabetes and oxidative stress. Some researchers also suspect nut consumption may help to protect against cognitive decline during old age. However, this is first study to investigate whether eating nuts during pregnancy can improve children’s cognitive performance.Nuts and I.Q.For the study, Jordi Julvez (Barcelona Institute for Global Health) and colleagues assessed 2,208 women and their children over an eight-year period. The mothers completed validated food frequency questionnaires during the first and third trimesters of pregnancy and children were assessed for motor and cognitive ability at 1.5, 5 and 8 years of age.As recently reported in the European Journal of Epidemiology, children born to mothers who had consumed three or more servings of nuts (including walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, peanuts, and pine nuts) during the first trimester scored higher on intelligence tests than those born to mothers who had not eaten nuts.The scientists adjusted the results for factors such as maternal age, education, smoking habits, socioeconomic status, alcohol consumption and various other characteristics.Compared with children born to mothers who ate no nuts, children who were within the highest one-third for maternal nut consumption (an average of 74 grams per week) during the first trimester scored significantly higher on tests for sustained attention, working memory and I.Q.However, eating nuts during the third trimester showed weaker associations with improved test performance.Maternal dietary preferences ‘can have long-term effects’Nuts are high in folic acid and fatty acids, including omega-3, which have been proven to have beneficial effects on health and cognitive ability.  Julvez and team believe that these nutrients accumulate in the neural tissue of the developing fetus during crucial early developmental stages.last_img read more

Study finds extremely low use of weight loss medicines by veterans

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)May 15 2019Despite the availability of new weight management medications and several clinical guidelines recommending their use as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for obesity, a new study has found that their use is extremely low (about one percent) among eligible Veterans.Being female, having higher body mass index (BMI), obstructive sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, depression, low back pain and alcohol abuse was associated with greater likelihood of using these medications. However, being over the age of 65, Hispanic race/ethnicity and required copayments was associated with lower odds of their use.Obesity is a chronic disease that compromises quality of life, increases healthcare costs, and is a risk factor for and increases morbidity from diabetes, depression, hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and several cancers. In 2017, the prevalence of obesity among the Veterans Health Administration (VA) patient population was 41 percent while 37 percent were overweight.To address this issue, every VA facility now offers MOVE!®, a comprehensive behavioral weight management program, to any veteran who is overweight or obese. MOVE! has evolved into the largest health-care based weight management program in the country. Any veteran who is engaged in MOVE! or a similar behavioral weight management program is eligible to receive weight management medication. Of the more than 150,000 participants in MOVE!, only about one percent receive weight management medication.”Varsha G. Vimalananda, MD, MPH, from the Center for Healthcare Organization & Implementation Research at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Affairs Medical Center Related StoriesSleep disorders in patients with low back pain linked to increased healthcare visits, costsUnpleasant experiences could be countered with a good night’s REM sleepAMSBIO offers new, best-in-class CAR-T cell range for research and immunotherapyThe researchers believe clinician or patient barriers beyond insurance drive underuse of these medications for Veterans as well as the general population and that additional research is needed to better understand these obstacles.These findings appear online in the journal Obesity.Source:Boston University School of MedicineJournal reference:Vimalananda, V. et al. (2019) Patient Characteristics Associated with Receipt of Prescription Weight‐Management Medications Among Veterans Participating in MOVE!. Obesity. doi.org/10.1002/oby.22503 The comparably low rates of use of medicine in and outside the VA are surprising. Insurance coverage is a major barrier to use outside the VA, but is a much lesser issue in VA, where veterans can receive them at no or relatively low out-of-pocket cost.”Vimalananda, assistant professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine According to the researchers, this low rate of use is also similar to non-VA settings where less than two percent of potentially eligible patients in the general population are treated with these medications.last_img read more

