Beatdeaf individuals still have rhythm

first_imgThe phrase “marching to the beat of a different drum” is often used to compliment or explain someone with unique style or ideas, but for some people, matching a rhythm is a more literal struggle. Beat deafness is a rare phenomenon in which individuals have difficulty matching a beat with a physical action, like clapping. Research published online this week in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B analyzed two beat-deaf individuals, called Mathieu and Marjorie, alongside a group of controls as they attempted to mimic a metronome’s beat by tapping on a keyboard. Before the metronome began ticking, both groups could tap a consistent rhythm, suggesting that the beat-deaf individuals were capable of generating a beat; their struggles came when they had to match their tapping to what they were hearing. In particular, Mathieu and Marjorie had trouble adjusting their tapping when the phase or period of the metronome changed—a task the control group accomplished with ease. The researchers state that beat deafness is not a lack of rhythm, but rather an inability to translate an auditory stimulus into a motor response. The work could help understand how humans cooperate during synchronized activities like rowing or dancing.last_img read more

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Astronomers spot star on the brink of supernova

first_imgThe first we usually know about a supernova is when a seemingly innocuous star flares up without warning to become as bright as a whole galaxy. Now, astronomers have found a star that appears to be on the brink of such a cataclysmic explosion. They spotted the star, known as M31N 2008-12a, in the nearby Andromeda galaxy in 2008 when it underwent a smaller explosion called a nova. This happens when a white dwarf—the burnt-out remnant of a star like our sun—is in a binary pair with a normal star and the small, dense white dwarf steals material—hydrogen and helium—from its companion that builds up in a thick outer layer (artist’s conception, pictured above). If the layer gets thick enough, it can ignite a fusion burn, blowing off some of the material in a flash as bright as hundreds of thousands of suns—a nova. Novae are rare, but even rarer are ones that repeatedly blast off their outer layer; only a handful are known. M31N 2008-12a appeared to be one of the few, going nova five times between 2009 and 2014—a much higher frequency than other recurrent novae. A team of astronomers reported today at the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno in the United Kingdom, that, following observations with the Liverpool Telescope and NASA’s Swift x-ray observatory, they think the white dwarf must be on the brink of reaching a critical mass—1.4 times that of our sun—beyond which a much more powerful fusion reaction involving carbon deep in the heart of the star will be sparked. When this happens, the white dwarf will be blown apart in a matter of seconds in a flash brighter than many billions of suns. So get ready for the fireworks; it could happen any time in the next few hundred thousand years.last_img read more

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Video Chameleon has one of fastest tongues in animal kingdom

first_imgChameleons’ long, elastic tongues are one of the fastest muscles in the animal kingdom, extending more than twice their body length and packing 14,000 watts of power per kilo. But it is the smallest species that strike fastest, according to a new study. Researchers filmed tongue strikes of chameleons attacking a suspended cricket, at 3000 frames per second. They found that the animals’ tongues are capable of impressive acceleration, doing 0 kilometers to 100 kilometers per hour in one-hundredth of a second, twice as fast as the fastest car. And, like sports cars, the smallest chameleons are the most powerful. Across 20 species, ranging from the tiny 1-cm rosette-nosed chameleon (Rhampholeon spinosus) to the half-meter Malagasy giant chameleon (Furcifer oustaleti), the team found that smaller species’ tongues could accelerate at more than 250 g, five times faster than that of the largest chameleon. This is because small chameleons have evolved larger tongues relative to their body size, handy since they also need to consume proportionally more food to survive. As well as raw muscle power, chameleons spring-load the elastic tissue in their tongue, catapulting it toward prey when they strike, and giving them the highest acceleration and power output of any reptile, bird, or mammal. Previous studies underestimated their power because they failed to consider the little guy.last_img read more

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We cant take another hit like this Brazilian scientists lament big budget

first_img Sebastiao Moreira/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) ‘We can’t take another hit like this’: Brazilian scientists lament big budget freeze Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country We knew there might be another contingency measure on the way, but we never expected it to be so extreme. By Herton EscobarApr. 8, 2019 , 5:15 PM “It’s an irrational policy,” says Mariana Moura, a researcher at the University of São Paulo’s Institute of Energy and Environment here and co-founder of the Engaged Scientists movement. “Every other country knows that you need to increase funding for science and technology to grow the economy.”Even the country’s flagship science project, the synchrotron light source Sirius, now under construction in Campinas, is at risk; 80% of the funds it depends on to complete construction and start commissioning the facility by the end of this year have been frozen. Email Ildeu de Castro Moreira, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro 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 Brazil’s synchrotron light source, Sirius, is scheduled to launch later this year, but 80% of the funds it depends on have been frozen. In a press statement, MCTIC says it is “committed to recuperate investment in research,” and is still analyzing how the freeze will be implemented throughout its many agencies and programs, including the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) in Brasília, Brazil’s agency for basic research funding. Even before the freeze was announced, CNPq’s management had warned it didn’t have enough money to make it through the year.During previous freezes, scientists have pressured the government into releasing some of the frozen funds. It’s unclear whether that will happen again; so far, President Jair Bolsonaro has done little to make good on his promise to make science and technology a priority and raise Brazil’s spending on R&D from 1% to 3% of gross domestic product.The funding collapse threatens to “dismantle” an R&D system that took decades to build and is pushing a new generation away from science, says former CNPq President Hernan Chaimovich, a biochemist of the University of São Paulo here. “Consolidated research groups are scraping by on whatever funds they still have left from previous years, while young scientists are left without hope,” he says.“I really hope we can reverse this situation,” says Luiz Davidovich, president of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences in Rio de Janeiro. “We can’t take another hit like this. It’s just too little to survive on.” SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL—The latest federal budget news coming out of Brasília has Brazilian scientists fearing the worst. On 29 March, faced with a stagnant economy and falling tax revenues, the government announced it was “freezing” nearly 30 billion reais ($7.5 billion) of the country’s public funds for the year, including a 2.2 billion real slice of the science ministry’s budget. If the freeze isn’t lifted, funds for scholarships and research will be cut by 42%—a blow that would come on top of a series of other cuts in recent years.“We were running on a flat tire; now they took out the wheel,” says Ildeu de Castro Moreira, a physicist at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and president of the Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science here. If made permanent, the freeze could have “tragic” consequences, Moreira predicts. Many laboratories and research institutions might be pushed into stagnation, including federally funded facilities that provide crucial services such as weather monitoring and public health surveillance.A freeze means the money remains in the government’s budget but is locked down as “contingency funds” that can be spent only if the economy improves or new sources of revenue are found. (The idea is to keep the country’s primary debt under control.) For now, Brazil’s Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communication (MCTIC) in Brasília is authorized to spend only 2.9 billion reais in support of R&D in all of Brazil this year—about a third of what it had 5 years ago, and less than what NASA typically spends on a single Mars mission. “We knew there might be another contingency measure on the way, but we never expected it to be so extreme,” Moreira says. “When you have so little to begin with, every loss is a major loss.” The only department to see a larger share of its budget frozen was Brazil’s Ministry of Mines and Energy.last_img read more

