Hopes Dashed for (Another) Alzheimer’s Drug

first_imgAlzheimer’s researchers have faced a series of frustrations in recent years as one promising compound after another has flopped in late-stage clinical trials. Unfortunately, the string continues with the announcement today that another closely watched trial—for a drug called dimebon—has failed. Dimebon was something of a dark horse. An antihistamine introduced in Russia in 1983, it turned up in a screen for potential Alzheimer’s drugs and led to a clinical trial that yielded remarkably encouraging results: In 2008, researchers reported in The Lancet that 78 people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease who took dimebon showed significant improvements in memory and cognition, as well as the ability to carry out the activities of daily life. The new study was led by Medivation, a San Francisco, Californai-based biopharmaceutical company, and Pfizer (which reportedly paid $225 million to license the drug). It enrolled 598 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s. This time, there were no significant differences between the dimebon and placebo groups. “The results … are unexpected, and we are disappointed for the Alzheimer’s community,” Medivation’s president and CEO, David Hung, said in a statement. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Some researchers who study the mechanisms of Alzheimer’s aren’t surprised, however. “I think a lot of us have been saying the same thing … that it looks too good to be true, but let’s hope not for the sake of patients,” says Harvard University’s Rudolph Tanzi. From the beginning, it was never clear why an antihistamine would protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease, Tanzi and others say. “There wasn’t a single bit of published data on the mechanism of action,” says Sam Sisodia of the University of Chicago in Illinois. Several possible explanations had been floated, Sisodia says, but in his view the drug’s actions weren’t understood well enough to justify a trial. “Just throwing drugs into people just because you have an idea it might work is illogical,” he says.last_img read more

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Europe’s X-ray Powerhouse Hit by Budget Cuts

first_imgThe difficult financial straits of European nations are starting to have an impact on the funding of the region’s large research facilities. The governing council of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France, agreed this week to requests from the United Kingdom and Italy to temporarily reduce their contributions to running the facility. ESRF management say that they will make savings by reducing the total amount of beamtime available, with the amount provided to researchers from the United Kingdom and Italy being reduced in proportion. ESRF is one of the world’s leading x-ray radiation facilities and serves 5000 scientists. Restrictions on the budgets of the U.K. research councils has put a squeeze on subscriptions to international facilities. Each of ESRF’s 19 member and associate countries shoulder a fixed share of the facility’s running cost. The United Kingdom contributes 14% and Italy 15%. The United Kingdom requested a reduction at this week’s council meeting, and it was agreed to reduce the U.K. contribution to 10% for the 3 years 2011 through 2013. During that time, proposals with a U.K. scientist as investigator or co-investigator will be limited to 10.32% of total beamtime on average. Overall, ESRF will have to deal with a 6% drop in income, which it will absorb by reducing the number of beamlines in operation or the amount of operation, plus it will slow its upgrade program. During the next 3 years, ESRF management will look to attract new members or associates and other forms of collaboration that will inject funds into the facility. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

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Why JFK’s Runway Has Turtles All the Way Down*