Pilot study finds new path to help people quit smoking

first_imgPatients sometimes use complementary therapies in addition to conventional medicine. Chiropractic care comprises the largest provision of complementary health care in the United States. As health care professionals, we chose to study whether providing methods to integrate Ask, Advise, Refer into chiropractic interactions with patients would help them pursue quitting tobacco.”Kelly Buettner-Schmidt, PhD, RN, FAAN Patients in the study were those whose chiropractic visit was classified as a new episode of care. Chiropractors in the study attended 12 hours of education in the evenings and on weekends, using face-to-face and web-based learning. Sessions included information on motivational interviewing, free resources for tobacco cessation posters, patient handouts, and quitline referrals, along with information on how to order these items in the future.Related StoriesStudy examines costs of cancer treatment associated with continued smokingSmoking cessation during pregnancy associated with reduced risk of preterm birthStudy: Less than 50% of U.S. adults exposed to court-ordered anti-smoking advertisementsParticipating chiropractors also evaluated their health system practices and patient flow to standardize their new system and create a plan to implement it. Outreach specialists provided training to chiropractic clinic staff at participating clinics.Kris Anderson, DC, a chiropractor in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and Valley Community Health Center in North Dakota, participated in the pilot.”We saw the pilot as an opportunity to improve the way we address tobacco cessation with our patients and to contribute to a project where others could also improve by learning from our efforts,” said Anderson. “We already asked our patients about their tobacco use, but we found our process lacked questions about second-hand smoke, which also applied to our younger patients in ways we had not previously considered. The recommendations we previously made were less consistent than the process introduced by the Advise portion of the pilot.”Chiropractor Joel Weiss, DC, in Fargo, North Dakota, also participated in the study.”It does take a little extra time and preparation, but the results are significant for some of the patients and interesting to others. Additionally, it is one more way that a chiropractor can contribute to the better health of the community,” said Weiss. “I have seen research during my 35 years of practice that has shown that smoking delays tissue healing so it has a more direct effect on patient recovery from physical injury than they realize,” he said.Source:North Dakota State UniversityJournal reference:Buettner-Schmidt, K. et al. (2018) Systems change to improve tobacco use identification and referral in the chiropractic setting: a pilot study. Chiropractic and Manual Therapies. doi.org/10.1186/s12998-018-0214-y Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)May 30 2019As “World No Tobacco Day” approaches on Friday, May 31, results from a pilot study show there may be another path to help people who want to quit smoking.A study led by Kelly Buettner-Schmidt, associate professor in the School of Nursing at North Dakota State University, looked at the role chiropractic clinics could play in providing education about tobacco cessation to their patients.In the pilot study, six chiropractic clinics in North Dakota worked to integrate methods to help patients stop smoking. The study, “Systems Change to Improve Tobacco Use Identification or Referral in a Chiropractic Setting,” was published in Chiropractic and Manual Therapies.Chiropractic clinical systems often remain unsupported and underappreciated in their role to facilitate tobacco use cessation, according to study authors.Based on U.S. Public Health Service guidelines of the Ask, Advise, Refer approach, study authors sought to determine whether implementing sustainable health systems changes in the chiropractic community would be an untapped resource in helping people quit smoking.All of the clinics participating in the study made progress in implementing the individual components of Ask, Advise and Refer. According to study results, of the patients responding to follow up phone calls, the patient quit rate was 13.3% for the 30-day follow-up of 15 patients and 16.7% for the three-month follow-up of six patients.More than one in seven adults use tobacco products, and tobacco-related illness remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. The World Health Organization asks smokers worldwide to put down their tobacco for World No Tobacco Day on May 31 to highlight the impact tobacco has on lung health.last_img read more

