New FSMB report recommends best practices for regulating physicians use of stem

first_img Source:https://www.fsmb.org/ May 8 2018The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) has released a report recommending best practices for regulating the promotion, communication and practices of treatments received at stem cell clinics in the United States. The report was drafted by FSMB’s Workgroup to Study Regenerative and Stem Cell Therapy Practices and aims to raise awareness about these practices generally, outline potential benefits and risks, as well as provide basic guidance for state medical boards and their licensees.Related StoriesNanoparticles used to deliver CRISPR gene editing tools into the cellSlug serves as ‘command central’ for determining breast stem cell healthAbcam Acquire Off-The-Shelf Diploid Library of Over 2,800 Knockout Cell LinesThe Workgroup was established in response to a request from Senator Lamar Alexander (TN-R), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. Sen. Alexander asked the FSMB to lead efforts to develop recommendations for state medical boards in their pursuit to help protect patients from unproven or unethical stem cell treatments.”The field of stem cell therapies is rapidly evolving, and with that advancement comes the need for consistent regulation to ensure patients are not being exploited or harmed,” said Humayun J. Chaudhry, DO, MACP, President and CEO of the FSMB. “We are hopeful that these recommendations will provide guidance in helping to achieve an appropriate balance between respecting patient autonomy and protecting patients from the risks of unproven and potentially dangerous interventions.”Appointed by Greg Snyder, MD, former Chair of the FSMB Board of Directors, the Workgroup included members of state medical boards, subject matter experts, and a patient representative. The report and its recommendations were voted on and passed unanimously by the FSMB House of Delegates at FSMB’s Annual Meeting in Charlotte, NC.last_img read more

Study shows how moderate consumption of alcohol can protect the heart

first_imgJun 18 2018For at least 20 years, research has shown that for many people, moderate consumption of alcohol can protect the heart, but the reason for this is poorly understood.A study conducted at the University of São Paulo’s Biomedical Science Institute (ICB-USP) in Brazil suggests that this cardioprotective mechanism may be associated with activation of ALDH2 (aldehyde dehydrogenase-2), a mitochondrial enzyme that helps rid the organism of both the toxic byproducts of alcohol digestion and a type of reactive molecule produced in heart cells when they suffer major damage, such as that caused by a heart attack.”Our data suggest moderate exposure to ethanol causes minor stress in heart cells but not enough to kill them. Intracellular signaling is reorganized as a result, and heart cells eventually create a biochemical memory to protect against stress, also known as preconditioning. When the cells are submitted to a higher level of stress, they know how to deal with it,” said Julio Cesar Batista Ferreira, a professor in ICB-USP’s Anatomy Department and principal investigator for the research project, which was supported by the São Paulo Research Foundation – FAPESP.The Brazilian researchers are working in partnership with scientists at Stanford University in the United States. Recent results obtained during Cintia Bagne Ueta’s postdoctoral research have been published in Cardiovascular Research.To study the cardioprotective effects of alcohol at the cellular level, the researchers simulated a condition similar to myocardial infarction in mouse hearts kept alive in an artificial system. In this ex vivo model, the heart continues to beat outside the body for several hours while being perfused with an oxygenated and nutrient-enriched solution.The scientists then simulated a clinical condition known as ischemia-reperfusion injury by interrupting the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the heart for 30 minutes. When the flow was restarted, the heart began beating again slowly, and after an hour, the researchers assessed the damage. In this model, approximately 50% of cardiac cells die on average unless there is some type of intervention.”Lack of oxygen used to be considered the main cause of damage, but research has shown that during ischemia, the cells change their metabolism and enter a sort of dormant state. When the artery is unblocked [reperfusion], the tissue is flooded with nutrients and oxygen, and cell metabolism collapses,” Ferreira explains.In response to stress, cardiac cells produce large amounts of 4-HNE (4-hydroxy-2-nonenal), a reactive aldehyde that is toxic in excess and destroys essential cellular structures.The mitochondrial enzyme ALDH2 normally rids the organism of accumulated aldehydes – both 4-HNE in stressed cardiac cells and the acetaldehyde resulting from ethanol breakdown in the liver after a bout of drinking.In previous research, however, Ferreira’s group in partnership with colleagues at Stanford led by Daria Mochly-Rosen showed that ALDH2 activity during the process of ischemia and reperfusion was significantly reduced. These findings were published in Science Translational Medicine and Circulation Journal.”The amount of 4-HNE becomes so large inside the cardiac cells that it ends up attacking the enzyme ALDH2, which should be metabolizing it,” Ferreira said.”In our new study, we observed that ALDH2 activity in the heart exposed to ethanol before ischemia-reperfusion injury remained equal to that seen in a healthy heart. We believe the stress caused by a moderate dose of ethanol leaves a memory and that the cell learns to keep ALDH2 more active,” added the coordinator of the FAPESP-funded research.Five groupsMice were divided into five groups to explore the mechanisms underlying the observed cardioprotective effect. The hearts in the control group suffered no damage and received no treatment or intervention. The hearts in the second group were submitted to ischemia and reperfusion, losing approximately 50% of their cells as a result.In the third group, before inducing the ischemic injury, the researchers exposed the hearts extracted from male mice to ethanol for ten minutes, at a dose equivalent to two cans of beer or two glasses of wine for an average man. The dose was adjusted according to each animal’s mass.Related StoriesResearch opens possibility of developing single-dose gene therapy for inherited arrhythmiasNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerStroke should be treated 15 minutes earlier to save lives, study suggests”We endeavored to follow the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO), which is up to one dose per day [18 grams of alcohol] for women and up to two doses per day for men. In the case of mice, it was around 50 millimolar,” Ferreira explained.The hearts were washed for ten minutes to remove surplus alcohol, and the flow of oxygen and nutrients was then interrupted, as for group two. An analysis performed approximately one hour after reperfusion showed that only 30% of the cells had died. In other words, the damage was reduced by almost 60% in comparison with group two. Also, the FAPESP-supported study found that ALDH2 activity was twice as high as in the untreated group and equivalent to the level measured in the control group, which was not submitted to the insult.In the fourth group, the hearts were treated with ethanol and exposed to a drug that inhibits ALDH2 activity. In this case, the rate of cell death rose from 50% to 80%, confirming that the protection provided by ethanol does indeed depend on the action of this enzyme.The fifth and last group consisted of hearts from mice with a mutation in the gene encoding ALDH2 that reduced the enzyme’s activity by almost 80%. As Ferreira explained, the mice were genetically modified to simulate this mutation, which is very common among humans of East Asian descent and affects over 500 million people worldwide.”In this group, when we exposed the hearts to ethanol, the damage caused by ischemia and reperfusion was greater,” he said. “The rate of cell death rose from 50% to 70%. However, when we treated this group’s hearts with Alda-1, an experimental drug that activates ALDH2, it fell to 35%.”Treatment with Alda-1 was not found to benefit the hearts of mice without the ALDH2 gene mutation when exposed to ethanol. “This suggests that both the experimental drug and alcohol act on the same molecular mechanism to activate ALDH2,” he added.Alda-1 has completed Phase I clinical trials in the US and is classified as safe for use in healthy humans. In a new phase of trials due to begin soon, it will be administered to patients with heart disease.Role of DNAFerreira drew a parallel between regular consumption of small amounts of alcohol by humans and the results observed in the hearts of mice treated with ethanol in the laboratory.”However, it all depends on people’s DNA,” he stressed. “The acetaldehyde that results from digesting ethanol may protect most people if a small amount is produced, but it can also maximize the damage done by a heart attack in an individual with the ALDH2 gene mutation. It’s easy to identify these people. After one glass of beer, they get flushed and complain of a headache. Their resistance to alcohol doesn’t improve over time.”Heart damage may also be exacerbated if a large amount of alcohol is consumed, Ferreira warned, as this results in excessive production of acetaldehyde and makes the cleansing normally performed by ALDH2 much harder.”The group treated with the ALDH2-inhibiting drug [in which the rate of cell death reached 80%] mimicked what happens when a person drinks too heavily. The hard part is establishing the safe dose for each individual. There are many variables that affect alcohol digestion,” Ferreira said.The researchers at ICB-USP are now trying to understand how the presence of acetaldehyde resulting from the metabolizing of alcohol in heart cells creates the memory that keeps ALDH2 more active. The idea is to develop a drug that mimics the beneficial effect of ethanol without exposing the individual to risks such as chemical dependency.”Alda-1 is a possible candidate, but more trials to guarantee its safety and effectiveness in humans are needed,” Ferreira said.Source: http://agencia.fapesp.br/28050last_img read more