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Campaign to Save the Grave of the Man who Invented Special Effects

first_imgGeorges Méliès was one of the pioneering figures of film, who is often credited as the man who single-handedly invented special effects on film. Sadly, his amazing talent is relatively unknown today. Though Martin Scorcese did try with his movie Hugo. Having started his career as an illusionist and a magician, Méliès became intrigued by the newly-invented cinematograph made by the Lumière brothers early on and started utilizing his knowledge of illusionism to create vibrant new worlds and tickle the imagination of an entire generation of future filmmakers.The French pioneer of cinema authored some of the most recognizable classics of the silent era, at the very beginning of the 20th century. Among his most notable work is the iconic A Trip to the Moon, made in 1902, and The Impossible Voyage, which a loose adaptation of Jules Verne’s play, Journey Through the Impossible.Georges MélièsHowever, nowadays his work is largely neglected, as the historic difference is just too big for people to recognize the revolutionary influence these films had when they first appeared. His films are therefore mostly reserved for experts and other filmmakers, although their timeless charm definitely deserves attention from anyone who appreciates the seventh art.The iconic image of the Man in the MoonOn the other hand, his family has tirelessly and almost single-handedly been preserving his legacy for decades, keeping a vibrant memory of their ancestor and his work that shaped the future of film as an art form. Since Méliès’ grave in the famous Parisian Père Lachaise Cemetery has become a place of pilgrimage for cinema lovers, they are looking for ways to restore it to its exact look as it was in 1954 when his bust was added to the tomb, which was originally erected after his death in 1938.Père-Lachaise. Photo by Pierre-Yves Beaudouin CC BY-SA 3.0The year 1954 was also the last time the grave was renovated and since then both the bust and the tombstone had corroded into a grayish shade of green.Related Video: The iconic A Trip to the MoonParts of the tomb are visibly damaged, the stone itself has become porous, and the chain that once framed the parcel has been stolen years ago.Georges Meliès (cimetière du Père Lachaise)That is why his great-great-granddaughter, Pauline Duclaud-Lacoste, has announced a crowdfunding campaign in hopes of raising enough money to see the grave fully renovated. In an interview for The Vintage News, Pauline emphasized the significance of this project, as both his studio and the theater he once owned are today long gone, leaving the grave as his only physical monument.Photo Courtesy The Georges Melies ProjectPauline belongs to the fourth generation of the Méliès family that has been struggling with keeping his legacy alive, and despite the general lack of funds and support from government institutions in France, she and her family are determined to push on and, in her own words “try to implement his spirit into the 21st century.”To many of his fans he is known as a monumental figure in the world of film, but for Pauline, the relationship with her ancestor is much deeper and more personal. While she was born more than 45 years after his death, the spirit of her great-great-grandfather lives on in her family, as she grew up surrounded by his pictures, and the stories of his endeavors.Photo Courtesy The Georges Melies ProjectShe describes him as creative and open-minded, mischievous and always aware of his inner child. He also practiced magic tricks all his life, was an ardent reader and an athletic person, who was known to do push-ups well into his 60s.Above all, as Pauline says, he was a kind and good-hearted person, whose work still resonates among many people around the globe:“I’ve gone there for many, many times, just to say hello, or just to pick up some little gifts, or letters, or notes people left on his grave, and each time I meet some people ― film students, a magician from Argentina, Japanese tourists, or Parisian cinema lovers. It’s people who study cinema or not, it’s people who love magic or not, it’s all kind of profiles, of all ages, coming from around the world. I can see each time that they really love him and that they had come to pay their respect. To see that, for us, his family, is very moving.”If you wish to take part and donate, you can find further information on this website.Photo Courtesy The Georges Melies Project.The family has started the restoration project completely on their own, without the help of any international cinema foundation, or government institutions like the French Ministry of Culture which they find “useless”.Read another story from us: The Enduring Mystery of Alexander the Great’s Final Resting PlaceTherefore, they are resorting to crowdfunding in hopes of reaching out to Georges Méliès’ fans both in France and abroad.last_img read more

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Ghostly tales of the Painted Desert Inn make for a lively evening

first_imgPhoto courtesy of the Petrified Forest National ParkThe Painted Desert Inn was the location and topic for ghostly tales last week with a tour presented by the Petrified Forest National Park. November 5, 2018 By Toni Gibbons As the evening sky faded from the pastel hues of the red and blue laced sunset, deepening the gloom of the night, people gathered at the Painted Desert Inn at the PetrifiedSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Adcenter_img Ghostly tales of the Painted Desert Inn make for a lively evening tourlast_img read more

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Parliament Highlights RS passes bill paving way for two new central universities