Eyes hold clues to effective treatment of severe autism study shows

first_imgLanguage is often one of the areas where individuals with autism struggle, especially at the more severe end of the spectrum, where a large percentage have little to no functional language. Anything we can do to improve their language outcomes will improve their quality of life.”Emily Coderre, lead author of the study Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 20 2019Vocabulary tests for individuals with the severest forms of autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, are notoriously inaccurate. They commonly ask the test-taker to point to an illustration after hearing a spoken word, measuring the ability to understand and perform a task as much as word knowledge.The implications are significant. Poor assessments result not only in teaching strategies that are ineffective but also make researchers wary, leading to a shortage of research on individuals with Level 3 ASD, the diagnosis given to the most severe forms of autism, that could help improve their quality of life.That’s according to Emily Coderre, lead author of a new study in the journal Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology and a faculty member in the University of Vermont’s Department of Communication Science and Disorders.In the new study, Coderre and colleagues at Johns Hopkins Medicine demonstrate that assessment tools capturing implicit signs of word knowledge like eye movement among those with Level 3 ASD – tools that have rarely been used with this group – offer the potential to be more accurate than traditional behavioral assessments, closely matching the reports of parents and caregivers, the current “gold standard” for determining an individual’s vocabulary knowledge.”Children and adults with severe ASD often score much lower than they should on traditional language assessments,” Coderre said. “They may not understand the instructions or be unable to point to a picture after hearing the spoken word. Or they may be frightened by the equipment or simply not care to participate. The new study points the way toward a much better approach.”Three implicit measures of word knowledgeTo assess vocabulary knowledge among five adults with Level 3 ASD, researchers in the study used what are called implicit measures of word knowledge.In one test researchers used a technique called eye movement monitoring. After hearing a spoken word, which matched one of four illustrations on a computer screen, the researchers tracked the subjects’ eye movements. If their eyes quickly chose the matching visual and stayed with it, that signaled knowledge of the word. If the eyes flitted from one object to the next, it demonstrated the word was probably not knownIn a second test called pupillary dilation, subjects again heard a spoken word and were shown four visuals. If the pupils dilated, that signaled cognitive effort, and the probability that the word was not known. If pupils did not dilate, that likely demonstrated knowledge of the word.In a third test, researchers used electroencephalography to measure brain activity in the research subjects. Subjects heard a word and were shown an image that either matched or did not match it. Earlier research has shown there are typical brain patterns for congruent and incongruent pairs of words and images, enabling the researchers to infer whether the word was known based on these electrical signatures.Related StoriesStudy offers new clues to autism’s underlying biologyGut bacteria linked to metabolic changes and autism in new studyResearchers develop new technique to accurately detect ASD in childrenThe three measures had varying degrees of accuracy with each of the five research subjects. Although the researchers concluded that these implicit measures show promise in providing estimates of vocabulary knowledge, this variability suggests that these assessments should be tailored to each individual.An earlier study by the research team offered further validation of the research findings. That study found that the three implicit measures were highly accurate in assessing word knowledge among a group of adults who did not have ASD.Better interventions, more knowledgeGiven the small research sample, the research findings are preliminary. But their potential implications are significant, Coderre said.Implicit measures of vocabulary could result in more effective interventions that are tailored to the true language knowledge of the individual. The new tools could also result in more research into those with severe ASD, she said, not only in language acquisition but in other areas of cognition.Nonverbal intelligence testing often relies on visual clues, for instance, she said. Subjects might be shown an image of a puzzle with a missing piece and be asked to find the piece among several options, a task well suited to the EM and PD testing.”These techniques could very well be extended to other domains,” Coderre said.That could help address a challenge in the field – the huge lack of literature on individuals with Level 3 ASD.”There’s so much focus on the milder end of the spectrum, the people who are more functionally verbal, that people on the more severe end of the spectrum tend to be overlooked,” Coderre said.”With measures like these, we can do not only more interventions-based research, but also work with this population in general, so we can better understand how their strengths and weaknesses are similar to or different from other individuals on the spectrum. The more understanding we have, the more help we can offer.” Source:University of VermontJournal reference:Coderre, E. et al. (2019) Implicit Measures of Receptive Vocabulary Knowledge in Individuals With Level 3 Autism. Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology. doi.org/10.1097/WNN.0000000000000194.last_img read more

Google appeals 5 billion EU fine in Android antitrust case

first_img Google appeals record EU fine over Android Citation: Google appeals $5 billion EU fine in Android antitrust case (2018, October 10) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-10-google-appeals-billion-eu-fine.html A spokesman for the company, Al Verney, confirmed Wednesday that the company has filed its legal challenge to the July ruling.The EU’s executive Commission issued the fine in July after it found Google forced smartphone makers using Android to install the company’s search and browser apps.Under the ruling, Google must take measures to fix the problem by the end of October or risk further fines.Google, which had said it would appeal, argued that its free operating system has led to lower-price phones and stoked competition with its chief rival, Apple. Google has appealed a record $5 billion fine that European Union authorities levied against the tech giant for allegedly abusing the dominance of its Android operating system to stifle competitors. Explore further © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

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