Mortality from heart failure remains higher in women than men

first_img Source:http://www.cmaj.ca/ Jul 16 2018Death rates from heart failure are higher for women than men, and hospitalization rates have increased in women while declining in men, found a study from the University of Ottawa Heart Institute published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).”This is the first of a series of studies to examine the sex differences in heart failure incidence, outcomes, care delivery and access in Ontario,” says Dr. Louise Sun, University of Ottawa Heart Institute, Ottawa, Ontario.Related StoriesNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerStudy explores role of iron in over 900 diseasesStroke should be treated 15 minutes earlier to save lives, study suggestsHeart failure is a major cause of illness and death and accounts for 35% of total female cardiovascular deaths. Recent research indicates heart failure rates have declined, although information on sex differences in outcomes for men and women is lacking.To understand sex differences in heart failure outcomes, researchers looked at data on more than 90 000 patients diagnosed with heart failure in Ontario over 5 years (2009 to 2014). Of the total cases, 47% were female and were more likely to be older and frailer, to have lower income and to have multiple chronic illnesses. The number of new heart failure cases was lowest in 2011 and 2012, then began to rise the following year. Within one year of follow-up after diagnosis, 16.8% (7156) women died compared with 14.9% (7138) men. During the study period, hospitalization rates for women surpassed rates for men, with 98 women per 1000 hospitalized in 2013 compared with 91 per 1000 men.”We found that mortality from heart failure remains high, especially in women; that hospital admissions for heart failure decreased in men but increased in women; and that women and men had different associated comorbidities.,” write the authors. “Further studies should focus on sex differences in health-seeking behavior, medical therapy and response to therapy to improve outcomes in women.”last_img read more

New method to construct brain networks improves accuracy of diagnosing Alzheimers disease

first_img Source:http://www.qc.cuny.edu/ Aug 1 2018A new method published in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging constructs networks based on multiple structural features to identify Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairmentResearchers have developed a new method for constructing personal brain networks using multiple structural features to improve the accuracy of diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The personal networks accurately classified 96 percent of patients with AD or MCI from healthy control participants, a level similar to the current accuracy of clinical evaluations. The high performance of the method suggests it could be useful in clinics to enhance auto-diagnosis of AD and MCI based on brain imaging.Related StoriesDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustResearchers measure EEG-based brain responses for non-speech and speech sounds in childrenStudy provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with agingThe study, published in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, was led by co-senior authors Bin Hu, Ph.D, of Lanzhou University, China, and Jin Fan, Ph.D., of Queens College, The City University of New York.Incorporating multiple structural brain features is a key component of the method. AD and MCI pathology is marked by gradual deterioration, or atrophy, of brain tissue. “If we consider the brain as a highly interactive system, the atrophy of one part of the brain may have significant association with the other structure of the brain. However, examination of this phenomenon has often been omitted from most studies due to methodology limitations,” said the first author Weihao Zheng, a doctoral student in the laboratory of Dr. Hu.So Zheng and colleagues constructed the model based on six types of morphological features, including measures of the largest alterations in the disease, such as cortical thickness and brain volume, and more subtle features not usually incorporated into network models, such as brain surface area. They tested the method on 165 healthy control participants, 221 participants with MCI, and 142 participants with AD.Although the method demonstrated high performance for classifying the patients from controls, it was less successful at discriminating between AD and MCI patients, with an accuracy of about 70 percent. MCI is considered a transitional stage of AD, where patients have trouble with memory, but still have normal general cognitive functioning. Many patients with MCI eventually progress to AD, but there is currently no way to accurately distinguish which patients will develop AD. The authors also applied the new method to classify patients who converted from MCI to AD and those who did not convert, and the method predicted the progression of MCI to AD with about 65 percent accuracy.last_img read more

USC scientists develop new way to identify molecular markers of breast cancer

first_img Source:https://www.usc.edu/ Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Sep 6 2018A research team led by USC scientists has developed a new way to identify molecular markers of breast cancer tumors, a potentially life-saving breakthrough that could lead to better treatment for millions of women.Aided by machine learning, the researchers taught a computer to rapidly sort images of breast tumors to identify which ones had estrogen receptors, a key to determining prognosis and treatment options. That’s a big step forward from microscopes and cell biopsies in use for more than a century, according to the scientists.The work opens a new pathway for breast cancer treatment that promises faster results for less cost for more people worldwide, said David B. Agus, professor at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. He is also CEO of the Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine of USC.The findings appear this week in Nature Partner Journals Breast Cancer.”It’s the beginning of a revolution to use machine learning to get new information about breast cancer to the physician,” Agus said. “We can use it to detect better treatments, get information to patients faster and help more people. We’re unleashing this power to give new information to physicians and help treat cancer.”Except for skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States. While deaths have declined, it remains the second-leading cause of cancer death among women and the leading cause of cancer death among Hispanic women.About 237,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in U.S. women and about 41,000 die from the disease each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The key to identifying and treating cancer is knowing the nature of the tumor. Cancer cells that contain receptors for estrogen and other hormones respond differently to cancer drugs that target these mechanisms. While doctors use these characteristics to classify tumors and select treatments, testing for markers is a slow and inefficient process.For example, assays can be inconsistent depending on the laboratory doing the testing. They’re also expensive, take weeks to do and are unavailable in many developing countries.Related StoriesStudy: Nearly a quarter of low-risk thyroid cancer patients receive more treatment than necessaryNew study to ease plight of patients with advanced cancerSugary drinks linked to cancer finds study”If you’re diagnosed with cancer, it’ll be a few weeks before you get a call from the doctor saying they’ve identified a marker,” said Dan Ruderman, one of the study authors and assistant professor of research medicine at the Keck School of Medicine. “With machine learning technology, we can tell you the same day, so there’s less delay, less stress and potentially better outcomes. It’s going to enable us to identify the right drug and dose more quickly. It’s a big step toward personalized medicine.”While machine learning has been used before for cancer detection, the USC study adapted the technology to more clearly focus on telltale markers of a cell’s nucleus. The key was to extract parameters describing the shape of nuclei, and feeding these into a large neural network that could learn relationships between nucleus shape and molecular markers.The scientists used publicly available hematoxylin-eosin (H&E) stained histopathology images. the cell-stained slides doctors have been using for more than a century. Next, they ascertained clinical status for 113 cancer patients, then split the patients into two groups, using one group to train a convolutional neural network algorithm, which is used to enhance visual imagery, and another to test the machine. When they compared the two sets, they found a strong correlation, providing high confidence that an algorithm can predict the estrogen receptor status of the tumor.”We can use this technology to identify the molecular markers of the tumor and in the future will identify which therapeutics the tumor will respond to. Machine learning helps us get this information to patients sooner and may transform cancer care in the developing world where precise breast cancer marker assessment is in short supply,” said Rishi Rawat, a graduate student in the Keck School of Medicine and first author of the study.So far, the research findings demonstrate that the new technology has the potential to improve clinical care. Validation studies are under way – an important step before it’s ready for use in the doctor’s office.last_img read more

Video German bees can snag English bees if they vibrate like their

first_imgGood vibrations indeed. Female red mason bees (Osmia bicornis, seen in video) choose to have sex with a male based on how well he can vibrate his thorax. Initially scientists thought that the females were cuing in on how long the males could keep the vibration going—a testament to fitness and stamina. But along the way, researchers discovered that females from a subspecies native to the United Kingdom preferred U.K. males over German members from the opposite subspecies regardless of who could vibrate the longest. This led scientists to wonder whether information about the bees’ geographic origin and subspecies identity was also conveyed through the vibrations. To be sure, they needed away to control for confounding variables, especially odor. Today in Current Biology scientists report the development of a novel test that uses a vibrating magnet attached to the bees’ thorax to impose one male’s vibrational pattern onto another male’s body. Before the magnet treatment the least compatible bee pairings were U.K. females and German males. But after scientists recorded the vibrations of U.K. males and duplicated them in the magnet strapped to the Germans, the U.K. females became much more receptive. Like Cyrano de Bergerac feeding Christian lines from underneath Roxane’s balcony, the German males had much better luck when they mimicked the premating communication of another. The scientists point out that, in the wild (where there are no magnetic wingmen), the females’ preference for local males’ vibrations could be an early sign of speciation in the red mason bees: If the females of one subspecies stop mating with the other subspecies entirely, the two lineages may eventually become incompatible and diverge into two separate species.last_img read more

