Škoda Vision iV Electric Car Rated At 311 Miles Of WLTP Range

first_imgIt’s more than we expected from ŠkodaŠkoda has officially confirmed that the upcoming Vision iV concept, based on VW‘s MEB platform, will get one of the highest range ratings – up to 500 km (311 miles) under the WLTP test cycle. It would be amazing to see such a high range figure in a production version eventually.Just like in the case of the Škoda Vision E, the drivetrain consists two electric motors – one per axle – for all-wheel drive.The open question is whether the electric crossover will also be as attractively as the MEB-based electric Seat.“The 22-inch wheels provide a visual highlight and emphasise the impressive presence of the vehicle. Eye-catching details include the illuminated glass elements in the vertical slats of the ŠKODA grille and cameras instead of traditional wing mirrors whose housings are reminiscent of shark fins. Two electric motors – one on the front and one on the rear axle – form the emission-free drive system, making the VISION iV an all-wheel drive. The planar lithium-ion battery installed in the vehicle’s underbody saves space and provides a range of up to 500 kilometres according to the WLTP cycle. Innovative technologies provide more safety and comfort, ushering in a new era of infotainment and digitalisation. Smartphones can be integrated directly into the vehicle’s infotainment system and can even be used as a digital key to open the vehicle.” Skoda Reveals Vision iV Electric Crossover Concept Skoda Vision E Electric Will Be Offered In SUV Form Škoda Teases New Interior For Vision iV Concept Source: Electric Vehicle Newscenter_img Škoda news Škoda’s plan is to offer 10 electrified models by the end of 2022.Škoda Vision iV concept specs:500 km (311 miles) of WLTP rangedual motor all-wheel driveMEB platform Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on March 2, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle Newslast_img read more

Tesla Model 3 Owner Chimes In On His Model S Loaner

first_imgIs this Tesla Model 3 owner blown away by the Model S?Source: Electric Vehicle Newslast_img

SK Innovation To Switch To NCM 811 Cells In Q3 2019

first_imgSK Innovation to expand production capacity to 100 GWh annually by 2025 and build an order backlog of 700 GWh.Source: Electric Vehicle Newslast_img

Blossoming of Nakamura shows Strachans canny eye for a castoff

first_img Report Reply | Pick Part of Gordon Strachan’s success is down to his imaginative buys, typified by the capture of misfit Shunsuke Nakamura Report Route1Football Report ….or how about:He comes from Yokohamaand he’s gonna vote Obama(Well I don’t think any Sinn Fein candidates are standing where he votes, either) Share on Twitter Share on Pinterest Shares00 Comments 52 Facebook Share on Twitter Share Share on Facebook 21 Oct 2008 18:25 | Pick Champions League 2008-09 Share on Twitter Facebook 0 1 Kevin McCarra 3 Twitter Reply Share on Facebook Report Reply Share on WhatsApp Share Reuse this content,View all comments > 0 1 21 Oct 2008 19:58 Report Share on Twitter expanded 21 Oct 2008 18:49 Reply Share 2 Share via Email Report collapsed Share 0 1 Reply Twitter Celtic Loading comments… Trouble loading? Am i wrong opr has this arrived just as the player is mumbling about going home after Christmas, which is not that far off (blast! – sorry about mentioning that – I know how it upsets people)?Always struck me as an Oriental Recoba. The good stuff’s astonishingly good but the rest struggles to get to mediocre.Now then, was this ‘the token Celtic article’ as they’re playing one of those teams in red this week? Underwhelming, really. Report 0 1 You know what they say – the british invented football and the japanese perfected it. 21 Oct 2008 19:59 Read more Share on Twitter Facebook Sign in or create your Guardian account to recommend a comment 0 1 Facebook blogposts | Pick 21 Oct 2008 10:52 Facebook Blossoming of Nakamura shows Strachan’s canny eye for a cast-off Share on Facebook 21 Oct 2008 17:15 Share Facebook Share on Twitter Report Reply | Pick Share 21 Oct 2008 19:33 Champions League 2008-09 Thechelseablues Reply Share on Twitter Reply 0 1 Facebook Reply Share He’s technically supremely gifted.He’s physically pathetic.He gets plenty of protection from referees domestically so has probably found the right club for him. Share Reply | Pick oldest thisisanicknamelol 0 1 Share on Facebook Manchester United 0 1 MrMondypops bornblue newest kayakking Share Twitter 21 Oct 2008 10:58 21 Oct 2008 18:35 0 1 Share on Facebook Share Report Share | Pick Report Reply 21 Oct 2008 11:42 Khalif8 About a year late with this article. He was last season’s Player of the Year in Scotland and has had way less impact this season! Lazy journalism. Share on Twitter Share Sunsuke is awsome…the freekick against Man United was one of the best i have everseen and it sent my japanese roommate into dillirium, the likes of which I had never seen before from the usually restraint person. Share on Twitter Share on Messenger Twitter Share via Email Twitter unthreaded Share Twitter Reason (optional) 0 1 0 1 Facebook comments (52)Sign in or create your Guardian account to join the discussion. DelroyBensonRe: Strachan v Graveson, I think he had every right to give him an earful, even on the pitch. Celtic fans might be able to correct me but he sold the Jerseys, not once but twice. If my team scored twice at Old Trafford, I’d be hopeful of a draw at least. Then you see that..Fair point about Naka not travelling well. It’s a bit of a Bergkamp not wanting to fly type scenario. You just have to accept he will most likley be anonymous away from home. Sportblog Facebook | Pick Share on Twitter 21 Oct 2008 14:51 The player also inspired on of the better football chants:”He eats Cho Mein,He votes Sinn Fein,He’sShinsheNakamura”I must say, the Scots do football chants far better than the English. At a national game against Italy:”We’ll deep fry your pizzas”Better than all that ‘you’re gonna get your etc. | Pick | Pick | Pick Share on Facebook 21 Oct 2008 18:16 Share on Twitter Report Twitter Report Share on Twitter Report Share on Facebook | Pick Gordon Strachan has written that in terms of sheer ability Shunsuke Nakamura is the best footballer he has ever worked with. Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Action Images | Pick 50 Order by oldest Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Facebook Share on Facebook Reply ‘canny eye for a cast off’?Your only example is Nakamura, and he’s not even a cast off or misfit, atleast in the Japan I know, or even during his previous time with Reggina.I’m sure there are any number of players out there signed by Strachan who could disprove your point.But yes, he’s done a good job at Celtic, and so has Nakamura. 0 1 Facebook Report First published on Mon 20 Oct 2008 19.06 EDT McNicks Champions League Share on Facebook His free-kicks are brilliant and that left-foot is incredible. I find it amazing he never went to the Premier League. Very interesting the thought of four Japanese journalists following his every move. Do they follow him round the shops.The brand he has brought is much in the way Real bought brand Beckham, but for a much higher price. I would like to see Nakamura do crossbar challenge. 0 1 Share on Facebook Reply 0 1 Twitter 21 Oct 2008 18:22 100 Facebook I’m trying to justify why he’s so highly praised: Deadly from free-kicks and occasionally from crosses. Rarely looses possession (vitally important in Europe) and ……Nope, it’s gone. He can’t run the length of himself in a hurry, never mind with the ball at his feet. I’ve never seen him head a ball. His physical presence is minimal.Yip, a steal.”Just remember to go down easy around the box lads, got it?””S**t, where’s Petrov when you need him?” Facebook Share on Facebook Report Topics Reply Mon 20 Oct 2008 19.06 EDT Facebook We might not be able to compete but at least we recognise that chow mein is a Chinese dish, eh? Share on Twitter 0 1 Share View more comments Facebook Share Twitter Please select Personal abuse Off topic Legal issue Trolling Hate speech Offensive/Threatening language Copyright Spam Other Report Share Report Share on Twitter 0 1 Sportblog 21 Oct 2008 11:42 Report Share on Twitter Report bornblue Share on Facebook Twitter Sauravfrmnepal Report Share Share on Twitter Reply The only gamble in buying him is/was the partly-mysterious inability of Asian players to crack the European leagues I would have to say Nakata, Ono & Park were quite sucessful in European leagues. 21 Oct 2008 19:37 Share on Twitter parklife – You have to understand that last year, no football journalist had time to write about a celtic player.-There was the Berbatov to Man United story to write about….And the Ronaldo to Madrid column.remember? When he had ultimately become established with Yokohama in the J League, Philippe Troussier nonetheless overlooked the midfielder for the 2002 World Cup because he reasoned that Nakamura lacked the stamina essential in a Japan line-up designed for defence. The player’s reaction was to attempt to improve himself with a move to Italy.His delicate skills made him a misfit in a glum Reggina line-up that survived in Serie A despite scoring a mere 36 goals in the 2004-05 season. Even relegated Brescia were more prolific. That summer, though, Strachan was fascinated by what he saw on television of Nakamura’s influence for Japan at the Confederations Cup.His focus, crucially, was on all that Nakamura could do, rather than his limitations. Celtic, in any case, lack the budget to deal in perfection. He cost around £1m, but Celtic were wise enough to pay at least as much again for his image rights. The Champions League stage has made him such a star in his homeland that four Japanese journalists are based in Glasgow simply to report on his every deed.That band of reporters has to be patient because it is Nakamura’s habit to go to the gym for up to an hour after home games. He is obsessive on the training ground too, grooving his free-kicks, with his interpreter between the posts, after everyone else has gone. The Celtic manager has written that in terms of sheer ability Nakamura is the best footballer he has ever worked with. There are, of course, additional qualities lacking in him that someone such as Strachan’s former Scotland team-mate Kenny Dalglish had in spades.Strachan does not feel that Nakamura would have been suited to the relentlessness of the Premier League and calculates that La Liga might have been the right setting. As it is, the 30-year-old, with his family in mind, may well have his wish granted to return to Yokohama in January should Celtic’s interest in the Champions League be over.Two years ago he sent Celtic to the last 16 of the tournament with a free-kick winner against United that an expert such as Matt Le Tissier ranks as being among the five greatest set-piece goals he has seen, if not the best of all.It is unlikely that the visitors will savour tonight’s game. Perhaps the action will stay far out of Nakamura’s reach. Nevertheless, exploits such as his acquisition and that of the maverick goalkeeper Artur Boruc have kept Celtic to the fore. Strachan’s stiff challenge is to go on identifying undervalued assets that are beneath the notice of more affluent clubs. The Fiver: the Guardian’s take on the world of football Reply Share on Twitter Adam Virgo, Massimo Donati, Andreas Hinkel, Scott Brown, Lee Naylor, Pat McCourt – such imaginative (and pish) buys indeed. Reply Report 21 Oct 2008 18:45 Reply Reply Facebook | Pick Facebook recommendations 21 Oct 2008 17:44 GobBluth Share on LinkedIn | Pick So many areas of this article could be questioned. Firstly, and by far the biggest error is stating that Strachan shows a history of quality signings. Obviously there are successful ones – for value Scott McDonald must be one of the best – however the bad far far outweight the bad. These individuals are well enoug known so I wont waste time reiterating. I do think he is often guilty of being starry eyed by potential signings. Had Donati or Gravesen or Roy Keane not been playing for Milan/Real Madrid/Man Utd he would not have shown interest, and in each example they have proven to be expensive wastes of time.However the thing I would would focus on about Strachan is that his man management is possibly one of the worst I have ever known. Any potential Celtic signing who wants to know what kind of manager they might be working for should look no further than the image from Old Trafford where Strachan has a finger in Gravesen’s face and is clearly giving him an earful. What kind of manager gives his players a stripping down on the pitch? Gravesen knew he made a mess of it, and if you want to give him the hairdryer do it in the changing rooms. He has also had bust ups with Balde and Riordan for no apparant reason.As for Naka, thereis no doubting his technical quality, and his left foot is probably the best in Britain. However the point for debate with him is his continual impact on games, or lack there of. Especially away from Parkhead he is a tourist, often looking caught in the headlights. It is almost worth guaranteeing that he will be quiet tonight, and be substituted after 65mins. If Nakas skill and delivery could be combined with Aiden McGeady’s enthusiasm and zip, Celtic would have one great player, and one who may struggle to stand up on his own. 1 aburagesan Twitter Reply 0 1 Twitter Twitter Close report comment form Barryfrom 21 Oct 2008 9:23 Twitter Threads collapsed Email (optional) Share on Facebook Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Twitter macman37 0 1 Share on Twitter Don’t you mean instant noodles? Share on Facebook Share on Facebook 21 Oct 2008 16:24 Share Twitter Facebook Facebook | Pick | Pick Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Facebook Report Facebook Route1footballLets say that you were at work and despite having the best intentions, you make a couple of mistakes one day. Would you find it acceptable to be bollcked at infront of peers/customers, or would the humane, professional thing to do be to take the matter behind closed doors? Im not saying Strachan was wrong to be angry, as weak passing from Gravesen led to MU goals and cost at least a point, but that is no way to treat someone, professional footballer or toilet cleaner. Was Strachan not the same innocent by stander who got pulled up infront of the beaks when taking exception to an Aberdeen fan/stewart was giving one of his coaches verbals?And if Naka doesnt perform away from home, why play him? More to the point, why doesnt he play well at home? Or is it, as I believe it to be, just a poor excuse for a lack of consistency? Do a team like Italy, who have no fixed national residence, lose every game they play because the players arent used to playing on the same grass every game? And therefore, should a player who so often gets lavished with praise for ‘outstanding performances’ when in fact it is often one memorable kick of this left boat that is provided, and can split opinion so much, really be considered SO good? Surely his role in the team and and his technical ability should be seen by Stevie Wonder if it is so prominent? Share Report | Pick Share on Facebook 2 Twitter | Pick batz Share Facebook Report DelroyBenson Sorry there was an error. Please try again later. If the problem persists, please contact Userhelp DelroyBenson 0 1 Share Share on Facebook Misfit is probably overselling it a tad. He was certainly injury-prone, but he gave an otherwise dour Reggina side [which hasn’t done much more than fight relegation every season it’s been in the Serie A anyway] an exotic edge and a bit of class to go with the novelty. Twelve goals in 87 games, played over three seasons, is testament to an above-decent career.The only gamble in buying him is/was the partly-mysterious inability of Asian players to crack the European leagues and to a certain extent the comparison with Recoba above is quite a fitting one. The difference is Nakamura would never be allowed to be forgotten; how many Reggina players from the past five seasons can the average person name? Contrast that to Recoba [I don’t even know where he is now], who waivered at Inter and wound up ending his career quietly. Twitter | Pick 21 Oct 2008 18:56 0 1 Twitter Reply hmmm, I’ve always wondered why after moving to reggina no other decent italian or spanish club picked him up. His move to Celtic really made me cringe at the time but he has done well for them so can’t argue much. Maybe he might not have done well in the Prem but we will never know.Best Japanese player I’ve ever seen play. Would be nice to see him put another beautiful curler past Van Der Saar tomorrow whether Celtic tie or lose 0 1 Facebook Share on Twitter Twitter | Pick Share on Facebook | Pick Twitter bbYes, it’s just like those crazy Scots and their traditional Irish stew with leeks and yorkshire pudding. Share on Twitter parklife70 Bring back Du Wei!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! pierrelemer Reply 0 1 Share on Twitter Reply Share 21 Oct 2008 18:27 pierrelemer pierrelemer Share on Facebook Facebook Khalif8″I must say, the Scots do football chants far better than the English. At a national game against Italy: “We’ll deep fry your pizzas”…”Crikey. We haven’t a hope of competing. Thechelseablues Share on Twitter Nakamura is simultaneously the best player and the most underrated player in the SPL. Twitter BlueLegend Share on Twitter 0 1 0 1 MarcelaProust 1 0 1 Reply Twitter 21 Oct 2008 11:21 21 Oct 2008 16:17 Share on Facebook Show 25 Share on Facebook 25 3 | Pick Now then, there’s need to be saké. Route1Football Share on Facebook Report | Pick Share Share on Facebook Facebook All Share | Pick Report 21 Oct 2008 15:27 The idea of announcing the prices of the players as well the names never seems more appropriate than in the Champions League, a competition of severe contrasts. Celtic come to Old Trafford tonight with the £4m Scott Brown as their most expensive signing. Manchester United have 11 players who cost as much or more, up to the £30.75m Dimitar Berbatov. This is no sob story since many renowned clubs have less money than Celtic.From manager’s office to boardroom, the Scottish champions are run by smart people. With turnover at £75m, the debt of £3.5m is modest. The trouble is that revenue can only stay at those levels if Celtic go on featuring in the Champions League. They have been pulling off that feat under Gordon Strachan.Having never before reached the knockout phase of the tournament in its modern form, the manager has guided them there in each of the last two years. The odds are against a continuation of the sequence, considering Celtic’s agonised away form and a 0-0 draw with Aalborg in Glasgow at the start of Group E. Nonetheless, Strachan has achieved much, including three league titles, and part of that success has come through imaginative moves.As with any manager, there were signings that failed, but occasional disappointments can always be overshadowed by a single brilliant coup. Unable to compete with many English clubs, Strachan has excelled by identifying people who would have been ruled out as potential signings for the Premier League. In the case of Shunsuke Nakamura Celtic turned to a well-known individual who had been written off many times.Indeed, Martin Greig’s revealing book The Zen of Naka (Mainstream, £16.99) is a chronicle of rejections surmounted. The author, digging deep into the Japanese background, shows us Nakamura in his early teens, crying not because he had been left out of his team but because he had failed to contribute to its success. Soon after, Yokohama Marinos edged him out of their youth system but the midfielder then made his name in schools football instead. Twitter 21 Oct 2008 12:23 Share | Pick Twitter Replylast_img read more

