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Millennials May Be Killing Harley To Save Motorcycling

first_img This Quirky Vespa-Inspired Electric Scooter Is Missing A Wheel They aren’t riding to be cool, they just want to beat the traffic!By now we are all tired of hearing about the latest sacred Boomer cow that Millennials are slaughtering, but last week’s UBS report actually has good news for the motorcycle industry. The financial services company conducted a survey of more than 2,000 people between the are of 21 and 34 in an attempt to figure out why Harley-Davidson stock has fallen 32% in the past 12 months. While their findings are bad news for big expensive cruisers and touring bikes, they are actually good for other parts of the industry. Unlike older buyers who considered a bike “as a hobby” or because “motorcycles are cool” Millennial responders want them for “ease of transportation.”More E-Bikes Some people look at every problem as an opportunity, and if you look at this survey in that way you could see room for growth in the scooter and small commuter bike market. After all, you would think there is plenty of profit to be had selling Americans transportation, instead of “a hobby”; even if the profit per unit is smaller, the potential market is much bigger. Perhaps Harley-Davidson’s own researchers had this sort of data last year when they teased their new slate of electric scooters and runabouts? Or, maybe it is just a matter of sticking it out until these riders hit retirement age?Young buyers are interested in practical and affordable bikes, for now, partially because many of them don’t have a lot of money. Also, most live in urban areas where parking and traffic are a nightmare, and even in states where lane splitting isn’t legal, a bike or scooter beats a car or the bus every time. There is no telling if hooking Millennial customers now with affordable and practical might lead to selling them a big touring bike when they are older and have more time and money. Science says riding reduces stress, and increases focus and alertness, and those are certainly things Millennials need, if you believe all the stories about them. The younger generations do seem to be taking to renting electric scooters and electric assist bicycles to get around on the regular.The explosion in the number of “entry level” bikes in the past few years would certainly lend support to these findings, as would the continued interest in customizing low cost used bikes. The Motorcycle Industry Council reports more households than ever in the US own a bike, even with the drop in sales of big expensive cruisers. Among the young target demographic, the second most common reason listed for buying a bike was “it goes with their self image” so the important thing might be to not try to sell them their dad’s motorcycle.In a statement, Harley spokespersons said “We were into targeting this demographic way before you guys. We are working on some directions that are so cool and new, you just wouldn’t get them.” Not really, but they did tell CNBC, ““There’s nothing new here, our advanced analytic capabilities allow us to deeply understand rider migration trends. In fact, our knowledge of riders informed our strategy to build the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders globally.”Source: CNBC Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on January 31, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News StreetScooter Electric Van Receives Approval For Large Series Production Source: Electric Vehicle News The Electric Scooter Revolution Is Herelast_img read more

Houston Appellate Judge Jeff Brown Named to Texas Supreme Court

first_img Remember me Username Lost your password? Passwordcenter_img Not a subscriber? Sign up for The Texas Lawbook. Jeff Brown, a judge on the Houston Court of Appeals, will be the newest justice to serve on the Supreme Court of Texas, Gov. Perry announced Thursday. “Jeff is a solid judge. He is a clear, lucid writer and his opinions are easy to follow. He explains what the problem is, what the answer is and how he got there,” former Texas Chief Justice Tom Phillips, now a partner at Baker Botts in Austin . . .You must be a subscriber to The Texas Lawbook to access this content.last_img

Admiration

first_imgby, David Goff, ChangingAging ContributorTweet10Share15Share4Email29 SharesA few weeks ago I was sitting in a circle contemplating an upcoming meeting with some young people. An elder in the circle commented that our job as elders had to include admiring the young. In addition to helping me better prepare for meeting this young couple, these words, started me thinking.  My thoughts have, as they always do, run toward community. It occurred to me that everyone needs to be admired, and that admiration could be one of the greatest gifts we can give to each other. These thoughts unlocked a door for me, and they are taking me into a new relationship with myself, and others. I hope, with these words, to share a little of that with you.Not long ago I had an experience I didn’t know how to talk about. I found myself in a room full of dying people. These people didn’t have obvious illnesses, or even much real-time awareness of dying, but they all were on the same trajectory towards death. I was vividly aware that each was a dying human, that each was passing very quickly, and that I couldn’t do much about it. I felt vulnerable, helpless and strangely touched. As long as that moment lasted I could feel my love and appreciation for the uniqueness of each of them. I knew how grateful I was to be exposed to them.The vividness with which I experienced the impending deaths of my friends has brought each of their qualities into my awareness. Noticing how quickly we are all passing has delivered me to a realization of how precious and unique each of us is. I more directly experienced the passion and heartache that underlies each life, and I could appreciate the personal, heroic struggle of each, as they chose to be human in their own way. I could feel how enriched my life is because each of them touched me, on their way into the mysterious darkness of death. I found myself smitten by the magnitude of our humble lives, awed and grateful, enlivened and trembling.I couldn’t talk about the vividness of this experience, because it left me too raw, and too uncertain about speaking to the dying about dying. I still feel shaken about entering the land of the dying. I am noticing, while I am here, that I appreciate more the efforts that many are making to be as alive as possible as they pass from this earth. I am drawn to those who have been beaten, and are still magnificent, they give their life-energy fully, and they hearten me. I am filled with real, not manufactured, admiration.I have been dwelling with this new, death-aided, admiration, since I have been initiated into the world of the dying. Paradoxically, I feel more alive, connected, and appreciative. I don’t take my friends for granted any more; they have become miracles I am blessed to be around. Each of them reveals to me something of the courage that being human requires. Each of them reminds me of how much profusion and diversity is in Creation.Along with a more vivid relationship with the actuality of death has come a greater admiration for the living. And, this has lead to a greater desire on my part to let my fellow community members know how precious they are to me, and how well I see them. It seems to me, that perhaps the greatest gift I can give to another human being is to show them how well they are seen and appreciated. Community bonds grow with such acknowledgement.I have wondered how I might best serve my community. Now, I think I know. If I can fully live in the land of the dying, I can feel the courage and passion that goes into living out the part of Creation that is an expression of our vulnerable existence. I benefit by knowing the truth of this life: that it ends, and I get to see the utterly human way most of us deal with that truth. Some people, notably the people in my elder community, engage me and introduce me to a form of authenticity that gives me hope for life. I admire that, and I want to be around them, as we struggle to be true to the nature that endowed us with this precious chance.I know I have wanted to be seen my entire life. The loneliness I feel so deep in my body is a product of that longing. There is no such thing as coming home, for me, without some sense of being known. This is the kind of sustaining food that I crave — being known, not as a therapist, community-builder, lover of art, music, poetry, men and women, but as a holy mystery, a part of the greater whole that lives through us. I crave the puppy pile of sharing recognition of this deeply mysterious existence. Admiring others, knowing them as they pass through, and bravely try to shape this existence, is such a gift, one that goes both ways, one that makes Life all that much more a miracle.I’m glad I get to share it with you. And, I admire how you have done it.Related PostsTweet10Share15Share4Email29 Shareslast_img read more