Rich sexual past between modern humans and Neandertals revealed

first_imgFirst, researchers found that Melanesians have inherited 2% to 4% of their DNA from the Denisovans, known from fossils at least 50,000 years old from Denisova Cave in Siberia, Russia. Then, they found that Denisovans had also interbred with  Neandertals. Last year, researchers discovered that a 40,000-year-old modern human from Romania had a Neandertal great-great-great grandparent—but this Neandertal genome does not live on in present-day humans (Science, 22 May 2015, p. 847). Last month researchers reported modern DNA in a Neandertal toe bone, suggesting another early mating between the two types of humans, perhaps 100,000 years ago or so. And this week, the same team reports interbreeding between Denisovans and 440,000-year-old ancestors of Neandertals.All this mixing has resulted in a patchwork of archaic DNA segments in modern human genomes. Tracing the source of each segment isn’t easy, in part because Neandertals and Denisovans were closely related. In Melanesians, for example, “up to 20% of the time when we say a segment matches a Neandertal, it’s Denisovan,” says population geneticist Joshua Akey of the University of Washington, Seattle, who led the new study.So Akey’s team developed a statistical method to help identify and classify archaic DNA more reliably. They sequenced the genomes of 35 Island Melanesians, who carry more archaic DNA than any other group, and also analyzed the genomes of nearly 1500 other people around the world. They used the sequence data to find chunks of DNA likely inherited from archaic ancestors. Then they used new statistical methods to see how reliably they could classify the archaic DNA as Neandertal or Denisovan, and whether different populations had the same source of archaic DNA.Akey expected that diverse Neandertal ancestors had contributed to Melanesian genomes, but that’s not what the team found: Most of the Melanesians’ archaic DNA turned out to be from Denisovans. What Neandertal DNA they have stems from a single liaison—the first one, soon after modern humans left Africa. A second Neandertal encounter shows up in the genomes of Europeans, South Asians, and East Asians, and likely happened in the Middle East before these populations diverged. Finally, the ancestors of East Asians had a third hookup with Neandertals, presumably somewhere in Asia (see graphic, below). Only a bit of the DNA coiled inside the cells of Europeans and Asians comes from Neandertals, but those snippets have sparked a flurry of research. In the past few years, researchers have traced them to one or two ancient encounters with our extinct cousins. Now, a report published online in Science this week details a far richer sexual past for modern humans and their archaic cousins, one that played out at multiple times and places over the past 60,000 years.By developing powerful new statistical methods, an international team has identified how often and on which continents modern humans, Neandertals, and a second kind of archaic human called Denisovans met and mated. The researchers conclude that if you’re an East Asian, you have three Neandertals in your family tree; Europeans and South Asians have two, and Melanesians only one. (Africans, whose ancestors did not mate with Neandertals, have none.) Add in two additional liaisons known only from fossil DNA, and the ancestors of modern humans and Neandertals mixed it up at least five times. (Any matings that produced no offspring can’t be traced.) Meanwhile, the Denisovans bred at least once with Melanesians. “It was apparently separate events, so not just one single happy party at some point,” says evolutionary biologist Alan 
Cooper of the University of Adelaide in Australia, who was not part of the new study.When researchers first spotted traces of Neandertal nuclear DNA in living people, they assumed that it must have come from a rare mating or two, likely when modern humans left Africa and first pushed into Neandertal territory in western Asia. But since then, the family history of modern humans and their cousins has grown tangled. 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 most likely explanation, Akey says, is that Melanesians split from the ancestors of Europeans and Asians before the second encounter. Later, East Asians broke away from Europeans and South Asians and got a third pulse of Neandertal DNA as they went their separate way. Meanwhile, the ancestors of Melanesians picked up genes from Denisovans somewhere in Asia. The legacy of this ancient sex includes 21 chunks of archaic DNA bearing immune genes that recognize viruses, along with several metabolism genes, such as GCG, which increases blood glucose levels, and PLPP1, a cell membrane protein that breaks down fats. These genes may have helped modern humans adapt to new diseases, diets, and climates as they moved into Neandertal territory in Europe and Asia. But the researchers also found “deserts”—stretches of the human genome where no archaic DNA appears. These genomic regions may once have carried the legacy of ancient encounters, but it no longer survives in living people. That suggests that these parts of the genome, which contain genes linked to language, brain development, and autism, are critical to a modern human’s identity and reproductive fitness: Archaic gene variants can’t be tolerated here.Some researchers caution that modern DNA may not be a completely reliable guide to ancient matings. Groups like Melanesians may have simply lost archaic genes over time, so that their full mating history with Neandertals was erased. “It seems possible that the differences in Neandertal ancestry between present-day people could be due to differences in the efficacy of natural selection ‘weeding out’ Neandertal segments,” says population geneticist Pontus Skoglund of Harvard University.Still, he and others praise the power of the new method and the pace at which researchers are building a catalog of DNA inherited from archaic humans, which keeps adding new twists to the story of our origins. As evolutionary biologist Eske 
Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen and the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom notes: “It seems like [ancient admixture] keeps getting more complicated.” Emailcenter_img ADAPTED FROM VERNOT ET AL./SCIENCE Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more

China successfully launches xray satellite

first_imgA rocket carrying China’s new x-ray telescope blasts off. By Dennis NormileJun. 15, 2017 , 11:00 AM China successfully launches x-ray satellite The HMXT is the last of the cluster of four space science missions covered under China’s 12th 5-year plan that were developed by the National Space Science Center (NSSC) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing—the other three are a dark matter probe, a collection of microgravity experiments, and a test of long-range quantum entanglement. Funding constraints meant all four had to be developed simultaneously, and all four were launched over the course of 18 months. “This is not a sustainable way to have a science program,” NSSC Director Ji Wu told Science in a 2016 interview.It would be better to get steady funding annually instead of in 5-year lump sums, he said. Nevertheless, NSSC has again gotten a 5-year budget to develop its next batch of four space science missions, all of which will likely be launched between 2020 and 2022. Among these is the Einstein Probe, a next-generation x-ray telescope that Fabian expects will build on the accomplishments of the HXMT. China’s first astronomical satellite, an x-ray telescope that will search the sky for black holes, neutron stars, and other extremely energetic phenomena, raced into orbit today after a morning launch from the Gobi Desert.The 2.5-ton Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (HXMT), dubbed Insight according to the official Xinhua news agency, was carried aloft by a Long March-4B rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. The newest of several x-ray telescope in space, the HXMT will observe some of the most turbulent processes in the universe. The x-rays generated by those events cannot penetrate Earth’s atmosphere; they can only be observed by instruments mounted on high-altitude balloons or satellites. The HXMT carries three x-ray telescopes observing at energies ranging from 20 to 200 kilo-electron volts as well as an instrument to monitor the space environment, according to its designers. While orbiting 550 kilometers above the planet, the HXMT will perform an all-sky survey that is expected to discover a thousand new x-ray sources. Over an expected operating lifetime of 4 years, it will also conduct focused observations of black holes, neutron stars, and gamma ray bursts.This latest achievement by China’s space science program “is certainly welcomed” by the astronomical community, says Andrew Fabian, a theoretical astrophysicist at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. “It’s very meaningful that they’ve launched their first astronomical satellite and this will pave the way for others,” he says. Fabian predicts that the HXMT sky survey will prove particularly valuable for catching transient x-ray sources that emerge, flare up to tremendous brightness, and then just as quickly fade away. As yet, the processes behind x-ray transients are poorly understood. Other missions are also trying to catch transients in the act. But “any satellite looking at that phenomena is going to find interesting things and do good science,” Fabian says. Emailcenter_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Zhen Zhe/SIPA/Newscom Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwelast_img read more