Bay may rule King George with Star now on the wane

first_imgReuse this content Read more Bay may rule King George with Star now on the wane Wed 26 Nov 2008 19.01 EST Meanwhile, after a couple of disappointing weekends by his normal high standards, Paul Nicholls will be hoping to get the show back on the road at Newbury’s Hennessy meeting, which starts today. The novice chasers Pasco (12.55) and The Tother One (2.05) are the champion trainer’s main hopes. The top quality novice event this weekend, however, is Sunday’s Drinmore Chase at Fairyhouse. Yesterday Hill’s installed Aran Concerto as 7-4 favourite to beat a field featuring Forpadydeplasterer, Trafford Lad and Tranquil Sea. At 3-1, Tranquil Sea will have his supporters. He won in a smart time when successful on his chasing debut at Cork. For the notebookFairyland 2m hurdle AintreeConditions were extremely testing here, even in the first race on the card, and it proved just too much for Fairyland on her first run since way back in May. But Nicky Henderson’s five-year-old pulled clear of the remainder in running second to the game My Moment and is sure to win races, particularly in mares-only company. Quicuyo 2m1f chase KelsoThey went a good clip in this beginners chase, and it was only on the long run-in that Quicuyo gave best to Palomar and Naiad Du Misselot, both rated much higher than him over hurdles. This was a big step up on his chasing debut at Carlisle and there will be easier opportunities for Quicuyo.Ron Cox’s tip of the dayMinella Boys 3.35 UttoxeterThe subject of a gamble in a bumper event here on his debut for trainer Tim Walford, Minella Boys could only finish fourth. This looks the opportunity for the former Irish point-to-point winner to recover losses. Minella Boys has had three runs in hurdle races, showing promise when seventh behind Diamond Harry. He will be a lot more effective over this longer trip. Shares00 … we have a small favour to ask. The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Kauto Star Horse racing Share via Email This article is more than 10 years old When the ability of your former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner is questioned, we should not be surprised that the trainer springs to its defence. So it was with Paul Nicholls following Kauto Star’s flop in last Saturday’s Betfair Chase at Haydock.But it is surely valid to debate Kauto Star’s future at the top level. First up, would you want to back him at 6-4 for the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, despite Nicholls’ assertion that Kauto Star will be back to his best for his attempt to win the race for a third successive time?Sam Thomas, praised for getting Kauto Star home in last season’s Betfair Chase, this time came in for criticism when standing in for Ruby Walsh again. It was even suggested in some places that Kauto Star may not be at his best round Haydock. But he won the 2006 Betfair Chase by 17 lengths.On Saturday it was not absolutely certain that Kauto Star would have won had he kept his footing after jumping the last fence. The British Horseracing Authority’s handicapper was quick to drop Clive Smith’s chaser 4lb in the ratings to a mark of 175 after Saturday’s debacle. It remains to be seen whether that is an accurate reflection of the gelding’s ability. Kauto Star would not be the first French-bred chaser to go into decline after a spell at the top – it may have happened with My Way De Solzen. They start them early in France and Kauto Star was already a winner at Auteuil before he won his first race over fences for Nicholls as a four-year-old at Newbury in 2004. It requires a leap of faith to back Kauto Star at such a short price for the King George. There has to be value elsewhere and it could well be Tidal Bay at 6-1, as he looks sure to be suited by the step up in distance to three miles. But ante-post interest is risky as Howard Johnson is also considering the Tingle Creek Chase, over two miles, for the Arkle Trophy winner. Share on Facebook Ron Cox First published on Wed 26 Nov 2008 19.01 EST King George VI Chase Since you’re here… Share on WhatsApp Share on Messenger Share on Twitter Support The Guardian Horse racing news Share on Facebook This article is more than 10 years old The Recap: sign up for the best of the Guardian’s sport coverage Share on LinkedIn Share on Pinterest Topics Share on Twitter Share via Emaillast_img read more