Scientists shed light on formation of new blood vessels

first_imgMay 7 2018How new blood vessels form in mammals, for example during development or after injury, was so far not known exactly. Scientists at the Goethe University have now been able to shed light on this process. They have shown that single cells in the innermost layer of blood vessels proliferate after injury and in so doing make a significant contribution to the formation of new vessels.Observation in the living organism – and especially in the heart – of how new blood vessels form is not possible in mammals. That is why only endpoints can ever be seen, i.e. that new veins and arteries have formed and of what type of cells they consist. However, little is known to date about the actual process of new vessel formation, although this knowledge could contribute in future to remedying tissue damage, such as occurs in diabetes or following an ischemia-induced heart attack.That is the reason why Professor Stefanie Dimmeler and her fellow researchers at the Institute of Cardiovascular Regeneration of Goethe University Frankfurt have studied the fate of single cells in the innermost vascular layer, i.e. the endothelial cells, during development and after tissue damage in what are known as Confetti mice. In these models, the researchers can mark specific cell types and distinguish between them with the help of fluorescent proteins. In the models used, only endothelial cells fluoresced in three different colors. Since the cells continue to fluoresce when they divide, single endothelial cells and their “progeny” can be tracked. In so doing, the scientists sought to answer the question of whether cell division in the formation of new blood vessels, as known from zebrafish, takes place more or less randomly or whether specific cells divide again and again to produce new vessels.Clonal expansion after a heart attackIn damaged heart tissue following a heart attack, the researchers were able to observe that certain cells had divided repeatedly. They also detected this cell division, which is referred to as clonal expansion, in damaged tissue in skeletal muscles caused by ischemia. To do so, they analyzed the fluorescence in endothelial cells in tissue slices taken from the damaged areas. They found the ratio of clonally expanding cells – between 30 and 50 percent – very surprising. “But perhaps we’re even underestimating the ratio of clonal expansion,” presumes Dimmeler. “Because after all we haven’t conducted a three-dimensional analysis but instead identified the fluorescing cells in two-dimensional tissue slices.” In addition, further experiments showed that the vessels formed through clonal expansion are also supplied with blood and thus able to function.Related StoriesRadiometer’s ABL9 blood gas analyzer awarded Red Dot Design AwardLab-grown blood vessels provide hope for dialysis patients’Google Maps’ for cancer: Image-based model accurately represents blood traffic inside tumorsIn new-born models, by contrast, Professor Dimmeler and her team did not observe any clonal expansion in the formation of new vessels in the retina. It would therefore seem that the growth of blood vessels during normal development results from the random multiplication and integration of cells. This result coincides with observations in zebrafish, in which what is known as “cell mixing” also plays an important role in the formation of new blood vessels during development.Cell profilingThe researchers were keen to characterize the dividing cells more precisely and to this purpose they analyzed which genes are transcribed in single examples of the clonally expanding endothelial cells. “Surprisingly, we found a large number of gene products that are typical for the transition from an endothelial to a mesenchymal cell,” says Dimmeler. This transition, or EndMT process, is a contributor in many pathogenic processes, such as scarring or arteriosclerosis. In endothelial cells, the gene products typical for EndMT do not, however, mirror a transition but instead presumably just an intermediate stage that enables the cells to detach themselves from the cell assembly in order to multiply.Clonal expansion as possible therapy for heart attack patients Dimmeler and her team now want to find out what happens with the clonally expanded cells in the long term, since at present they are only able to track their fate for about two months. “We want to know what has happened to these cells after a year and whether the new blood vessels are just as good as the old ones in the long term,” says Dimmeler.Is clonal expansion different in older patients? This is another question she finds fascinating. “It might be that clonal expansion is no longer that efficient in older people, which is why a lot of damaged tissue dies off after a heart attack and forms scar tissue which cannot be reactivated through the formation of new blood vessels,” says Dimmeler. “If we manage to characterize the clonally expanding cells more precisely, we will hopefully find ways to re-stimulate this process.”​ Source:http://www.goethe-university-frankfurt.de/last_img read more

Study finds way to better treat men with locally advanced prostate cancer

first_imgMay 10 2018A new study published today has found a way to identify men with locally advanced prostate cancer who are less likely to respond well to radiotherapy.Led by Professor Catharine West, The University of Manchester team created a method of selecting prostate cancer patients who would benefit from treatments which target oxygen deficient tumors.The study was funded by Prostate Cancer UK and NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre and published in eBiomedicine today.Tumor hypoxia is associated with a poor prognosis in prostate cancer: the lower the oxygen, the greater the resistance to treatment and the more likely a tumor will spread.The researchers identified a 28-gene signature, which accurately identifies hypoxic tumor tissue in patients with prostate cancer which invades nearby structuresThe signature was derived using analysis of human cells in the lab and patient survival data.Related StoriesSugary drinks linked to cancer finds studyStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskEmbrace your natural skin tone to prevent skin cancer, say expertsThe signature was validated using data from across the world in eleven prostate cancer cohorts and a bladder cancer phase III randomized trial of radiotherapy.According to cancer.net, the 5-year survival rate for most men with local prostate cancer is almost 100%. 98% are alive after 10 years, and 96% live for at least 15 years.For men diagnosed with prostate cancer that has spread nearby, the 5-year survival is around 70%For men diagnosed with prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, the 5-year survival rate is 29%.According to Cancer Research UK , over 11,000 still die from the disease every year. In 2014, 13% of all male cancer deaths were from prostate cancer.Professor West is based at the Manchester Cancer Research Centre- a world renowned partnership between The University of Manchester, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and Cancer Research UK.She said: “Ninety percent of prostate cancer patients are diagnosed with localized cancer, which have a highly variable course of disease progression.”And we know that combining hypoxia-targeting treatment with radiotherapy has been shown to improve local control of tumors and survival of patients in head and neck and bladder cancers.”She added: “This study has built on work to identify possible ways for measuring hypoxia in prostate cancer using gene signatures.”Until now, there has been no clinically validated method of selecting prostate cancer patients who would benefit from hypoxia modifying treatment.”Though there is some way to go before this can be used clinically, it’s a significant development and could signal a new phase in treating this disease within a few years.”Source: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/last_img read more

Computational biological models help uncover wealth of knowledge about atherosclerosis

first_imgJun 29 2018Researchers find gene in artery wall activated by lipids associated with coronary artery diseaseResearchers have identified a new gene-activation pathway caused by lipids associated with coronary artery disease, a finding that could help identify new directions in research and drug development. The study was published in June in Nature Communications.The discovery that exposure to lipids activates a gene called MTHFD2 in the walls of blood vessels was made by researchers from the Institute for Cardiovascular Physiology of Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, and the Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. The researchers used a computational model of the cells lining blood vessels in the human heart developed at Mount Sinai.Atherosclerosis is caused by the buildup of a complex mixture of components, commonly referred to as plaque, within the inner lining of arteries. Oxidized phospholipids are abundant in this arterial plaque and are thought to promote atherosclerosis progression. However, the specific cellular processes caused by these lipids on the arterial surface are still not well understood. The cells composing the inner surface of blood vessels, called endothelial cells, are at the forefront of the atherosclerotic process and therefore are a major focus of research into coronary artery disease.”Endothelial cell response to lipids has been studied extensively over the years, but it was still unknown that MTHFD2 was even functional in these cells,” said Jun Zhu, PhD, Professor of Genetics and Genomic Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine; Head of Data Science at Sema4, a patient-centered predictive health company that is a Mount Sinai venture; and co-senior author of the study. “Computational biological models such as the one we used in this study are allowing us to uncover a wealth of knowledge about complex diseases that we never could before.”Related StoriesHealthy lifestyle lowers dementia risk despite genetic predispositionMolecular switches may control lifespan and healthspan separately, genetic discovery suggestsStudy: Treatment of psychosis can be targeted to specific genetic mutationThe international research team predicted and validated in follow-up experiments that the MTHFD2 gene plays a key role in endothelial cell response to oxidized phospholipids. They found that MTHFD2 was also activated in endothelial cells in response to other factors, such as inflammation or a change in amino acid concentration. This underscores the many factors involved in the development of atherosclerosis that must be understood and taken into consideration when approaching disease therapies.”Our study showed that when the MTHFD2 gene is activated in endothelial cells in response to oxidized lipids, it sends out molecular ‘danger signals’ promoting inflammation and stimulating the atherosclerotic process,” said Ralf Brandes, MD, Director of the Institute for Cardiovascular Physiology and Professor of Physiology at Goethe University. “These findings suggest that MTHFD2 could be a novel target to disrupt development and progression of atherosclerosis.”While the role of MTHFD2 in the vascular system was unknown before this study, the gene is known to be consistently activated in cancer, making it a promising target for cancer therapies. MTHFD2 inhibitors are already in clinical trials as anti-cancer therapies. “It’s possible that these therapies could also help prevent coronary artery disease, but more research into the specific role of MTHFD2 in atherosclerosis is needed first before proposing it as a target for potential therapy,” said Dr. Zhu.​ Source:https://www.mountsinai.org/about/newsroom/2018/computational-models-provide-novel-genetic-insights-into-atherosclerosislast_img read more