first_img Zero per cent of bills have been scrutinised in this LOK Sabha session: Derek O Brien TMC leader Derek O Brien said, ” Parliament is supposed to scrutinise bills. Now, in the first two weeks on this Lok Sabha session, zero per cent of bills have been scrutinised. We have to scrutinise the bills, otherwise, what are we doing in Parliament.” facebook twitter whatsapp facebook twitter whatsapp facebook twitter whatsapp Over 40,000-kilometre highways built in last 5 years: Nitin Gadkari In Lok Sabha, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said, “Road Transport and Highways Ministry built over 40,000-kilometre highways in the last 5 years, which is 60 per cent higher than the previous five years.” facebook twitter whatsapp facebook twitter whatsapp 22:04 (IST) 16 Jul 2019 facebook twitter whatsapp facebook twitter whatsapp Introduce Rohit Act to tackle institutional discrimination: RJD’s Manoj Jha Rajya Sabha member from RJD Manoj Jha, while speaking during a discussion on Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2019, in Rajya Sabha, proposed to introduce Rohit Act to tackle institutional discrimination. 16:24 (IST) 16 Jul 2019 facebook twitter whatsapp 15:11 (IST) 16 Jul 2019 Rajya Sabha adjourned till 12 pm! Rajya Sabha proceedings adjourned till 1200 hrs after AIADMK protests in House demanding cancellation of postal dept exam. 17:12 (IST) 16 Jul 2019 Meagre amount of fund allocated to education sector: AITC MP in Rajya Sabha Abir Ranjan Biswas, Trinamool Congress MP to Rajya Sabha MP,  tried to draw the attention of the government to the fact that apart from Visva Bharati University, no other central university has been set up in West Bengal and urged that the matter should be looked upon. He also raised concerns regarding vacancies in the central universities and allotment of meagre amount of fund to the education sector. 12:17 (IST) 16 Jul 2019 Lok Sabha adjourned till 11 AM tomorrow Lok Sabha adjourned till 11 AM on July 17. India’s renewable energy capacity crosses 80GW-mark, says R K Singh India’s renewable energy capacity has crossed the 80GW-mark, which includes 29.55 GW of solar energy and 36.37 GW wind power, Parliament was informed Tuesday. The government has set an ambitious target of having 175 GW of clean energy capacity by 2022, including 100 GW solar and 60 GW of wind energy.”The Government is regularly monitoring the progress being made to achieve the target of 175 GW by 2022. “A total of 80.46 GW of renewable energy capacity has been installed in the country as on June 30, 2019 which includes 29.55 GW from Solar & 36.37 GW from Wind power,” Power and New & Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha. (PTI) 18:49 (IST) 16 Jul 2019 facebook twitter whatsapp Rajya Sabha proceedings were adjourned twice earlier — first till 12 pm and the second time till 2 pm —following vociferous protests by Tamil parties led by the AIADMK against holding of recruitment exam for postmen only in English and Hindi language. Soon after listed papers were laid on table of the House, AIADMK members shouted slogans demanding that the government cancel the postal department exam for recruitment of postmen and other posts and hold it afresh by including Tamil as a language of exams. Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu first ordered stopping of the transmission of House proceedings on television and then adjourned proceedings.In the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy will make a statement on “Security Situation in the North Eastern States of India” while his Cabinet colleagues, Santosh Ganwar and Harsh Vardhan, will move a motion to include two members from the House to the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation and Indian Nursing Council, respectively. Also, the House will take up for discussion the demand for grants under the control of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and Ministries of Rural Development and Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.Live BlogParliament: Highlights from everything which happens in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Rajya Sabha passes AERA (Amendment) Bill Rajya Sabha passes AERA Bill empowering government to bid out private airport projects based on pre-determined tariff. Discussion on the Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2019, is underway in Rajya Sabha. 17:54 (IST) 16 Jul 2019 Bills to be passed in Rajya Sabha today The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2019.—Hardeep Singh Puri to move that the Bill to amend the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act, 2008, be taken into consideration.The Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2019.Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ to move that the Bill further to amend the Central Universities Act, 2009, as passed by Lok Sabha, be taken into consideration. Also to move that the Bill be passed.The New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Bill, 2019.Ravi Shankar Prasad to move that the Bill further to provide for the establishment and incorporation of the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre for the purpose of creating an independent and autonomous regime for institutionalised arbitration and for acquisition and transfer of the undertakings of the International Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution and to vest such undertakings in the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre for the better management of arbitration so as to make it a hub for institutional arbitration and to declare the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre to be an institution of national importance and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto, as passed by Lok Sabha, be taken into consideration. ALSO to move that the Bill be passed. facebook twitter whatsapp Nitin Gadkari: People will have to pay toll if they want good roads. Union minister Nitin Gadkari Tuesday said people have to pay the toll if they want good roads. He, hence, made it clear that the toll system would stay as the government does not have enough funds. He said money collected through toll from those areas which have the capacity to pay is utilised for building roads in rural and hilly areas. “Toll system can never end though rates may vary from time to time. Toll is my brainchild. If you want good services, you have to pay for it. The government does not have money,” Gadkari said. facebook twitter whatsapp Rajya Sabha adjourned till 2 PM now! Rajya Sabha adjourned till 2 PM over demand for postal department exam in Tamil language. The House got adjourned barely 10 minutes after it Assembled as AIADMK MPs protested seeking to include Tamil as a language to write postal examinations. As the House reconvened at 12 pm, Members were again on their feet and in the Well. Deputy Chairman Harivansh asked the Members to go back to their seats, but loud sloganeering continued.  19:06 (IST) 16 Jul 2019 Taxmen detect Rs 37,946 crore fraud in financial year 208-19 Tax officials detected Rs 37,946 crore worth of tax fraud in 2018-19 and Rs 6,520 crore in the April-June period of the current financial year after the GST implementation, the Finance Ministry told Parliament on Tuesday.Besides, cases of tax credit availment by issue of fake invoices were of Rs 11,251 crore in 2018-19 and Rs 2,805 crore in April-June of the current fiscal, Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha. (PTI) 13:34 (IST) 16 Jul 2019 PM has said it’s compulsory for everyone to be present in Parliament: Prahlad Joshi Union Minister Pralhad Joshi after BJP Parliamentary Party meeting today, in Delhi: As usual, Prime Minister has urged…he has said that there are no exceptions from being present in Parliament while the session is on. It is compulsory for everyone to be present. facebook twitter whatsapp 12:52 (IST) 16 Jul 2019 16:05 (IST) 16 Jul 2019 Citizenship Bill aims to give Indian nationality to minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan: Government The basic objective of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, was to facilitate granting Indian citizenship to members of six minority communities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan even if they do not have valid documents, the government told Lok Sabha Tuesday.  Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai said the bill was initially introduced in Lok Sabha three years ago as Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016, and was then referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee.Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai said the bill was initially introduced in Lok Sabha three years ago as Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016, and was then referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee. The committee submitted its report to Parliament on January 7 this year, he said. “The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was taken into consideration and passed by Lok Sabha on January 8, 2019. It was pending for consideration and passing by the Rajya Sabha. Consequent to the dissolution of 16th Lok Sabha, this Bill has lapsed,” he said in a written reply to a question by Congress MP Pradyut Bordoloi.  (PTI) 12:53 (IST) 16 Jul 2019 facebook twitter whatsapp Parliament HIGHLIGHTS: Rajya Sabha unanimously passes NIA (Amendment) Bill 2019 facebook twitter whatsapp Did not demand front-row seat for Rahul Gandhi in Parliament: Congress 11:37 (IST) 16 Jul 2019 17:15 (IST) 16 Jul 2019center_img 16:06 (IST) 16 Jul 2019 Discussion on Airports Economic Regulatory Authority Bill underway in Rajya Sabha Discussion on Airports Economic Regulatory Authority Bill is underway in Rajya Sabha. parliament, parliament live, parliament live today, lok sabha live, parliament monsoon session live, monsoon session live, monsoon session live today, parliament monsoon session, rajya sabha live, nia bill, nia amendment bill, live news, indian express On Monday, the Lok Sabha passed the National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019. (Express photo by Anil Sharma)Parliament Session : Rajya Sabha Tuesday passed the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority Bill, 2019,  empowering the Civil Aviation Ministry to bid out private airport projects on the basis of pre-determined tariff. While replying to the discussion on the Bill, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said, “As many as 16 airports will be in the purview of AERA. All other airports continue to be looked after by the Civil Aviation Ministry.” Rajya Sabha session was marred by protests by Opposition on decision to extend duration of House Rajya Sabha session was marred by protests by the Opposition on the decision of the deputy chairman to extend the duration of the House. Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’ Brien said while making the decision to extend the time of the House, opinion of only the BJP MPs were taken. “The decision was made after taking the opinion of the BJP who has a thumping majority here. The sense of the Opposition was not taken. We are not here to be counted as numbers,” he said. Working on a new green expressway from New Delhi to Mumbai: Gadkari Gadkari also informed the House that the ministry is working on a new green expressway from New Delhi to Mumbai, which can be covered in 12 hours. It will pass through most backward and tribal areas of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra and also save Rs 16,000 crore in land acquisition. Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury gives adjournment notice in Lok Sabha Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has given Adjournment Notice in Lok Sabha on “Chinese incursion into Indian territory.” 13:33 (IST) 16 Jul 2019 10:59 (IST) 16 Jul 2019 Introduction of AERA Bill a sharp U-turn of government from its responsibilities The introduction of Airports Economic Regulatory Authority Bill in the Parliament talks of sharp U-turn of the government from its responsibilities, says Congress’ B K Hariprasad in Rajya Sabha. Opposing the privatisation of aviation industry, he said to not underestimate the strength of public sector. “Pubic sector has social responsibility while the private sector runs with profit-making motive.” 00:04 (IST) 17 Jul 2019 11:41 (IST) 16 Jul 2019 Delhi confidential: House cleaning Discussion on demand for Grants under Control of Ministries of Rural Development and Agriculture and Farmers Welfare underway in Lok Sabha Discussion on demand for Grants under Control of Ministries of Rural Development and Agriculture and Farmers Welfare for 2019-20 is underway in Lok Sabha. 18:26 (IST) 16 Jul 2019 facebook twitter whatsapp Advertising facebook twitter whatsapp PM Modi asks BJP MPs to play lead role in development of constituency Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday asked BJP MPs to nurse their constituency by playing a leading role in its development and advised them to take up a cause of human sensitivity like eradication of leprosy or tuberculosis, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi told reporters. First impression is often the last impression, Modi told MPs, a large number of them first-timers, at the BJP parliamentary party meeting, sources said, as he asked them to work passionately for the development of their areas. Modi also asked Union ministers to carry out their Parliament roster duty, when they are meant to be present in one of the Houses as a government representative, and said he should be informed if they skip their duty, the sources said. 12:50 (IST) 16 Jul 2019 13:25 (IST) 16 Jul 2019 facebook twitter whatsapp 12:21 (IST) 16 Jul 2019 facebook twitter whatsapp facebook twitter whatsapp 12:20 (IST) 16 Jul 2019 Rajya Sabha passes the Central University (Amendment) Bill, 2019 Rajya Sabha passes the Central University (Amendment) Bill, 2019. The bill paves the way for the establishment of two central universities in Andhra Pradesh. These will be known as Central University of Andhra Pradesh and the Central Tribal University of Andhra Pradesh. The tribal university will take additional measures to provide higher education and research facilities in tribal art, culture, and customs to the tribal population of India. Welcome to our LIVE blog. Today in Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy will make a statement on “Security Situation in the North Eastern States of India” while in Rajya Sabha, the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2019, the Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Bill, 2019 are likely to be passed after discussion. Follow to get the latest updates here! facebook twitter whatsapp Naidu accepts Neeraj Shekhar’s resignation Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu Tuesday said he has accepted the resignation of Samajwadi Party leader Neeraj Shekhar after being satisfied that the same was voluntary and genuine. When the House met for the day, Naidu mentioned that he had received a letter from Shekhar, son of former Prime Minister and socialist leader Chandra Shekhar, on July 15. “I made inquiries (with Shekhar) of the resignation being voluntary and genuine and having satisfied I have accepted the resignation with effect from July 15,” he said. A two-time Lok Sabha MP, Shekhar, 50, was first elected to the Lower House in a by-election in Ballia in 2007 after his father’s death. He retained the seat in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. Following his defeat in the 2014 parliamentary polls, the SP nominated him to the Rajya Sabha. Shekhar’s term in the Upper House was to expire in November 2020. Naidu said he had accepted the resignation under Rule 213 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Rajya Sabha. facebook twitter whatsapp 11:52 (IST) 16 Jul 2019 Universities across Inda facing shortage of staff: Congress MP L Hanumanthaia Congress MP L Hanumanthaia alleged that universities across the country are facing shortage of staff.  “A number of universities are being run on contractual basis. Many are run by honorary professors,” he said. Politics has surpassed academics in educational institutions of the country, he alleged. Parliament LIVE: Home Minister Amit Shah said that the Narendra Modi-led government will never misuse the National Investigation Agency (NIA) law. (PTI)On Monday, the Lok Sabha passed the National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019 which seeks to empower the agency to probe terror attacks targeting Indians and Indian interests on foreign soil. Besides this, the amendments will also allow the NIA to probe cybercrimes and cases of human trafficking. During the discussion, Parliament also witnessed a spat between Home Minister Amit Shah and AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi, with the BJP chief asserting that he is not frightening anyone but cannot help when someone has fear in their minds.Defending the amendments, Union Home Minister Amit Shah countered opposition claims over “misuse” of the NIA law. He asserted that the Narendra Modi-led government will never misuse it on the basis of religion and said instead it will ensure the menace of terrorism is uprooted irrespective of the religion of the guilty.He also targeted the previous Congress-led UPA government for repealing anti-terror act POTA, saying it was not done because of its alleged misuse but to “save its vote bank”. Shah further said terror attacks witnessed an upsurge after the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) was repealed resulting in the same UPA government being forced to constitute NIA after the Mumbai attacks.Seeking all-party support for the bill’s passage, Shah said a division in the House on the issue of strengthening the agency will send out a wrong message and boost the morale of terrorists. Parliament should speak in one voice in giving powers to the NIA to send out a message to terrorists and the world, he asserted. facebook twitter whatsapp Related News Post Comment(s) facebook twitter whatsapp facebook twitter whatsapp 16:01 (IST) 16 Jul 2019 Land acquisition process is very slow in West Bengal and Bihar: Nitin Gadkari Underlining that land acquisition is a major problem in road construction projects, Gadkari urged that state governments should come out with solutions and help find a way out. The minister said his ministry was not moving forward with the project without 80 per cent of land acquisition and this principle is being followed very strictly. Gadkari said land acquisition process is very slow in West Bengal and Bihar. Noting that more than 400 projects worth 3.85 lakh crore were closed when he assumed charge of the ministry in 2014, Gadkari said the Modi government saved NPAs worth 3 lakh crore during the past five years by beginning work on these projects. “There were 403 projects pending when the Narendra Modi came to power involving a cost of 3,85,000 crore. It is a great achievement of Indian government that we saved bankers of Rs 3 lakh crore of NPAs and now 90 per cent of projects are moving fast,” he said. facebook twitter whatsapp facebook twitter whatsapp By Express Web Desk |New Delhi | Updated: July 17, 2019 12:05:39 am last_img read more