Several FCPA Related Securities Fraud Actions Dismissed

first_img FCPA Institute – Boston (Oct. 3-4) A unique two-day learning experience ideal for a diverse group of professionals seeking to elevate their FCPA knowledge and practical skills through active learning. Learn more, spend less. CLE credit is available. After reviewing the relevant substantive and procedural framework for securities fraud class actions, Judge Ewing Werlein Jr. stated:“One observes initially that Plaintiffs’ conclusory allegation–which recurs in a variety of iterations–that KBR was directly or indirectly engaged in bribery to obtain contracts in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan is only that: a conclusory allegation. Plaintiffs wholly fail to meet the heightened pleading requirements of Rule 9(b) and the PSLRA. Nowhere in Plaintiffs’ Complaint of 68 pages are the “particulars” of any bribe alleged. Plaintiffs have simply assumed the worst based on the fact that certain governmental agencies have announced the opening of investigations of Unaoil related to international projects involving several global companies, including KBR. No investigative findings have been announced, but Plaintiffs act as if the opening of an investigation is all they need to make wholesale allegations of bribery against KBR. The law requires more.”Former and Current Executives of VeonAs highlighted in previous posts here, here and here, in 2016 VimpelCom (renamed Veon) resolved a net $397.5 million FCPA enforcement action in connection with a Uzbekistan telecommunications bribery scheme. The resolution documents contained numerous allegations about VimpelCom executive officers as well as various VimpelCom corporate committees that were engaged in the improper conduct. The allegations in the VimpelCom action were egregious and painted a picture of a culture of corruption at VimpelCom with high-level executives seeking legal cover at nearly every turn to facilitate the alleged bribery scheme.This previous post highlighted how a securities fraud class action complaint against the corporate entity largely got past the motion to dismiss stage.However related claims against former and current executives officers of the company were recently dismissed in this decision by Judge Andrew Carter (S.D. of N.Y.). The claims were against Alexander Izosimov (CEO from 2003 to 2011), Joe Lunder (CEO from 2011 to 2015 and member of the Management Board), Cornelis Hendrik van Dalen (CFO from 2010 to 2013) and Andrew Mark Davies  (CFO since 2013).The judge noted that “while the DPA [in the VimpelCom matter] discusses liability for actions committed by senior executives of Veon, the DPA does not identify any of those senior executives by name.”In his decision, Judge Carter found flaws in the plaintiffs’ service of process relevant to certain defendants and that certain additional claims against certain defendants were time-barred. “Regardless of the time bar and improper service,” the judge also addressed the merits of plaintiffs Section 10(b) claim and found it lacking.The judge found that Veon made several material mistatements and that certain of them were attributable to defendants through various SOX certifications. However, the court concluded that the plaintiffs failed to sufficiently allege scienter as to each individual defendant.As to Izosimov, the judge stated: “Plaintiffs do not allege that [he] was actually present during the relevant meetings, read the meeting minutes, or otherwise knew about the alleged misconduct.” The court further stated: “Izosimov’s position as CEO … is too general an allegation from which to conclude Izosimov had actionable data alerting him to the falsity of his statements.”As to Lunder, the judge stated: “[A]s with Izosimov, Plaintiffs do not provide specific factual allegations that Lunder was aware of such concerns or other contradictory information at the time he made any alleged material mistatements.”The judge made similar conclusions with respect to van Dalen and Davies as well.Freeport-McMoranIn Magro v. Freeport-McMoran Inc. (2018 WL 3725781, D. Ariz. Aug. 3, 2018) Judge Diane Humetewa described the relevant background as follows:“Plaintiffs, purchasers of Freeport common stock, initiated this federal securities class action … alleging that Freeport and its corporate officers conducted an illegal lobbying campaign in Indonesia aimed at extending its contract with the government to conduct mining operations in the country. The contract, or Contract of Work (“COW”) as the [complaint] calls it, is set to expire in 2021 but can be extended to 2041. Plaintiffs assert that “Indonesian regulations prohibited Freeport from negotiating the COW (or the terms of its extensions) prior to two years before the COW’s expiration (i.e., Freeport was not allowed to negotiate the terms of its extension prior to 2019).” The [complaint] alleges that despite this regulation, Defendants engaged in negotiations with the Indonesian government aimed at securing the COW’s extension. In doing so, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Indonesian law, and Freeport’s internal policies against bribery and corruption.The key event detailed in the [complaint] is a meeting in June of 2015 between the President of the Freeport subsidiary PT Freeport Indonesia (“Freeport Indonesia”), Maroef Sjamsoeddin (“Sjamsoeddin”), and Speaker of the Indonesian House of Representatives, Setya Novanto (“Novanto”).  The [complaint] alleges that Sjamsoeddin attempted to bribe Novanto by offering shares of Freeport Indonesia “as well as interests in lucrative business opportunities” in exchange for his support in extending the COW.  In addition, the [complaint] alleges that “Defendants expected Sjamsoeddin to engage in the course of conduct that he did in order to secure the COW extension as quickly as possible and for the best price possible.”The [complaint] further alleges that throughout 2015 Defendants made various representations that they were engaged in active discussions to extend the COW, that the discussions were going well, and that Defendants were abiding by all laws and regulations forbidding bribery in accordance with the FCPA.In November of 2015, some Indonesian media outlets published articles relaying that “Freeport Indonesia agreed to cooperate with an impending investigation by the Indonesian House of Representatives concerning allegations of bribery and extortion involving Novanto and Freeport Indonesia.” The [complaint] details a decline in Freeport’s stock price, starting on November 18, 2015 at $8.77 per share. On December 28, 2015, Defendant Moffett then resigned as Freeport’s Chairman of the Board, and on January 18, 2016, a Reuters press release announced Sjamsoeddin’s resignation from Freeport Indonesia. By January 19, 2015, Freeport’s stock price had dropped to $3.96 per share. Plaintiffs argue that this decline came as a result of “Defendants’ fraud finally being revealed to investors and the market”, and that Freeport raised around $1.4 billion in gross proceeds from stock sales during that period.Count One of the [complaint] alleges that Freeport defrauded investors and violated Section 10(b) of the Exchange  Count Two cites the “Individual Defendants” as the controlling persons within Freeport who violated section 20(a) of the Exchange Act. The fraud alleged in the [complaint] is predicated upon Defendants’ representations of the COW negotiation’s status, and representations that they were not violating the FCPA or Indonesian law. Plaintiffs argue that had Defendants accurately represented Freeport’s activities in Indonesia, “investors would have been able to better evaluate the prospects of Freeport in Indonesia as well as the risk profile of their investments.”Among other things, defendants argued that “[n]o governmental authority has ever found that Freeport violated the FCPA or even accused it of doing so.” In this regard, the judge stated: “Plaintiffs have not pled sufficient facts to plausibly claim that Sjamsoeddin, while acting as President of Freeport Indonesia, attempted to bribe Indonesian officials in violation of Indonesian law or the FCPA.”Elsewhere, the opinion states:“Defendants argue that statements made in Freeport’s Anti-Corruption Policy and Principles of Business Conduct Policy are not actionable because, as corporate codes of conduct, they are “transparently aspirational” and cannot serve as the basis for an action for fraud. As the Ninth Circuit has said, the “promotion of ethical conduct” cannot reasonably suggest that a company’s internal policies will not be violated. The Court agrees. The statements made in Freeport’s AntiCorruption Policy and Principles of Business Conduct Policy are also not actionable as a matter of law.In sum, the Court finds that the [complaint’s] claims predicated upon violations of Indonesia’s COW extension regulations or attempted bribery in violation of the FCPA fail to demonstrate a material misrepresentation. In addition, statements about the status of the COW discussions and statements made in Freeport’s AntiCorruption Policy and Principles of Business Conduct Policy are not actionable.”Next, the opinion notes:“Defendants’ Motion also argues that general knowledge of Freeport’s Indonesian operations does not establish scienter. In their Response, Plaintiffs argue that Defendants were so involved in Freeport’s Indonesian operations that it would be absurd to suggest that they were unaware of the illicit means used in the COW negotiations. From this, Plaintiffs conclude that Defendants, especially Adkerson and Moffett, were directly responsible for initiating and monitoring a “bribery scheme.”All companies have operations of critical importance. […] Ultimately the Court must ask, given that Defendants were knowledgeable of Freeport’s investments in Indonesia and the nature of the COW, would it be absurd to conclude anything but that Defendants intentionally or recklessly facilitated a bribery scheme carried out by a third person? This Court finds it is not absurd to conclude that Defendants’ had no knowledge of the alleged bribery scandal based on their knowledge of Indonesian operations alone. This action is not one of those “rare circumstances” where the bare assertion that Defendants were involved in managing Freeport’s Indonesian operations suffices demonstrate scienter.Finally, Plaintiffs try to draw the inference of scienter by describing “almost three decades of alleged FCPA violations on the part of Freeport.” Although the events occurred before the class period, Plaintiffs argue Defendants “continued that course of illicit conduct during the Class Period.” In their Response, Defendants argue that “Plaintiff does not and cannot allege that Freeport has ever been charged with violating the FCPA; the claim is instead based on old reports containing recycled allegations that have never been substantiated or acted upon despite having been brought to the attention of the authorities years ago.” Additionally Defendants correctly assert that the confidential witnesses cited in the [complaint] do not profess to have knowledge that illegal activity occurred before the class period. Indeed, they only present their “opinion.” Put simply, the [complaint] presents allegations of FCPA violations to support more allegations of FCPA violations. A reasonable inference of scienter does not follow.”Upon review of all the facts presented, the Court finds that there is no strong inference of scienter compelling enough to match the inference of nonfraudulent intent. Therefore, the Court finds that the [complaint] fails to adequately plead scienter.” Sure as dogs bark and the sun rises in the east, in the aftermath of a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action or merely an instance of FCPA scrutiny, plaintiffs’ counsel (no doubt representing shareholders on a contingent fee basis) file securities fraud class actions and hope to get some claims past the motion to dismiss stage.Rarely does this happen and this post highlights three instances, in just the past few weeks, in which federal trial court judges have dismissed FCPA related securities fraud class actions.In re KBR In this matter, (2018 WL 4208681, S.D. Tex, Aug. 31, 2018) plaintiffs alleged:“KBR and its subsidiaries in the United Kingdom a number of years [after resolving separate FCPA or related enforcement actions] engaged in a separate bribery scheme in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, using Monaco-based Unaoil as an intermediary.Plaintiffs further allege that Defendants defrauded investors by knowingly or recklessly making false and misleading statements and omissions that concealed that (1) KBR and its U.K. subsidiaries violated U.K. antibribery laws and (2) the profits from the contracts illegally obtained would be subject to disgorgement. Specifically, Plaintiffs allege that, over the course of the Class Period, Defendants made misrepresentations falling into six categories: (1) reports of KBR’s net income and revenue, (2) statements about anti-bribery laws and KBR’s Code of Business Conduct (KBR’s “Code”), (3) statements about the awards of specific contracts, (4) statements about the charges relating to the Nigerian bribery scheme, (5) statements disclosing the Unaoil investigations, and (6) certifications required by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, 15 U.S.C. § 7201 et seq. (“SOX certifications”).”center_img Learn More & Registerlast_img read more