Machinelearning may aid in diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders

first_imgJul 12 2018Could the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders one day be aided through the help of machine learning? New research from the University of Alberta is bringing us closer to that future through a study published in Molecular Psychiatry.The research was led by Bo Cao at the U of A’s Department of Psychiatry, with the collaboration of Xiang Yang Zhang at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. They used a machine-learning algorithm to examine functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) images of both newly diagnosed, previously untreated schizophrenia patients and healthy subjects. By measuring the connections of a brain region called the superior temporal cortex to other regions of the brain, the algorithm successfully identified patients with schizophrenia at 78 per cent accuracy. It also predicted with 82 per cent accuracy whether or not a patient would respond positively to a specific antipsychotic treatment named risperidone.Related StoriesNew machine-learning method more precisely quantifies a known indicator for psychosisStudy: Many patients with schizophrenia and epilepsy die before reaching the age of fiftyTexting helps improve medication adherence, health outcomes for patients with schizophrenia”This is the first step, but ultimately we hope to find reliable biomarkers that can predict schizophrenia before the symptoms show up,” said Cao, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the U of A. “We also want to use machine learning to optimize a patient’s treatment plan. It wouldn’t replace the doctor. In the future, with the help of machine learning, if the doctor can select the best medicine or procedure for a specific patient at the first visit, it would be a good step forward.”Approximately one in 100 people will be affected by schizophrenia at some point in their lives, a severe and disabling psychiatric disorder that comes with delusions, hallucinations and cognitive impairments. Most patients with schizophrenia develop the symptoms early in life and will struggle with them for decades.According to Cao, early diagnosis of schizophrenia and many mental disorders is an ongoing challenge. Coming up with the personalized treatment strategy at the first visit with a patient is also a challenge for clinicians. Current treatment of schizophrenia is still often determined by a trial-and-error style. If a drug is not working properly, the patient may suffer prolonged symptoms and side effects, and miss the best time window to get the disease controlled and treated.Cao hopes to expand the work to include other mental illness such as major depressive and bipolar disorders. While the initial results of schizophrenia diagnosis and treatment are encouraging, Cao says that further validations on large samples will be necessary and more refinement is needed to increase accuracy before the work can be translated into a useful tool in a clinical environment.”It will be a joint effort of the patients, psychiatrists, neuroscientists, computer scientists and researchers in other disciplines to build better tools for precise mental health,” said Cao. “We have a Computational Psychiatry group at U of A with a team of excellent clinicians and scientists to work collaboratively on this challenging problem.” Source:https://www.ualberta.ca/medicine/news/2018/july/machine-learning-helps-to-predict-the-treatment-outcomes-of-schizophrenialast_img read more

Clinical trials for heart disease underrepresent women and older people

first_imgJul 25 2018Trying to determine how best to treat a patient, doctors often look to randomized clinical trials to guide their choice of what drug to prescribe. One of the most common illnesses is heart disease, and in recent years it’s been proven that, contrary to popular belief, more women have heart problems than men do; similarly, it’s more common for older people to have a heart condition than younger people. But do clinical trials reflect this reality?Apparently not. According to a new study published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes by Quoc Dinh Nguyen, a professor at Université de Montreal’s Faculty of Medicine, researchers continue to test new heart drugs mostly on men (71 per cent), even though the majority of people affected by heart disease are women. Moreover, the male subjects have an average age of 63, when in fact the average age of people with the two most common heart diseases is between 68 to 69.In the last 20 years, the sex-and-age gap in drug trials has barely diminished, even though the population is ageing rapidly, said Nguyen, a geriatrician at the Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (University of Montréal Hospital Center).”This under-representation of women and older people in clinical trials could have adverse consequences on care for both of these patient groups. The body of an older person doesn’t respond to many treatments and medications like that of a younger person. The correct dosage or intervention are often different for older patients and so, too, are the side effects, but we can’t know the specifics unless clinical trials are performed on a significant number of older people. This is also true for women.””The current lack of representation means that physicians have to apply findings based on a male dominant and younger population without being sure that these results should be extrapolated to women or older people in general.”Nguyen decided to look into the issue while still a resident in geriatric medicine, prompted by discussions with colleagues and the concern they shared about effective treatment of heart disease. Resident physicians in other fields such as anaesthesiology, psychiatry, emergency medicine and cardiology joined him in the effort.A closer lookAlready, 20 years ago, researchers had begun to raise the alarm that the under-representation of many segments of the population, especially women, in clinical trials was problematic. “Our research team wanted to know whether practices had significantly improved since then,” Nguyen said.To find out, his team of residents took a close look at the 25 most frequently cited (i.e. most influential) clinical trials for each year in the 20-year period from 1996 to 2015. They compared the age and sex of participants to data published in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2015-2016 on the prevalence of cardiovascular disease in America.The research team examined data on coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation, heart failure and hypertension, along with cardiovascular risk factors. It also looked at diabetes, since people with that disease are two to four times more likely to suffer from heart disease as well.Disappointing results”Our research team was disappointed to see that, although the situation has improved slightly, it will still take decades to eliminate representational bias in clinical trials,” said Dr. Eric Peters, an anaesthesiologist at CHU Saint-Justine children’s hospital who is the new study’s second author. “Based on our calculations, it’ll be another 90 years before parity is achieved in studies on coronary heart disease. And that’s before we factor in population-ageing, which is accelerating.”Related StoriesMaternal proximity to oil and gas areas associated with congenital heart defects in babiesResearch opens possibility of developing single-dose gene therapy for inherited arrhythmiasWeightlifting is better for the heart than cardioIn the 500 clinical studies they analyzed, the team found that women represented a median of only 29 per cent of participants and that the average age of participants was only 63. “This is nowhere near the reality of what we see in hospital emergency rooms and departments of internal medicine, cardiology and geriatric medicine,” said Nguyen.Women and older people were least represented in clinical trials for coronary artery disease (CAD) and heart failure, the study shows. Although 54.6 per cent of CAD patients in the U.S. are women, only 27.4 per cent of participants in clinical trials for CAD are women.Heart disease: a man thing?It’s a myth that heart disease primarily affects men; medical research has proven otherwise. As the second leading cause of death in Canada, heart disease kills more women than men. And it affects women later in life – in the case of coronary artery disease and heart failure, about 10 years later.While death from heart disease has been falling among women, it has been falling at a faster rate among men. One of the most plausible hypothesis, according to the scientific literature: physicians underestimate the risk for women, and so treat them less often than men.Why the gap?Historically, women have long been excluded from drug trials due to the fact they could become pregnant while on medication. But this shouldn’t apply to trials of heart drugs, since participants are already over 60 years old. Age also plays a factor in how women get selected. If researchers want to make sure women are adequately represented, they would need to recruit older participants, since cardiovascular disease afflicts women later in life than men.But recruiting older people makes things more complicated for clinical researchers. Older people often have more difficulty getting around, making it harder for them to come in for testing. Furthermore, the older they are, the more likely they have a variety of ailments that require taking other medications; researchers often prefer to exclude them from clinical trials so as not to confuse the results. Also, older people are generally more fragile and less able to tolerate the side effects of the drugs tested.Baby boomers: the next wave In the U.S., it’s estimated the number of people aged 65 and older will double over the next 30 years. With the first baby boomers now turning 73, the demand for cardiac care is expected to skyrocket, not just in the U.S. but in Canada and elsewhere as well.”We have to do better,” Nguyen said. “We must recruit more women and older people for clinical trials by relaxing eligibility criteria and adopting measures that encourage them to participate, such as arranging transportation and asking their families to help. As well, regulatory agencies should be more stringent in order to improve representation of both groups.””It’s a question of quality of care.” Source:https://nouvelles.umontreal.ca/en/article/2018/07/25/women-and-older-people-under-represented-in-drug-trials-for-heart-disease/last_img read more

Insight into endocrine cancers and treatment options

first_imgAug 19 2018Aretha Franklin died of a neuroendocrine pancreatic tumor, a rare disease where patients often exhibit few symptoms at first. Now more than ever, it’s time to raise awareness around endocrine cancers and prevention.Endocrine Society Member, Steven K Libutti, MD, FACS, Director, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, is an expert on the topic and can offer more insight into: What this type of cancer is How it’s diagnosed Common risk factors and treatment options Source:https://www.endocrine.org/last_img