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Report urges massive digitization of museum collections

first_img By Elizabeth PennisiApr. 4, 2019 , 9:00 AM Report urges massive digitization of museum collections Kristen Grace/Florida Museum 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 The United States should launch an effort to create an all-encompassing database of the millions of stuffed, dried, and otherwise preserved plants, animals, and fossils in museums and other collections, a U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)–sponsored white paper released today urges. The report, titled Extending U.S. Biodiversity Collections to Promote Research and Education, also calls for new approaches to cataloging digitized specimens and linking them to a range of other data about each organism and where it was collected. If the plan is carried out, “There will be [a] huge potential impact for the research community to do new types of research,” says NSF biology Program Director Reed Beaman in Alexandria, Virginia.The effort could take decades and cost as much as half a billion dollars, however, and some researchers are worried the white paper will not win over policymakers. “I just wish that the report focused more on the potential benefits for noncollections communities,” says James Hanken, director of the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.For the past 8 years, NSF has sponsored the $100 million, 10-year Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections program, which has paid for nearly 62 million plant and animal specimens to be digitally photographed from multiple angles for specific research studies. New technology has greatly sped up the process. Already, researchers studying natural history and how species are related are reaping the benefits of easy access to a wealth of information previous locked in museums. Other, smaller digitization efforts have also paid off. Since the 1993 outbreak of the deadly mouse-transmitted hantavirus in the Four Corners region of the southwest, the Museum of Southwestern Biology at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque has been warehousing mammals used in public health studies and natural history research. From the beginning it digitized those specimens and linked them to relevant pathogen and genome data, enabling disease experts, microbiologists, and other scientists to tap into the database for their research, says Joseph Cook, the museum’s curator of mammals.The Advancing Digitization program is a stand-alone effort that ends in 2021, so NSF set up an initiative called the Biodiversity Collections Network to plan the next steps. Based on findings from surveys and workshops, it is now proposing an expanded effort that would also target smaller collections and develop a standardized, upgradable system for linking disparate databases to create an “extended specimen.” The idea is that anyone looking up a species will see not only detailed images of a specimen, but also all the research associated with it: DNA sequences, analyses of diets and climate based on isotopic studies, micro–computerized tomography scans, and even environmental information from the specimen’s collection site. “We want to pull together everything that’s known about a specimen,” says Barbara Thiers, a botanist at the New York Botanical Garden in New York City who heads the network.Cook calls the new plan “a great opportunity to build important infrastructure for the big questions that society is going to ask help with,” such as assessing environmental change and shifts in animal and disease ranges. “We need to understand our planet and how populations are changing through time.”Thiers estimates it will take up to $500 million to “get all the bells and whistles we would like” to realize this vision. For that reason, some collections experts are calling for stronger advocacy. “Somebody needs to hit the pavement and convince other agencies to support this [effort],” Hanken says. Otherwise, it risks getting ignored because “it’s another in a long line of calls to the community to imagine a new future for biological collections.” adds Scott Edwards, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard University.Thiers sees it differently, calling the plan “a novel approach” that will combine “diverse data types in ways that have not been considered.” Beaman is noncommittal about its prospects. “It’s premature for me to say we would develop new programs” to support it, he says. But he acknowledges the value of expanding access to natural history collections, noting that the equivalent of billions of dollars has gone into building them. “It’s not stamp collecting,” he concludes. “The potential for use and societal impact is huge.”center_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Fish expert Larry Page of the Florida Museum in Gainesville shows off a standard setup for making digital images of specimens.last_img read more

