New drug compounds show promise in treating acute myeloid leukemia

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 29 2019Researchers have been struggling for years to find a treatment for patients who have a recurrence of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), an aggressive blood cancer that is one of the most lethal cancers. About 19,520 news cases are diagnosed a year, and about 10,670 people a year die from it, according to the American Cancer Society.Purdue University researchers are developing a series of drug compounds that have shown promise in treating such cases. About 30 percent of AML patients have a mutation caused by a kinase called FLT3, which makes the leukemia more aggressive. Inhibitors of FLT3, such as Radapt, approved last year by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, have shown good initial response to treating leukemia. Gilteritinib, another FLT3 inhibitor, was recently approved toward the end of 2018. But AML patients on FLT3 inhibitor therapy often relapse because of secondary mutations in the FLT3 and existing treatments have not been fully successful in treating those cases.Researchers on a team led by Herman O. Sintim, the Drug Discovery Professor of Chemistry in Purdue’s Department of Chemistry, say they have developed a series of compounds that work not only on AML with common FLT3 mutation, but also drug-resistant AML harboring problematic mutations, such as the gatekeeper F691L mutation, which some leukemia patients who relapse harbor.”These compounds have a great potential to be the next-generation AML therapeutics for relapsed patients who no longer respond to first- or second-generation FLT3 inhibitors,” Sintim said.The results of the study were published Friday here in the journal EBioMedicine.The research aligns with Purdue’s Giant Leaps celebration, recognizing the university’s global advancements made in health, longevity and quality of life as part of Purdue’s 150th anniversary. This is one of the four themes of the yearlong celebration’s Ideas Festival, designed to showcase Purdue as an intellectual center solving real-world issues.Results of the study are encouraging because, while advancements have been made in many other forms of cancer over the past three decades, advancement for AML has been slow.AML, which accounts for only about 1 percent of all cancers, occurs when blood cells fail to mature or differentiate and multiply unchecked, causing a lack of adequate oxygen-carrying red blood cells. AML is uncommon before the age of 45, but it does occur in children. The five-year survival rate is about 30 percent, and for patients over the age of 65, the five-year survival rate is less than 10 percent.Related StoriesStudy shows how SIRT1 plays key role in maintaining the regenerative potential of leukemic stem cellsImmune-boosting compound could make pancreatic cancers susceptible to immunotherapyResearchers discover biochemical agent responsible for blood pressure drop in sepsisThe compounds the Purdue researchers are studying, alkynyl aminoisoquinoline and alkynyl napthyridine, have been successful in preclinical studies, Sintim said. “In mouse studies, almost no leukemia burden was visible after compound treatment for only a few weeks. Crucially this new class of FLT3 inhibitor also works against drug-resistant secondary mutations, such as the problematic F691L mutatio,” Sintim said.In the clinic, the goal is to reduce leukemia levels enough so that a patient can undergo a bone marrow transplant. Most often if the leukemia burden is not drastically reduced before bone marrow transplant, there is a high likelihood that the AML will return.Sintim said the compounds the researchers are developing have shown no signs of toxicity. Observations in clinical testing show that high doses of the compounds result in no weight loss, irritability or essential organs dysfunction. Another advantage of the compounds the Purdue researchers are developing is they can be taken orally, which makes it easier for patients to take at home compared with an injection.Sintim said there’s much still to be learned about AML.”Acute myeloid leukemia is not caused by only one mutation. It’s caused by many mutations. What that means is that you might have an acute myeloid leukemia patient who would have one type of a mutation and you could have another one with another type of mutation and you cannot give them the same drug. Even when a patient initially presents with one type of mutation, during treatment a new mutation could emerge” he said. “So to effectively treat a cancer you need to know what the aligning mutation is, this is what is called precision medicine; tailoring a drug to a particular disease driver.”Sintim also is a co-founder of a biotech startup called KinaRx LLC, which has licensed the compounds the researchers are working on through Purdue’s Office ofTechnology Commercialization. Both Sintim’s lab and KinaRx LLC are looking for development partners. Source:https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2019/Q1/drug-compound-could-be-next-generation-treatment-for-aggressive-form-of-leukemia.htmllast_img read more

Elite methods provide most benefit to slower runners

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 13 2019High tech shoes, nutritional supplements and other means of improving ‘running economy’ stand to benefit those in the back of the pack most, new research showsThink state-of-the-art shoes, performance diets and well-thought-out racing strategies are only for elite runners?Think again.In reality, the slower you are, the more such measures improve your finish times, suggests new University of Colorado Boulder research.”We found that at faster speeds, you get significantly less benefit from improving your running economy than you do at slower speeds,” said lead author Shalaya Kipp, a former graduate student in the Department of Integrative Physiology.The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology today, takes a mathematical approach to answering a question that has perplexed exercise physiologists for years: How much does improving your body’s “running economy” – or the number of calories burned per second at an aerobic pace – really improve your speed?The question has piqued the interest of the broader running community since July, 2017 when Nike introduced its Zoom Vaporfly 4% – a shoe that, according to previous CU research, improves running economy by 4 percent on average.Members of the media, recreational athletes and some researchers have since assumed that meant runners wearing the shoes could cross the finish line 4 percent faster. With such savings, many predicted, a sub-2-hour marathon was well within reach.But, according to the new study, the math is more complicated than that.”For a long time, most people assumed there was a directly proportional linear relationship: That if you improved running economy by X percent you could run X percent faster,” said postdoctoral researcher Wouter Hoogkamer, who co-authored the paper with Kipp and Integrative Physiology Professor Rodger Kram. “We set out to re-evaluate that relationship and found that this is not the case.”For the paper, the researchers re-examined treadmill studies of runners dating back decades, re-crunching the numbers to account for things like air resistance and oxygen uptake velocity (which both increase the faster you run).They concluded that for runners moving slower than 9 minutes per mile, any percent improvement in running economy (due to better footwear, nutritional supplements, a tailwind, drafting or other measures) translates to an even higher percentage improvement in pace.Related StoriesOlympus Europe and Cytosurge join hands to accelerate drug development, single cell researchAMSBIO offers new, best-in-class CAR-T cell range for research and immunotherapyLiver fat biomarker levels linked with metabolic health benefits of exercise, study findsFor instance, a 1 percent improvement in running economy for a 4:30:00 marathoner would make him or her 1.17 percent faster, dropping a significant 3 minutes and 7 seconds off their finish time.On the flip side, for those who run faster than 9 minutes per mile, each percent improvement in the body’s gas mileage results in less than that percentage improvement in pace. For instance, that same 1 percent improvement in a 2:03:00 marathoner would enable him to run only .65 percent faster, a mere 47 second improvement.To simplify the math, the authors included a first-of-its kind spreadsheet where runners can plug in their height, weight, percent improvement in running economy and baseline pace to predict the finish time of their next marathon, half-marathon or 10K.All this is good news for recreational runners, say the authors.”A lot of times recreational runners assume these things are just going to benefit elite athletes when the reality is they can benefit even more than the elites,” said Kipp, now a doctoral student at University of British Columbia in Vancouver.She notes that for a slower runner, slipping on a pair of shoes which improve running economy by 4 percent could actually translate to as much as a 5 percent improvement in finish times. Meanwhile, other measures to boost metabolic efficiency, such as drinking beet juice, drafting behind another runner, or doing plyometric exercises can also add up to boost speed.”For those whose New Year’s resolutions are starting to fade or who are training for the Bolder Boulder, there is an optimistic message here: There’s a lot you can do to improve your times,” said Kram.For those at the upper end of the competitive spectrum however, the new paper elucidates something many intuitively know already: The faster you are, the harder it is to get faster.Since the introduction of the 4% shoe, the authors note, the marathon world record has only improved by a relatively small 1.03 percent.”With current footwear technology, perfect drafting and other factors all falling into place, we still believe a sub-2 hour marathon is possible,” said Hoogkamer, pointing to Eliud Kipchoge’s current record time, 2:01:39. “It’s just going to be a little harder than we thought.” Source:https://www.colorado.edu/today/2019/02/11/slower-runners-benefit-most-high-tech-shoes-other-elite-methodslast_img read more