Top stories hunting for new elements asymmetrical aurorae and the Mars rovers

first_img(left to right): MAX AGUILERA HELLWEG; PIXABAY; NASA/JPL/Cornell University Top stories: hunting for new elements, asymmetrical aurorae, and the Mars rover’s last gasp Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country A storied Russian lab is trying to push the periodic table past its limits—and uncover exotic new elementsAre we at the end of the periodic table? Russian physicist Yuri Oganessian, the only living scientist to have an element named in his honor, doesn’t think so. He will soon oversee a new wing of the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions in Dubna, Russia, a fabled place whose six particle accelerators have produced nine new elements over the past half-century, including the five heaviest known to science. The new facility, dubbed the Superheavy Element Factory, will start its hunt for the next-heaviest elements—119 and 120—this spring.The northern and southern lights are different. Here’s why 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 By Alex FoxFeb. 1, 2019 , 1:45 PM Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) The northern and southern lights, aurora borealis and aurora australis, respectively, undulate across the skies in hazy green and sometimes red ribbons near Earth’s polar regions. The two phenomena aren’t identical, however, and now researchers think they know why.Winds fail to revive NASA’s Opportunity roverThere’s little hope left for rousing NASA’s Opportunity rover, which landed on Mars 15 years ago last month. Since June 2018, the rover has sat silently and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is running out of tricks to revive it. In the next few weeks, officials at the agency’s headquarters will decide whether to continue the search.Ancient Earth rock found on the moonWhat may be the oldest-known Earth rock has turned up in a surprising place: the moon. A 2-centimeter chip embedded in a larger rock collected by Apollo astronauts is actually a 4-billion-year-old fragment of our own planet, scientists say. Sometime after the rock formed on Earth, an asteroid impact blasted it all the way to the moon, which was three times closer to Earth than it is today. The fragment was later engulfed in a lunar breccia, a motley type of rock, and returned to Earth by Apollo 14 astronauts in 1971.Fossil feathers reveal how dinosaurs took flightScientists have long known that many early dinosaurs, the ancestors of today’s birds, were covered in feathers, likely for warmth and to attract mates. But no one knows exactly when—and how—these feathered dinos took flight. Now, molecular evidence from feathered dinosaur fossils reveals how the key proteins that make up feathers became lighter and more flexible over time, as flightless dinosaurs evolved into flying ones—and later, birds.last_img read more

Purvanchal push AAP govt brings Maithili to school

first_img PM Modi lays foundation stone of 340 km-long Purvanchal Expressway: All you need to know AAP has already attempted to reach out to the population through Chhath Puja initiatives such as increasing the number of ghats for devotees from 72 in 2014 to 1,055 in 2018. More Explained P Rajagopal, Saravana Bhavan founder sentenced to life for murder, dies purvanchal, purvanchalis in delhi, aap, aap delhi, maithili, maithili language, delhi schools, maithili in delhi schools, delhi schools curriculam, delhi government schools, manish sisodia Manish Sisodia at Monday’s event.Emphasising that Delhi is home to large Maithili- and Bhojpuri-speaking populations, the Delhi government announced a slew of initiatives Monday to promote the two languages in the capital, including introduction of Maithili in its schools. Taking stock of monsoon rain Related News Chandrayaan-2 gets new launch date days after being called off These initiatives are the biggest push so far by the AAP government to reach out to the city’s Purvanchali population, which is increasingly being viewed by parties as a decisive voter base.Getting the community on its corner is a priority for AAP in the run-up to next year’s Assembly elections, especially given Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari’s Purvanchali superstar status. Advertising Best Of Express Maithili and Bhojpuri are traditionally spoken in Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Western Bihar — a portion referred to as Purvanchal — from where it is estimated 30% of Delhi’s population hails.Among the most far-reaching of initiatives announced by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia is the introduction of Maithili language as an optional subject in Delhi government schools for classes VIII-XII.“There are many Maithili-speaking people living in Delhi. Their family members will now be able to study the language as a subject in their schools, the way children are currently learning Punjabi and Urdu in schools,” he said. “We want to focus on areas like Kirari, Burari and Dwarka which have a large population who are native speakers of the language. It is likely to begin as a pilot project at five centres in September,” she said.Currently, one such coaching centre for competitive exams is run for the Sanskrit language at the Sanskrit Centre.Also among initiatives announced were reaching out to C-DAC, based in Pune, to develop a font for Maithili — which does not exist yet — and introducing awards to recognise journalistic, artistic and cultural contributions of practitioners in Maithili and Bhojpuri.Sisodia also spoke of the government’s interest that Bhojpuri be accorded the same status as Maithili. “Bhojpuri is not recognised in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution because of which children cannot study it in school as a subject and people cannot opt for it in IAS exams. I, as chairman of the Maithili-Bhojpuri Academy, am writing to the central government to ask them to work to include it in the Eighth Schedule, which is something they have been saying they will do since 2014,” he said. Written by Sukrita Baruah | New Delhi | Published: July 16, 2019 1:30:24 am Special team, 10 candidates try to keep AAP’s Purvanchali base Advertising Purvanchal Expressway project: Tender process completed, gets Cabinet approval According to Abhinandita Mathur, advisor to the Deputy Chief Minister on art, culture and tourism, the language will likely be introduced in schools from the next academic session. “There is already a CBSE syllabus and books in existence for the language. Recruitment and training of teachers should begin from September and we should be good to go by March,” she said.Throughout the course of the speech, Sisodia repeatedly drew links between the two Purvanchali languages and Urdu and Punjabi, which are considered to be closely tied to Delhi’s culture and heritage.Also announced was a new Maithili-Bhojpuri arts and culture festival, to be introduced this year. “In the months of September, October and November, we hold successful art and culture festivals at Connaught Place. At first, we introduced a five-day Urdu festival, which was a super hit. Last year, we held festivals for Sanskrit, Urdu and Punjabi, which were also successful. This year onwards, there will also be a five-day Maithili and Bhojpuri festival which will be held in the first or second week of November,” he said.Another initiative announced was the setting up of coaching centres by the Maithili-Bhojpuri Academy for those who wish to opt for Maithili language as one of their subjects for the UPSC and other competitive examinations. According to Mathur, the plan is to introduce 20 such centres across the city. Advertising Ayodhya dispute: Mediation to continue till July 31, SC hearing likely from August 2 1 Comment(s)last_img read more

Turkey sends second ship to drill near Cyprus EU warns of action

first_imgCyprus was divided in 1974 after a Turkish invasion triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup. Several peacemaking endeavours have failed and the discovery of offshore resources has increasingly complicated peace negotiations. European Union leaders warned Turkey on Thursday to end its gas drilling in disputed waters or face action from the bloc, after Greece and Cyprus pressed other EU states to speak out.At an EU summit in Brussels, leaders issued a formal statement saying Turkey’s drilling is “illegal” and that the bloc “stands ready to respond appropriately.”“The European Council underlines the serious immediate negative impact that such illegal actions have across the range of EU-Turkey relations,” leaders said, using the official title of their summit. “The European Council calls on Turkey to show restraint.”The statement also threatened “targeted measures”: EU code for possible travel bans and asset freezes of Turkish companies and individuals involved in the drilling. Advertising Taking stock of monsoon rain Best Of Express After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan Virat Kohli won’t have a say in choosing new coach Cyprus, Israel, Greece pledge deeper military ties EU slaps sanctions on Turkey over gas drilling off Cyprus Advertising Turkey and the internationally-recognised government of Cyprus have overlapping claims in that part of the Mediterranean, an area thought to be rich in natural gas.Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said at the launch of the vessel, Yavuz, it would operate in a borehole near Cyprus’ Karpas Peninsula, and reach a depth of 3,300 metres (3,609 yards).Turkey already has a ship offshore Cyprus, and Cyprus last week issued arrest warrants for its crew. Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield Related News By Reuters |Brussels | Published: June 21, 2019 1:57:47 pm The dispute has escalated in the past month and also risks straining Ankara’s relations with its western allies.Ankara, which does not have diplomatic relations with Cyprus, claims that certain areas in Cyprus’s offshore maritime zone, known as an EEZ, fall under the jurisdiction of Turkey or of Turkish Cypriots, who have their own breakaway state in the north of the island recognised only by Turkey.Cyprus says that defining its EEZ is its sovereign right.Donmez said unilateral agreements made between Cyprus and the regional countries that attempted to “steal” the rights of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots had “no legal validity”. Post Comment(s) Cyprus peace talks intensify as rivals pore over plans “Turkey will continue its operations in its own continental shelf and in areas where the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has licensed Turkiye Petrolleri without stopping,” Donmez said, referring to Turkey’s main oil exploration company.“We are warning actors from outside the region that are forming cooperations with Cyprus: Do not chase illusions that will yield no results,” he said.The bloc will now ask its foreign service, the European External Action Service, to put forward options, the statement said.Cyprus has threatened to jeopardise the EU membership bids of North Macedonia and Albania if the bloc does not take action against Ankara.One senior EU official said that, aside from sanctions, one option was to end talks with Turkey over extending a customs union, which already allows tariff-free trade with the EU for industrial goods but not services or agriculture.Another option could be formally suspending Turkey’s status as an official candidate to become a member of the European Union, although talks have been frozen for over a year. Advertising turkey, drilling ship, turkey drilling ship, cyprus turkey, cyprus drilling ship, european union cyprus, yuvuz drilling ship, yuvuz turkey, yuvuz cyprus, cyprus, world news, indian express Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said at the launch of the vessel, Yavuz, it would operate in a borehole near Cyprus’ Karpas Peninsula, and reach a depth of 3,300 metres (3,609 yards). (AP)Turkey launched a second drilling ship on Thursday which will conduct natural gas operations off the northeast coast of Cyprus for three months, a move which risks aggravating a conflict with Cyprus over jurisdiction rights for oil and gas exploration. More Explainedlast_img read more