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Google Gives Up Scanning Personal Gmail

first_imgGoogle recently announced the end of its policy of scanning user emails for targeted advertising purposes — a controversial practice that riled privacy advocates and spurred legal challenges.Gmail is the world’s most widely used email provider, with more than 1.2 billion users.Google attributed its decision to gains it has made in the enterprise. Its G Suite business over the past year has more than doubled in size to 3 million paying corporate customers, who are not subject to the scanning process.”G Suite’s Gmail is already not used as input for ads personalization, and Google has decided to follow suit later this year in our free consumer email service,” said Diane Greene, senior vice president at Google Cloud. “This decision brings Gmail ads in line with how we personalize ads for other Google products.”Ads are based on user settings, and users can disable personalization, Greene noted.G Suite will continue to be ad-free, she said. Legal Fight Enterprise Concerns As Google makes further inroads into the cloud business, it recognizes that customers are going to be very wary of anything that threatens their privacy and security when compared against incumbent cloud services providers, noted Jeff Kaplan, managing director of ThinkStrategies.”Google has always assumed that its users accept the implicit cost of using its free app,” he told TechNewsWorld, which is “that they will be targets of its ads and other search engine marketing mechanisms.”However, as it tries to build its enterprise business, Google has recognized it must abandon this tactic to remain competitive with other enterprise and collaboration alternatives, such as Microsoft Office 365,” Kaplan said.It’s not likely that the new privacy objective will harming Google’s ability to generate revenue, said Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research.”Google gathers tons of information from other sources,” he told TechNewsWorld, “and already has massive amounts of data on just about everything, including individuals.”center_img The policy change represents a major step forward for online privacy, said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which has challenged the Google practice in court.”EPIC opposed Google scanning email from the start and won several significant battles, including the 2014 decision to end scanning of student emails,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Keep in mind also that Google was scanning the email of non-Gmail users, which raised problems under federal wiretap law and was the frequent target of lawsuits.”Rotenberg cited a specific case One case that is pending appeal before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Marquis v. Google, is a class action, Rotenberg noted. It was launched by a resident who alleged his AOL account had been scanned for advertising purposes.The suit argues that the practice amounts to wiretapping, because Massachusetts is a two-party state that requires both parties’ consent prior to recording any information.A settlement was reached late last year in a California class action brought by Daniel Matera and Susan Rashkis, who accused Google of violating federal wiretapping and state privacy laws by scanning non-Gmail accounts for advertising purposes.As part of that settlement, Google agreed to pay US$2.2 million in legal fees, but a federal judge earlier this year rejected the agreement. David Jones is a freelance writer based in Essex County, New Jersey. He has written for Reuters, Bloomberg, Crain’s New York Business and The New York Times.last_img read more

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Researchers develop cancer vaccine platform to improve efficacy of oncolytic enveloped viruses

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 6 2018Researchers at the Faculty of Pharmacy have developed PeptiENV, a cancer vaccine platform, which can be used to improve the therapeutic efficacy of oncolytic enveloped viruses currently in clinical use. With the help of this new cancer vaccine platform, the activation of the human immune response against cancer cells becomes significantly more effective.”What is actually the most remarkable insight concerning the PeptiENV cancer vaccine platform is that we are able to envelop oncolytic viruses with the patient’s own cancer peptides, enabling tailored targeted treatment,” says Erkko Ylösmäki, an Academy of Finland post-doctoral researcher working in the ImmunoViroTherapy Lab of the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki.Related StoriesSugary drinks linked to cancer finds studyNovel vaccine against bee sting allergy successfully testedStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskOncolytic viruses are naturally occurring viruses that have been modified to restrict their division into cancer cells only. Virotherapy is usually administered as an injection to the tumor or the abdominal cavity, or intravenously.A virus enveloped with peptides through the PeptiENV platform can effectively “train” the patient’s own, locally active T cells to identify tumor cells. Thus, the amount of T cells able to identify tumor cells increases in the cancerous tissue, improving the efficacy of the cancer therapy.The study demonstrated the functionality of the PeptiENV cancer vaccine platform in conjunction with oncolytic enveloped herpes simplex virus 1, already used in the treatment of metastatic melanoma. Oncolytic vaccinia viruses, among others currently under investigation in clinical trials, are also compatible with the cancer vaccine platform.Additionally, the number of T cells in the cancerous tissue that are able to identify cancer cells strongly correlates with the therapeutic effect of new immune checkpoint inhibitors.”We aim to expand the pool of patients that could potentially benefit from the unparalleled efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitors,” Ylösmäki explains.Source: https://www.helsinki.fi/en/news/life-science-news/new-cancer-vaccine-platform-a-potential-tool-for-tailored-and-efficacious-targeted-cancer-therapylast_img read more

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Tall people more likely to get cancers finds study