Female adolescent blood donors more likely to have iron deficiency and related

first_imgCredit: iStock Source:https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/newsroom/news-releases/study-adolescent-female-blood-donors-at-risk-for-iron-deficiency-and-associated-anemia Each year, an estimated 6.8 million people in the U.S. donate blood, according to the American Red Cross, which coordinates blood drives across the country. Adolescents are increasingly contributing to the donor pool due to blood drives at high schools. In 2015, adolescents ages 16-18 contributed approximately 1.5 million blood donations.Although blood donation is largely a safe procedure, adolescents are at a higher risk for acute, adverse donation-related problems, such as injuries from fainting during donation, explains study leaders Eshan Patel, M.P.H., a biostatistician in the Department of Pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Aaron Tobian, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pathology, medicine, oncology and epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of transfusion medicine at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.Additionally, they add, blood donation may also increase the risk of iron deficiency, as each whole blood donation removes about 200-250 milligrams of iron from the blood donor. Because adolescents typically have lower blood volumes, when donating the same amount of blood, they have a relatively higher proportional loss of hemoglobin–the iron-containing protein in blood cells that transports oxygen–and consequently more iron during donation than adults. Females are even more at risk of iron deficiency than males due to blood loss during menstruation every month.Numerous studies have shown that younger age, female sex and increased frequency of blood donation are all associated with lower serum ferritin levels (a surrogate for total body iron levels) in blood donor populations. However, note Patel and Tobian, no study using nationally representative data has compared the prevalence of iron deficiency and associated anemia between blood donor and nondonor populations, specifically adolescents.Related StoriesCancer patients and those with anemia should not be denied opioids, says CDCInnovative microfluidic device simplifies study of blood cells, opens new organ-on-chip possibilitiesDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustToward this end, the researchers analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a long-running study designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the U.S. based on both physical exams and interviews conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. From 1999 to 2010, this study included collections of blood samples as well as questions about blood donation history in the past 12 months.The researchers found 9,647 female participants 16-49 years old who had provided both samples and blood donor history information. There were 2,419 adolescents ages 16-19 in this group.They report in the journal Transfusion on Feb. 19 that about 10.7 percent of the adolescents had donated blood within the past 12 months, compared with about 6.4 percent of the adults. Mean serum ferritin levels were significantly lower among blood donors than among nondonors in both the adolescent (21.2 vs. 31.4 nanograms per milliliter) and the adult (26.2 vs. 43.7 nanograms per milliliter) populations. The prevalence of iron deficiency anemia was 9.5 percent among adolescent donors and 7.9 percent among adult donors–both low numbers, but still significantly higher than that of nondonors in both age groups, which was 6.1 percent. Besides, 22.6 percent of adolescent donors and 18.3 percent of adult donors had absent iron stores.Collectively, the authors say, these findings highlight the vulnerability of adolescent blood donors to associated iron deficiency.Patel and Tobian note that some federal policies and regulations are already in place to protect donors in general from iron deficiency due to this altruistic act, such as hemoglobin screening, a minimum weight to donate and an eight-week interval between donations for repeat whole blood donation. However, more protections are necessary for adolescent donors–for example, suggesting oral iron supplementation, increasing the minimum time interval between donations or donating other blood products such as platelets or plasma rather than whole blood could help mitigate iron loss.”We’re not saying that eligible donors shouldn’t donate. There are already issues with the lack of blood supply,” Tobian says. “However, new regulations or accreditation standards could help make blood donation even safer for young donors.”center_img Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 19 2019New public health measures could help protect this vulnerable population, authors sayFemale adolescent blood donors are more likely to have low iron stores and iron deficiency anemia than adult female blood donors and nondonors, which could have significant negative consequences on their developing brains, a new study led by Johns Hopkins researchers suggests. Based on these findings, the authors propose a variety of measures that could help this vulnerable population.last_img read more

Tropical storms likely to become more deadly under climate change research shows

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 21 2019Tropical storms are likely to become more deadly under climate change, leaving people in developing countries, where there may be a lack of resources or poor infrastructure, at increased risk, new research from Oregon State University shows.Under most climate models, tropical storm-related deaths would increase up to 52 percent as the climate changes, said Todd Pugatch, an associate professor of economics in the College of Liberal Arts at OSU and the study’s author.”Tropical storms can strike quickly, leaving little opportunity to escape their path, and the impact on developing countries is significant,” Pugatch said. “Understanding the effects of these storms, and how those effects may change as the climate changes, can help governments and people better prepare in the future, and hopefully save lives.”The findings were published recently in the journal World Development.Pugatch’s research focuses on international economic development. Climate change will likely have the greatest impact on vulnerable populations in the developing world. Mortality risk is the most basic form of vulnerability to natural disasters, so Pugatch wanted to better understand how mortality and climate change might be linked.His first step was to attempt to quantify the effects of tropical storms on mortality in Mexico from 1990 to 2011. He used meteorological data to measure storm strength and death records to estimate storm-related mortality.If deaths in a Mexican state exceeded historical norms for a particular month, the model attributed those deaths to the storm. This methodology has the ability to avert the subjectivity of official death counts and get to a more authentic number, Pugatch said.He found that tropical storms killed approximately 1,600 people during the study period.”Whether a particular death is caused by a storm isn’t always obvious,” he said. “There may also be political motivations to alter counts. Officials might overstate counts to draw more aid money or understate the number of deaths to make the government appear more competent.”Related StoriesTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CTChildhood abuse may cause more hot flashes, study revealsAXT enhances cellular research product portfolio with solutions from StemBioSysThe next step for his research was to simulate how the number of storm-related deaths would be impacted by climate change. He used climate modeling scenarios to see how increased weather volatility due to climate change might have impacted deaths during the study period of 1990 to 2011.In five of six scenarios modeling climate change impacts on storm frequency and windspeed, a measure of storm intensity, deaths would have increased, with the highest projection showing a 52 percent increase.However, one simulation showed a decrease of up to 10 percent, because in that scenario, the frequency of tropical storms decreases enough to reduce deaths. The other models fell within the two extremes, but death rates rose in all but one.”If the decrease in storm frequency outweighs the increase in severity, storm-related deaths could fall,” Pugatch said. “Most indications are that storms are more likely to become more deadly as the climate changes.”The findings look specifically at Mexico, but similar results are likely to be seen in other developing countries, where natural disasters can be particularly devastating because communities lack essential resources, Pugatch said.”I wouldn’t expect these results to apply to the same extent in developed countries like the U.S.,” he said. “But there is some relevance to the U.S. Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey showed that strong storms can lead to tremendous loss of life and physical damage even in the U.S.”More research is needed to understand how climate change may alter storm frequency and severity in the future, Pugatch said. Public policy may also play a role in mitigating or exacerbating the effects of tropical storms, he said.”The more we understand the mortality effects of storms, the more we can use that information to develop strategies to prepare,” Pugatch said. “Investing in strengthened response systems now could avert future deaths.” Source:https://today.oregonstate.edu/news/tropical-storms-likely-become-more-deadly-climate-changes-new-research-indicateslast_img read more

Regeneration of severely damaged lungs using a interventional crosscirculation platform