Lighting intervention can positively impact sleep behavior for Alzheimers patients

first_img Source:https://aasm.org/ Jun 5 2018A tailored lighting intervention in nursing homes can positively impact sleep, mood and behavior for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, according to preliminary findings from a new study.People with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias may experience sleep problems, wandering, and associated daytime irritability. This study tested whether a tailored daytime lighting intervention could improve sleep and behavior in Alzheimer’s patients living in long-term care facilities.Related StoriesSleep makes synapses ready for new learningSleep quality could be indicator for later Alzheimer’s disease finds studySleep disorders in patients with low back pain linked to increased healthcare visits, costsCompared to baseline and to the inactive lighting condition, the lighting intervention significantly decreased sleep disturbances, depression and agitation. While all measures improved, the most significant improvement was seen in sleep quality.”Here we show that if the stimulus (light dose) is carefully delivered and measured, it can have a strong impact on sleep, depression and agitation,” said principal investigator and lead author Mariana Figueiro, PhD, a professor and director at the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. “Depression was a secondary measure, and I was pleasantly surprised by the positive impact of the light treatment on depression scores.”The study involved 43 subjects diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias who were exposed to an active and inactive tailored lighting intervention for successive 4-week periods, spaced by a 4-week washout period. The lighting intervention was added to spaces in which patients spent most of their waking hours and was energized from wake time until 6 p.m. Calibrated personal light meters monitored exposures. Measures of sleep disturbances (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index), mood (Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia) and agitation (Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Index) were collected at baseline and during the last week of the intervention.last_img read more

Lowcarb diets reduce stiffness of arteries in women and promote weight loss

first_imgJul 18 2018According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1 out of 3 American adults live with higher than normal blood sugar levels known as prediabetes. Researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine recently found that while men may lose more weight on low-carb diets, women actually see better improvements in artery flexibility. It’s a finding that may help pre-diabetic women reduce their risk for heart disease through a low-carb diet.”Previous research has shown that as women age, their blood vessels stiffen more so than men, putting them at an increased risk of heart disease,” said Elizabeth Parks, PhD, professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at MU. “Contrary to what you may think, you actually don’t want stiff blood vessels. Rather, you want flexible vessels that expand slowly as the blood flows through them. Our study found that low-carb diets helped reduce the stiffness of arteries in women, which can, in turn, reduce their risk of developing serious heart conditions.”Related StoriesStroke should be treated 15 minutes earlier to save lives, study suggestsDiet and nutrition influence microbiome in colonic mucosaDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustTo illustrate this, Parks compares good vessels to be like a rubber hose and aging causing vessels to become stiff, similar to a plastic pipe. When you pour water through a rubber hose, the hose bends and flexes as the water makes its way through. When you pour water through a solid pipe, the water travels through the pipe quickly. In the human body, for good health, we want flexible, pliable, resilient arteries.As part of the study, 20 middle-aged, pre-diabetic men and women were given carb-restricted meals provided by the MU Nutrition Center for Health for two weeks and were supplied meal planning instructions for an additional two weeks. Over the four-week period, the men in the study lost 6.3 percent of their body weight, while women lost 4.4 percent. However, using an arterial stiffness measurement called pulse wave velocity, the women showed reduced blood flow speeds of 1 meter per second, while men showed no changes in blood flow speed.”Vascular stiffness is a natural process of aging that can be accelerated by obesity, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome,” said Parks, who also serves as associate director of the MU Clinical Research Center. “Our study is the first to demonstrate that weight loss can reduce arterial stiffness in as little as four weeks and that dietary carbohydrate restriction may be an effective treatment for reducing aortic stiffness in women.” Source:https://medicine.missouri.edu/news/while-men-lose-more-weight-low-carb-diets-women-show-greater-improvements-artery-flexibilitylast_img read more

It takes all kinds to build a spider city

first_imgAny human will tell you that the right mix of personalities is crucial to forming a successful social group—and as it turns out, the same goes for spiders. Anelosimus studiosus, a brown spider about half the size of a fingernail, live together in colonies, with each individual tending to exhibit either docile or aggressive behaviors. To determine which combination of temperaments made for the most successful spider city, researchers distributed 53 colonies, ranging from one to almost 30 spiders, at six different sites in Tennessee and Georgia. Thirty-seven of the colonies were composed of “natives,” meaning that the spiders were living in an area that had similar resources to their previous home. Sixteen colonies were composed of foreigners, spiders who came from an area with the opposite resource level. The scientists also monitored 20 naturally occurring colonies at the same sites as controls. They found that the availability of resources affected the ideal ratio of docile to aggressive spiders. For example, small colonies with more docile citizens initially thrived in high-resource ecosystems, whereas more aggressive colonies did better in low-resource ecosystems. In addition, the ideal ratio of aggressive to docile spiders changed as the colonies became larger. The experimental colonies proved more successful if their docile-to-aggressive ratios matched that of the naturally occurring control colonies in the same areas, the researchers report online this week in Nature. The results provide an example of group selection, where individual traits evolve according to the needs of a group.last_img read more

Excepteur sint occaecat cu

first_imgLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.last_img

Vaccines that rob microbes of iron could fight food poisoning UTIs

first_imgA group at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor designed a vaccine targeting the siderophores of Escherichia coli urinary tract infections, while a team at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California (UC), Irvine, took aim at a Salmonella strain that causes food poisoning. Each group immunized mice with their conjugate; several weeks later, they challenged the animals with a big dose of bacteria.As the researchers reported in a pair of papers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this month, the siderophore shots didn’t prevent disease; vaccinated mice still developed infections, many of which were severe. But vaccinated mice had dramatically fewer bacteria in their bodies compared with mice that received a dose of the carrier protein alone. In the E. coli study, for instance, vaccinated mice had at least 10 times fewer E. coli in their urine and kidneys, which—along with their bladders—were less inflamed than those of control mice. In the Salmonella experiments, bacterial numbers were as much as 20,000-fold lower in the vaccinated mice and scientists also identified antibodies specific to the siderophores that seem responsible for the protection.These results are important, say the researchers, but they are still first steps. “It was kind of long shot, but it worked,” says Manuela Raffatellu, a microbiologist at UC Irvine and a senior author on the Salmonella study. “It’s certainly not ready for prime time,” concedes Harry Mobley, a bacteriologist who led the E. coli study at Michigan. Nevertheless, he’s “very excited about the finding.” Mobley hopes that a similar vaccine can be tested in humans 5 years from now. Because related species of disease-causing bacteria often produce chemically similar siderophores, a single vaccine might work against a variety of different bacteria, he says.Eric Skaar, a microbiologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, who was not involved with the work, calls the findings “pretty impressive.” “Any time two different groups have very similar results using similar strategies, it really speaks to the robustness,” he says. The results provide an important proof of concept, adds James Johnson, an infectious disease physician at the Minneapolis Veterans Administration Health Care System in Minnesota. He says such vaccines could be an alternative to antibiotics, which are becoming increasingly ineffective and often wipe out good bacteria as well: “We really do need to push this line of investigation further because of the antibiotic resistance crisis we’re having now.” Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! 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Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)center_img You’re probably not aware of it, but when you’re suffering from a bad case of food poisoning or another infection, bacteria are busy stealing iron from you. Many microbes use special chemicals to snatch away the metal, which they need to reproduce. But this need could be their downfall, according to new research. For the first time, two separate groups have developed candidate vaccines that protect against infection by targeting iron-scavenging molecules. The shots didn’t prevent disease in mice, but they did slow down infection, showing the concept might work.Iron is a hot commodity inside the human body. The metal is essential for producing energy and replicating DNA; it has a starring role in hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen inside red blood cells. Bacteria also need iron to grow and divide, and they have special molecules called siderophores that bind to the metal and rip it right out of the proteins in which it is ensconced. Siderophores then ferry the precious cargo back to the bacterial cell by binding to a specialized receptor.Scientists have tried to exploit this mechanism by devising vaccines that unleash antibodies against the receptors. A few have shown promise, but the receptors repel water and are insoluble, making the vaccine harder to manufacture. An alternative approach is to target the siderophores themselves. The problem is that siderophores aren’t naturally good at revving up the immune system, since they’re so small. To make them more visible to B cells and other immune responders, two groups of scientists decided to hook up synthesized siderophores to so-called carrier proteins, large proteins that the immune system views as “foreign,” and try the resulting conjugates as vaccines. Emaillast_img read more