first_imgImage Credit: XiXinXing / Shutterstock By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDOct 24 2018A new study suggests that tall people are more likely to get cancers because they have more number of cells that can undergo dangerous mutations.There have been studies earlier that have linked stature with cancers. Some researchers have suggested that for each 10cm height within the normal stature for humans, the risk of cancers increases by roughly 10 percent. Among dogs too, the bigger and taller breeds are more at risk of cancers than the smaller ones. The biological and plausible reasons behind this association could be the role of growth hormones that allow for increased height as well as contribute to increase risk of cancer. Childhood nutrition and illnesses could also play a role in this association say experts. Study leader Leonard Nunney, professor of biology at the University of California Riverside said in a statement, “One of the major hypotheses was that something was happening early in life that was making your cells more susceptible to cancer and, sort of incidentally, causing you to be tall.” The results of this new study is published in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.According to Nunney individuals from the time they are single celled zygotes to fully grown adults accumulate mutations within their cells. These mutations continue for life. If these mutations are dangerous, cancers may appear. As tall people have more number of cells, the number of cell divisions among them is also more. This could thus increase the cancer risk he explained.For this study the team of researchers compared overall risk of men and women of getting any type of cancer and analyzed it based on heights. The data was gathered from previous study cohorts from Korea, Norway, Sweden and Austria. The model developed took into account the number of cells of the body. The results showed that there was a 13 percent rise in risk of cancers for women associated with each 10 cm increase in height. The real life value is around 12 percent. For men the predicted rise in risk of cancers is 11 percent from the analysis and 9 percent in reality among the populations.Related StoriesNew study reveals ‘clutch’ proteins responsible for putting T cell activation ‘into gear’Using machine learning algorithm to accurately diagnose breast cancerStudy: Nearly a quarter of low-risk thyroid cancer patients receive more treatment than necessaryAmong the 23 cancers considered, the rise in risk of the cancers with height was seen in 18 types of cancers, the researchers wrote. The ones that did not show association were for example cervical cancer which is caused by Human Papilloma virus (HPV) infection explained Nunney. Skin cancer melanoma on the other hand shows a remarkable association with height explained Nunney. This could be due to the higher levels of growth hormone called IGF-1 in their bodies he said. IGF-1 can increase rates of cell division. Melanomas typically need larger mutations to develop than other cancers and so IGF-1 could play a role, he said.The commonest cancers associated with height among women were those of thyroid, skin, colon, lymphomas, ovaries, breast and uterus. For men the commonest cancers linked to height were thyroid, skin, lymphomas, colon, kidneys, biliary tract and the central nervous system. No association of height could be found with cancers such as esophagus, stomach, mouth and cervical cancer among women and stomach cancer among men.Nunney explained that the number of cells is important adding, “Whether that comes from a better diet or the fact that your parents happen to be tall doesn’t matter … it is purely a number of cells, however that comes about.” He also added that men are more likely to get cancers than women because of their stature.According to Georgina Hill, from Cancer Research UK this study should not alarm tall people. She added, “…the increased risk is small and there’s plenty you can do to reduce the risk of developing cancer, such as not smoking and keeping a healthy weight.”Source: http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/285/1889/20181743last_img read more

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Study Chronic opioid therapy associated with increased healthcare spending and hospital stays

Source:https://www.ajmc.com/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 14 2018Amid public health concerns about the risks of opioid overuse, a recent study in The American Journal of Accountable Care® (AJAC) shows increased economic burden on patients and payers when opioid therapy for noncancer pain continues beyond the initial prescription.Using data from commercial insurance claims of working-aged adults, new research published in the December issue of The American Journal of Accountable Care® (AJAC) found that chronic opioid therapy (COT) for noncancer pain is associated with increased healthcare spending as well as hospital stays. The insights from the study, “Increased Healthcare Utilization and Expenditures Associated With Chronic Opioid Therapy,” can be used by payers to intervene after opioids are prescribed but before patients transition to long-term use.Related StoriesHave cancer, must travel: Patients left in lurch after hospital closesStudy analyzes high capacity of A. baumannii to persist on various surfacesApplication of machine learning methods to healthcare outcomes researchPatients who transitioned to COT, which is defined as daily or near-daily use of opioids for at least 90 days, had total healthcare expenditures that were $4607 higher than those of patients who did not continue long-term opioid use. Total expenditures, without prescription drugs, were defined as the sum of emergency department, inpatient, physician, and other spending. Inpatient spending alone among the COT group was $2453 higher than that of patients who did not transition to COT.The sample—derived from a random sample of commercial enrollees that was released under licensing from the IQVIA Real-World Data Adjudicated Claims database—comprised 3776 adults aged 28 to 63 years in the COT group and 16,425 adults in the non-COT group.With approximately 126 million Americans experiencing some type of pain in the past 3 months, payers, government agencies, and medical associations are trying to encourage nonopioid therapies for chronic noncancer pain. In 2017, opioid-related deaths surged past 72,000, with the increase driven by synthetic opioids.”Any intervention focused on curbing transition to COT has the potential to prevent inpatient use and can lead to cost savings for the payer(s),” the study noted, adding that reducing inpatient utilization benefits patients via improved quality of life and lower out-of-pocket costs.The authors, two of whom received funding from the National Institutes of Health, did not include in their study information on types of pain, response to pain treatment, socioeconomic status, and other factors.”We hope that these findings can help lay the foundation, including financial justification, for prevention programs related to identifying and curbing inappropriate chronic opioid use,” said lead author Douglas Thornton, PharmD, PhD, of the College of Pharmacy at University of Houston. read more

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Outpatient cleaning regimen cuts MRSA infection by a third

first_imgBy Sally Robertson, B.Sc.Feb 14 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Researchers at the University of California have discovered how to cut people’s risk of developing a dangerous MRSA infection once they have left hospital.Henrik Dolle | ShutterstockThe study found that patients cut their risk of infection if they applied a nasal antibiotic treatment and used mouthwash and antiseptic soap for six months.Approximately five percent of hospitalized patients have MRSA, which increases their risk of developing full-blown infection once they have been discharged. Such infections can cause complications with the heart, lungs, bones and skin, often resulting in patients having to return to hospital.Now, Dr. Susan Huang and colleagues have found that taking certain hygiene steps reduces the risk of infection by about a third.It’s a very simple solution. You don’t have to swallow a medicine, you just have to clean the outside of your body for a little while longer.”Dr. Susan Huang, Lead AuthorMany efforts have been made to curb MRSA infections inside hospitals, but now the focus is moving towards how patients are affected once back at home.As reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, more than 2,000 patients in hospitals across southern California who were carrying MRSA were provided with information on how to avoid infection developing.Half of the patients were also given mouthwash, antiseptic soap and a nasal antibiotic treatment to apply as part of a deep-cleaning approach. They were advised to use the products from Monday to Friday every other week for six months.Huang and team report that one year later, 6% of those in the deep-cleaning group had developed an MRSA infection, compared with 9% of those who were only given the information. The deep cleaners also developed less infections from any cause, at 20% versus 24%.Post-discharge MRSA decolonization led to a 30% lower risk of MRSA infection than education alone.”No serious adverse effects were reported. Forty-four percent of patients found their skin became dry or irritated, but generally, this did not put them off using the products.The products were funded by federal grants, but the cost per-person over a six-month period would otherwise be about $150 to $200.Co-lead author Robert Weinstein says it is worth patients doing whatever they can to prevent an MRSA infection. Source:Huang et al. 2019. Decolonization to Reduce Postdischarge Infection Risk among MRSA Carriers. NJEM.last_img read more

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PDIA1 enzyme levels could help diagnose individuals predisposition to cardiovascular disease