A black eye for blue shield Consumers lash out over coverage lapses

first_imgWe’re sorry for the inconvenience. DM us your member ID and a Specialist will look in to this for you. – AV https://t.co/XQLGzcD88Q-; Team Shield (@TeamShieldBSC) July 2, 2018 Blue Shield has acknowledged failures in enrollment and billing for some customers who purchased individual policies since 2014, both inside and outside the Covered California exchange. The company declined to specify how many customers were affected. The problems don’t appear to involve people with employer coverage or enrolled in government health programs.In a June 22 lawsuit, the San Francisco insurer blamed many of these problems on an outside contractor it had hired in preparation for the launch of the Affordable Care Act in 2014. In a countersuit, the contractor, HealthPlan Services, denied the allegations and accused Blue Shield of sharing inaccurate customer data.Consumers with individual Blue Shield policies, like Ashley Summers, say they have been subject to sudden, erroneous cancellations. (Courtesy of Ashley Summers)In a statement, Blue Shield said: “The roll out of the Affordable Care Act was hard on the entire health care system. Our vendor failed to provide the support it promised and we spent millions of dollars to mitigate the impacts to our members.”On Friday, Summers sued Blue Shield in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleging breach of contract and seeking class-action status on behalf of other customers. The insurer couldn’t be reached for comment about the complaint.Scott Glovsky, a Pasadena, Calif., attorney representing Summers, said Blue Shield has known about these problems for years. “Blue Shield is taking people’s hard-earned dollars and then abandoning them when they’re sick,” he said.Tina Hoover, 47, a horse trainer in Sherman Oaks, Calif., said Blue Shield canceled her policy twice in two months, even though she’d been paying her premiums faithfully for years.Blue Shield denied more than $1,000 in doctor visits, saying she’d been terminated. After four calls, inconsistent responses, non-responses and a pointed comment by her husband on Twitter, she finally got her insurance back, she said.”It was frightening that Blue Shield could be so disorganized on something so important like my health care,” said Hoover, who pays $858 a month in premiums and has been a policyholder with the insurer for 15 years.All health insurers face complaints, from improper denials of care to annoying customer service. But some experts say these persistent breakdowns in customer service at Blue Shield represent a black eye for California’s third-largest health insurer, which has 460,000 customers on the Covered California exchange and 3.8 million enrollees overall.”I’ve never seen anything on this scale for such basic insurance operations,” said Paula Wade, an industry analyst at Decision Resources Group in Nashville, Tenn. “Honest to goodness, if you can’t take people’s money and credit their account — that’s incredibly simple.” We apologize for the trouble and would like to look into this. DM us your member ID and contact info and a member of our team will reach out to address this with you. – JN-; Team Shield (@TeamShieldBSC) July 31, 2018 We apologize for the frustration. DM us your member ID and a member of our team will look into this. – SS https://t.co/XQLGzcD88Q-; Team Shield (@TeamShieldBSC) July 25, 2018 Across its plans last year, Blue Shield had the highest complaint rate per 10,000 enrollees among the eight largest health insurers statewide, according to the California Department of Managed Health Care. Blue Shield had 7.43 complaints per 10,000 enrollees, followed by Anthem Blue Cross (5.83), UnitedHealthcare (4.72) and Kaiser Permanente (4.6). (Kaiser Health News, which produces California Healthline, is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.)Related StoriesRole of choline and docosahexaenoic acid in maternal and infant nutritionExercises and swimming goggles may reduce adverse effects on eye during long spaceflightsAmerican Academy of Ophthalmology shares tips for staying safe around fireworksFor its individual market plans, Blue Shield chose to outsource sign-ups, billing and payment processing to HealthPlan Services, a major contractor for insurers industrywide. In its breach-of-contract lawsuit against the contractor, Blue Shield said it needed outside help to handle the dramatic overhaul of the individual market in 2014 under the ACA.By June 2014, Blue Shield said it had formed a team of people “whose sole job was to address the failures in HPS’ services to ensure that Blue Shield’s customers’ interests were not impacted,” according to the lawsuit.But the glitches persisted, and Blue Shield said in its lawsuit that it has lost tens of millions of dollars due to the contractor’s “egregious” failures on billing, refunds and related matters.HealthPlan Services’ “data was ever-changing, inconsistent and flat-out incorrect,” Blue Shield said in the 15-page complaint in San Francisco federal court.In a statement to California Healthline, HealthPlan Services called Blue Shield’s claims “baseless” and said it has a “successful track record of providing quality services to its clients and their members.”But in court papers, Blue Shield said the problems went beyond the sudden cancellations.For instance, about 14,000 Blue Shield customers experienced “multiple attempted charges on their bank accounts” over one weekend, according to the insurance company’s lawsuit. About half the time, Blue Shield alleged, its contractor proposed refunds or credits that were excessive or had no basis at all. One time, a $27,000 refund went to the wrong customer, according to the lawsuit.In April 2017, Blue Shield said, it initiated termination of the vendor’s contract.In an Aug. 13 counterclaim, HealthPlan Services said “Blue Shield’s highly unusual data maintenance and transmission methods and business processes resulted in customer-facing errors that were directly attributable to Blue Shield’s conduct.”In a statement, Blue Shield countered that “HPS’ allegations are unfounded and we look forward to responding to them in the legal proceedings.”Meantime, San Francisco resident Burcu Sivrikaya, 32, said she found out late last month that Blue Shield had canceled her coverage — effective May 1. She spent hours on the phone talking to seven different company representatives trying to get her policy reinstated, only to be told it would take 30 days, she said. “Are they using pen and paper? Why does it take 30 days? It’s insane.”Now Sivrikaya, a social media manager, is trying to get Blue Shield to refund the $1,179 she said she paid in premiums for the three months the company withdrew coverage.The Department of Managed Health Care fined Blue Shield and a subsidiary $557,500 last year for improper cancellations and a variety of customer grievance violations. Blue Shield is contesting some of those allegations and penalties, according to the state.Blue Shield noted that it performed well on certain categories in the state data, such as an extremely low complaint rate among medical providers.The company also said its customer satisfaction score improved in a recent consumer survey by Forrester Research, increasing by nearly 2 percentage points to 63.6 out of 100. Forrester still labeled Blue Shield’s performance as “poor,” putting it in ninth place out of 17 health insurers that were rated this year.This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, which publishes California Healthline, a service of the California Health Care Foundation. Chad Terhune: cterhune@kff.org, @chadterhune We apologize for the inconvenience. DM you member ID and a Specialist can look into this for you. – AV https://t.co/XQLGzcD88Q-; Team Shield (@TeamShieldBSC) July 2, 2018 Aug 23 2018Ashley Summers said she got an unpleasant surprise in February when she tried to pick up a prescription for her rheumatoid arthritis: Her pharmacy said her insurance had been canceled, even though her premiums were paid.Summers called Blue Shield of California and got her policy reinstated — then she said it happened again in March and this time, the lapse in coverage dragged on for three months.Without insurance to cover her medications and doctor visits, her arthritis and fibromyalgia worsened to the point that she could barely walk, she said. In June, she said, the state granted her permission to switch to another insurer.”This entire mess has been so incredibly stressful,” said Summers, 49, a personal assistant in Los Angeles who had paid $593 a month in premiums. “For Blue Shield just to pull the plug like this is infuriating.”Around the state, consumers with individual Blue Shield policies, like Summers, say they have been subject to sudden, erroneous cancellations, especially in recent months, forcing them to go without heart medicine, skip vaccinations for their children and pay hundreds of dollars out-of-pocket for other medical care. On social media, customers have described frantic attempts to get their coverage reinstated. This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente. We apologize for the frustration. A Specialist will reach out shortly to assist you. – JN-; Team Shield (@TeamShieldBSC) July 30, 2018 I rarely tweet, but @BlueShieldCA has the absolute worst customer service. They accidentally terminated my insurance, and apologized for the error. After losing approx. 13 hours of work time on the phone, still no solution. What the heck??-; Paris Hotel Boutique (@parishotel) January 3, 2018last_img read more