Artificial chicken grown from cells gets a taste test—but who will regulate

first_img Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Historically, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates meat, poultry, and eggs, whereas the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees safety and security for food additives. FDA also approves so-called biologics, which include products made from human tissues, blood, and cells, and gene therapy techniques. But emerging biotechnologies may blur those lines of oversight, because some of the new foods don’t fit neatly into existing regulatory definitions. “Cellular culture raises a lot of questions,” says Isha Datar, CEO of New Harvest, a New York City–based nonprofit founded to support this nascent industry.To help provide answers, the White House last year launched an initiative to review and overhaul how U.S. agencies regulate agricultural biotechnology. And the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, D.C., is working on a broader study of future biotechnology developments and regulation, with a report slated for release at the end of this year. (Editor’s Note: The report was released on March 9, 2017)In the meantime, industry leaders are thinking about how their potential lab-based foods might be handled by regulators. One approach, they tell ScienceInsider, is to show that their product is similar to an existing product that testing has already shown to pose no hazards. “Most food regulation is about aligning new products with something that’s already recognized as safe,” Datar notes. That’s the approach already taken by companies that use microbes and other biotechnologies to produce enzymes and proteins that are added to foods, notes Vincent Sewalt, senior director, product stewardship and regulatory, for DuPont Industrial Biosciences, based in Palo Alto, California. For example, yeast can be used to produce specific amylases, which are enzymes added to baked goods to prolong freshness. Such additives require premarket approval from FDA “unless you can demonstrate they are substances generally recognized as safe,” Sewalt says. To meet that standard—known in the industry as GRAS—companies start by selecting microbial strains that are known to be nontoxigenic and nonpathogenic, then use those strains to produce their products. “And that can be safely done as long as you’ve selected a safe strain and demonstrated that safety through repeated toxicology studies,” Sewalt says.That strategy might also work for companies experimenting with using engineered yeast to produce single proteins to create egg whites, without cracking open a chicken’s egg. In this case, egg white proteins are already considered to be a GRAS ingredient.The same scenario might also work for Perfect Day, the startup that’s using yeast to make milk proteins, and then adding other ingredients to create a cow-free “milk.” Those milk proteins, caseins and whey, are already recognized as safe because they’re identical to the milk proteins we get from cows, says Datar, also a founder of the company.The product can’t legally be called milk, however, because FDA has standards of identity that specifically define milk as lacteal secretions from a cow. “That definition completely leaves out any kind of beverage produced by fermentation or other tools of molecular biology,” says Phillip Tong, former director of the Dairy Products Technology Center and professor emeritus at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. “When these definitions were promulgated, nobody ever thought we’d be able to do something like this,” he adds.Meaty complicationsThe regulatory situation gets more complicated with cell-cultured meat, in which cells taken from animal muscle are grown on special scaffolds until they form enough tissue strands (about 20,000) to make a meatball or hamburger. It is not quite animal, not exactly a food additive—yet intended as food.“It’s uncharted territory,” says Nicole Negowetti, policy director for the Good Food Institute, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit that supports cultured and plant-based food alternatives. For example, “from my understanding, the USDA regulations are based on food from animal slaughter, so [they don’t] make sense for these products,” she says.Although cellular agriculture advocates tend to dwell on the process—because they say it could lead to safer, more humane, and more sustainable food production—FDA looks only at the final product. So, whether the end product is genetically modified corn, soybean, or maybe meat, Negowetti says the product should be regulated by FDA if it is meant to be a food.But meat from cell cultures could also fall under FDA oversight for drug manufacturing, she notes. Because FDA defines a drug as something that includes human cells, tissues, and tissue-based products, it might not be so much of a stretch to say animal tissue could be included in that definition, too, she adds.There also could be arguments made for regulating cell-cultured meat under FDA’s New Animal Drug Application process. Under this scheme, the agency regulates drugs given to animals or added to their food. So if companies manipulate meat cultures to improve the flavor, fat content, or other qualities, that could be considered the same as giving a drug to an animal.Safety advantages?Although biotechnology may make it harder to define new food products, it could also facilitate more precise safety measures, DuPont’s Sewalt says. For instance, he says that as genome sequencing becomes faster, so could the process of figuring out whether gene insertions or deletions in new organisms pose health risks or other concerns. There’s also the possibility of explicitly designing in safety, such as by engineering egg white proteins so they don’t trigger allergic reactions. And, in the future, the potential to insert barcodes in genes and the development of in-line ID kits, that recognize specific strains of cell lines, could make it easier to verify new organisms and their protein products, and track products through supply chains.For the moment, however, which government agencies will oversee these changes remains unclear. As biotech creates more overlap among regulatory systems, Datar suggests it would be ideal to create a single regulatory agency. “Right now,” she says, “our system is set up in a way that promotes imitation as opposed to innovation.” The quest for artificial meat inches forward—the company Memphis Meats announced today it has developed chicken and duck meat from cultured cells of each bird, producing “clean poultry.” The firm provided few details, although participants at a tasting reportedly said the chicken tasted like, well, chicken. Below is a repost of a story originally published 23 August 2016 on some of the regulatory challenges and questions facing Memphis Meats and other companies pursuing artificial meats.The first hamburger cooked with labmade meat didn’t get rave reviews for taste. But the test tube burger, rolled out to the press in 2013, has helped put a spotlight on the question of how the U.S. government will regulate the emerging field of cellular agriculture, which uses biotechnology instead of animals to make products such as meat, milk, and egg whites.So far, none of these synthetic foods has reached the marketplace. But a handful of startup companies in the United States and elsewhere are trying to scale up production. In the San Francisco Bay area in California, entrepreneurs at Memphis Meats hope to have their cell-cultured meatballs, hot dogs, and sausages on store shelves in about 5 years, and those at Perfect Day are targeting the end of 2017 to distribute cow-free dairy products. It’s not clear, however, which government agencies would oversee this potential new food supply.center_img Click to view the privacy policy. 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Are some wolves being redomesticated into dogs

first_img Are some wolves being ‘redomesticated’ into dogs? It happened thousands of years ago, and it may be happening again: Wolves in various parts of the world may have started on the path to becoming dogs. That’s the conclusion of a new study, which finds that the animals are increasingly dining on livestock and human garbage instead of their wild prey, inching closer and closer to the human world in some places. But given today’s industrialized societies, this closeness might also bring humans and wolves into more conflict, with disastrous consequences for both.“It’s a thought-provoking study, and does a good job of laying out how diet has the potential to change a large predator,” says Lee Dugatkin, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, who wasn’t involved in the research.To find out how gray wolves might be affected by eating more people food, Thomas Newsome, an evolutionary biologist at the Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, and his colleagues examined studies of what’s happened to other large carnivores that live close to people. Asiatic lions in the Gir protected area of western India, for instance, primarily kill and eat livestock, and have grown so much less aggressive toward humans that tourists can visit them on foot. In Israel, red foxes live longer and use smaller home ranges when they rely on a diet of leftovers. In contrast, black bears in North America that dine on human garbage are more likely to die young—because people kill them. 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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! Countrycenter_img KenCanning/iStockphoto Email By Virginia MorellApr. 5, 2017 , 12:00 PM Newsome’s 2014 study of a dingo population in Australia’s Tanami Desert showed that the wild dogs’ habit of dining almost exclusively on junk food at a waste management facility had made them fat and less aggressive. They were also more likely to mate with local dogs and had become “cheeky,” says Newsome, daring to run between his legs as he set out traps for them. Most intriguingly, the dumpster dingoes’ population formed a genetic cluster distinct from all other dingoes—indicating that they were becoming genetically isolated, a key step in forming a new species.Is this happening to gray wolves? The conditions are ripe for it, says Newsome, noting that human foods already make up 32% of gray wolf diets around the world. The animals now mostly range across remote regions of Eurasia and North America, yet some are returning to developed areas. Wolves in Greece primarily consume pigs, goats, and sheep; those in Spain feed mainly on ponies and other livestock; and Iranian wolves rarely eat anything other than chickens, domestic goats, and garbage. “Based on what’s happened to these other carnivores [that eat human foods], we think these wolves will change,” Newsome says.The wolves’ new diet could affect everything from the size of their packs to their social behaviors, the team reports today in Bioscience. Like the dingoes, these wolves will probably mate with more dogs and, in North America, with coyotes, the researchers say. Newsome expects that they will also begin to diverge genetically from prey-hunting wolves, just as the dumpster dingoes did. Because ancient wolves are believed to have evolved into dogs by eating food and garbage at human camps, we may also be seeing “the makings of a new dog” today, hypothesizes Newsome, who plans to begin testing his idea with wolves in Washington state.Not everyone is convinced. “I doubt if we’re domesticating wolves that eat human-sourced food,” says Robert Wayne, an evolutionary biologist and expert on canine genetics at the University of California, Los Angeles. “That diet is more likely to get them killed.” Unlike the trash-picking dingoes, which reduced their territories, wolves still range so widely that garbage-eaters are less likely to become genetically isolated from the rest of their population, he says. Bobcats, coyotes, and other animals that are already well-integrated in our neighborhoods are more likely to become domesticated, he adds.Wayne and Newsome agree that for all these species, the best outcome isn’t domestication, but restoration of their habitats and natural prey in places where they can avoid people, livestock, and trash. If humans can arrange that, we won’t have a new dog, Newsome says. But we’ll still have wolves.last_img read more

Young immigrant scientists anxiously await Trumps DACA decision

first_img “Even though I might not be able to work legally, I could still volunteer and still be publishing and still hold on to my career,” Aguilar says. A full stop is not an option, she says, “because that’s what’s at risk here, my career that I worked so hard for.”It is not clear how many scientists, engineers, and students in related fields are facing similar uncertainties. Based on the DACA guidelines, the oldest beneficiaries are now 36 years old, and many of the recipients are in their 20s. Aguilar says she knew of just two other DACA students during her doctoral studies. The Association of American Medical Colleges says 113 students with DACA status applied to medical school in 2016; overall, it estimates there are 65 DACA students among the 83,000 medical students in the United States.The University of Washington (UW) in Seattle says 50 to 75 of the roughly 12,000 students in its graduate and professional schools self-identify as undocumented. Fifteen to 20 of those are in science and engineering fields, says Gabriel Gallardo, UW’s associate vice president for minority affairs and diversity. At the undergraduate level, the university had 336 students who self-identified as undocumented status in the last school year, Gallardo says, and he estimates that one-third are in science and engineering fields.DACA has enabled UW to give undocumented students financial support, including paid research experiences, Gallardo says. But if the program is ended, “we’re going to have to rethink our approach,” he says. Marisa Herrera, executive director of community building and inclusion at UW, says that rethink could even include helping undocumented students with legal fees. Yuriana Aguilar, Rush University Young immigrant scientists anxiously await Trump’s DACA decision 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 Email *Update, 5 September, 12:05 p.m.: Attorney General Jeff Sessions anounced today that the Trump administration will wind down the DACA program in March 2018, giving Congress a window in which to pass legislation that would formalize the program. The government will not accept any new applicants to the program, but will renew work and other permits held by those in the program that expire within the next 6 months. Here is our story that was posted before the decision was announced:Biomedical researcher Yuriana Aguilar, a postdoctoral fellow at Rush University in Chicago, Illinois, is feverishly working to compete in the cut-throat race for a tenure-track faculty position. To catch the eye of prospective employers, she’s been trying to do the best science she can.But Aguilar might soon have to prove she has another qualification: a legal right to work in the United States. That’s because the 27-year-old is one of an untold number of scientists and engineers who are undocumented immigrants, and have been able to get jobs and degrees thanks to a federal initiative that President Donald Trump has threatened to end. Students in Wisconsin demonstrate in favor of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2016. 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 (*) Today, Trump said that no later than Tuesday he will announce how his administration will handle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program created under former President Barack Obama. DACA enables undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children to obtain renewable, 2-year work permits and avoid deportation, as long as they meet certain conditions. Trump has sent mixed signals about DACA’s future—criticizing the program during his campaign but expressing sympathy for those it covers after taking office. Earlier this summer, 10 Republican state attorneys general issued a letter threatening to sue the administration if it doesn’t end DACA by 5 September, arguing it violates the Constitution.Aguilar, who has been living in the United States since she was 5, is just one of some 800,000 people covered by DACA. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology, but before Obama created DACA in 2012, she wasn’t sure how she would be able to continue her career in the United States. She couldn’t get a Social Security number or work permit, and thus couldn’t qualify for many of kinds of financial support offered to graduate students or find employment worthy of her training.Once DACA began, however, Aguilar qualified for university work-study programs, and she entered the quantitative and systems biology doctoral program at the University of California, Merced. She completed her Ph.D. last year, and is soon to complete her first year as a postdoc.Now, as Trump ponders DACA’s future, Aguilar’s career plans are again in limbo. She still has a year until her next DACA work permit renewal. Even if DACA is abolished, she plans to spend as much time as she can collecting data. She’s also been saving money; in the worst case, she says she’ll move back in with her parents—with her husband and young daughter—and try to hold out until a favorable change in the political climate.If she is forced out of her job, Aguilar says she’ll try to stay focused on writing up her research for publication and keeping up with the literature. Although she may have to pick up odd jobs to make ends meet, she’ll probably try to continue doing some research as an unpaid volunteer at a local university—as she did in the year between college and grad school.  Joe Brusky/Flickr (CC BY NC 2.0) That’s what’s at risk here, my career that I worked so hard for. By Maggie KuoSep. 1, 2017 , 7:43 PMlast_img read more