first_imgL.A. Dawson/Wikipedia So what was special yesterday about the runways of New York City’s John F. Kennedy airport that drew over 150 diamondback terrapin turtles to cross its dangerous runways to lay their eggs, delaying flights for hours while wildlife workers took them home? It wasn’t the moonlit night or “slow, sweet love,” as a spokesperson for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey told the press. In fact, there was nothing very special going on at all, except that a few JFK pilots happened to be paying attention yesterday, according to conservation biologist Russell Burke of Hofstra University in New York, who studies terrapins in the Jamaica Bay between Brooklyn and Queens. Every mating season, he says, the turtles leave their home and breeding ground in the salt marshes near JFK and take to the nearby sandy, open areas to lay their eggs and bury them in the ground. To a turtle, a runway is just another hurdle on the way to its nursery. And the invasion isn’t over. “They’re going to have a trickle of turtles all throughout these next months,” says Burke. About 1000 turtles live in the region that he studies; the population near JFK is 10 times that. Diamondback terrapins, which were overharvested for turtle soup in the early 19th century, have been protected in New York on and off over the past decades. They had been making a comeback for a while, Burke says, but their numbers are now declining again, partly due to the disappearance of salt marsh in the area. The cause is unclear, but rising ocean levels and nitrogen dumped from the New York City sewer system are likely culprits. Another problem is that the terrapin population is very old—and not being replaced. The turtles on the runway yesterday could still be the same individuals that were reported lazing on runways when the airport first opened in the 1940s. “I think of them like the walking dead. There are practically no youngsters,” says Burke. The main reason for this: urban raccoons, which also snap up 90% to 100% of the eggs laid by Jamaica Bay terrapins during breeding season. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) It’s hard to know where turtles fit into the ecosystem of a place like New York City, rife with pollution and a mélange of invasive species. Burke says the importance of turtles is that they serve as a barometer of a wetland’s health so many conservation biologists watch their numbers closely. So what’s an airport to do about these slow-moving speed bumps? Burke says that the Port Authority, seeking to avoid more flight delays, has been exploring ideas with his group and others to prevent turtles from crossing the runways. They’ve discussed building plastic barriers that won’t impede planes and can be removed after breeding season. Providing artificial breeding areas closer to the ocean to tempt the turtles away is another option, but the problem, Burke says, is that turtles are creatures of habit and it’s really hard to change their minds. “How many neurons does a turtle even have?” he wonders. *Confused?last_img read more

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Steve Chu’s Very Lucky (Birth) Day

first_img What a way to celebrate your 64th birthday—and your 15th wedding anniversary. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today spent part of this morning chatting with Microsoft tycoon Bill Gates before a friendly crowd of several hundred people in a vast hotel ballroom. A few hours later he was being grilled by members of Congress about the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) 2013 spending plans, but the rhetorical heat was pretty mild. “My wife decided I’d be less likely to forget our anniversary if it was on my birthday,” he told ScienceInsider after the desultory clash with members of the House Appropriations Committee over spending priorities, gas prices, and plans for the recently-abandoned Yucca mountain nuclear waste depository in Nevada. “But she forgot that I also forget my birthday.” The morning session with Gates, at a DOE-sponsored conference on energy research and development, was something of a love fest, with Gates calling for a doubling of federal spending on energy research and a supportive crowd applauding some of Chu’s comments. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) At the afternoon hearing, Representative Jerry Lewis (R-CA) was critical of some of Chu’s spending plans, but he wasn’t about to let the Nobel Prize-winning physicist forget the importance of the day before Leap Day. After noting that Jean Fetter, Chu’s wife, holds a graduate physics degree from the University of Oxford and has served as a dean at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, Lewis opined that “it’s got to be interesting to hear what you guys talk about.” Chu didn’t response to Lewis’s observation, but he did smile when Representative Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), who was running the show, told Chu that he was cutting the hearing short so that committee members could vote on the House floor. “This is your lucky day, your birthday and your anniversary,” Frelinghuysen told Chu. “We have some votes and we will not reconvene, so you will not have to return.” U.S. Department of Energy last_img read more

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Incoming Director of NIH’s Basic Science Institute Withdraws

first_imgThe new director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences has withdrawn for personal reasons 1 week before he was to join the institute. Chris Kaiser, a cell biologist and chair of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, was to start at the $2.4 billion institute on 30 April. But on Monday, he told National Institutes of Health Principal Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak that he would not take the position. Tabak’s two-sentence e-mail to NIGMS acting director Judith Greenberg reads: “Chris Kaiser sent me a note today indicating that, with regret, for personal reasons he has decided to withdraw his candidacy for director of NIGMS. Please share with your staff as appropriate.” Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Kaiser told ScienceInsider last fall that his priorities for the fourth largest NIH institute included maintaining basic research grants despite tight budgets and continuing a blog where NIGMS leaders explain funding policies. He also wanted to bring new ideas for recruiting minorities to science to the institute’s training programs. Greenberg, who took over when NIGMS Director Jeremy Berg left last July, will continue as acting director. Early this year, the institute reorganized to absorb programs from the disbanded National Center for Research Resources. NIGMS spokesperson Ann Dieffenbach said that the institute did not yet know if the same search committee that identified Kaiser as a candidate would reconvene for a new search, or if a new committee would be formed.last_img read more