Glowing diamonds make great thermometers

first_imgDiamonds are known for many things: hardness, luster, and their reputation for being a “girl’s best friend.” But the gems have important scientific uses, too. New research suggests that a certain type of artificial diamond can be used as a nanoscale temperature probe with unmatched precision over time and space.“I think this work is a real advance,” says materials scientist Daniel Jaque of the Autonomous University of Madrid, who was not involved in the study. “It’s a good paper on a hot topic.”The tiny diamond probes can measure temperatures ranging from 120 K to 900 K (–153°C to 627°C)—as cold as the poles of Mars and almost 200° hotter than the surface of Venus. They can also detect temperature changes across distances as small as 5 μm (roughly the size of a sperm cell’s head) and on timescales as short as 800 picoseconds (0.0000000008 seconds). Scientists discovered the properties of the probes—reported in the current issue of Applied Physics Letters—when they set out to investigate a unique defect in diamonds grown using nickel precursors. The technique incorporates some nickel atoms into the diamond’s crystal structure, forming what is called an “S3 defect center.” Like many other diamond defects, the S3 center emits a glow when struck by a pulse of laser light. Scientists can then use the lifetime of the resulting luminescence to calculate the temperature of the probe: As the temperature drops, the diamond glows for longer periods of time.   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 Zimbabwe Emailcenter_img Luminescent temperature probes aren’t a totally new idea, but what makes the S3 defect so appealing is that it combines speed and precision across a wide range of temperatures, says materials scientist Estelle Homeyer of the University of Lyon in France and lead author of the paper. Her co-author, spectroscopist Christophe Dujardin of the University of Lyon, adds: “There are many kinds of impurities in diamond, and this particular defect was the most interesting. It’s more universal. You combine all the purposes in one probe.”The superior versatility of the S3 defect comes from its electronic structure, which can be excited at two different energy levels. This produces luminescence at two separate wavelengths that have lifetimes ranging from 277 millionths of a second to about 100 billionths of a second. This difference makes the nickel-doped diamond luminescence extremely sensitive to fluctuations in temperature.Researchers say the diamond probes could be used for a wide range of applications, but Jaque suspects they’ll be most useful for observing the nanoscopic world, in particular the minute temperature fluctuations in living cells. But this might be limited to thin layers of cells in laboratory settings, since the visible light emitted by the diamond probes—a faint green glow—does not penetrate whole human tissue very well. “Only infrared light can penetrate into your body. You cannot do that by using visible light,” Jaque says. Still, a micron-scale look at the thermodynamics of human cells with picosecond time resolution would be a tremendous tool for scientists.The probes could have applications for material sciences, too, says co-author Gilles Ledoux of the University of Lyon, especially in measuring the friction between two materials at very small scales—an area of study currently not very well understood. But the team points out that the probes are still in their infancy. For starters, scientists don’t know precisely how to make the S3 defect centers. Current techniques rely on growing diamonds with a nickel precursor and hoping the defects show up. “We do not know how to prepare it. We just collect it from many diamonds, [and] some of them have this effect. It’s a long path,” Dujardin says. Now, the technique gives a temperature reading accurate to 2, but a more refined approach might allow researchers to standardize the size of diamond particles and the number of defects to increase precision even further. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more

Piling it even higher and deeper Grad school woes earn film sequel

first_imgFour years ago, after more than a decade of drawing the popular online comic Piled Higher and Deeper (PHD for short), former engineer Jorge Cham jumped to the big screen, enlisting an ensemble of California Institute of Technology in Pasadena researchers to produce and star in a movie version of his cartoon depicting the trials and tribulation of being a graduate student in the sciences. Now, a follow-up film is coming out next month. In an email exchange, Science caught up with Cham and learned a few details about the sequel. This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.Q: Why go through the insanity of a making a film again?A: As hard and risky as it is to pull off these kinds of projects, it’s also very gratifying artistically to work with so many people and create something together. I just didn’t think it was possible, or that there was enough demand for it. I think the main catalyst was the increasing number of PHD comics fans who would approach me at events and ask if there was going to be a sequel. Then, when one of the stars of the movie, Alex Lockwood, told me she was graduating and leaving the country, it dawned on me that this would be the last chance to do any kind of followup. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Q: In Hollywood, sequels are typically bigger and louder. Are there more characters and explosions in your sequel?A: There aren’t any explosions, but there are definitely more characters. My approach to writing this movie was to progress the characters and put them in new and interesting situations. For both of the main characters in the movie, that meant going out and interacting with a larger part of the world of academia. So, one of the characters goes to a conference and the other has to defend her thesis to her committee, which meant lots of new characters. Our cast list for this movie had over 50 characters!Q: Does the sequel tackle any newly emerging career issues?A: I tried to incorporate a lot of the things that people are talking about these days: how hard it is to get funding, the lack of representation of women in academia, the limited number of academic jobs available, ethical boundaries in research, among others. I think mostly I tried to reflect the general feeling of self-assessment that I’m sensing from grad students and administrators about what is a Ph.D., and what is it for, and what it entails.Q: You’re juggling fatherhood now, right? What’s the toughest career: scientist, cartoonist, director, parent?A: Well, being a parent doesn’t really pay — in fact it’s substantially the opposite!  Having kids definitely flips your priorities around. Raising kids and producing a movie are really hard, but I would say that in the first (kids) the joy far outweighs the work, and in the second (movie) the work at some point ends. With cartooning, you’re dealing with writer’s block on a daily basis for years on end, so I would still say it’s the hardest one. Q: What lessons did you learn from film one?A: The first movie was a big experiment to see what academics, and their secret passions, could accomplish. So, the first movie was produced, directed and acted by mostly all grad students and academics. One of the themes of the second movie is collaboration, and working with people outside your comfort zone, so we brought in a professional director (Iram Parveen Bilal), crew, and also professional actors to up the game. It was an extremely interesting experience for everyone, I think. I think most people watching the movie will have a hard time telling who is a professional actor and who is a full-time academic. We even had a Nobel Prize–winner saying a few lines in the movie, and he’s great at it.Q: Trilogies are big now—any plans for a third movie? What’s the plotline?A: Let’s see how this one does first! If there is enough demand and good will to make another one, I think it would be interesting to see where these characters end up. For sure, one of them would go through the process of applying and interviewing for a faculty position. I could probably write a whole movie just based on that experience!center_img Email The PHD Movie 2 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

Nighttime light pollution covers nearly 80 of the globe

first_imgThe new atlas shows that now, more than 80% of humanity experiences light-polluted night skies, which includes roughly 83% of Earth’s population, and more than 99% of Europeans and Americans. By population, Singapore has the world’s most light-polluted skies, followed by Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates—all densely populated countries. Africa has the dimmest skies; the top 10 least polluted countries are on the continent. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe The Milky Way’s luminous glow has inspired stories, paintings, songs, and poems for centuries: Japanese and Chinese folklore describe it as a river separating two lovers; in Greek legend, it is the spilled breast milk of the goddess Hera. Now, however, one-third of people cannot see Earth’s galaxy at night because of artificial lighting, which affects nearly 80% of the globe. The findings, part of a new atlas of worldwide light pollution, suggest that the problem is poised to get worse without regulatory action.“This atlas is really a useful communications tool to open everybody’s eyes,” says Travis Longcore, a spatial scientist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Longcore studies urban ecology, and was not involved in the study. “What a horrible thing to do to us as a species, to live in permanent twilight and never be able to see the stars.”Light pollution has intensified in the past half-century, increasing about 6% each year in North America and Europe, according to research published using a previous atlas created 15 years ago by the same researchers. That atlas, and the new study, define “light-polluted skies” as having a luminance of 14 or more microcandelas per square meter—about 10% higher than normal night sky brightness levels. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) More than 83% of the world’s population experiences light-polluted night skies, including more than 99% of all Europeans and Americans. Email Such pollution affects more than just our view of the Milky Way. Strong artificial lighting at night can cause birds to migrate at the wrong time of season, deter nighttime pollinators like bats, disrupt underwater ecosystems, and even decrease melatonin production in humans, leading to disrupted sleep cycles and increased risk of some cancers. And these detrimental effects can persist even after the lights have been dimmed or removed.“Light pollution is usually seen as a problem that can be solved immediately by turning off the lights,” says Light Pollution Science and Technology Institute in Thiene, Italy, researcher Fabio Falchi, co-creator of the atlas, described in today’s issue of Science Advances. “We can surely lower the levels of light pollution by turning off the lights, but we cannot reverse the damage we have already done.”In 2001, Falchi and his collaborators produced the first-ever light pollution atlas from data collected by a U.S. Air Force satellite. The time lag before the creation of the follow-up atlas was in part due to day jobs held by the Italian co-creators, says Falchi, who is himself a high school physics teacher. But this lag proved fortunate, as it allowed the team to draw data from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite instrument on the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite launched in 2011. Using 36 computers and 30,000 sky brightness measurements by citizen scientists to calibrate their calculations, the team created a model of light pollution around the globe. The model was based on the altitude of a given site, the angle at which light emitted upward from cities hit the atmosphere, and the reflection of that light back to Earth by the atmosphere. Overall, more than 300 regional maps were stitched together to form the global map.The atlas also projects what would happen if all outdoor lighting in Europe switched from common high-pressure sodium lights to energy efficient 4000-K white light-emitting dioed (LED) lights. LED lights release more light in the blue part of the spectrum than sodium lights. Those blue wavelengths are more easily scattered by Earth’s atmosphere than other colors, which would considerably increase the light pollution they ultimately contribute, bulb for bulb. Blue light is also more easily picked up by the human eye, which means that people would perceive even brighter skies. The atlas team predicts a two- to threefold increase in worldwide light pollution if they continue to be adopted globally. Falchi says that, considering this, choosing LED lights is akin to stripping an automobile of its emissions control devices to increase engine efficiency. “We are searching only for lighting efficiency, and not paying attention to the quality of the lights that we are installing,” he says.Poetry and mythology aside, this atlas is also a “first step” toward understanding light pollution’s impacts on wildlife, Longcore says. Light pollution comes from more than just lightbulbs, he notes: The key for many ecological researchers will be developing tools to calculate “horizontal illuminance,” the glare and reflection of artificial lighting from clouds and ground surfaces under different types of weather conditions. However, Longcore sees great potential in the atlas’s ability to raise awareness of a relatively underappreciated issue—and the dangers to both humans and wildlife from putting Earth into a state of “permanent twilight.”*Update, 13 June, 10:25 a.m.: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that artificial lighting at night could lead to an increase of melatonin production. The story has been updated to reflect that it could lead, instead, to a decrease in melatonin. Light Pollution Science and Technology Institute last_img read more