Tamil Nadu water crisis Train carrying water from Jolarpettai arrives in parched

first_img Tamil Nadu Ministers including D Jayakumar and SP Velumani present at Chennai’s Villivakkam railway yard to welcome the first train carrying water from Jolarpet.The train was supposed to reach Chennai on Thursday, but leakages in the valves led to the delay. Jolarpettai is 217 km away from the southern metropolis.All the arrangements took around 20 days of time to complete. The initiative would be formally inaugurated by Tamil Nadu Ministers later in the day, the official said. Chennai has been grappling with an acute water crisis over the past few months. The southern metropolis is facing a daily water deficit of at least 200 million litres, and the four reservoirs supplying to the city have run dry.The Tamil Nadu government had earlier requested the railways to help them ferry the water to the city.Earlier, Chief Minister K Palaniswami had announced mitigating Chennai’s water woes by getting drinking water supplied from Jolarpettai with an allocation of Rs 65 crore. The train with 50 tank wagons (BTPN), carrying 50,000 litres of water in each of them from Jolarpettai in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore district, reached the filling station at the Integral Coach Factory Yard in Villivakkam Friday afternoon.Around 100 inlet pipes installed near the railway tracks would be used to discharge 2.5 million litres of water in all the wagons to be sent to a treatment plant after passing through a conduit, an official of Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board said.“After treatment it would be sent for distribution. This arrangement has been made for the next six months until the (advent of the) north-east monsoon,” the official told PTI. Tamil Nadu water crisis: Train carrying water from Jolarpettai arrives in parched Chennai A technician checks a valve before water is pumped into a tanker train, which is transported to drought-hit city of Chennai, at Jolarpettai railway station in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. ( Source: Reuters) A train carrying 2.5 million litres of water arrived in Chennai, which has been grappling with an acute water crisis over the past few months, officials said Friday. Advertising Tamil Nadu plans 10,000 check dams to tide over water crisis Advertisingcenter_img Related News Express Daily Briefing: ‘India’s 45 mins of bad cricket’, a look inside the Karnataka Speaker’s rulebook; and more By PTI |Chennai | Published: July 12, 2019 4:28:13 pm 1 Comment(s)last_img read more

And then there was one Three people lived in this village until

first_img Post Comment(s) Top News Moldova, Village in Moldova, Dobrusa, Dobrusa village, abandoned village in Moldova, World news, Indian Express news A picture of Gena Lozynsky inside his abandoned house in Dobrusa. (The New York Times)The Lozynskys helped Muntean tend his smallholding, and kept an eye on his home when he took his eggs and vegetables to the area market. The trio spoke, at least by phone, on a near-daily basis.But one Sunday in February, the Lozynskys stopped answering Muntean’s calls. He heard nothing from them on that Monday. When they failed to call him back on that Tuesday, he assumed he had done something to annoy them.On a Wednesday, after a tipoff, the mayor of the surrounding area, Grigore Munteanu, visited the Lozynskys’ home. In their garden, the mayor found the couple’s cow, its udders unmilked in days. Inside the cottage, he found their half-naked corpses, cold and bloodstained, lying on the wooden floor.An investigation found that the couple had been bludgeoned to death by a drunken laborer after he and a fellow farmhand had tried to rape Lida Lozynsky, the mayor said.Six months on, their home is almost as they left it, with clothes strewn on the floor and a box of powdered milk in the front window.Moldova, Village in Moldova, Dobrusa, Dobrusa village, abandoned village in Moldova, World news, Indian Express news “The loneliness kills you,” said Muntean, who lives in the village alone after the last two residents were murdered in February 2019. (The New York Times)Their garden is already wild. Up on the hillside, their graves are being slowly submerged by the weeds. Within a few years, a visitor may struggle to find the gravestones, let alone remember who was buried there; Gena’s mound is wrongly marked “Gheorghe.”Now, Muntean is the last survivor of a village first settled in the 19th century, when the area was part of the Russian Empire. According to local folklore, its first residents were Ukrainians who hoped to reach the United States (but missed their boat), and Moldovans who had fallen out with a landowner in another area.The village prospered in the decades after World War II, when Moldova was folded into the Soviet Union. Dobrusa gained a shop, an elementary school, a summer camp for children and a village hall that showed films on Sundays. The collective farm provided work for all in the nearby wheat fields, vineyards and orchards.But the collapse of the Soviet Union led to the decline of the collective system and the privatization of the agriculture sector. To find jobs, many Moldovans left their villages — and to find higher salaries, thousands left the country altogether. When Muntean, who had lived in a neighboring village, arrived in Dobrusa in 2000 to set up a small sheep farm, the village’s population had fallen to around 70, Muntean reckoned.Moldova, Village in Moldova, Dobrusa, Dobrusa village, abandoned village in Moldova, World news, Indian Express news An old photo of Grisa Muntean, the last survivor of Dobrusa. Now 65, Muntean lives alone in the village after the last two residents were murdered in February 2019. (The New York Times)Between 1990 and 2015, Eastern Europe’s population fell by 18 million people, to 292 million. About one in four Moldovans lives abroad, according to estimates by the U.N. Development Program, while the resident population fell by 500,000 to 2.8 million between the censuses of 2004 and 2014.In Dobrusa, most of those who remained were pensioners. The school closed in the late 1990s, along with the shop, the camp and the village hall.“It started to feel like a ghost town,” said Valentina Artin, who was born here in 1939. “It was like a desert.”Artin left for the nearby village of Vadul-Leca in 2012 with her grandchildren, leaving no more than 20 residents behind. Then the Ialii family left, and the Petermans. Old Colea Masalkoski passed away, aged near 100, and so, too, did Gena Lozynsky’s mother, Klava.Muntean’s wife left him, and their four children, who had never actually moved to the village in the first place, emigrated to Spain.By 2016, Dobrusa had three villagers.Moldova, Village in Moldova, Dobrusa, Dobrusa village, abandoned village in Moldova, World news, Indian Express news Muntean lives with his two cats, five dogs, nine turkeys, 15 geese, 42 chickens, roughly 50 pigeons, 120 ducks, and several thousand bees. (The New York Times)Even Muntean’s sheep had gone; with so few villagers to help him, he gave up the sheep farm in 2013. Now even Muntean is considering leaving for a nearby town.Yet, for all his loneliness, Muntean says there is a kind of joy to the peace and solitude. He grows his own vegetables and makes his own honey. He lives among nature, disturbed only by the sound of his geese, in a valley he describes as a kind of heaven.Besides, Muntean doesn’t always feel so alone when he sits in his cluttered farmyard — next to his chicken coops, his greenhouses and his broken-down Lada — and gazes up at the village graveyard. Advertising Jharkhand court drops ‘donate Quran’ condition for bail to Ranchi woman over offensive post Salve hails verdict, says ICJ protected Jadhav from being executed “The loneliness kills you,” Muntean, 65, said on a recent afternoon.Moldova, Village in Moldova, Dobrusa, Dobrusa village, abandoned village in Moldova, World news, Indian Express news The main road to Dobrusa, a village in Moldova that was first settled in the 19th century, when the area was part of the Russian Empire. (The New York Times)His former neighbors’ houses are vanishing almost as fast as their owners. With few animals to graze the roadsides, and with only Muntean to prune the orchards, the buildings are sinking below a canopy of walnut groves and apple trees.Dobrusa (pronounced Doh-BROO-shuh) was once a village of 50 houses that lined two parallel streets at the bottom of a shallow valley. Like many settlements across Moldova, it emptied out after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, an exodus mirrored across Eastern Europe, which has the world’s fastest-shrinking population.Now only a few corrugated iron roofs can still be seen in Dobrusa, poking above the undergrowth. They are visible from the dirt track that connects the village to the nearest tarmac road. By New York Times |Moldova | Updated: July 15, 2019 7:23:08 pm Explained: Kulbhushan Jadhav case file Advertising Advertising ‘Truth, justice have prevailed’: PM Modi on Kulbhushan Jadhav verdict Even the village graveyard, set on the other side of the valley, is slowly receding into an undergrowth of nettles and brambles, grass flowers and cow parsley.Plants like these are the closest Muntean has to neighbors.“When I work, I speak with the trees,” he said. “With the birds, with the animals, with my tools. There is no one else to talk to.”Until February, Muntean relied on the company of Gena and Lida Lozynsky, a couple in their early 40s who lived at the other end of the village. Salve hails verdict, says ICJ protected Jadhav from being executed ‘Truth, justice have prevailed’: PM Modi on Kulbhushan Jadhav verdict Best Of Express More Explained Jharkhand court drops ‘donate Quran’ condition for bail to Ranchi woman over offensive post Thirty years ago, the village of Dobrusa had about 200 residents. At the start of this year, it had just three.Then two were murdered.And now there is just one: Grisa Muntean, a short, mustachioed farmer often found in a flat-cap, a checked shirt and a ripped pair of blue trousers held up by a drawstring.For company, Muntean has his two cats, five dogs, nine turkeys, 15 geese, 42 chickens, about 50 pigeons, 120 ducks and several thousand bees. The other humans have either died, left for larger towns and cities in Moldova, or emigrated to Russia or other parts of Europe. “Gena always said he’d be watching over me,” Muntean said.“And now he is.” Moldova, Village in Moldova, Dobrusa, Dobrusa village, abandoned village in Moldova, World news, Indian Express news Thirty years ago, the Dobrusa village had about 200 residents. Two of the last people living there were murdered in February 2019, leaving only one man left to live there alone. (The New York Times)Written by: Patrick Kingsleylast_img read more