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)May 7 2019Lung transplantation, the only lifesaving therapy for an increasing population of patients with end-stage lung disease, is severely limited by the number of available donor organs. Currently, up to 80 percent of donor lungs are rejected for serious but potentially reversible injuries. Since the beginning of transplantation in the 1960s, clinicians and scientists have been trying to address the critical shortage of donor organs.Now, a multidisciplinary team from Columbia Engineering and Vanderbilt University has–for the first time–demonstrated in a clinically relevant model that severely damaged lungs can be regenerated to meet transplantation criteria. In a study published today on Nature Communications ‘ website, the researchers describe the cross-circulation platform that maintained the viability and function of the donor lung and the stability of the recipient for 36 to 56 hours. As Brandon Guenthart, a lead author of the study, explains, “to support lung recovery and to demonstrate cellular regeneration, we had to pursue a radically different approach and develop more minimally invasive diagnostics.” Current methodologies of lung support are limited to only 6 to 8 hours, a time that is too short for therapeutic interventions that could regenerate the injured lung and improve its function.The team, co-led by Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, University Professor and The Mikati Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Medical Sciences at Columbia Engineering, and Matthew Bacchettaunjak-Novakovic, the H. William Scott Professor of Surgery at Vanderbilt University, and adjunct professor at Columbia’s department of biomedical engineering, also developed new diagnostic tools for the non-invasive evaluation of the regenerating lung. They expect their advance will lead to an increase in the number of lungs for transplant, through the recovery of severely damaged lungs that are currently unsuitable for clinical use.The researchers have long been focused on developing processes to recover lungs that are being turned down for transplant because of injury to enable people with end-stage lung disease to live longer and better lives. “We have been fortunate to assemble a highly talented, interdisciplinary team of bioengineers, surgeons, pulmonologists, and pathologists, who have designed a durable physiologic support system for a donor lung outside the body, along with new technologies to achieve and monitor lung recovery,” Bacchetta says.Related StoriesVortex flow closely linked to pressure differences in ventricles of the heartComprehensive gene activity database could significantly reduce animal useUranium toxicity might have caused obesity and diabetes in Kuwait, finds new studyA previous study from the team demonstrated a cross-circulation platform that maintained the viability and function of a donor lung for 36 hours. The researchers were able to use their advanced support system to fully recover the functionality of lungs injured by ischemia (restricted blood supply) and make them suitable for transplant.For this new study, the team decided to test the effectiveness of their platform technology combined with conventional therapies and new diagnostics on lungs afflicted by the most frequent injury leading to donor lung rejection–gastric aspiration. This injury is caused by the entry of gastric material into the respiratory tract, resulting in severe injury to the pulmonary epithelium and thus making the lung unacceptable for transplantation. Currently, severely damaged donor lungs cannot be salvaged using existing devices or methods. This new study suggests that lungs injured by gastric aspiration can be maintained outside the body for several days, are amenable to repeated therapeutic interventions, and display evidence of cellular regeneration and improved function. Lungs regenerated on this platform met all criteria for transplantation.”For seven years, we have diligently worked to develop new technologies for the maintenance and recovery of donor organs. This paper represents a culmination of fundamental and translational studies of lung bioengineering that have converged into a system capable to recover severely damaged lungs. We now have the team and technology to bring this research to the patients, by making more donor lungs available for transplant,” says Vunjak-Novakovic.The team plans to conduct further studies to evaluate the functional capacity of the lungs following transplantation and the safety of the method, using a clinically relevant large animal model with immunosuppression.”We envision that interventional cross-circulation may be used to investigate regeneration of other damaged organs, such as hearts, kidneys, and livers, expanding donor pools by salvaging severely damaged organs and leading to more organ transplants,” Bacchetta adds. Source:http://www.engineering.columbia.edu/last_img read more

Researchers find more effective way to treat drugresistant cancers

first_imgMuch of the research led by CD4 director Pia Vogel and Wise is centered on a class of proteins called ABC transporters, a key factor in why many cancers resist chemotherapy.”These transporters are defensive proteins and are normally very, very good for us. They protect us from toxic chemicals by literally pumping them out of the cell, almost like a sump pump removes water from one’s cellar,” Vogel said.But when someone has cancer, these proteins do more harm than good.”One protein, P-glycoprotein, can pump nearly all chemotherapeutics out of the cancer cell, thereby making the cancer resistant to many drugs and untreatable,” Wise noted.For this reason, SMU researchers tested the combination of using an inhibitor that temporarily shuts down P-glycoprotein’s ability to remove drugs from the cancer cells along with chemotherapeutics on prostate cancer cells grown in the lab, which have been shown to be resistant to multiple chemotherapeutic drugs.Related StoriesLiving with advanced breast cancerVirus killing protein could be the real antiviral hero finds studyNew study to ease plight of patients with advanced cancerThe SMU team was able to show that if inhibitors of P-glycoprotein are used during and after the multidrug resistant cancer cells have been exposed to the chemotherapy drugs, then the cancer cells become much more sensitive to the chemotherapeutics.The recipe for success was giving cancer cells a dose of both chemotherapy drugs and the P-gp inhibitor for just two hours. Researchers then washed the prostate cancer cells to get rid of any residual chemotherapy drugs before giving the cells another dose of just P-gp inhibitor for 22 hours, lead author and SMU Ph.D. doctoral candidate Amila K. Nanayakkara explained.Prostate cancer cells that were given this treatment were shown to retain chemotherapy drugs at a much higher level compared to cancer cells not treated with the P-glycoprotein inhibitor. After about 24 hours, much fewer of these cancer cells survived in this treatment compared to the cells which had not seen the inhibitor.When the same tests were performed on normal noncancerous cells, “there was no sign of extra toxicity to the healthy cells using this method,” Wise added.One issue, though, is how to duplicate this method in a patient’s body. “Once you’ve taken a chemotherapy drug, it’s not easy to remove it after just two hours,” said co-author Vogel, a professor in the SMU Department of Biological Sciences.Still, the researchers argued that it is worth further research, because there are currently few options for cancer patients once their disease becomes resistant to multiple chemotherapies.”Our paper shows these remarkable effects when the inhibitor is present during, and importantly, after exposure to chemotherapeutic,” Wise said. “And while ‘washing’ is not feasible in humans, the kidneys and other organs are in a sense doing the washing step for a patient. These organs are washing the chemotherapy from the bloodstream and therefore, out of cancer cells. So in that way, we think our preliminary cell culture studies may be translatable at least in principle to animals and people.” Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 10 2019Researchers at SMU’s Center for Drug Discovery, Design and Delivery (CD4) have succeeded in lab testing the use of chemotherapy with a specific protein inhibitor so that the chemotherapeutic is better absorbed by drug-resistant cancer cells without harming healthy cells. The approach could pave the way for a more effective way to treat cancers that are resistant to treatment.A mix of drugs is frequently used to shrink cancer tumors or keep tumor cells from spreading to other parts of the body. But chemotherapy is so toxic that the mix often kills healthy cells, too, causing dreadful side effects for cancer patients. And eventually, many cancers learn how to resist chemotherapy, making it less effective over time. When multidrug resistance evolves, this leaves the patient with a very poor prognosis for survival and the oncologist with few, if any, effective tools, such as chemotherapy medicines, to treat what is very likely an aggressive and/or metastatic cancer at this point.”John Wise, associate professor in the SMU Department of Biological Sciences and co-author of a study on the findings published in PLOS ONEcenter_img Source:Southern Methodist Universitylast_img read more