first_imgSource:Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São PauloJournal reference:Laurindo, F.R.M. et al. (2019) Protein disulfide isomerase plasma levels in healthy humans reveal proteomic signatures involved in contrasting endothelial phenotypes. Redox Biology. doi.org/10.1016/j.redox.2019.101142. PDIA1 is fundamental for the ability of cells to migrate within the organism, and so it mustn’t be completely inhibited. When the surface portion, which corresponds to less than 2% of total PDIA1, is silenced, the cell survives but loses fine regulation of cell direction during migration. This can be leveraged in the search for new disease mechanisms and drugs.”Francisco Rafael Martins Laurindo Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)May 20 2019Measuring the blood plasma levels of an enzyme called PDIA1 could one day become a method of diagnosing a person’s predisposition to cardiovascular disease even if they are healthy, i.e., not obese, diabetic or a smoker, and with normal cholesterol.This is suggested by a study published in the journal Redox Biology by Brazilian researchers affiliated with the University of São Paulo (USP), the University of Campinas (UNICAMP), and Butantan Institute.The investigation was conducted under the aegis of the Center for Research on Redox Processes in Biomedicine (Redoxome), one of the Research, Innovation and Dissemination Centers (RIDCs) funded by the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP). Redoxome is hosted by USP’s Chemistry Institute.”This molecule belongs to the protein disulfide isomerase [PDI] family. Our study showed that people with low plasma levels of PDIA1 have a more inflammatory protein profile and hence run a higher risk of thrombosis. On the other hand, people with high levels of PDIA1 have more ‘housekeeping’ proteins associated with cell adhesion, homeostasis and the organism’s normal functioning,” said Francisco Rafael Martins Laurindo, a professor at the University of São Paulo’s Medical School (FM-USP) and principal investigator for the study.The study was conducted during the PhD research of Percíllia Victória Santos de Oliveira with a scholarship from FAPESP.The group analyzed blood plasma samples from 35 healthy volunteers with no history of chronic or acute disease. None was a smoker or a user of recreational drugs or chronic medication.Plasma was collected 10-15 times at intervals of days or weeks during a period of 10-15 months. Circulating PDI levels were within a small range for most individuals. Moreover, in a cohort of five individuals, PDIA1 levels were measured three times in a nine-hour period. The variability of the results was again negligible.”However, the measurements showed that some patients had high levels of PDIA1, while the levels were very low, almost undetectable, in others. When the tests were repeated for the same person over time, these values hardly varied at all,” said Laurindo, who heads the Translational Cardiovascular Biology Laboratory at the Heart Institute (InCor) attached to FM-USP’s teaching and general hospital (Hospital das Clínicas).The researchers also measured the levels of PDIA1 in 90 plasma bank samples from patients with chronic cardiovascular disease. The analysis consistently showed low levels of the enzyme.They then conducted several additional proteomic studies to investigate how the plasma levels of PDIA1 correlated with an individual’s protein signature. The adhesion and migration of cultured vein endothelial cells treated with PDIA1-poor plasma were impaired in comparison with those of cells treated with PDIA1-rich plasma.Related StoriesDeaths from cardiovascular disease have risen by 4 percent in the last 5 yearsEating blueberries daily reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseaseProbiotic containing common gut bacterium could halve cardiovascular disease ratesThese results led to the hypothesis that the plasma level of PDIA1 could be a window onto individual plasma protein signatures associated with endothelial function, which could indicate a possible predisposition to cardiovascular disease.The study also showed no correlation between PDIA1 levels and well-known risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as triglycerides and cholesterol.The next steps for the research group include studying PDIA1 levels in conditions such as acute coronary disease, as well as other members of the protein disulfide isomerase family (there are more than 20 PDIs all told), to compare results and confirm whether all these enzymes are potential markers of vulnerability to cardiovascular disease.InhibitorsClinical trials of inhibitors of other PDIs are being conducted by different groups of researchers in several parts of the world. Because these enzymes play various essential roles in cell survival, Laurindo explained, it is important to understand their specific interactions in the cancer context to design inhibitors capable of eliminating tumors with a minimum of toxicity to normal cells.In another study, published in the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology, the researchers used an antibody to inhibit PDIA1 on the surface of vascular cells and observed the effects of stimulation with several different mechanical forces, such as stretching and alterations to the rigidity of the extracellular matrix.Resulting from research conducted during Leonardo Yuji Tanaka’s postdoctoral internship with support from FAPESP, the study concluded that surface PDIA1 inhibition affected the cytoskeleton, an intracellular framework of filaments, thereby hindering cell migration.last_img read more

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BU professor awarded NIH grant to study Down syndrome

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jul 16 2019Tarik F. Haydar, PhD, professor of anatomy and neurobiology at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), has been awarded a two-year Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Award (R21) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).Funds from the $453,750 grant will be used to develop human stem cell-derived cultures to study a developmental abnormality in the formation and/or maintenance of white matter in the brain of people with Down syndrome. Pilot funds for this research were awarded by the BU Clinical & Translational Science Institute and an administrative supplement from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.Related StoriesHealthy lifestyle lowers dementia risk despite genetic predispositionWearing a hearing aid may mitigate dementia riskStudy provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with agingHaydar received his doctorate degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine focusing on brain development in Down syndrome with Bruce Krueger, PhD. He completed postdoctoral studies at Yale University with Pasko Rakic, MD, PhD, examining control of forebrain neural precursor development. He then started his own independent laboratory at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC, in 2002.Haydar joined BUSM in 2010 where he studies mammalian brain development using state-of-the-art molecular and surgical techniques. Using in utero electroporation (an electrical pulse to create temporary pores in cell membranes), in vivo genetic fate mapping (to study the embryonic origin) and gene expression profiling, his goal is to understand how the multiple populations of neural stem cells and progenitor cells in the embryonic brain generate the cerebral cortex. In addition, Haydar is using similar approaches to characterize brain development and function in Down syndrome using experimental models and human samples.Down syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of a third copy of chromosome 21. It is typically associated with physical growth delays, mild to moderate intellectual disability and characteristic facial features.The R21 grant mechanism is intended to encourage exploratory/developmental research by providing support for the early and conceptual stages of project development. Source:Boston University School of Medicinelast_img read more

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HSBC leaker Falciani freed on bail in Spain

Herve Falciani, seen here in 2015, is known as the “the man who terrifies the rich” for leaking documents that alleged HSBC helped clients evade billions of dollars in taxes Explore further The National Court judge seized Falciani’s passport and said the 46-year-old French-Italian national would not be able to move from his home in Spain while his extradition request is considered, according to the ruling seen by AFP.He also said Falciani would need authorisation to leave the town where he lives and must appear before court once a week.Falciani worked for the Swiss branch of HSBC and became known as the “the man who terrifies the rich” after leaking information in 2008 that alleged HSBC helped clients evade billions of dollars in taxes—a scandal that became known as “Swiss Leaks.”The information he leaked indicated that HSBC’s Swiss private banking arm helped more than 120,000 clients to hide 180.6 billion euros ($222 billion) from tax authorities.Minister denies Catalan linkA Swiss court in 2015 convicted Falciani of aggravated industrial espionage and handed him a five-year jail sentence.But he did not attend his trial and has avoided Switzerland since.He was arrested in Madrid on Wednesday at the request of Switzerland just as he was on his way to a conference about the need to protect whistleblowers.Spanish police had initially said the Swiss arrest warrant was issued last month but Switzerland’s justice ministry clarified Thursday it was actually put out in May 2017, raising questions as to why the detention only happened now.Falciani’s arrest comes as two prominent Catalan separatist leaders have fled to Switzerland to avoid legal proceedings over their role in the region’s independence drive, one of whom is targeted by a Spanish international arrest warrant.Justice Minister Rafael Catala on Thursday denied the two issues were linked.”There is no political decision, there is no government involvement in these issues,” he told reporters.’Snowden of tax evasion’Falciani became an IT worker for HSBC in 2000 and moved to the bank’s offices in Geneva in 2006.There, he obtained access to encrypted customer information.In 2008, he went to Lebanon with the information planning to sell the data, without success. Swiss authorities described it as “cashing in”.He then came back to Switzerland where he was under investigation and ended up leaving for France, where he passed on the pilfered information to tax authorities.This led to the prosecution of tax evaders including Arlette Ricci, heir to France’s Nina Ricci perfume empire, and the pursuit of Emilio Botin, the late chairman of the Spanish bank Santander.He rejects that he was only seeking financial gain, insisting he had wanted to expose how banks support tax evasion and money laundering.Since then, he has become known as the “Snowden of tax evasion,” in reference to former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden who in 2013 revealed the scope of the US government’s electronic surveillance programme.Falciani had already been arrested in Barcelona in July 2012 on an international warrant issued by Switzerland after he arrived by boat from a French port.He then spent several months in a Spanish prison.But in 2013, the National Court ended up refusing his extradition on the grounds that the charges he faced in Switzerland are not considered crimes under Spanish law.The court’s ruling was very critical towards HSBC, accusing it of “seriously irregular” behaviour and defending Falciani, “who thanks to his collaboration allowed information to be handed over to various authorities in various states including Spain.” A Spanish judge on Thursday released on bail Herve Falciani, a former HSBC computer analyst detained in Madrid at the request of Switzerland for leaking documents alleging widespread tax evasion. HSBC in $100 million forex fraud settlement © 2018 AFP Citation: HSBC leaker Falciani freed on bail in Spain (2018, April 5) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-spain-hsbc-leaker-bail.html 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. read more