Executions rampant in Philippine drug war UN probe needed Amnesty

first_img Related News London-based Amnesty International urged the United Nations Human Rights Council to approve a resolution calling for an investigation into the Philippines, where there was a “perilous normalisation” of illegal executions and police abuses. A vote on the resolution by the 47-member council is expected later this week.The exact number of dead in President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs is impossible to independently verify, but many thousands have been killed, about 6,600 of those during operations in which police said suspects were armed and fought back.Amnesty, in a report titled “They Just Kill”, said the authorities used “deliberate obfuscation and misinformation” to make it impossible to monitor the full extent of killings, which overwhelmingly targeted poor and marginalized communities lacking the means or support to mount legal challenges against police. Quake in Philippines injures 25, damages homes, churches UN rights council to investigate killings in Philippine drug war In undecided Congress, first open call for Priyanka: She should be party chief Rodrigo Duterte, garbage in Philippines, Philippines garbage, canada, canada news A vote on the resolution by the 47-member council is expected later this week. (File/AP)Impunity and unlawful killings are going on unabated in the Philippines, three years into a war on drugs, with a pattern of executions under the guise of police sting operations and a state unwilling to investigate, a rights group said on Monday. By Reuters |Manila | Published: July 8, 2019 2:10:11 pm Advertising NRC deadline approaching, families stranded in Assam floods stay home center_img Amnesty’s report, compiled in April, focused on Bulacan province, the new epicentre of the crackdown, examining 27 killings there during 20 incidents, 18 of which were official police operations. In three-quarters of incidents, those killed were on “watch lists” of people in communities with suspected use or involvement in drugs, Amnesty found.It viewed those lists as unreliable and illegitimate “seeming to guide decisions about whom the police are targeting for arrest, or in some cases, to kill”.Based on witnesses and other information, it concluded half were extrajudicial killings. It said the other incidents pointed broadly to previous patterns of executions, but it could not obtain sufficient evidence and information to be certain.The police narrative that undercover officers posing as drug buyers had killed only in self defence “doesn’t meet the feeblest standards of credibility”, Amnesty concluded.Duterte’s spokesman, Salvador Panelo, said Amnesty’s basis for calling for an international investigation was wrong, and there were no such illegal killings. “They are saying that there have been murders in this country as if all those who were killed in police operations have been intentionally slaughtered or killed,” he said during a regular new briefing. Advertising Philippines’ top senator chides Iceland for abortion, UN drugs war probe “As we have repeatedly said, these are the result of legitimate police operations.”Panelo last week described the call for a U.N. investigation as interference by foreign governments “misled by false news and untruthful narratives”. Karnataka: SC to rule today, says Speaker’s powers need relook Best Of Express 1 Comment(s)last_img read more

CJIs centre for judicial reforms almost defunct

first_imgThe Indian Express has learnt that Prof Gopal had expressed reservations over the CJI announcing a key policy decision to do away with mentioning by lawyers seeking urgent hearing without consulting the CRP. In October last year, CJI Gogoi had announced that to save judicial time, there would be no mentioning till new parameters are set “unless someone is to be hanged or evicted”, but soon resumed the practice with no changes.The appointments for the team that Prof Gopal intended to build at the CRP had not materialised either, while plans for a separate website on its activities remained on paper. Two other academicians, Kanika Gauba and Anshuman Singh, who had joined the centre on deputation from Azim Premji University, Bengaluru, before Prof Gopal came on board, have returned.Professor Gopal could not be reached for comment.The Supreme Court had announced setting of the CRP at a special meeting in the judges’ lounge in November last year. A press release said the CJI intended the centre to carry out “cutting-edge research to meet the fast expanding knowledge needs of the judiciary”. And that reforms for improvement in justice delivery and judicial independence would be its focus areas.The CRP was also tasked with creating a network of leading independent scholars in key domain areas, complementing state and national judicial academies in strengthening the knowledge infrastructure of the judiciary.CJI Gogoi had said he took the decision to set up the CRP without consulting colleagues. “I really seek post-facto approval. The decision was entirely mine,” he had said. Subsequently, the centre was allotted office space on the same floor as the court rooms in the Supreme Court. NRC deadline approaching, families stranded in Assam floods stay home Handpicked by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi to head the CRP, Professor Mohan Gopal quit in March without citing reasons, and no move for any fresh appointment to the centre has been made since his exit.The CRP was CJI Gogoi’s brainchild, and setting it up was one of the first decisions he took after assuming office in October 2018. It was intended to improve public confidence in the judiciary that had taken a knocking after four most senior judges, including Justice Gogoi, had held a press conference in January 2018 to raise concerns on the functioning of the court, especially the allocation of cases by then CJI Dipak Misra.The CRP was asked to come up with short versions of key judgments without the jargon to connect with ordinary citizens. The idea was mooted after the criticism the court received following the Sabarimala verdict in September 2018, allowing entry of women into the Kerala shrine. 1 Comment(s) Advertising Top News Advertising supreme court, supreme court think tank, Indian judiciary system, Centre for Research and Planning, CRP Supreme Court, Mohan Gopal, Ranjan Gogoi, Indian express Think tank head Mohan Gopal quit in MarchNine months after it was set up with an ambitious mandate to reform the judiciary, the Centre for Research and Planning (CRP), the Supreme Court’s in-house think tank, is now virtually disbanded. Written by Apurva Vishwanath | New Delhi | Published: July 16, 2019 3:52:00 am Karnataka: SC to rule today, says Speaker’s powers need relook In undecided Congress, first open call for Priyanka: She should be party chief last_img read more