Twitter seeks help measuring health of its world

Twitter is asking for outside experts to assess the health of its platform by measuring the impact of abuse and manipulation Twitter on Thursday asked for outside help assessing the health of its world of rapid-fire commentary in the hope of finding cures for trolls, bots, echo chambers and other ills. © 2018 AFP 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. Pressure has been building on Twitter—as well as Facebook and Google—to prevent malicious uses of the online platform ranging from harassment to spreading hoaxes and manipulating elections.”We have witnessed abuse, harassment, troll armies, manipulation through bots and human-coordination, misinformation campaigns, and increasingly divisive echo chambers,” Twitter co-founder and chief executive Jack Dorsey said in a thread of tweets Thursday.”We aren’t proud of how people have taken advantage of our service, or our inability to address it fast enough.”A Twitter statement said the social network wants “to partner with outside experts” to get a sense of the health of the Twittersphere by measuring the impact of abuse, spam and manipulation.The move is the latest by Twitter aimed at curbing disinformation, propaganda and provocation.Last month, the San Francisco-based one-to-many messaging service launched a crackdown on accounts powered by software “bots” which can artificially amplify a person or cause and which have been accused of manipulating the social network during the 2016 US election.Twitter said the move was intended to rid the service of spam-spewing automated accounts, and not aimed at people using the service according to the rules.Since the election, Twitter and others discovered how “bots” had been used to sow political divisions and spread hoaxes.While Twitter tactics have mostly involved removing content violating its terms of use, it has been accused of “apathy, censorship, political bias, and optimizing for our business and share price instead of the concerns of society,” Dorsey maintained.”This is not who we are, or who we ever want to be,” he said.Twitter is asking outside experts to pitch proposals for ways to measure the service’s health by the quality of debates, conversations, and critical thinking.”We simply can’t and don’t want to do this alone,” Dorsey said.Twitter asked proposals to be submitted by April 13, promising to fund any that are selected in a process expected to take a couple of months.”If you want to improve something, you have to be able to measure it,” Dorsey said. Citation: Twitter seeks help measuring ‘health’ of its world (2018, March 1) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-twitter-health-world.html Twitter sets crackdown on automated ‘bot’ accounts Explore further read more

Arizona death brings calls for more autonomous vehicle rules

© 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Crash marks first death involving fully autonomous vehicle The deadly collision between an Uber autonomous vehicle and a pedestrian near Phoenix is bringing calls for tougher self-driving regulations. But advocates for a hands-off approach say big changes aren’t needed. Police in Tempe, Arizona, say the female pedestrian walked in front of the Uber SUV Sunday night. Neither the automated system nor the human backup driver stopped in time. Local authorities haven’t determined fault.Current federal regulations have few requirements specifically for self-driving vehicles, leaving it for states to handle. Many, such as Arizona, Nevada and Michigan, cede key decisions to companies.Many federal and state officials say their regulations are sufficient to keep people safe while allowing the potentially life-saving technology to grow. Citation: Arizona death brings calls for more autonomous vehicle rules (2018, March 20) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-arizona-death-autonomous-vehicle.html A vehicle goes by the scene of Sunday’s fatality where a pedestrian was stuck by an Uber vehicle in autonomous mode, in Tempe, Ariz., Monday, March 19, 2018. A self-driving Uber SUV struck and killed the woman in suburban Phoenix in the first death involving a fully autonomous test vehicle. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) Explore further 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

Facebook scandal affected more users than thought up to 87M Update

Those developments came as congressional officials said CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify next week, while Facebook unveiled a new privacy policy that aims to explain the data it gathers on users more clearly—but doesn’t actually change what it collects and shares.In a call with reporters Wednesday, Zuckerberg acknowledged he made a “huge mistake” in failing to take a broad enough view of what Facebook’s responsibility is in the world. He said it isn’t enough for Facebook to believe app developers when they say they follow the rules. He says Facebook has to ensure they do.Facebook is facing its worst privacy scandal in years following allegations that Cambridge Analytica, a Trump-affiliated data mining firm, used ill-gotten data from millions of users through an app to try to influence elections.Facebook said Wednesday that as many as 87 million people might have had their data accessed—an increase from the 50 million disclosed in published reports. Facebook is basing the estimate in part on the number of friends each user might have had. Cambridge Analytica said in a statement that it had data for only 30 million people.On Monday all Facebook users will receive a notice on their Facebook feeds with a link to see what apps they use and what information they have shared with those apps. They’ll have a chance to delete apps they no longer want. Users who might have had their data shared with Cambridge Analytica will be told of that. Facebook says most of the affected users are in the U.S.Zuckerberg said fixing the company’s problems will take years.Besides the privacy scandal, Facebook also has been dealing with fake news, the use of Facebook to spread hate and discord and concerns about social media’s effect on people’s mental well-being.These are “big issues” and a big shift for Facebook as it broadens its responsibility, Zuckerberg said. He added that he does think that by the end of this year the company will have “turned a corner” on a lot of the issues. Zuckerberg has made fixing the company his personal challenge for 2018.As part of the steps it’s taking to address scrutiny about outsiders’ access to user data, Facebook outlined several changes to further tighten its policies. For one, it is restricting access that apps can have to data about users’ events, as well as information about groups such as member lists and content. In addition, the company is also removing the option to search for users by entering a phone number or an email address. While this helped individuals find friends, Facebook says businesses that had phone or email information on customers were able to collect profile information this way. Facebook says it believes most of its 2.2 billion users had their public profile information scraped by businesses or various malicious actors through this technique at some point. Posts and other content set to be visible only to friends weren’t collected. In this June 24, 2016, file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the Global Entrepreneur Summit at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif. Facebook’s new privacy policy aims to explain the data it gathers on users more clearly, but doesn’t actually change what it collects and shares. The company unveiled the revisions Wednesday, April 4, 2018. Zuckerberg is also set to testify before Congress next week for the first time. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File) Explore further This comes on top of changes announced a few weeks ago. For example, Facebook has said it will remove developers’ access to people’s data if the person has not used the app in three months.Earlier Wednesday, Facebook unveiled a new privacy policy that seeks to clarify its data collection and use.Although Facebook says the policy changes aren’t prompted by recent events or tighter privacy rules coming from the EU, it’s an opportune time. Zuckerberg is set to testify April 10 before a joint hearing of the Senate Commerce and Judiciary Committees, and a day later before the House Energy and Commerce Committee . The two sessions will be his first testimony before Congress. Separately, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and various authorities in Europe are investigating.As Facebook evolved from a closed, Harvard-only network with no ads to a giant corporation with $40 billion in advertising revenue and huge subsidiaries like Instagram and WhatsApp, its privacy policy has also shifted—over and over.Almost always, critics say, the changes meant a move away from protecting user privacy toward pushing openness and more sharing. On the other hand, regulatory and user pressure has sometimes led Facebook to pull back on its data collection and use and to explain things in plainer language—in contrast to dense legalese from many other internet companies.The policy changes come a week after Facebook gave its privacy settings a makeover. The company tried to make it easier to navigate its complex and often confusing privacy and security settings, though the makeover didn’t change what Facebook collects and shares either.Facebook’s new privacy policy has a new section explaining that it collects people’s contact information if they choose to “upload, sync or import” this to the service. This may include users’ address books on their phones, as well as their call logs and text histories. The new policy says Facebook may use this data to help “you and others find people you may know.”Several users were surprised to learn recently that Facebook had been collecting information about whom they texted or called and for how long, though not the actual contents of text messages. It seemed to have been done without explicit consent, though Facebook says it collected such data only from Android users who specifically allowed it to do so—for instance, by agreeing to permissions when installing Facebook.On Wednesday, Facebook said will delete all logs after a year and in the future, the only information this tool will collect from now on is the data that it needs to operate and “not broader data such as the time of calls.”The new policy also makes it clear that WhatsApp and Instagram are part of Facebook and that the companies share information about users. WhatsApp will still have a separate policy as well, while Facebook and Instagram share one. © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Facebook revealed Wednesday that tens of millions more people might have been exposed in the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal than previously thought and said it will restrict the user data that outsiders can access. Facebook revamps privacy policy in heels of scandal In this April 19, 2017, file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at his company’s annual F8 developer conference in San Jose, Calif. Facebook’s new privacy policy aims to explain the data it gathers on users more clearly, but doesn’t actually change what it collects and shares. The company unveiled the revisions Wednesday, April 4, 2018. Zuckerberg is also set to testify before Congress next week for the first time. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File) Citation: Facebook scandal affected more users than thought: up to 87M (Update) (2018, April 4) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-facebook-scandal-affected-users-thought.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