Shes the worlds top empathy researcher But colleagues say she bullied and

first_img She’s the world’s top empathy researcher. But colleagues say she bullied and intimidated them 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 Kai KupferschmidtAug. 8, 2018 , 4:10 PM Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country In The ReSource Project, Tania Singer sought to demonstrate that meditation can make people more kind and caring. Singer, who declined to answer questions for this story, is on a 1-year sabbatical, but her colleagues say they are speaking out now because MPG plans to eventually allow her to return to her lab.Singer has acknowledged making mistakes in the past. “Problems associated to my exhaustion due to having to carry and be responsible for [a] huge and complex study,” were partly to blame, she wrote in a 12 February 2017 email to representatives of the department who had complained about working conditions to the institute’s scientific advisory board. In a 7 August letter to Science, Singer’s lawyer denied allegations of bullying, however. The letter said Singer had “apologized deeply” during a 2017 mediation process and had taken responsibility for the problems, for instance by asking for the sabbatical and the appointment of a temporary replacement. It also suggested that the allegations against Singer came from a “subgroup with its own strong interests and group dynamics.”In a statement also issued on 7 August, MPG acknowledged it had learned of the allegations against Singer last year and said the society’s vice president, Bill Hansson, had investigated them, but that details are confidential. MPG says that “to calm the situation down,” it agreed to Singer’s sabbatical, which took effect in January. In a plan presented to the researchers on 25 July, MPG said it would separate Singer from her current colleagues and allow her to set up a new, smaller research group in Berlin for 2 to 3 years while the postdocs and Ph.D. students in Leipzig finish their projects and move on. (The Leipzig group, which once numbered more than 20 scientists, has dwindled to just five.) She would then return to her lab.“It appears the Max Planck Society decided it would rather sacrifice another generation of students than risk a scandal,” says one former colleague. Asked how MPG would ensure that future students are treated better, a spokesperson says details of the plan are still being discussed. People were terrified. They were really, really afraid of telling her about their pregnancies. Email Tania Singer, a celebrated neuroscientist and director at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, is known as one of the world’s foremost experts on empathy. In her research, she has sought to demonstrate that meditation can make people more kind and caring. The title of a profile of Singer written by this reporter in 2013 summed up her public image: Concentrating on Kindness.But inside her lab, it was a very different story, eight former and current colleagues say in interviews with Science. The researchers, all but one of whom insisted on remaining anonymous because they feared for their careers, describe a group gripped by fear of their boss. “Whenever anyone had a meeting with her there was at least an even chance they would come out in tears,” one colleague says.Singer, one of the most high-profile female researchers in the Max Planck Society (MPG), sometimes made harsh comments to women who became pregnant, multiple lab members told Science. “People were terrified. They were really, really afraid of telling her about their pregnancies,” one former colleague says. “For her, having a baby was basically you being irresponsible and letting down the team,” says another, who became a mother while working in Singer’s department.center_img Tania Singer, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences A former scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences Contemporaneous notes from the researchers who took part in the 2017 meeting with the scientific advisory board—held after years of informal discussions and talks with an ombudsman that had led nowhere—include numerous other complaints, including “emotional abuse, threats, devaluation of work, and personal abilities.”“Working with Tania is becoming increasingly difficult,” the lab members wrote after the meeting. “We represent the entire department. We would like some change but are unsure of how to approach the issue due to fear of retaliation.”“One problem surely is that I have clearly underestimated the challenges associated with our ReSource study,” Singer wrote in the email she sent lab members afterward. She noted that “the conflict between the project’s need for long-term continuity and loyalty on the one hand and the researchers’ own divergent needs to move on with their own careers and lives.”Six meetings with a mediator in the first half of 2017 did little to improve the situation, several people who attended the sessions say. Afterward, Hansson launched his investigation, but in December 2017, scientists at the institute were informed that MPG President Martin Stratmann had taken the matter into his own hands. On 20 December, Singer wrote to the group that she would be on a sabbatical for all of 2018, with former MPG Director Wolfgang Prinz taking over some of her duties.The separation plan presented 2 weeks ago, which would take effect in January 2019, has two goals, according to official minutes from the 25 July meeting, obtained by Science: “1. Unencumbered continuation of everyone’s work. 2. An opportunity for Tania Singer to have an unencumbered new start.” Singer “has learned the lesson that groups that are too big carry the risk of losing contact with co-workers,” her lawyer writes. “A good work environment and dealing with each other respectfully are important to her.”Several researchers say they are disappointed in MPG. “I had hoped that they take problems at their institutes seriously and act not only on the behalf of their directors but equally their employees. However, every decision was always dragged out, communication was nontransparent and top-down, and then finally a solution was presented to the employees that is really mostly a solution for Tania,” one says.Several other scandals have recently rocked the prestigious MPG, which has an €1.8 billion annual budget and runs 84 independent institutes. Nikos Logothetis, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany, was indicted in February after accusations from animal welfare activists; the U.S. Society for Neuroscience and the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies sharply criticized MPG last week for not defending him and his colleagues adequately. Also this year, allegations of bullying and sexual harassment at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching, Germany, emerged. Guinevere Kauffmann, the director accused of bullying, received coaching and daily monitoring and now leads a drastically reduced group. In an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Stratmann said the incident had shown that the society’s procedures for dealing with complaints did not work well. “I have to concede that, and for this reason we will improve it.”Many say the years spent in Singer’s lab have left them disillusioned about science. “If the Max Planck Society has as its objective to create scientists, then this Ph.D. experience is not the way to do it,” says one. Singer, the daughter of celebrated neuroscientist Wolf Singer, helped found a new field called social neuroscience; she rose to prominence with her work on empathy, including a landmark study published in Science in 2004 that showed watching a loved one experience pain activates the same brain areas as feeling physical pain directly. In 2013, she started a hugely ambitious study, The ReSource Project, in which 160 participants were trained for 9 months to demonstrate the power of meditation.The study highlighted some of Singer’s strengths, colleagues say. “She’s creative, she can be charming, she knows how to make contacts and get resources. It’s a gift and it was necessary to make a project like this happen,” one colleague says. “Her superpower is vision,” another adds. “That original team of people that she put together was totally incredible.” Several people in her lab recall an impassioned speech Singer gave after the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, in which she argued that only a study like ReSource could prevent such acts in the future.But colleagues say working with Singer was always difficult. She wanted to be in control of even the most minute research details but was often not available to discuss them. In-person meetings could quickly turn into a nightmare, one colleague says: “She gets extremely emotional and when that turns dark it is terrifying.” Another co-worker describes what happened after he told Singer some people in her group were unhappy: “She was very hurt by this and started crying and screaming,” he says. “It escalated to the extent that she left the room and went door to door in the institute in our department, crying, yelling to the people in the room ‘Are you happy here?’ When she came back, she said: ‘I just asked and everyone said they’re happy so it’s obviously you that’s the problem.’” (A colleague who says he was present corroborates the story.)Almost every current or former lab member brought up Singer’s treatment of pregnant women; the issue was also on a list of grievances, shared with Science, that lab members say they drew up after a meeting with the scientific advisory board in February 2017 to record what was said. “Pregnancy and parental leave are received badly and denied/turned into accusations,” the notes say.Bethany Kok, a former lab member who agreed to speak on the record because she is no longer working in neuroscience, says Singer reacted kindly when she first told her she was pregnant with twins. But the next day, Kok says, “She started screaming at me how she wasn’t running a charity, how I was a slacker and that I was going to work twice as hard for the time I would be gone.” A few weeks later, Kok says, she miscarried one of the twins and missed a lab meeting for an urgent medical appointment. “I got an email from Tania telling me that she wasn’t paying me to go to the doctor, that clearly I wasn’t using good judgment, and I was no longer allowed to go to the doctor during work hours.” (Kok says she no longer has access to the email.)Singer’s lawyer says Singer never discriminated against pregnant women or any other group, and that events described by others “either did not happen or they happened very differently than described.”Scientific discussions could also get overheated, lab members say. “It was very difficult to tell her if the data did not support her hypothesis,” says one researcher who worked with Singer. Singer’s lawyer stresses that no rules of scientific conduct were violated and that the institute’s scientific advisory board had rated the work of Singer’s department as “excellent.” Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Moritz Hager/WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) One problem surely is that I have clearly underestimated the challenges associated with our ReSource study.last_img read more

Why are these Costa Rican monkeys turning yellow

first_img Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Why are these Costa Rican monkeys turning yellow? Chameleons and squid can change their colors, but monkeys cannot—until humans get involved. Researchers have spotted typically black mantled howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata) in Costa Rica starting to sport distinct yellow patches on their tails and legs, the first evidence of a rapid change in the pigmentation of primate fur.To figure out what was going on, scientists analyzed the fur of one of these color-changing monkeys. Mantled howler monkeys typically have a type of melanin—the pigment that colors hair and skin cells—called eumelanin that is black, gray, or dark brown. In the yellow hairs, the researchers noticed the melanin had changed to a sulfur-containing type called pheomelanin, seen in animals with yellow, red, or orange tones.   The researchers believe the animals are ingesting the sulfur when they eat leaves on the trees surrounding pineapple, banana, and African palm oil farms that have been sprayed with pesticides. This sulfur may be mixing with the hair’s pigment structure and changing its overall composition, scientists suggest. In recent years, farms in Costa Rica have used a greater number of these pesticides. 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 Panthera Costa Rica Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Helen SantoroNov. 30, 2018 , 1:30 PM The color change could have significant consequences for the howler monkeys. The yellow patches could make it easier for jaguars and other predators to spot the monkeys in the dense forest. And the color trend may be spreading: The team, which will publish its results in Mammalian Biology, has noted growing amounts of altered fur, with some monkeys now displaying almost completely yellow coats.last_img read more