The Pain and Potential of Making a 180Degree Policy Shift

first_imgPhotobucket is not the first techcompany — and likely won’t be the last — to make such a notable misstep in policy: one that drove away once-loyal customers, and that subsequently required a policy reversal.Ironically, another photo-sharing fiasco, which involved Instagram, occurred back in 2012, just three months after Facebook acquired it for $1 billion.Facebook in essence turned the imaging-sharing service into the world’s largest stock photo company — telling users that they wouldn’t be paid for sold images, including those used in ads. Due to the backlash that followed, Instagram backpedaled, issuing astatement that it was not the company’s intention to sell anyone’s photos.Microsoft has had its share of bad decisions over the years, but itsbiggest centered on its Xbox One, which restricted the use of”pre-owned” games and limited games to one machine.Anyone who wanted to play a game on a second Xbox One console had to pay anadditional fee. That came after Microsoft already had reversed apolicy requiring that the Xbox One be online even to play offlinegames — or at least connect every 24 hours to “check in.” It was soon “game over” for both restrictions, which quickly were reversed.”When companies make major missteps in their policies or practices,they risk losing their most valuable asset — customer trust,” saidBram Hechtkopf, CEO at Kobie Marketing.”You want best customers to be emotionally invested and passionateabout your brand — and incidences like these can tank a brand, but theydon’t have to,” he told TechNewsWorld.”Sometimes we all have the best intentions but fail to see thebroader picture,” remarked Jim McGregor, principal analyst at TiriasResearch.”This is the problem of every company, not just high-tech companies,”he told TechNewsWorld.These types of decisions often are made in a vacuum, with little — ifany — input from the consumer. Moreover, they often are made with little insightinto any possible impact on the company’s existing business strategy, added McGregor.”This, combined with the increasing influence of consumers and rapidfeedback in the Internet age, can make the wrong decision a companykiller,” he said, “and it is important for individuals and companies to seekoutside opinions and advisors to help avoid costly mistakes.” Tech’s Giant Missteps Brand Recovery Many key policy reversals come with new leadership, and baddecisions can be blamed on the old guard. “Young Turks”such as Photobucket’s Leonard can claim to bring not only change, but alsoan improved business strategy.Then there is the case of Steve Jobs, who essentially was fired fromApple’s Macintosh Division by John Sculley, the former head ofPepsi-Cola, whom Jobs had recruited to take on the top role at the company.Jobswasn’t technically out at Apple, but he was relegated to a position withnothing to do. He left and formed a new business — NeXT — which Apple acquired in 1996. A year later Jobs became Apple’s CEO.Under Jobs, the company released the iPod and iPhone, and in the processbecame one of the most successful companies of all time — which isnotable in itself, but more so because it had been teetering on the verge of oblivion just prior to Jobs’ return.The moral of this story may be that it takes not only a new vision tocorrect past wrongs, but a special kind of vision at that — and alongthe way, knowing who deserves trust.”One of the common pieces of advice from successful people is tosurround yourself with good people,” said McGregor. “The same is true with companies, and they need other sources that can see things from a different vantage point and provide open and honest advice.” Former CEO Corpus probably was right in suggesting that the company couldn’tcontinue with an ad-only business model. Photobucket hasstruggled in the past decade to generate a reliable revenue stream.The company once was owned by Fox Interactive, a division of NewsCorp., which bought it — along with MySpace — in 2006. After it became clearthat MySpace was losing ground to Facebook, News Corp. sold it off along with Photobucket, which proved not to be the next Instagram, in 2010.At its height, Photobucket employed 120 people in its downtownDenver offices; currently it has just 10 full-time employees.”The Photobucket subscription reversal shows how difficult it is forindependent companies to find a successful business model among thegiants,” said Josh Crandall, principal analyst at Netpop Research.”Even with a powerful platform and first-mover advantage, Photobuckethas to compete against companies that offer a variety of ‘digitallifestyle’ services through one account,” he told TechNewsWorld.”When Google offers 1 TB of Drive storage for $9.99 a month — forphotos, files, videos or other data — it’s difficult to compete at ahigher price point for a dedicated service,” Crandall added. Reversal of Fortune Even when the course is set right, it can take additionaleffort to restore faith among former users.For example, Photobucket hasn’t made it clear that the restoration of existingthird-party hosted images is permanent, or if users once again could face a situation in which they are held hostage — albeit for a smaller ransom/subscription.More importantly, even if Photobucket should allow the restored images toremain, it might not be enough to attract users to the new pricingstrategy.”Apple, Microsoft and Amazon Prime Photos all offer free or subsidizedservices for basic photo editing and storage,” noted Netpop Research’sCrandall.”For most users, these options are sufficient for their needs,” headded. “So, when Photobucket raised their fees, it was pretty easy forusers to migrate to other services. Unfortunately, it won’t be as easyto get those users to come back.”center_img Rebuilding Trust Even if users embrace the reversed policies, it can take time totruly win them back.”Globally recognized brands can overcome major policy blunders andrebuild trust,” said Bob Noel, director of strategic relationships andmarketing for Plixer, a developer of network traffic monitoring and analysis tools worldwide.”However, to be successful, the effort must have board-levelsponsorship, include a highly coordinated PR effort, and have adedicated, very large budget,” he told TechNewsWorld.”Companies in this situation looking to re-ingratiate themselves withconsumers should acknowledge their misstep and adopt an open, honestline of communication — and listen carefully to what their customershave to say,” advised Kobie Marketing’s Hechtkopf.”To begin the long process of earning back customer trust, they mustvow to do better by their customers, and move forward with awell-thought-out revamp of their policies that both addresses thecustomer and ensures similar missteps will not happen again,”Hechtkopf noted.”Overall, it’s important to understand that customer trust isfoundational to developing long-term customer loyalty, and withoutestablishing this trust after a blunder or backlash, you cannotsuccessfully bring back loyal users or customers,” he suggested.Photobucket could be an example of a company not really trying torestore trust. It has done little in the way of a PR push, as even itspolicy reversal took place largely under the radar and was barely reported outside out the company’s home base in Denver.Even if a PR push should be forthcoming, there also should be changes incustomer service initiatives so that customers truly feel the companyis as good as its word, added Noel.”Uber and Wells Fargo are recent examples of brands reacting tomissteps,” he noted. “Very expensive marketing and PR campaigns areunder way with coordinated messages being delivered across multimediachannels. However, it will still take significant time to gauge howeffective these efforts will be to right the wrongs of previousmanagement decisions at these companies.” Photobucket’s Story Photo-hosting service Photobucket in May quietly restored third-party hostingof photos, reversing its unpopular year-old policy that required users topay nearly US$400 in subscription fees for hosting privileges.Many irate users had reacted to the policy by claiming their photos were”taken hostage.” Hosted photos on blogs, forums and other sites werereplaced by an image of a dial indicating the hosted data quota had been surpassed.Users were not given advance notice. Instead the company sent outemails with the message, “Some features on your account will bedisabled. Your account has been restricted for excessive usage and 3rdparty hosting.”Photobucket then encouraged users who previously had relied on theservice for hosting to upgrade to a Plus500 Membership Plan, whichcost $399 per year.At the time, then-CEO John Corpus admitted that it was not an easydecision to make, and that he knew many people would be unhappy with the change in policy.However, the ad-based model wasn’tworking, and the company was losing money, Corpus suggested.Ted Leonard, who joined the company last fall asits finance officer last fall, took the reins as CEO in March and had theimages turned back on in May. The reversal, which took place with little fanfare, was viewed as an attempt to correct what was regarded as a business debacle.Under the new policy, the company will offer free photo-sharing andad-supported storage only, but no free third-party hosting. A basicplan includes 2 GB of photo-sharing with ad-free hosting for $2.49 per month.Users needing more storage can upgrade to an intermediate 20-GB planfor $3.99 per month, or an expert plan offering 2 TB of photo storage for$8.99 per month.Regardless of the subscription plan chosen, the fees for third-party hosting are a lot less than the $399 price tag of a year ago. Peter Suciu has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2012. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile phones, displays, streaming media, pay TV and autonomous vehicles. He has written and edited for numerous publications and websites, including Newsweek, Wired and FoxNews.com.Email Peter.last_img read more

Study Cannabidiol may worsen glaucoma increase eye pressure

Source:https://www.iu.edu/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 18 2018One of the most commonly proposed uses of medical marijuana is to treat glaucoma.But a study from researchers at Indiana University has found that a major chemical component in the substance appears to worsen the primary underpinning of the disease: a rise in pressure inside the eye.The chemical that causes this rise in pressure is cannabidiol, or CBD, a non-psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that is increasingly marketed to consumers in products such as oil, gummies, creams and health food. It is also approved in many states as a treatment for conditions such as pediatric epilepsy.The study was reported Dec. 14 in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science.”This study raises important questions about the relationship between the primary ingredients in cannabis and their effect on the eye,” said Alex Straiker, an associate scientist in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, who led the study. “It also suggests the need to understand more about the potential undesirable side effects of CBD, especially due to its use in children.”The study, which was conducted in mice, specifically found that CBD caused an increase in pressure inside the eye of 18 percent for at least four hours after use.Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient of marijuana, was found to effectively lower pressure in the eye, as has been previously reported. But the study found that the use of CBD in combination with THC blocked this effect.Related StoriesAmerican Academy of Ophthalmology shares tips for staying safe around fireworksEarly clinical trial of new treatment for severe dry eye disease shows promising resultsPortable device attached to smartphone can diagnose eye disease remotelySpecifically, the study found that male mice experienced a drop in eye pressure of nearly 30 percent eight hours after exposure to THC alone. A lower pressure drop of 22 percent was also observed after four hours in male mice.The effect was weaker in female mice. This group experienced a pressure drop of only 17 percent after four hours. No difference in eye pressure was measured after eight hours.The results suggest that females may be less affected by THC, though it isn’t clear whether this extends to the substance’s psychoactive effects.”This difference between males and females — and the fact that CBD seems to worsen eye pressure, the primary risk factor for glaucoma — are both important aspects of this study,” Straiker said. “It’s also notable that CBD appears to actively oppose the beneficial effects of THC.”By comparing the effect of these substances on mice without specific neuroreceptors affected by THC and CBD, the IU researchers were also able to identify the two specific neuroreceptors — named CB1 and GPR18 — by which the first substance lowered pressure inside the eye.”There were studies over 45 years ago that found evidence that THC lowers pressure inside the eye, but no one’s ever identified the specific neuroreceptors involved in the process until this study,” Straiker said. “These results could have important implications for future research on the use of cannabis as a therapy for intraocular pressure.” read more