Edward C Baig Have a great idea for 5G Verizon may give

first_imgAccording to Shamunder, “There should be potential for it to be monetizable, but every idea doesn’t have to be like that. It can be something that can be used to solve some unique societal problem as well.”Verizon claims it is motivated by the concept of generating such ideas and not because of any of the extra marketing attention the challenge brings to its 5G as it launches these networks at the same time that rivals such as AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint do.Shamunder concedes that the marketing aspect is a “byproduct,” but hardly the main purpose.”We don’t have a monopoly on ideas,” she says. “There are people out there who have deep insight into certain industries and that have their own unique problems. We have these toolboxes we want them to use to solve these problems and they are better at doing that than I am.”The various legal and other requirements that are part of the challenge are still being hammered out and will be posted on a Verizon website; it is probably safe to assume that Verizon will retain first right of refusal over any idea that is selected.It is unclear what kind of ownership stake Verizon will take in any of the winning ideas.This isn’t, in fact, the first time Verizon has challenged outsiders to develop ideas for 5G. In partnership with Ericsson and the Mass Tech Leadership Council, Verizon in November announced the launch of the Verizon 5G Robotics Challenge for universities, startups, and other developers in the greater Boston area to create 5G-powered robotics technologies that will transform modern industry. The pool money in that challenge was $300,000. Winners have not yet been selected. It has issued another similar challenge geared toward first responders.Verizon describes its far broader latest challenge as “a nationwide search for the biggest and brightest ideas that will bring the true power of 5G to life. Winners will be judged on innovation, commercial viability, and the potential impact and sustainability of how their ideas will be able to make the world a better, more connected place.”Judging will begin in the spring. Explore further Think you’ve come up with a killer idea for exploiting the emerging next-generation wireless networks known as 5G? (c)2019 USA TodayDistributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Verizon cuts 10,000 workers through buyouts as part of restructuringcenter_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. If Verizon buys into in your vision and considers it commercially viable, the company will issue you up to a cool $1 million in seed money. What’s more, you’ll be invited to develop the concept on live networks in one of Verizon’s 5G incubator labs, in New York City; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Los Angeles; Palo Alto, California, and Washington, D.C. And Verizon will provide training and technical support to the chosen innovators.It’s all part of a “Built on 5G Challenge” launched this week at CES in Las Vegas during a keynote address by Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg.5G is all about blistering speeds and low latency or network responsiveness, but the promise behind the technology extends well beyond the wicked fast handset you hope to carry in your pocket. There’s surely no small amount of hype around 5G, with Verizon referring to it as the “fourth industrial revolution.” The tech is meant to play an important role in self-driving cars, remote medicine, immersive education and all things connected, whether in your home, business or entire “smart community.”How might you play a small part in the revolution? Verizon’s challenge is open to venture-funded companies, bootstrapped startups, non-profits, educators, and yes, creative individuals. The $1 million that the company promises to dish out represents a pool of money that will be shared among a limited selection of potential winners; no more than two or three seems likely. If you’re the only one you could get the full million.Not just a PowerPointApplicants must meet certain criteria, says Sanyogita Shamunder, a network vice president for 5G ecosystems and innovation at Verizon. Is what you’ve cooked up real? What capabilities does the idea use? Can it realistically be implemented, given the current state of artificial intelligence, available hardware or other technologies? And does it really require 5G?”It can’t be just a PowerPoint. There needs to be a proof of concept,” Shamunder says.It’s too soon to tell, she adds, whether chosen ideas will turn into actual commercial products. Verizon could acquire the winning company behind an innovative idea—or not. It could license some aspect of the technology—or not. Citation: Edward C. Baig: Have a great idea for 5G? Verizon may give you a million dollars to make it happen (2019, January 16) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-01-edward-baig-great-idea-5g.htmllast_img read more

Did We Mishear Neil Armstrongs Famous First Words on the Moon

first_imgOn July 20, 1969, an estimated 650 million people watched in suspense as Neil Armstrong descended a ladder towards the surface of the Moon. As he took his first steps, he uttered words that would be written into history books for generations to come: “That’s one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.” Or at least that’s how the media reported his words.These Sharks Were Too Busy to Notice a Bigger Predator Watching ThemThe unexpected twist at the end of this feeding frenzy delighted scientists.Credit: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Windows to the Deep 2019Your Recommended PlaylistVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9接下来播放Headbutting Tiny Worms Are Really, Really Loud00:35关闭选项Automated Captions – en-US facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接https://www.livescience.com/65950-neil-armstrong-first-words-on-moon.html?jwsource=cl已复制直播00:0002:2802:28  But Armstrong insisted that he actually said, “That’s one small step for a man.” In fact, in the official transcript of the Moon landing mission, NASA transcribes the quote as “that’s one small step for (a) man.” As a linguist, I’m fascinated by mistakes between what people say and what people hear. In fact, I recently conducted a study on ambiguous speech, using Armstrong’s famous quote to try to figure out why and how we successfully understand speech most of the time, but also make the occasional mistake. Our extraordinary speech-processing abilities Despite confusion over Armstrong’s words, speakers and listeners have a remarkable ability to agree on what is said and what is heard. When we talk, we formulate a thought, retrieve words from memory and move our mouths to produce sound. We do this quickly, producing, in English, around five syllables every second. The process for listeners is equally complex and speedy. We hear sounds, which we separate into speech and non-speech information, combine the speech sounds into words, and determine the meanings of these words. Again, this happens nearly instantaneously, and errors rarely occur. These processes are even more extraordinary when you think more closely about the properties of speech. Unlike writing, speech doesn’t have spaces between words. When people speak, there are typically very few pauses within a sentence. Yet listeners have little trouble determining word boundaries in real time. This is because there are little cues — like pitch and rhythm — that indicate when one word stops and the next begins. But problems in speech perception can arise when those kinds of cues are missing, especially when pitch and rhythm are used for non-linguistic purposes, like in music. This is one reason why misheard song lyrics — called “mondegreens” — are common. When singing or rapping, a lot of the speech cues we usually use are shifted to accommodate the song’s beat, which can end up jamming our default perception process. But it’s not just lyrics that are misheard. This can happen in everyday speech, and some have wondered if this is what happened in the case of Neil Armstrong. Studying Armstrong’s mixed signals Over the years, researchers have tried to comb the audio files of Armstrong’s famous words, with mixed results. Some have suggested that Armstrong definitely produced the infamous “a,” while others maintain that it’s unlikely or too difficult to tell. But the original sound file was recorded 50 years ago, and the quality is pretty poor. So can we ever really know whether Neil Armstrong uttered that little “a”? Perhaps not. But in a recent study, my colleagues and I tried to get to the bottom of this. First, we explored how similar the speech signals are when a speaker intends to say “for” or “for a.” That is, could a production of “for” be consistent with the sound waves, or acoustics, of “for a,” and vice-versa? So we examined nearly 200 productions of “for” and 200 productions of “for a.” We found that the acoustics of the productions of each of these tokens were nearly identical. In other words, the sound waves produced by “He bought it for a school” and “He bought one for school” are strikingly similar. But this doesn’t tell us what Armstrong actually said on that July day in 1969. So we wanted to see if listeners sometimes miss little words like “a” in contexts like Armstrong’s phrase. We wondered whether “a” was always perceived by listeners, even when it was clearly produced. And we found that, in several studies, listeners often misheard short words, like “a.” This is especially true when the speaking rate was as slow as Armstrong’s. In addition, we were able to manipulate whether or not people heard these short words just by altering the rate of speech. So perhaps this was a perfect storm of conditions for listeners to misperceive the intended meaning of this famous quote. The case of the missing “a” is one example of the challenges in producing and understanding speech. Nonetheless, we typically perceive and produce speech quickly, easily and without conscious effort. A better understanding of this process can be especially useful when trying to help people with speech or hearing impairments. And it allows researchers to better understand how these skills are learned by adults trying to acquire a new language, which can, in turn, help language learners develop more efficient strategies. Fifty years ago, humanity was changed when Neil Armstrong took those first steps on the Moon. But he probably didn’t realize that his famous first words could also help us better understand how humans communicate. [Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter to get insight each day] Melissa Michaud Baese-Berk, Associate Professor of Linguistics, University of Oregon This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.last_img read more