Exclusive Major US cancer center ousts Asian researchers after NIH flags their

first_img Email By Mara HvistendahlApr. 19, 2019 , 12:00 PM Exclusive: Major U.S. cancer center ousts ‘Asian’ researchers after NIH flags their foreign ties HOUSTON, TEXAS—The MD Anderson Cancer Center here has ousted three senior researchers after the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, informed it that the scientists had committed potentially “serious” violations of agency rules involving confidentiality of peer review and the disclosure of foreign ties. The researchers are among five MD Anderson scientists that NIH cited in letters to the cancer center, which is part of the University of Texas (UT) system. MD Anderson officials say they invoked termination proceedings against three of the researchers, are still investigating allegations against one, and determined termination was not warranted for the fifth scientist.The new developments are linked to a sweeping effort launched last year by NIH to address growing U.S. government fears that foreign nations, particularly China, are taking unfair advantage of federally funded research. NIH says its inquiries about the foreign ties of specific NIH-funded researchers have prompted at least 55 institutions to launch investigations. The cases at MD Anderson, which received $148 million in NIH funding in 2018, are the first publicly known instances where NIH’s inquiries appear to have led an institution to invoke termination proceedings against researchers judged to have violated the rules.Cancer center officials have not named any of the five researchers. MD Anderson President Peter Pisters says all are “Asian”; Science has confirmed that three are ethnically Chinese. Several faced NIH inquiries about their ties to China, according to internal cancer center documents and NIH emails provided by MD Anderson to the Houston Chronicle and reviewed by Science. Those documents also show that MD Anderson has been working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for several years on undisclosed national security investigations, which included searches of faculty email accounts and in one instance, video surveillance. Those investigations could be linked to the recent departures and to the NIH letters; MD Anderson had put at least one faculty member named by NIH on leave in December 2017, months before NIH sent its letter and 1 week after FBI gained access to several MD Anderson network accounts. MD Anderson’s actions, as well as the larger NIH and FBI efforts, have added to concerns in the Chinese American science community that U.S. officials are targeting researchers for special scrutiny based on their ethnicity. “Scientific research depends on the free flow of ideas,” says Frank Wu, president of the Committee of 100, a group of influential Chinese Americans that is based in New York City. “Our national interest is best advanced by welcoming people, not by racial stereotyping based on where a person comes from.”Here in Houston, the Chinese American community is also concerned that FBI has not explained why it has been interviewing ethnically Chinese faculty at MD Anderson over the past 17 months. No scientist has been charged with a federal crime. One MD Anderson researcher was charged under state law with a crime unconnected to grant reporting or foreign ties; the charges were ultimately dropped. “We continue to witness several of our distinguished Chinese researchers or scientists accused of infractions without formal charges being levied,” says Rogene Gee Calvert, who co-chaired a panel here on economic espionage.NIH officials have said they are not engaging in racial profiling. And MD Anderson officials maintain they had little choice but to act after they received letters from NIH detailing allegations and concerns about the five researchers. “As stewards of taxpayer dollars invested in biomedical research, we have an obligation to follow up” when asked to investigate grant recipients, Pisters said in an interview. 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 Houston Chronicle NIH investigating whether U.S. scientists are sharing ideas with foreign governmentscenter_img NIH letters asking about undisclosed foreign ties rattle U.S. universities Related content Universities will soon announce action against scientists who broke NIH rules, agency head says 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 Science and the Houston Chronicle have identified at least three other institutions that have received letters from NIH. The letters focus on eight faculty members. Four are at the Baylor College of Medicine, and one is at the UT Health Science Center, all located here. Three work at a major research university that confirmed it received letters from NIH but asked for anonymity. Officials at that university and at Baylor concluded that most of the seven NIH-flagged researchers at their institutions had failed to follow NIH policies, but the violations were not serious enough to merit disciplinary action. The officials said all seven of those researchers were “ethnic Chinese.” There was no public announcement in any of those cases, and it is not clear how other universities have responded to the NIH letters, the most recent of which were sent out last month. The reports “confirm” one or more “serious violations” of NIH or university policies by three researchers. In an additional case, Weber concluded that the researcher did violate some NIH and university policies, but that there were “several ameliorating factors” that argued for a lenient response.In response to a series of questions from Science, an NIH spokesperson said NIH “does not discuss pending reviews [of the cases highlighted in the letters].” But, the spokesperson added, “NIH commends MD Anderson for their actions [and] encourages other NIH grantee institutions to learn from the MD Anderson experience.”Specific allegationsThe five letters that MD Anderson received from NIH about specific researchers began to arrive late in August 2018. A few days earlier, NIH Director Francis Collins had sent a letter to more than 10,000 institutions warning them of “systematic” efforts by foreign nations to steal intellectual property. In that letter, Collins reminded institutions of NIH rules that bar peer reviewers from sharing confidential grant proposals and require researchers to report ties to foreign institutions, funders, and companies.Four of the five NIH letters to MD Anderson contain very specific allegations of what NIH terms “serious” rule violations. One letter, for instance, asserts that a researcher had violated peer-review confidentiality by emailing to a scientist in China an NIH grant application marked as containing “proprietary/privileged information.” A different letter alleges that a researcher had shared “detailed information on as many as 8 NIH applications” with a daughter. NIH asserts several researchers had “active and well-supported research programs in China,” or financial ties to foreign firms, that they did not disclose. Three of the letters specifically mention a researcher’s potential involvement in China’s Thousand Talents Program, an effort started in 2008 to establish ties with ethnically Chinese scientists working outside of China by offering funding, salary, and other research support. The letters do not say how NIH learned of the violations it identified, but Collins told reporters after a Senate hearing last week that FBI has “been a major part of providing us with information that they’ve uncovered.” Each letter asked MD Anderson officials to report back within 30 days.MD Anderson’s compliance and ethics officer, Max Weber, responded with lengthy reports to Pisters, which were provided to the Houston Chronicle in redacted form and reviewed by Science. The reports “confirm” one or more “serious violations” of NIH or university policies by three researchers. In an additional case, Weber concluded that the researcher did violate some NIH and university policies, but that there were “several ameliorating factors” that argued for a lenient response.Based on those reports, MD Anderson officials say they moved to terminate three of the researchers. Two of those faculty resigned before the termination process was complete; the third person is just beginning due process requirements. A fourth case is still under investigation.Long-standing FBI interestAlthough MD Anderson officials say NIH’s recent letters prompted its actions, the internal documents make it clear that federal law enforcement agents have been examining and interviewing researchers at the prestigious institution since at least 2017. On 11 December 2017, FBI received the cancer center’s permission to obtain information from employee email accounts—as many as 23 accounts, according to sources familiar with the matter—which MD Anderson officials provided on hard drives. During interviews with MD Anderson faculty, FBI agents were interested in obtaining lists of researchers who had accepted grants under the Thousand Talents program, according to one MD Anderson researcher who was interviewed. Supervisory special agent Don Lichay, of FBI’s field office here, would not comment on specific investigations, adding, “We’re just going to go where the evidence is.” A 2015 FBI Counterintelligence Division handout argued that recruiting scientists through programs such as Thousand Talents allows China to “benefit from years of scientific research conducted in the United States” and “severely impacts the U.S. economy.” This week’s revelations are now fueling complaints among some researchers that MD Anderson is targeting its Chinese and Chinese American scientists for special scrutiny—and removal. Some of the center’s critics count 10 senior MD Anderson researchers or administrators of Chinese descent who have retired, resigned, or been placed on administrative leave in the past 17 months. Some of these researchers reportedly left of their own accord, but their supporters say that a toxic climate and the perception of racial profiling hastened their departure.“From the Asian-American community perspective, the investigations, in general, came out of the blue and involved only Chinese-American scientists,” says Aryani Ong, an activist in Rockville, Maryland, who has organized several dialogues between community leaders and U.S. intelligence officials on racial profiling. “The fear and confusion may have been mitigated if the institution had first engaged with employees and ensured compliance.”Calvert says if researchers “are breaking the law and committing a crime, then charge them and let them be tried in a court of law. But what MD Anderson and some other institutions seem to do is accuse and see if they can wait them out.”Ong is concerned that, as efforts by federal research agencies to address foreign influence take hold, there could be a “brain drain” as scientists “leave under a cloud of suspicion.”Mien-Chie Hung, a Taiwanese-born researcher who recently left MD Anderson, echoes that view. In  February, Hung retired from his position as the cancer center’s vice president for basic research to take a job as president of China Medical University in Taichung, Taiwan. (His move wasn’t connected to any investigation, he says.) In March, he co-authored a letter to Science raising concerns about possible racial profiling at institutions across the country, expressing hope that “increased security measures will not be used to tarnish law-abiding scientists.”Pisters says he understands those concerns but rejects the notion that MD Anderson is targeting ethnically Chinese researchers. “In situations where individuals, small in number, have undergone investigations like this, I can understand why groups might feel they’re being singled out,” he says. “That’s not the intent of our organization.” Some researchers here worry the campaign to root out foreign influence at MD Anderson will be counterproductive and prompt some researchers to leave the United States. “These are the top talents that foreign countries have been trying to recruit unsuccessfully,” says Steven Pei, an engineering professor elsewhere in Houston and a former chairman of the board of United Chinese Americans, a national advocacy organization. (He is not among the 10 people who have departed MD Anderson since 2017.) Institutions like the cancer center, he says, are “helping foreign countries to accomplish what they could not do by themselves.”This story was produced in collaboration with the Houston Chronicle, with reporting by the Chronicle’s Todd Ackerman, as well as Science’s Jeffrey Mervis and Jocelyn Kaiser.This story was supported by the Science Fund for Investigative Reporting. If you want to contribute to similarly ambitious investigations, please give a tax-deductible gift to the fund today.Click here to read the Houston Chronicle’s story.last_img read more