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Chinas first homebuilt aircraft carrier begins sea trials

In this photo provided by China’s Xinhua News Agency, China’s aircraft carrier leaves Dalian in northeast China’s Liaoning Province for sea trials Sunday, May 13, 2018. China’s first entirely home-built aircraft carrier has begun sea trials in a sign of the growing sophistication of the country’s domestic arms industry. State media said the still-unnamed ship left dock in the northern port of Dalian early Sunday, and the Liaoning provincial maritime safety bureau issued an order for shipping to avoid a section of ocean southeast of the city between Sunday and Friday. (Li Gang/Xinhua via AP) China says it is building its second aircraft carrier The still-unnamed ship left dock in the northern port of Dalian at 7:00 a.m. to “test the reliability and stability of its propulsion and other system,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.The Liaoning provincial maritime safety bureau issued an order for shipping to avoid a section of ocean southeast of the city between Sunday and Friday.The 50,000-ton carrier will likely be formally commissioned sometime before 2020 following the completion of sea trials and the arrival of its full air complement. 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. The new carrier is based on the former Soviet Union’s Kuznetsov class design, with a ski jump-style deck for taking off and a conventional oil-fueled steam turbine power plant.China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, arrived as a mostly empty hull from Ukraine and was commissioned in 2012 along with its flight wing of Chinese J-15 fighter jets.State media reports say China is also planning to build a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier capable of remaining at sea for long durations. China has the world’s largest navy in terms of numbers of ships, although it lags behind the U.S. in technology and combat capabilities.It has been deployed to assert China’s claim to virtually the entire South China Sea and is increasingly ranging farther into the Pacific and Indian oceans. China last year established its first overseas military base in the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti, where rivals such as the U.S., Japan and several European nations also have a permanent presence. Explore further This May 9, 2018, photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency shows China’s aircraft carrier Liaoning at a shipyard in Dalian. China’s first entirely home-built aircraft carrier has begun sea trials in a sign of the growing sophistication of the country’s domestic arms industry. State media said the still-unnamed ship left dock in the northern port of Dalian early Sunday, May 13, 2018, and the Liaoning provincial maritime safety bureau issued an order for shipping to avoid a section of ocean southeast of the city between Sunday and Friday. (Minoru Iwasaki/Kyodo News via AP) In this April 26, 2017, file photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, China’s newly-built aircraft carrier Liaoning is transferred from dry dock into the water at a launch ceremony at a shipyard in Dalian. China’s first entirely home-built aircraft carrier has begun sea trials in a sign of the growing sophistication of the country’s domestic arms industry. State media said the still-unnamed ship left dock in the northern port of Dalian early Sunday, May 13, 2018, and the Liaoning provincial maritime safety bureau issued an order for shipping to avoid a section of ocean southeast of the city between Sunday and Friday. (Li Gang/Xinhua via AP, File) © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. In this photo provided by China’s Xinhua News Agency, China’s aircraft carrier leaves Dalian in northeast China’s Liaoning Province for sea trials Sunday, May 13, 2018. China’s first entirely home-built aircraft carrier has begun sea trials in a sign of the growing sophistication of the country’s domestic arms industry. State media said the still-unnamed ship left dock in the northern port of Dalian early Sunday, and the Liaoning provincial maritime safety bureau issued an order for shipping to avoid a section of ocean southeast of the city between Sunday and Friday. (Hu Kaibing/Xinhua via AP) Citation: China’s first home-built aircraft carrier begins sea trials (2018, May 13) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-china-home-built-aircraft-carrier-sea.html China’s first entirely home-built aircraft carrier began sea trials Sunday in a sign of the growing sophistication of the country’s domestic arms industry. read more

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GM recalls 12M pickups SUVs for power steering problem

first_img 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. Explore further © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. GM says the power steering can fail momentarily during a voltage drop and suddenly return, mainly during low-speed turns. Such a failure increases the risk of a crash. The company says it has 30 reports of crashes with two injuries, but no deaths.The recall covers certain 2015 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups as well as Chevy Tahoe and Suburban SUVs. Also affected are 2015 Cadillac Escalade and GMC Yukon SUVs.Dealers will update the power steering software at no cost to owners. No date has been set to notify customers, but GM says the software is available now, so owners can contact dealers to schedule repairs.More than 1 million of the trucks are in the U.S., and most of the rest are in Canada and Mexico. There’s a small number in other countries.GM recalled 2014 model year trucks last year for the same problem. This Jan. 25, 2010, file photo, shows a General Motors Co. logo during a news conference in Detroit. General Motors on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, is recalling more than a million big pickup trucks and SUVs in the U.S. because of power-assisted steering problems that have been cited in a number of accidents. GM says the power steering can fail momentarily during a voltage drop and suddenly return, mainly during low-speed turns. Such a failure increases the risk of a crash. The company says it has 30 reports of crashes with two injuries, but no deaths. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)center_img Toyota recalls cars, SUVs for steering, software issues Citation: GM recalls 1.2M pickups, SUVs for power steering problem (2018, September 13) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-gm-recalls-1m-pickups-suvs.html General Motors is recalling 1.2 million big pickup trucks and SUVs mainly in North America because of power-assisted steering problems that have been cited in a number of accidents.last_img read more

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Twitter says action taken against proNetanyahu bot network

first_imgBrazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, right, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, second left, shake hands next to the Rabbi of the Western Wall Shmuel Rabinovitch, left, and Bolsonaro’s son Fabio, center, during a visit to a synagogue at the Western wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, in the Old City of Jerusalem, Monday, April 1, 2019. (Menahem Kahana/Pool Photo via AP) Twitter says it has “taken action” after an Israeli watchdog exposed an alleged bot network spreading propaganda in support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and smearing his opponents. Ahead of vote, Twitter says accounts removed over ‘disinformation’ Explore further Citation: Twitter says action taken against pro-Netanyahu bot network (2019, April 2) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-04-twitter-action-pro-netanyahu-bot-network.htmlcenter_img © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Noam Rotem, one of the researchers behind the report, said Tuesday he has seen Twitter shut down 258 of the over 400 automated and fake accounts his team identified.Twitter did not comment on the number of accounts removed, but said that the platform prohibits fabricated accounts and “has taken action where violations are identified” to ensure healthy dialogue online during election cycles.With just a week until the national vote, the pro-Netanyahu bot network discovery jolted Israel’s already turbulent campaign season.Netanyahu lambasted the report as “libel,” and his challenger Benny Gantz accused him of “trying to steal the election.” 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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