5 Strange Cool Things Weve Recently Learned About the Moon

first_img Originally published on Live Science.by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeVikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 min and see why everyone is addicted!Vikings: Free Online GameUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndoTop 10 Best Meal DeliveryMeal Kit Wars: 10 Tested & Ranked. See Who WonTop 10 Best Meal DeliveryUndoFinance101What Are The Best States To Retire In?Finance101UndoBirch Gold GroupThis IRS Tax Law is Sweeping the U.S.Birch Gold GroupUndoAnti-Snoring SolutionA Simple Fix for Snoring And Sleep ApneaAnti-Snoring SolutionUndo 5. The moon is two-faced (probably because of a massive asteroid). Ours is a moon with two faces: the nearside boasts a thinner and smoother crust, while the farside crust is thicker and dotted by impact craters left nearly undisturbed by lava flows. The discrepancies have vexed scientists for decades, and in a new paper, researchers use models to explore what may be possible explanations for the stark differences. They argue that those distinctive sides could be the result of a giant impactor slamming into the moon and leaving a massive crater across the entire nearside. [Read more about what created the moon’s two faces.] Discover more fascinating facts about the moon with BBC America’s “Wonders of the Moon,” premiering Friday, July 19 at 10 p.m. EDT/9 p.m. CDT. 3. The moon is shrinking and quaking. The moon is shrinking. And as the crust of our lone satellite contracts, it tugs on cliff-like cracks on the surface, leading to lots of moonquakes, researchers have discovered. Scientists revisited moonquake data gathered from 1969 to 1977 by seismic equipment on the Apollo lunar missions. They mapped the seismic data to satellite images of thrust faults, or scarps — stairstep cliffs on the lunar surface. These formations stand dozens of feet high and extend for miles, and they are visible in images captured by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. The researchers discovered that around 25% of the moonquakes were likely generated by released energy from these faults, rather than by asteroid impacts or activity deep inside the moon. Scarps are spread across the face of the moon in a vast, global network, and are estimated to be no more than 50 million years old, the researchers wrote. The age and distribution of the scarps hint that they appeared as the moon’s interior cooled down, causing its crust to contract. [Read more about the moonquakes] A stunning shot of the 2017 total solar eclipse as soon from the Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Credit: Carla Thomas/NASA/BBC America A burnt-orange moon hangs over London. Although scientists have unraveled many of the moon’s mysteries in the 50 years since Apollo 11, mankind’s enchantment with our nearest neighbor has never dimmed. Credit: James Burns/BBC America The International Space Station’s incredible view of the moon. Credit: Luca Parmitano/BBC America 2. There’s an enormous, dense blob of metal below the surface of the moon’s south pole. Deep below the moon’s South Pole-Aitken basin (the largest preserved impact crater anywhere in the solar system), researchers have detected a gargantuan “anomaly” of heavy metal lodged in the mantle that is apparently altering the moon’s gravitational field. According to a study of the mysterious blob, published April 5 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, the anomaly likely weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 2.4 quadrillion tons (2.18 quintillion kilograms). The researchers aren’t sure how this giant blob of metal got itself trapped below the lunar surface. Simulations suggest it could be the heavy remnants of the iron-nickel asteroid that crashed into the far side of the moon and created the giant South Pole-Aitken crater some 4 billion years ago. [Read more about the massive blob beneath the moon.] Gallery: The Fantastic Full Mooncenter_img See Spectacular Lunar Mission Images in 3D (Photos) A beautiful bright moon illuminates Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales, UK. Credit: Allyn Wallace/BBC America 1. There is water on the moon, and it jumps around. In 2009, data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) led to the discovery of water on the moon locked up in ice. A recent upgrade to the orbiter, called the Lyman Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP), has allowed scientists to take a closer look at the water on the lunar surface. LAMP has revealed that water molecules move around the moon as the lunar surface warms and cools throughout the day. Water remains stuck on the moon’s surface until the lunar midday, when some of the water melts and heats up enough to lift into the moon’s delicate atmosphere. The water floats around a bit until it reaches an area cool enough to make it settle back down to the surface.Advertisement Water on other planetary bodies could be a valuable resource for human explorers to not only drink but also to serve as fuel for future robotic exploration, since water can be split to form rocket fuel, saving missions from having to carry that fuel from Earth. [Read more about how water hops around the moon.] Find Apollo 11 Landing Site While Skywatching The MoonFor the 50th anniversary of humanity’s first steps on the lunar surface, learn 5 facts about our moon and where to find the Apollo 11 landing site while viewing it in the night sky. Credit: NASA/JPL-CaltechVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9接下来播放Better Bug Sprays?01:33关闭选项Automated Captions – en-US facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接https://www.livescience.com/65943-strange-facts-about-the-moon.html?jwsource=cl已复制直播00:0003:1903:19Your Recommended Playlist01:33Better Bug Sprays?04:24Sperm Whale Befriends Underwater Robot01:08Why Do French Fries Taste So Bad When They’re Cold?00:29Robot Jumps Like a Grasshopper, Rolls Like a Ball02:31Surgical Robotics00:29Video – Giggly Robot关闭  Photos: Mysterious Objects on the Moon It’s been almost 50 years since a human first set foot on the moon. Since then, our knowledge about Earth’s closest neighbor has improved by leaps and bounds, and our obsession with it has never waned. Witness some of the most amazing images of the moon ever recorded and be reminded of the significant influence of our moon in BBC America’s new documentary “Wonders of the Moon,” premiering Friday, July 19 at 10 p.m. EDT/9 p.m. CDT. As the world begins its commemoration of the awe-inspiring first walk on the lunar surface, let’s review five of the most recent and fascinating scientific findings about the moon. 4. You won’t strike it rich on the moon. Gold, platinum and other metals known as highly siderophile (“iron-loving”) elements are far more abundant in Earth’s crust than they are in its natural satellite. That may seem odd, given the two worlds’ shared history. About 4.5 billion years ago, a Mars-size planet dubbed Theia slammed into the proto-Earth, blasting huge amounts of material from both bodies into space. Some of this liberated stuff was incorporated into the bruised and battered Earth, and some coalesced to form the moon. But highly siderophile elements (HSEs) appear to have been left out of the mix. These metals were likely delivered by later asteroid strikes — but why does Earth have so much more than the moon? The researchers suspect that the moon’s weaker gravitational pull means material delivered via impact isn’t as likely to have stayed on the moon as it did on Earth — lots of stuff that hits the moon returns to space. The small concentration of HSEs retained on the moon likely arrived before the moon’s magma ocean cooled and solidified, so the material became incorporated into the moon’s core. [Read more about why Earth has way more gold than the moon.]last_img read more