Milky Ways superfast stars may have been fired out of a nearby

first_imgMilky Way’s superfast stars may have been fired out of a nearby galaxy A small number of stars moving so fast they’ll eventually escape the Milky Way may not come from our galaxy at all, a new study reveals. Until now, scientists have largely believed that such hypervelocity stars originate when binary stars get torn apart by the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, which consumes one star and flings the other away at incredible speeds. There are alternative scenarios, but none explains why most of the 20 or so hypervelocity stars found so far are all in the same area of sky, in the Leo and Sextans constellations. Now, a team of astronomers has used position and velocity data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey as well as computer simulations of stellar evolution in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC, pictured above), a small satellite galaxy near the Milky Way, to show that these speeding stars may come from there. Lower velocity runaway stars can be produced when one half of a binary pair explodes as a supernova, blasting its partner away. Such an event in the LMC, which has 10% of the Milky Way’s mass, could easily eject it from the satellite galaxy altogether. And because the LMC is orbiting the Milky Way at nearly 400 kilometers per second, a star ejected from it could be moving faster than the 500 kilometers per second that makes it a hypervelocity star in the Milky Way. As the team report today in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and at the U.K. National Astronomy Meeting in Hull, most of the known hypervelocity stars have trajectories that would fit this scenario. Confirmation will hopefully come next year when Europe’s star-mapping satellite Gaia publishes its full catalog: The team predicts it should find more hypervelocity stars along the past and future orbit of the LMC. By Daniel CleryJul. 4, 2017 , 7:00 PMlast_img read more

Europes billioneuro quantum flagship hands out first grants

first_imgBasic research in quantum mechanics has flourished in Europe. But China is spending billions of dollars to commercialize quantum technology, including a satellite to send quantum-encrypted messages through space, launched in 2016—a first step toward a quantum internet. Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress is considering a $1.3 billion quantum initiative, and U.S. companies including Google, IBM, Intel, and Microsoft have already spent hundreds of millions of dollars to try to build a quantum computer that could outstrip conventional machines on certain tasks.Such investment has been scarce in Europe, where companies without the huge cash reserves of U.S. tech firms have been reluctant to take risks. The quantum flagship—the third EU flagship research program after ones on graphene and the human brain—is intended to compensate. Without such support, says flagship spokesperson Tommaso Calarco of the Jülich research center in Germany, “the ideas that were developed and are still being developed in Europe could be converted into companies and jobs elsewhere.”The program was announced in 2016, and grant proposals from 140 consortia—each a mixture of academics and industrialists—were received earlier this year, before being whittled down to the 20 winners across five categories. Seven of the winners will pursue basic science while many of the remaining consortia will develop commercial prototypes. Four winners are in the category of quantum communication and include a Dutch-led proposal to develop a blueprint for a quantum internet. Two more will plunge into the race for quantum supremacy, which means executing a specific algorithm that the best classical computers can’t handle.These groups might find themselves trailing Google, which aims to reach that milestone either later this year or early next using quantum bits, or qubits, made in superconducting circuits, says John Martinis, the company’s head of quantum hardware in Santa Barbara, California. Thomas Monz of the University of Innsbruck in Austria, who coordinates one of the European consortia, says his group’s bid for quantum supremacy, which uses trapped ions as qubits, is based on an algorithm that will be more “meaningful”—in other words, potentially useful—than Google’s.A full-scale quantum computer is decades off, however. Among the consortia developing more tangible quantum devices, Florian Schreck of the University of Amsterdam and colleagues are aiming to make a portable and easy-to-use optical clock that could help telecom companies end their dependence on potentially unreliable GPS signals. Meanwhile, Christoph Nebel of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics in Freiburg, Germany, and co-workers are working on a prototype room-temperature device to supply the spin-polarized molecules needed for magnetic resonance imaging machines.These grants amount to just a fraction of the initiative’s €1 billion commitment. Calarco says the format of the next funding round could combine calls for fresh proposals with continued support for existing projects. But where the money will come from is in question. Funding is supposed to be split 50-50 between the European Commission and member states. But unlike other flagships, the member state funding does not end up in a central pot. Instead, these funds are earmarked for national programs that merely share the aims of the quantum flagship. Given the complexity of this arrangement, Calarco is hoping the budget for the next EU research framework, to be decided next year, will contain all of the remaining €850 million needed for the quantum flagship. “I am working hard towards that goal,” he says.An additional uncertainty is how Brexit—the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union in 2019—will affect the flagship. Brexit could remove a key funding source, although the United Kingdom could strike a deal like Switzerland, which pays to participate in EU research frameworks. But Brexit’s effects on grantees will be delayed: The U.K. groups within the 20 winning consortia will participate for the full 3-year initial period. “We don’t know what form Brexit will take,” Calarco says. “So we have 3 years to sort this out.” Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) IBM Research/Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0) Quantum computers made of superconducting circuits could be the first to outpace conventional computers. The first phase of Europe’s decadelong, billion-euro program to turn its quantum technology research into commercial products has come into focus. At an event held in Vienna on 29 October, the European Union announced the first €132 million of its quantum flagship initiative will be split between 20 continent-wide consortia over the next 3 years to develop new kinds of quantum sensors, communications, and computers.Backers hope the investment will keep Europe from being overtaken in a potent new area of technology. “It’s important to start an applications sector to allow industry to grow in Europe,” says Ian Walmsley, of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and a member of the steering group that formulated the flagship. “No doubt it’s growing elsewhere in the world.” But it remains uncertain how the rest of the flagship will be paid for, and whether it will inject life into a fledgling European quantum industry.Physicists have begun to find commercial applications for the strange laws of quantum mechanics, which allow a subatomic particle to be in two states at the same time and a measurement on one particle to instantly affect another, distant particle. For example, Swiss company ID Quantique, set up in 2001, sells equipment exploiting the quantum properties of photons to create uncrackable encryptions for banks and governments. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Europe’s billion-euro quantum flagship hands out first grants 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 Edwin CartlidgeOct. 29, 2018 , 6:00 AM Emaillast_img read more