CBSS 2019 graduating class described as exceptional

first_imgShareTweetSharePinValedictorian Adisca Burton proudly displays her trophyCastle Bruce Secondary School (CBSS) continues to be one of the top performing secondary schools on the island.The CBSS class of 2019 has been described as “exceptional”, as this group of students excelled academically, in sports (locally, regionally and internationally), culture and other activities.  78 students who met the school criteria graduated from the institution on Friday 28th June 2019.Principal, Steve Hypolite, said he is proud of this year’s graduating class.“Our Graduating Class of 2019 comprises all fifth form students who completed school, all of whom met the criteria to be part of this ceremony.  This 100% success rate immediately attests to our everyday drive for excellence,” Hypolite said.He stated that he and his team are also happy with the efforts their students have made and are making, academically and in extracurricular activities.  The performance of students at the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level (CCSLC) and CXC continues to improve every year.  Last year the school rated 2nd in English (87% pass rate) and 1st in Mathematics (94% pass rate) among all public secondary schools on the island. There was an overall pass rate of 85%, an improvement from the previous year’s rating of 78%.According to the Principal, “this improvement reflects our consistent efforts in reflecting and constantly seeking to improve our practice and productivity at the school.”He added, “The Castle Bruce Secondary School believes in nurturing and educating well rounded students, as extra-curricular activities such as sports “is a norm within the culture of the institution.”The school’s U-15 Girls volleyball team won the Sports Division Secondary School Beach Volley Ball Championship. Four of the school’s sporting teams made it to the finals of the Sports Division Secondary School Championship in volleyball and football. Valedictorian, Adiscia Burton represented Dominica at the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina in Beach Volleyball.  Dhante Challenger, Aeron Prince, Shem Piper and Glenson Scotland represented Dominica, as members of the National U-17 Football Team in the CONCACAF U-17 Football Championship held in Florida. Randel Coipel is presently training with the National U-23 Football Team, as they prepare for the Olympic Qualifier, scheduled to take place in Jamaica in July.  Eleven of the school’s U-15 footballers are in training for the National U-15 Football Team.Tamisha Roberts (a 4th former), represented Dominica as a member of the National U-16 Netball Champion held in Antigua. Jennifer Gasper, Adiscia Burton and Sethra Charles represented Dominica as members of the National Women’s Cricket Tournament. Jennifer Gasper moves on the represent The Windward Islands U-19 Women’s Cricket Team at the West IndiesU-19 Tournament in Trinidad.The school also excelled in Cultural Activities especially during carnival and independence celebrations.Hypolite said that he and his team of dedicated staff remain committed to fulfilling their mission by using an all-inclusive approach to learning. He commended parents who take keen interest in their children’s school life by participating but he also cautioned those who seem to have or make excuses for not being involved.He added that such parents are not attaching sufficient importance to their child’s education pointing out, “It is for such reason that their students are most likely at the remedial level in the first place”.  He is of the view that a great proportion of parents have their priorities upside down.Valedictorian, Adiscia Burton took the opportunity, in her speech, to debunk the view that sport and academics do not mix.  She said that sport should not be seen as a distraction to academic performance.“I exist in both of those worlds. Sports and academics do go together hand in hand.  Each helps you prosper in the other area. You need to be intelligent to excel at sports and sports help develop that discipline and concentration you need to succeed at life”, the Valedictorian said.She added that proper time management is key to excel in those two areas.Minister for Education and Human Development, Petter St. Jean said he was “delighted to stand in this moment of celebration …there is greatness (amongst the graduating class) waiting to be unleashed”.St. Jean commended the CBSS principal and staff for “a job well done.”  He challenged the graduates to go forth and give back to their community and country.Former student of Castle Bruce Secondary School, Mikki Graham gave the feature address.  She said she was proud of her Alma Mater’s achievements and of the great precedent that has been set and advised students that high school is a privilege, “make it count”.Adiscia Burton received the award for most outstanding student of the year. Sports men of the year went to Abijah Benjamin and Dhante Challenger. Sports women of the year went to Adisicia Burton and Kitjauanie Jno-Baptiste. Salutatorian was Nia Belle.last_img read more

Can manipulating a social hormones activity treat autism

first_imgAnother brain signaling molecule with a very similar structure, oxytocin, is already under investigation as an autism treatment. But vasopressin has gotten less attention. Recently, Karen Parker, a neuroscientist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, and her colleagues turned up evidence that monkeys that were less social—that tended to keep their distance from their peers, for example—also had lower levels of vasopressin in their cerebrospinal fluid. The group also found that children with autism who had the most social impairment also had the lowest vasopressin levels.So the Stanford team gave a nasal spray containing vasopressin to 17 children with autism, aged 6 to 12 years. Another 13 children with autism served as a control group and got a placebo spray. Before and after the 4-week treatment, the research team asked parents to rate the children on a questionnaire called the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS-2), which asks how often the children “would rather be alone than with others,” for example, and how often they “avoid eye contact.” This 65-question scale results in gender-adjusted scores of 37 to 90 in girls and 38 to 90 for boys.Vasopressin-treated children showed significantly more improvement—a seven-point-greater reduction—on the SRS-2 than those in the placebo group, the team reported today in Science Translational Medicine (STM).Those results “are very exciting,” especially because the team didn’t see major side effects, says Angela Sirigu, a neuroscientist at CNRS, the French national research agency, in Bron who is also investigating neurohormones for autism treatment.Children with higher levels of vasopressin in their blood at the start of the Stanford study saw greater improvements. That’s counterintuitive, Sirigu says—you’d expect children who were most deficient in the hormone to benefit most from the boost. These children may have needed a higher dose or longer treatment course to see maximum benefits, Parker speculates. Or maybe blood vasopressin is a marker for some other, yet-unknown feature of the children that predicts how much they’ll improve with the treatment.The only weakness Pelphrey found with the Stanford study was its sample size: “If it were double, I would be jumping up and down.” Still, he says, “I’m kind of rocking back and forth in my chair with excitement.”The second trial, meanwhile, tested a very different hypothesis about vasopressin. Although many people with autism have trouble interpreting and reciprocating emotions, they also sometimes have overactive emotional responses, says neurologist Paulo Fontoura of Roche Pharmaceuticals in Basel, Switzerland. And vasopressin could drive those responses, he suggests. In a rat model of autism, blocking a vasopressin receptor appeared to reduce the animal’s abnormally heightened brain response to the presence of a juvenile rat. In the new trial, the Roche team recruited 223 men with autism to test a compound called Balovaptan that blocks a vasopressin receptor in the brain. The 148 men who took the drug improved according to an SRS-2 assessment, but those who got a placebo improved just as much, the team reports today in STM. Fontoura and his colleagues say the strong placebo effect in the study suggests the SRS-2 isn’t the best way to measure social improvements. Men receiving Balovaptan did show significant improvements over a placebo group on a different test of autism symptoms, called the Vineland-II.The authors of both studies propose that there could be important differences in their participants. Maybe some people with autism could benefit from boosting vasopressin and others from blocking it.The Stanford group is running another trial of vasopressin that aims to enroll 100 children. Roche has two trials of Balovaptan underway—an initial test in children, and a larger study in adults meant to demonstrate the drug’s effectiveness to regulators. “It’s early to make a head-to-head comparison,” Fontoura says. “It’s only when we do see more data that we’ll be able to draw conclusions about which way is the right way.” Drotyk Roman/shutterstock.com Email Opposite approaches to altering the activity of vasopressin in the brain improved some social deficits in people with autism. By Kelly ServickMay. 1, 2019 , 2:10 PM Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)center_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Many people with autism have trouble making eye contact, reading the emotions in other faces, and sharing affection. And no drugs are approved to treat such social impairments. Now, results from a small academic clinical trial suggest boosting levels of vasopressin—a hormone active in the brain that’s known to promote bonding in many animals—can improve social deficits in children with autism. But in a confusing twist, a larger, company-sponsored trial that took the reverse approach, tamping down vasopressin’s effects, also found some improvements in adults with autism.“I’ve never seen this before,” Kevin Pelphrey, a neuroscientist who studies autism at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, says of the conflicting results. He and others say the vasopressin-blocking approach doesn’t have much support from previous animal research. The new study showed some benefits but failed to meet the main endpoint set out by investigators. Still, he says, both studies suggest vasopressin’s signaling in the brain plays a key role in autism and “give me a lot of renewed excitement” for treating the condition.Though vasopressin seems to stimulate social bonding in animals, the hormone’s activity in the brain isn’t fully understood, and its effects vary by species and context. Blocking its activity in the brains of some rodents prevents them from forming an attraction to a mate. But in a species of asocial hamster, injecting it into a male’s brain seems to stimulate aggression. Can manipulating a ‘social’ hormone’s activity treat autism? 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New AI Assistant Digs Up Specialized Info for Makers

first_imgThe Specter of Google, Apple and Microsoft Avnet “isn’t the first to do this,” remarked Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research.”Microsoft’s doing something, and so are other companies, where the digital assistant is really targeted towards the application or the area of expertise that they’re looking for,” he told TechNewsWorld.That said, this is “the way to provide better customer service, reduce costs associated with professional labor, and reduce the number of questions people come up with,” McGregor pointed out.The use of AI and machine learning in the enterprise is likely to increase is one way businesses can increase their competitiveness and thus is likely to increase, ABI Research has predicted.However, Ask Avnet is “more of a limited response system, and we’ve had those for some time,” noted Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.”You could do what they’re demonstrating with scripts, for the most part, and an old expert system,” he told TechNewsWorld. “This is clearly just an early test of concept, but the true AI doesn’t appear to exist yet.” Ask Avnet gathers information from the company’s Web-based ecosystem — including Avnet.com, element14.com and Hackster.io — and soon will include access to Avnet’s MakerSource.io and PremierFarnell.com properties.Ask Avnet leverages AI to help anticipate a user’s next move and provide the best answer, rather than listing all possible answers. Ask Avnet “aims to shorten the amount of time it takes for Avnet customers to access information,” Yapp told TechNewsWorld.Avnet customers who already are familiar with an Avnet property, such as hackster.io or element14, “will discover more parts or components or choices within Avnet … with a simple click,” he pointed out.Initially, users interact with an automated assistant for fast answers to everyday questions. They are connected to the appropriate Avnet expert when necessary.Ask Avnet works on both desktops and mobile devices. However, during the beta phase, the focus is on desktops.”Full support for mobile devices will be available when we make the tool open to all visitors across our Web properties later this fall,” he said. It’s likely that product developers who use Ask Avnet eventually will get higher-quality advice more quickly, Enderle said. “Once the AI truly kicks in, the experts become largely virtual, with escalation to people decreasing over time as the AI learns from the interaction.”Combining the ability of a digital assistant with a virtual database to target specific customers in specific areas such as engineering “has so many benefits,” McGregor said. The system can “continue to learn and evolve with all the information that’s going into it.”Avnet is gunning for B2B companies, Yapp said. Ask Avnet is more like Google Voice, Microsoft’s Cortana or Siri than it is like IBM Watson, Yapp said.The global enterprise market for voice recognition technologies will grow from US$44 billion in 2016 to $79 billion in 2021, according to BCC Research.Ask Avnet does not have voice capability, which raises the question whether enterprises might turn to Google, Apple or Microsoft, whose assistants combine AI with machine learning and voice.”You do want to add voice,” Tirias’ McGregor said, “but, a lot of times when dealing with engineers, you may need to bring up visual information as well.” Avnet last week unveiled a beta version of Ask Avnet, an automated virtual assistant that combines artificial intelligence with on-demand access to industry experts.Ask Avnet targets “engineers, designers, hobbyists, makers and purchasing specialists across the electronics supply chain — which includes the product manufacturing chain,” said Kevin Yapp, senior vice president for digital transformation at Avnet. How Ask Avnet Works Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. Email Richard. Ask Avnet Benefits Going With the Flowlast_img read more