UNLV study reveals new mechanism in longterm memory retrieval

first_imgThe research was published this month in Cell Reports and Hyman believes it could have future implications for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.As patients transition from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer’s, Hyman said, losing the ability to recall long-term memories is one of the hallmark symptoms. Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)May 22 2019There have been many famous duos throughout history: Sonny and Cher. Batman and Robin. Penn and Teller.But a researcher at UNLV has been working with a lesser-known pair — the hippocampus and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) — and has discovered a novel method for how these two parts of the brain work together to retrieve long-term memories.After four years of extensive lab testing and data analysis, James Hyman, a psychology professor at UNLV, and graduate student Ryan Wirt, have found that the ACC plays a greater role in long-term memory retrieval than previously thought. Existing research has well established the process of consolidation — the transference of memory dependence from the hippocampus to the ACC — but what is not known is what happens when a person recalls that consolidated memory at a later date.Hyman’s research shows that brain waves between the ACC and the hippocampus become synchronized, with the ACC strongly influencing its counterpart when a memory is being recalled after a period of about two weeks. In long-term memory retrieval, their study finds that the hippocampus — which is active when the memory first arrives in the brain — becomes like the wooden toy Pinnochio, and now needs the ACC to operate its strings. This is a new mechanism for memory retrieval and a significant advancement in our understanding of how we recall the past. It’s very exciting because it opens up new windows into understanding how our brains process and access older memories, and could have implications for future studies.”James Hyman, psychology professor at UNLV Our research opens up potential new avenues to explore why certain dementias and disorders lead to problems recalling long-term memories, which could help pave the way for future treatments that might be able to restore this ability to afflicted individuals.”James Hyman Source:University of Nevada, Las VegasJournal reference:Hyman, J & Wirt, R. (2019) ACC Theta Improves Hippocampal Contextual Processing during Remote Recall. Cell Reports. doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2019.04.080.last_img read more

New technology combines LEGO bricks and drones

Explore further More information: www.hml.queensu.ca/flyinglegobricks “At the Human Media Lab, we believe this technology has the potential to take experiential learning to an entirely new level. We have created a technology that works to blend the digital and physical worlds together right before children’s eyes,” says Dr. Vertegaal, head of the Human Media Lab and professor of Human-Computer Interaction at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada.He believes that the drone technology could potentially unlock new realms of interactive teaching capable of providing children insights into the physical world. While currently at an experimental stage, Vertegaal sees a potential technology used in the future to teach young schoolchildren about physics.”As an example, imagine us interactively reconstructing the movement of planets around our sun or distant stars in the Milky Way galaxy,” says Dr. Vertegaal. “With this technology, we are able to simulate the physics of the natural world like gravity, planetary orbits, and more, giving children a chance to see what they have long learned from textbooks and two-dimensional depictions, in a real physical environment.” The system allows children to arrange LEGO elements into a shape of their choice and watch as a group of miniature drones takes flight to mimic the shape and colour of their creation in mid-air. With the aid of tiny sensors and gyroscopes, the system also tracks when the children move, twist, and bend their designs. The drones faithfully replicate any shape alterations as an in-air animation.”At the LEGO Group, we continuously explore the opportunities offered by new technologies to create fun and creative experiences for children. We are happy to offer the visitors at the LEGO World expo the chance to experiment with LEGO bricks and drones in collaboration with Queen’s Human Media Lab,” says Tom Donaldson, VP of Creative Play Lab, at the LEGO Group. “While the technology is a playful experiment, and not a real LEGO product, it is a way for us to explore the boundaries of what can be done with a combination of technology, LEGO bricks, and loads of playful imagination.”The LEGO Creative Play Lab is a department within the LEGO Group, focusing on inventing the future of play. One of the ways it does this is by looking at different trends and ways in which children, parents and families play and interact with play material, aiming to create the experiences of tomorrow and unleash their creative potential. Structuring thought and imagination brick by brick, Lego is more than child’s play Citation: New technology combines LEGO bricks and drones (2018, February 14) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-02-technology-combines-legobricks-drones.html Provided by Queen’s University From February 15 to 18, children and families visiting the LEGO World expo in Copenhagen, Denmark will have the chance to make their brick-building dreams take flight with a flock of interactive miniature drones developed by the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University in Canada in collaboration with the LEGO Group’s Creative Play Lab. 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

What is the optimal way to diversify an economy

One of the eternal challenges of economic development is how to identify the economic activities that a country, city, or region should target. During recent years, a large body of research has shown that countries, regions, and cities, are more likely to enter economic activities that are related to the ones they already have. For instance, a region specialized in the exports of frozen fish and crustaceans can more easily start exporting fresh fish than heavy machinery. This research has illuminated a new chapter in the economic development literature, but also, it has left an important question unanswered: what is the right strategy for countries wanting to diversify their economy? Provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology Explore further Journal information: Nature Communications Citation: What is the optimal way to diversify an economy? (2018, April 10) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-optimal-diversify-economy.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. Credit: Aamena Alshamsi, Flavio L. Pinheiro, and Cesar A. Hidalgo Economic diversification has become an important development goal among many countries, especially among those relying in the export of commodities, such as Chile, Peru, Saudi Arabia, and Kazakhstan. Given past research, the obvious intuition is to follow a pragmatic strategy focused only on related activities. Yet, according to a new paper by researchers from MIT and the Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi, this intuition may be flawed. The researchers used mathematical models and simulations to compare multiple economic diversification strategies. What they found is that always targeting the “low-hanging fruit” (related activities) is not the optimal choice. Instead, the researchers found that countries can do better by using dynamic strategies, where they target related products at the beginning and the end of the development process but switch to targeting more unrelated activities when they reach an intermediate level of development. At this critical point, the future diversification opportunities—opened by an unrelated activity—compensates for a country’s reduced probability of success in it. Although counterintuitive, sometimes, targeting an activity that is not the easiest to develop accelerates the process of economic diversification. “At low levels of economic development, targeting unrelated activities may be too hopeful,” said Professor Cesar Hidalgo, Director of the Collective Learning Group at MIT. “But when economies enter an intermediate level of development, it is optimal to take larger risks and target activities that are relatively unrelated. So the important question for countries is when to switch strategies.” But the idea of dynamic strategies is not only interesting for economic development, it is also a contribution to network science. In the paper, the authors formalize the problem of identifying optimal economic diversification strategies as a problem of strategic diffusion in networks. “For the most part, researchers working on network diffusion have been using strategies focused on nodes with specific characteristics, like highly connected or central nodes,” said Aamena Alshamsi, Professor at Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi and lead author of the study. “Our results show that in this case, those strategies are far from optimal, since the optimal strategies need to change which nodes to target at each step.”But the research was not limited to only finding the theoretical optimum. It also compared the theoretical strategies with the empirical behavior of countries, as they diversify their products and research activities in the networks of related products and research areas.”What is interesting is that countries have been behaving in a way that is not too far from the theoretical optimum,” said Flavio Pinheiro, a contributing author and postdoctoral researcher at MIT’s Collective Learning Group. “Still, countries appear to be a bit too risk averse during the optimal time window, suggesting that there is room to accelerate diversification in the future.”Some researchers in the field of economic geography are already excited about the results. “The paper provides an important contribution to the field of economic geography, which has for a long time been dealing with questions of economic diversification,” said Pierre-Alexandre Balland, a professor of Economic Geography at Utrecht University who did not participate in the study. Good neighbours really do matter, according to a new study More information: Aamena Alshamsi et al. Optimal diversification strategies in the networks of related products and of related research areas, Nature Communications (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-03740-9 read more