New York Is Overrun by Rats Yet We Know Almost Nothing About

first_img Chelsea Himsworth, Regional Director for the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, University of British Columbia This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeVikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 min and see why everyone is addicted!Vikings: Free Online GameUndoSecurity SaversWindows Users Advised To Do This TodaySecurity SaversUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndoKelley Blue Book2019 Lexus Vehicles Worth Buying for Their Resale ValueKelley Blue BookUndoArticles VallyDad Cuts Daughter’s Hair Off For Getting Birthday Highlights, Then Mom Does The UnthinkableArticles VallyUndoGundry MD Total Restore SupplementU.S. Cardiologist: It’s Like a Pressure Wash for Your InsidesGundry MD Total Restore SupplementUndo Rats! They eat our food, chew through our property and spread all sorts of nasty diseases. And they are gross (right?), with those naked tails and quick, unpredictable movements. Rats invade our homes — our castles! — the one place where we should be safe and in control. Over the millennia that we have lived with them, rats have proven themselves virtually impossible to expunge. They are so adaptable that they can exploit and infest virtually every corner of our cities. They avoid traps and poisons and reproduce at such a staggering rate that extermination attempts usually end up being a game of whack-a-mole… or, rather, whack-a-rat. Is it any wonder that many cities seem to be plagued by rats? Or do the cities themselves bear some responsibility for their rat problems? This is what I have been exploring over the past 10 years as a wildlife and public health researcher with the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative and the University of British Columbia.Headbutting Tiny Worms Are Really, Really LoudThis rapid strike produces a loud ‘pop’ comparable to those made by snapping shrimps, one of the most intense biological sounds measured at sea.Your Recommended PlaylistVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9接下来播放Why Is It ‘Snowing’ Salt in the Dead Sea?01:53 facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接https://www.livescience.com/65936-new-york-city-rats-and-humans.html?jwsource=cl已复制直播00:0000:3500:35  Challenges of managing urban rodents For the most part, when it comes to dealing with rats, cities have it all wrong. For example, rat-related issues are addressed using a hodgepodge of unrelated policy and programming. At best, municipal leadership is highly fragmented; at worst, it’s absent altogether. Municipal governments may address rat infestations that occur on public properties or in buildings scheduled for demolition. Local health authorities may address infestations in food establishments or where there is a demonstrated health risk. For the most part, people are left to fend for themselves. Another problem is that we know very little about urban rats. There is simply not enough information about them to answer even the most basic questions like: How many rats are there? Where do they live? Why are they there? Is the problem getting worse? Despite this lack of knowledge, cities are often willing to invest tremendous amounts of time and resources into pest control interventions, such as New York City’s $32 million “war on rats.” It means that cities have no metric to determine the return on their investments, because without knowing what the rat problem looked like beforehand, there is no way of knowing whether an intervention made the problem any better. The cohabiting solution The key to solving this problem may lie in simply changing our perspective. Rather than viewing the city as a place entirely under human control that’s being invaded by rats, we need to recognize that the city is an ecosystem and that rats live here too. This does not mean that we should love rats, nor does it mean that we need to leave them alone. Rather, it shifts the focus to managing the ecosystem of which rats are a part, rather than focusing on the rats themselves. Once we recognize that we are managing a system, it becomes clear that leadership and strategic planning are critical. The very concept of a system is that the whole is more than the sum of its parts; this is the antithesis of the reductionist approach that we’re accustomed to that deals with infestations on a case-by-case basis. Instead, we need to understand the urban ecosystem, just like we would if we were trying to manage polar bear populations in the Arctic or elephant populations on the savanna. This means substantive, long-term investments in collecting data on rat populations and the specific conditions that support them, as well as the impact of any implemented interventions. It also means understanding the interface between rats and humans. For the majority of urban centres, rats pose a relatively minor threat to people. The threats are certainly not in proportion to the amount of negative attention rats receive. This means we need to understand why we find rats so disturbing, and what can be done to reduce that fear. Urban ecologies An ecosystem lens also directs us to look at areas of vulnerability and resilience within the system. When it comes to rats, our homes are the most obvious place of vulnerability, where the relationship between rats and people is least acceptable. However, private residences are often the areas most ignored by municipal powers. Also, rats and rat-related issues disproportionately affect impoverished, inner-city neighbourhoods, and residents of these neighbourhoods are particularly vulnerable to the physical and mental health impacts of living with rats. By identifying and focusing on these highly vulnerable scenarios, cities can start to make meaningful changes in how we perceive and deal with rats. This is not to say the rest of the urban landscape should be ignored. Rather, the identification of particular areas of vulnerability needs to take place within a larger framework that uses ecosystem-based principles to address rats specifically. Examples include changing the way that garbage cans are designed and enacting tougher bylaws that enshrine the right to live in a healthy and rat-free environment. These sorts of policies and programs that increase the resilience of the system have the potential to curtail the physical and psychological damage done by rats. The result is that co-existence with rats will come to seem no more unthinkable than our co-existence with, for instance, squirrels.last_img read more

He rang in the second generation of reforms

first_imgpolitics Published on In 1999, when Atal Bihari Vajpayee took charge as prime minister, he would begin his first and only five-year tenure in the office. His previous two terms, in the midst of political instability, lasted only 13 days and 13 months, respectively.Eight years after the reforms of 1991, the Indian economy was only beginning to find its way. Vajpayee was faced with the prospect of having to take some tough decisions to ensure investor confidence and stability to the economy. Although he led a coalition government, Vajpayee did not hesitate to undertake the reforms.Privatisation of government enterprises — not just their disinvestment — was a key Vajpayee government initiative. He brought in legislation to cap fiscal deficit, and rolled out reforms to fund manager UTI, ushered in a new telecom policy, and masterminded the Golden Quadilateral highways. A look at each in detail. PrivatisationIf selling government shareholding in central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) — what Jawaharlal Nehru called the ‘temples of modern India’ — was not easy, privatising them was a distant dream. However, Vajpayee, along with his Disinvestment Minister Arun Shourie, not just offloaded equity in some of the CPSEs but successfully managed to privatise companies such as Maruti, BALCO, Hindustan Zinc, Modern Foods and VSNL. Besides, the Vajpayee Government offloaded minority stake in many other CPSEs, such as ONGC, IOCL and GAIL, that yielded over ₹20,500 crore for the government.Managing the fiscThe first National Democratic Alliance government enacted a new law, the Fiscal Respsonsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, to keep the fiscal deficit under 3 per cent. The FRBM Act aimed to introduce transparent fiscal management systems in the country, a more equitable and manageable distribution of the country’s debts over the years, and fiscal stability in the long run. Though successive governments deferred bringing the fiscal deficit to the 3 per cent level, it still brought about more responsibility and accountability. The Act also prescribed three documents as part of the Budget documents: a Medium Term Fiscal Policy Statement, a Fiscal Policy Strategy Statement, and a Macro-economic Framework Statement. These documents have helped in understanding fiscal situations and planning the way ahead.The UTI scamAfter the US-64 scam came into light, the Vajpayee government took steps not just to bifurcate fund manager Unit Trust of India (UTI), but also came out with guidelines for the entire mutual fund (MF) industry. Most important was the ban on assured returns on investment in MF schemes. This brought more clarity for the investors, and also restored confidence.The rural focusIt was a common understanding that urban India enjoyed the fruits of the reform initiatives of 1991, and that Bharat, or the rural population, lagged behind. In order to remove this perception, the Vajpayee government launched ambitious road projects such as the Golden Quadrilateral network of highways and the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna. The Golden Quadrilateral connected the four metros of Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai through a network of highways, while the PMGSY was planned as a network of all-weather roads for unconnected villages. Both projects proved to be immense successes, and not only contributed to the growth story, but also bridged the gap between India and Bharat.New ring to telecomThe New Telecom Policy of 1999 transformed the country’s telecom industry. The fixed-license fee regime was replaced with a revenue-sharing arrangement. The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) was carved out of the Department of Telecommunications to separate policy formulation from services. The creation of the Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) also separated the government’s regulatory role (performed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) and its dispute-settlement roles. The government ended the monopoly of the Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd on international telephony and allowed private firms to offer the ISD facility.Even today, many an economic discussion seems to hinge on these challenges only: no strategic disinvestment has happened since then; the telecom policy seems to be undergoing constant change; and managing fiscal deficit remains a challengeVajpayee was a master in delegating responsibilities, says a former top official who served in a key economic ministry during the NDA rule. Whether it was on the international stage, or within the country, Vajpayee’s ministers did not shy away from taking decisions. The strength of economy was also on show when, even after sanctions were imposed in the wake of the nuclear test in Pokhran, India survived without begging, said another officer. COMMENT people RELATED death When Vajpayee steadfastly said ‘Nothing doing’ for a Bharat Ratnacenter_img SHARE SHARE EMAIL The Vajpayee government liberalised the economy further, and gave a new direction to infrastructure The peacemaker departs August 16, 2018 SHARE COMMENTSlast_img read more