Watch a peacock get a females attention—by making her head vibrate

first_imgWatch a peacock get a female’s attention—by making her head vibrate When peacocks are ready to mate, they fan out their iridescent tail feathers (known as trains), before rushing at females, shaking those feathers to catch their attention.But when researchers discovered low-frequency sounds—which are inaudible to humans—coming from this “train rattle” several years back, no one knew how they worked. All they knew was that peahens perked up and paid attention to recordings of these “infrasounds,” even though they couldn’t see the males.To find out what was going on, Suzanne Kane, a biological physicist at Haverford College in Pennsylvania, and her colleagues decided to look at the feathered crest on top of the peafowls’ heads. During her previous research, she was struck by the resemblance between the short crest feathers—which form a sort of minifan—and the large peacock tail feathers.Kane and her colleagues gathered the intact head crests of 15 Indian peafowls (Pavo cristatus) and played recordings of the low-frequency sounds produced by the train rattle displays, along with white noise. Using high-speed cameras, they found that the train rattling infrasounds caused the head crests of both males and females to vibrate at their resonance frequency—the point at which they vibrate the strongest—whereas other sounds resulted in little to no movement.Peacocks also perform a wing-shaking display that Kane says isn’t particularly visually impressive—at least to humans—as it doesn’t involve the beautiful tail feathers. However, when the researchers used a mechanical arm to flap a peacock wing in a similar way near three head crests from female peafowl, they found that it caused measurable movements.“Every time there was a flap the crest vibrated,” Kane explains. This suggests the air flow generated by wing shaking could vibrate the feathers of nearby females, perhaps attracting their attention, the researchers report today in PLOS ONE.The team cautions that even with the new results, it still hasn’t looked at how female birds respond to these vibrations. Angela Freeman, a biologist at Cornell University who first discovered the low-frequency sounds, says her experiments showed recordings of these infrasounds cause both males and females to become alert and start walking and running, “presumably to locate the signal.”What scientists need to do next, she says, is figure out how the vibrations are coordinated with other parts of the mating display—and whether the sounds from the shaking tail feathers really do attract the females. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe When a peacock catches the attention of a female, he doesn’t just turn her head—he makes it vibrate. That’s the surprising conclusion of a new study, which finds that a male peafowl’s tail feathers create low-frequency sounds that cause feathers on the females’ heads to quiver.The finding is “fascinating,” says Richard Prum, an evolutionary ornithologist at Yale University who was not involved with the work. As far as he knows, it’s the first demonstration that feathers respond to acoustic communication signals from other birds.Scientists have long known that a bird’s feathers can sense vibrations. Much like a rodent’s whiskers, they are coupled to vibration-sensitive nerve cells, allowing them to sense their surroundings. Feathers can, for example, detect changes in airflow during flight, and some seabirds even use feathers on their heads to feel their way through dark, underground crevices.center_img Email By Michael AllenNov. 28, 2018 , 2:10 PM Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)last_img read more

Hindu nationalists claim that ancient Indians had airplanes stem cell technology and

first_img ANINDITO MUKHERJEE/BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY IMAGES 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! Country Email New Delhi—The most widely discussed talk at the Indian Science Congress, a government-funded annual jamboree held in Jalandhar in January, wasn’t about space exploration or information technology, areas in which India has made rapid progress. Instead, the talk celebrated a story in the Hindu epic Mahabharata about a woman who gave birth to 100 children, citing it as evidence that India’s ancient Hindu civilization had developed advanced reproductive technologies. Just as surprising as the claim was the distinguished pedigree of the scientist who made it: chemist G. Nageshwar Rao, vice-chancellor of Andhra University in Visakhapatnam. “Stem cell research was done in this country thousands of years ago,” Rao said.His talk was widely met with ridicule. But Rao is hardly the only Indian scientist to make such claims. In recent years, “experts” have said ancient Indians had spacecraft, the internet, and nuclear weapons—long before Western science came on the scene.Such claims and other forms of pseudoscience rooted in Hindu nationalism have been on the rise since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014. They’re not just an embarrassment, some researchers say, but a threat to science and education that stifles critical thinking and could hamper India’s development. “Modi has initiated what may be called ‘Project Assault on Scientific Rationality,’” says Gauhar Raza, former chief scientist at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) here, a conglomerate of almost 40 national labs. “A religio-mythical culture is being propagated in the country’s scientific institutions aggressively.” The Indian government in 2017 decided to fund research to validate claims that panchagavya, a mixture that includes cow urine and dung, has therapeutic value.center_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Hindu nationalists claim that ancient Indians had airplanes, stem cell technology, and the internet Some blame the rapid rise at least in part on Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA), the science wing of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), a massive conservative movement that aims to turn India into a Hindu nation and is the ideological parent of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party. VIBHA aims to educate the masses about science and technology and harness research to stimulate India’s development, but it also promotes “Swadeshi” (indigenous) science and tries to connect modern science to traditional knowledge and Hindu spirituality.VIBHA receives generous government funding and is active in 23 of India’s 29 states, organizing huge science fairs and other events; it has 20,000 so-called “team members” to spread its ideas and 100,000 volunteers—including many in the highest echelons of Indian science.VIBHA’s advisory board includes Vijay Kumar Saraswat, former head of Indian defense research and now chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University here. The former chairs of India’s Space Commission and its Atomic Energy Commission are VIBHA “patrons.” Structural biologist Shekhar Mande, director-general of CSIR, is VIBHA’s vice president.Saraswat—who says he firmly believes in the power of gemstones to influence wellbeing and destiny—is proud of the achievements of ancient Hindu science: “We should rediscover Indian systems which existed thousands of years back,” he says. Mande shares that pride. “We are a race which is not inferior to any other race in the world,” he says. “Great things have happened in this part of the world.” Mande insists that VIBHA is not antiscientific, however: “We want to tell people you have to be rational in your life and not believe in irrational myths.” He does not see a rise of pseudoscience in the past 4 years—”We have always had that”—and says part of the problem is that the press is now paying more attention to the occasional bizarre claim. “If journalists don’t report it, actually that would be perfect,” he says.But others say there is little doubt that pseudoscience is on the rise—even at the highest levels of government. Modi, who was an RSS pracharak, or propagandist, for 12 years, claimed in 2014 that the transplantation of the elephant head of the god Ganesha to a human—a tale told in ancient epics—was a great achievement of Indian surgery millennia ago, and has made claims about stem cells similar to Rao’s. At last year’s Indian Science Congress, science minister Harsh Vardhan, a medical doctor and RSS member, said, incorrectly, that physicist Stephen Hawking had stated that the Vedas include theories superior to Albert Einstein’s equation E=mc2. “It’s one thing for a crackpot to say something like that, but it’s a very bad example for people in authority to do so. It is deplorable,” Venki Ramakrishnan, the Indian-born president of the Royal Society in London and a 2009 Nobel laureate in chemistry, tells Science. (Vardhan has declined to explain his statement so far and did not respond to an interview request from Science.)Critics say pseudoscience is creeping into science funding and education. In 2017, Vardhan decided to fund research at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology here to validate claims that panchagavya, a concoction that includes cow urine and dung, is a remedy for a wide array of ailments—a notion many scientists dismiss. And in January 2018, higher education minister Satya Pal Singh dismissed Charles Darwin’s evolution theory and threatened to remove it from school and college curricula. “Nobody, including our ancestors, in written or oral [texts], has said that they ever saw an ape turning into a human being,” Singh said.Those remarks triggered a storm of protest; in a rare display of unity, India’s three premier science academies said removing evolution from school curricula, or diluting it with “non-scientific explanations or myths,” would be “a retrograde step.” In other instances, too, scientists are pushing back against the growing tide of pseudoscience. But doing so can be dangerous. In the past 5 years, four prominent fighters against superstition and pseudoscientific ideas and practices have been murdered, including Narendra Dabholkar, a physician, and M. M. Kalburgi, former vice-chancellor of Kannada University in Hampi. Ongoing police investigations have linked their killers to Hindu fundamentalist organizations.Some Indian scientists may be susceptible to nonscientific beliefs because they view science as a 9-to-5 job, says Ashok Sahni, a renowned paleontologist and emeritus professor at Panjab University in Chandigarh. “Their religious beliefs don’t dovetail with science,” he says, and outside working hours those beliefs may hold sway. A tradition of deference to teachers and older persons may also play a role, he adds. “Freedom to question authority, to question writings, that’s [an] intrinsic part of science,” Ramakrishnan adds. Rather than focusing on the past, India should focus on its scientific future, he says—and drastically hike its research funding.The grip of Hindu nationalism on Indian society is about to be tested. Two dozen opposition parties have joined forces against Modi for elections that will be held before the end of May. A loss by Modi would bring “some change,” says Prabir Purkayastha, vice president of the All India People’s Science Network in Madurai, a liberal science advocacy movement with some 400,000 members across the country that opposes VIBHA’s ideology. But the tide of pseudoscience may not retreat quickly, he says. “I don’t think this battle is going to die down soon, because institutions have been weakened and infected.” By Sanjay KumarFeb. 13, 2019 , 10:55 AMlast_img read more

Japanese government punts on decision to host the International Linear Collider

first_img Japanese government punts on decision to host the International Linear Collider Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) The government of Japan finally said something about hosting the International Linear Collider (ILC): It still can’t make up its mind, and it may hold off on a decision until the fall, if not longer.This morning in Tokyo, an official of Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) explained to a meeting of the International Committee for Future Accelerators (ICFA) and the Linear Collider Board that the ministry could “not yet” indicate the intention of “hosting the ILC in Japan,” according to a written executive summary of the presentation obtained by ScienceInsider. “MEXT will continue to discuss the ILC project with other governments while having an interest in the ILC project,” the summary concludes. “There was disappointment” among the scientists at the meeting, ICFA chair Geoffrey Taylor, an experimental physicist at the University of Melbourne in Australia admitted at a briefing this evening in Tokyo. “People were hoping there would be a statement that Japan was willing to host the ILC.” By Dennis NormileMar. 7, 2019 , 12:20 PM Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwecenter_img A cryomodule, a key component of the proposed International Linear Collider Japanese physicists in particular were hoping for positive news. In December 2018, the influential Science Council of Japan (SCJ) concluded in a report that it could not “reach a consensus to support hosting” the project, citing concerns over Japan’s share of the cost of the $7.5 billion machine and unresolved technical issues. Since then, regional politicians, industrial lobbyists, civic groups, and chambers of commerce have argued in favor of hosting the collider, which they hope will stimulate economic development in the region hit by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.The ILC is designed to produce Higgs bosons in sufficient quantities to determine the properties of the elusive particle, experimentally confirmed in 2012. “Having a Higgs factory is the No. 1 idea in particle physics right now,” Taylor explained. Japan had emerged as the leading contender to host the ILC after preliminary cost estimates scared off other countries.Taylor tried to put a positive spin on the situation, noting that “this is not a dead end.” In a letter presented to the Linear Collider Board, Keisuke Isogai, director-general of MEXT’s research promotion bureau in Tokyo, explained that a commitment might still be possible if the ILC gains “understanding and support from the domestic academic community,” particularly in the context of a “Master Plan of Large Research Projects” now being considered by SCJ. Given the council’s skepticism about the project, “We will show them that we already have solutions for the technical challenges and we are going to start making a framework for international cost-sharing,” said Masanori Yamauchi, director-general of KEK, Japan’s high energy research center in Tsukuba.A draft of the master plan is due in the fall, with a final recommendation from SCJ coming in about a year. “We’re still very hopeful that in not too long a time we will end up with a positive response to hosting the ILC” from Japan, Taylor said, though he noted that further delays could diminish the importance of the ILC given nascent competing proposals for other Higgs factories. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country © Rey.Hori/KEK last_img read more

Top stories The limits of human performance sloth evolution and the magic

first_img Study of marathon runners reveals a ‘hard limit’ on human enduranceAthletes who can run the equivalent of 117 marathons in just months might seem unstoppable. The biggest obstacle, it turns out, is their own bodies. A new study quantifies for the first time an unsurpassable “ceiling” for endurance activities such as long-distance running and biking—and it also finds that pregnancy’s metabolic toll resembles that of an ultramarathon.Ancient molecules reveal surprising details on origins of ‘bizarre’ sloths By Alex FoxJun. 7, 2019 , 3:45 PM 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! Country (left to right): ISTOCK.COM/PAVEL1964; ISTOCK.COM/SDOMINICK; STEPHAN SCHMITZ/FOLIO ART Top stories: The limits of human performance, sloth evolution, and the magic finger ratio 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 From elephant-size animals that browsed North American grasslands to moose-size swimmers that plied the Pacific coast of South America, sloths have roamed Earth for more than 50 million years. Yet scientists know little about how the dozens of known species are related to each other. Now, two new analyses of ancient sloth DNA and proteins—some of which are more than 100,000 years old—are rewriting the sloth family tree.Talk to the hand. Scientists try to debunk idea that finger length can reveal personality and healthMore than 1400 papers in just over 20 years have linked the relative lengths of the second and fourth fingers of the hand (known as 2D:4D) to a variety of attributes ranging from intelligence to cancer risk. Researchers who believe in the ratio’s predictive power say it reflects a fetus’s exposure to testosterone and other hormones that guide development, including that of the brain. But the notion has also riled up plenty of critics, who argue that researchers relying on the 2D:4D comparison have been seduced by a simplistic, faulty measure.The transparent teeth of this dragonfish evolved for one lethal purposeFive hundred meters below the ocean’s surface off the coast of California lives a creepy looking sea monster with a huge jaw and sharp rows of teeth. Even creepier, these teeth are transparent. Now, scientists think they know what makes them this way.Researchers strapped video cameras on 16 cats and let them do their thing. Here’s what they foundEver since video cameras became ultraportable, scientists have strapped them onto animals from sheep to sharks to see how they view the world around them. But relatively little has been done with cats, perhaps because they’re so hard to work with. Now, a new study equipped 16 cats with small cameras and followed them for up to 4 years as they prowled their neighborhoods. Emaillast_img read more

Meghan Markle Will Not Meet Trump

first_img Meghan McCain Whines That She Can’t Attack llhan Omar Because Trump Is Too Racist Buckingham Palace claims Meghan, who gave birth to Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor on May 6, but she might attend the royal Trooping of the Colour parade in honor of the Queen’s birthday on June 8. However, there have been long-time reports that Meghan is no fan of Trump.Back in 2016, before she met Prince Harry, she said on “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore,” “Trump is divisive, think about female voters alone, right? I think it was in 2012, the Republican Party lost the female vote by 12 points; that is a huge number and with as misogynistic as Trump is, and so vocal about it…Trump has made it easy to see that you don’t really want that kind of world that he’s painting.”In addition, back in December of 2017, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry reportedly did not want Trump at their weeding but insisted on inviting former President Barack Obama. The Sun reported, “Britain’s relations with Trump’s White House have sunk to their lowest ebb since his election last year. The property billionaire does not hide his loathing of Mr. Obama and is expected to be enraged if his predecessor gets the coveted call up when he won’t.” The site also added, “The young Royal couple’s dislike of the new president is well known.”A senior government source told The Sun, “Trump could react very badly if the Obamas get to a Royal wedding before he has had a chance to meet the Queen. Conversations are ongoing about and ministers will eventually have to decide.” A$AP Rocky Being In A Swedish Prison Will Not Stop Her From Going To The Country That Showed Her ‘So Much Love’ USA, New York, Protesters of police killing march in New York demanding Justice For All 31 Black Women Who Died In Police Custody Gov. Cuomo Slams Mayor Bill De Blasio For The Eric Garner Case But He Also Failed The Familycenter_img Obama wasn’t able to attend and Trump never got his invite. As for 45’s visit to the UK, Prince Harry is known as the rebel of the family but it sounds like Markle has proudly snatched up that title.SEE ALSO:Watch A Black Man Save His Life While A White Cop Has A Gun In His FaceOne Step Forward, 10 Steps Back: San Francisco’s First Black Woman Mayor Unseated By Rich White ManMeek Mill Accuses Las Vegas Hotel Of ‘Going To Extreme Racist Levels’ And Threatens to Sue Thousands are planning to protest Trump and his wife coming to the UK in June and it looks like one person is planning their own protest — Meghan Markle. The Royal Family will be meeting Trump, including Prince Harry, but Markle will not be in attendance. READ MORE: Hannah Payne’s Murder Case For Killing Kenneth Herring Moves ForwardBuckingham Palace released the following statement, “The President of the United States, President Donald Trump, accompanied by Mrs Melania Trump, has accepted an invitation from Her Majesty The Queen to pay a state visit to the United Kingdom.” It will be a three-day visit in June and one event, according to MSN, includes a private palace lunch and tea with Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry and the the Trumps. No Meghan. More By NewsOne Staff Donald Trump , Meghan Markle , prince harry last_img read more