SBI announces temporary waiver of charges on transactions in Kerala

first_imgSHARE SHARE EMAIL COMMENT flood Published on State Bank of India on Saturday announced a temporary waiver of various charges and fees on banking transactions in flood ravaged Kerala. The waiver extends to processing fees for any loan relating to flood relief measures, charges for issuing duplicate passbooks, ATM cards, cheque books and late payment fees on EMI.Further, all charges on remittances to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (including NEFT/ RTGS remittances from other banks) and charges on non-maintenance of minimum balance from proceeds of relief fund provided by the Government and agencies, are to be put on hold. If any such charges are recovered, the same would be refunded. India’s largest bank has also announced relief measures to support the flood affected people: Xpress credit to existing account holders with relaxed norms (for one month’s consumption), and deployment of cash @ PoS to meet daily cash requirements across the state (customers will be able to avail of Rs 2,000 to meet expenses for basic needs). As part of the relief measures, the bank said individuals who have been displaced and lost personal documents can open small accounts with a photograph and signature/ thumb impression. “All efforts are being made to restore flood-affected ATMs and branches, to make them operational at the earliest. The bank is also working on the possibility of starting operations through temporary premises after taking stock of the overall situation,” it said. SBI, in a statement, said it has made a commitment of Rs 2 crore to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF) for the flood affected regions in Kerala. In addition, the bank is encouraging its 2.7 lakh employees to make contributions to the best of their capacities. To support this initiative, the bank would match the amount collected by its employees and donate the same to CMDRF. Kerala August 18, 2018 SHARE COMMENTS State Bank of India natural disasterslast_img read more

Kerala government raises cap on direct purchases from startups to ₹20 lakh

first_imgCOMMENTS Kerala September 19, 2018 COMMENT Saji Gopinath, CEO, Kerala Start-up Mission   –  The Hindu SHARE SHARE EMAILcenter_img entrepreneurship The Kerala government has raised, from ₹5 lakh to ₹20 lakh, the cap on direct purchase of software products, services and mobile apps from ventures cleared by the Kerala Startup Mission. Only preconditions for eligibility are that the start-up needs to be registered with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Government of India, and registered in Kerala. With this, various departments can purchase from start-ups products worth ₹20 lakh every year, excluding GST, an official said here. The decision is in response to a proposal submitted by the Mission to project the government as an early marketplace. This, according to the official, is expected to boost the start-up ecosystem in the State in a big way. Saji Gopinath, CEO of the Mission, said the ₹5-lakh ceiling presented a challenge in enhancing the scope of innovative products in various departments. According to him, the recent floods had proven the start-ups’ potential role in disaster management. As per the relevant Government Order, one purchasing officer, however, cannot purchase more than two applications in one year from one start-up. Published on SHARElast_img read more

Amit Shah files nomination for Gandhinagar LS seat

first_imgnational elections SHARE SHARE EMAIL RELATED Gandhinagar March 30, 2019 BJP President Shri Amit Shah waves to people during a Road Show in Ahmedabad on Saturday, March 30, 2019   –  The Hindu Gujarat Published on COMMENT SHARE There were issues between Sena and BJP, but resolved now: Uddhav Thackeray BJP veteran and former deputy Prime Minister L K Advani had won for five consecutive terms from this constituency (1998 to 2014). The 91-year old leader, however, has not been given a ticket this time. After a mega show-of strength on Saturday in Ahmedabad, Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah filed his nomination papers for the Gandhinagar Parliamentary constituency eyeing a debut to the Lok Sabha from the saffron bastion.Shah handed over his nomination papers to the Gandhinagar district collector in presence of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minsiter Arun Jaitley and Thackrey.The seat is currently represented by BJP veteran and former deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani, who had won for five consecutive terms from 1998 to 2014. The 91-year old leader, however, has not been given a ticket this time. The opposition party, Congress has yet not declared its candidate for Gandhinagar constituency. Top brass of the Central BJP leadership and the key National Democratic Alliance (NDA) allies such as Uddhav Thackrey from Shiv Sena, Ram Vilas Paswan from Lok Janshakti Party and Prakash Singh Badal from Shiromani Akali Dal remained present at the rally.TributesBefore heading to Gandhinagar later in the day, Shah paid tributes to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s statue in Ahmedabad and addressed a large gathering of BJP supporters on Saturday morning. “The party has nominated me from Gandhinagar constituency, which has been represented by Advaniji for long. He worked hard to make this constituency among the most developed ones. I will try to continue his legacy forward,” said Shah, who is currently a Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat. Notably, before being nominated for Rajya Sabha, Shah had represented a large portion of the Gandhinagar LS constituency in the State Assembly as an MLA from earlier Sarkhej and then Naranpura Assembly constituencies.Eyeing a debut to the Lower House of the Parliament, Shah recalled his journey within the party, “There will be nothing left for me, if BJP is taken away from my life. Whatever I have learnt and catered to the nation, it all belongs to the BJP.”SupportEarlier, Ram Vilas Paswan and Uddhav Thackrey made public address raising questions on the united opposition front under Mahagathbandhan and the Congress. “They have in-fighting about their leader. How can they give a stable government to the country? We will not be among those who back-stab (the BJP). On the principles laid down by My father, our party will support Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the next term,” said Thackrey amid clamour in support of “Modi Again”.Other senior BJP leaders present at the rally were Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal besides the Chief Minister of Gujarat Vijay Rupani and deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel along with State party chief Jitu Vaghani. The Gandhinagar constituency, having an electorate of about 19.20 lakh voters, will go to polls in the third phase on April 13. BJP COMMENTSlast_img read more

Miffed Sidhu skips first Cabinet meet says cant be taken for granted

first_imgNavjot Singh Sidhu   –  THE HINDU SHARE SHARE EMAIL SHARE people COMMENT June 06, 2019center_img  Under fire from Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for Congress’ “poor performance” in urban areas in the Lok Sabha election, Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, on Thursday, skipped the first Cabinet meeting after elections and asserted he could not be “taken for granted”.Amarinder had recently said he intended to change the cricketer-turned-politician’s portfolio — Local Government Department — over the party’s performance.“I cannot be taken for granted. I have been a performer throughout the 40 years of my life. Be it international cricket, or world class commentary with Geoffrey Boycott, TV shows or motivational talks,” Sidhu told reporters.He said the urban areas had played pivotal role in the party’s victory in Punjab and his department is being singled out.“My department is being singled out publicly. I always regard him as my elder and listen to him. But it hurts. Where is the collective responsibility now? He (Amarinder) could have called me and said anything he wanted to say,” Sidhu said here.In the recently held general election, Congress won eight out of the 13 seats. The SAD-BJP combine won four while the AAP managed to win just one seat. COMMENTS Published on politicslast_img read more

Floods affect 1991 million people

first_img Philippines 9h ago UN to look into Philippines deaths in war on drugs Related News {{category}} {{time}} {{title}} BEIJING: A total of 19.91 million people have been affected by floods since the beginning of the flood season this summer in China, according to the Ministry of Emergency Management. Related News Tags / Keywords:center_img Philippines 9h ago Philippine hit over ‘secret talks’ with fishermen The country had relocated about 1.3 million people due to floods, while 582,000 people were in need of emergency aid, the ministry said.The ministry has pledged to make every effort to meet the basic living needs of those stricken by floods. It will also work with water resource departments to intensify the patrol and maintenance of major dams and embankments, deploy more rescue forces in heavily flooded areas and make contingency plans for serious disasters. — China Daily/Asia News Network China 9h ago Four Britons held in China Chinalast_img read more