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Ten Years In, an Innovative College for Undergraduate Engineers Snags Prestigious Award

first_img The Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering opened its doors 10 years ago with the goal of being a disruptive force in U.S. higher education. But its radically different approach to training undergraduate engineers isn’t obvious at first glance. On paper, the students attending Olin College look and act like their peers at the many small, elite private schools spread across the United States that have been around for generations. They arrive straight from high school, with sterling academic records and staggering lists of extracurricular activities. They spend their entire careers at the Needham, Massachusetts, campus, and they leave after 4 years with a degree that prepares them for top-ranked graduate schools and well-paying jobs. But looks can be deceiving. Few institutions have more eagerly embraced the winds of change blowing through U.S. engineering education than Olin College. And last week it received the $500,000 Bernard M. Gordon Prize from the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE) that recognizes “experiments in education that develop effective engineering leaders.” Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) The award cites the college’s commitment to design process, collaborative teams, entrepreneurship, and real-world projects that are helping the school redefine what an engineering degree represents. The academy also praises the college’s attempt to scale up the Olin experience through summer workshops for engineering faculty members from other institutions who want feedback on their innovative ideas before implementing them. At the same time, what passes for radical at many universities today—notably their lust after massively open online courses and other uses of educational technology—isn’t at all what Olin officials have in mind. The NAE award recognizes three academic leaders at Olin—Richard Miller, the college’s first employee and its founding president, and the husband-and-wife team of David Kerns and Sherra Kerns, chaired faculty members and, respectively, former provost and former vice president for innovation. Miller talked with ScienceInsider this week about what Olin is trying to accomplish. Here is an edited transcript of that conversation. Q: Is Olin College still offering students a different engineering education? R.M.: Yes. It’s profoundly different, and we’re not at all worried that Olin has become conventional. We’re still on the same pathway as we began. To exaggerate, Olin’s definition of an engineer is someone who envisions something that has never been, and does whatever it takes to make it happen. If you can’t envision it, you can’t create it. And we’re looking for people with passion, because nothing hard ever gets done without real passion behind it. So in addition to competence in math and science, Olin students have an abundance of creativity and passion and intrinsic motivation. To find them, we don’t think you can look at test scores. You have to actually meet them. So Olin has a mandatory weekend of interviews for applicants. Most of it is done in a team, groups of five from all over the world. In the first exercise, we give them a box and tell them they have 3 hours to design a particular widget. So it’s a bit of a contest. We actually don’t care how the project turns out, but we are looking to see how they interact with one another. … The next exercise is to see how they deal with controversy. They have 30 minutes to develop a presentation, and every member of the group has to speak. And we sit in the back of the room and watch them. … The last piece is a one-on-one interview, in which we ask them what it means to lead a good life. … This is all part of defining what we call multiple intelligences, which is a direct outgrowth of Howard Gardner’s work at Harvard [University]. Q: You have 7 years of graduates. Where are they going, and is there any correlation with who you think you are attracting? R.M.: About 41% of the graduates in our seven classes go on to graduate school. Of those, 22% go to Harvard, Stanford, or MIT [the Massachusetts Institute of Technology]. And 65% of those are attending a top-10 graduate engineering program. That’s one of the surprises, because we didn’t set out to create a predoctoral program at the school. We set out to create a new paradigm for undergraduate engineering education, and I think we have made a good start. But the students were paying attention to something else. We thought we were talking about innovative engineering. They thought we were talking about education reform. In fact, I have a small group, maybe 10% of each graduating class, who are trying to get involved in designing seminar courses that deal with how people learn and to change how STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] education is provided. And I don’t know what to tell them, to be honest. I’m not sure what you can do in STEM education with an undergraduate engineering degree. But a lot of them are very good with software design, and we are working to place them. As for the other 59% that don’t go on to more school, an employer survey given out two times, after 6 months and 2 years, finds that new Olin graduates are equal to those with 3 to 5 years of experience. We believe that competency is a consequence of working in teams. Our kids are used to problems that are ill-defined. They develop practical solutions and get it done. And that’s what most companies like. Q: Are you really getting a different type of student? Or would other top engineering schools say the same thing about their students? R.M.: Let me put it this way. Say, for example, during that last part of the application process, where it’s one-on-one, you’re sitting in the room with the kid and he or she is talking and looking down at their shoes and rocking back and forth and not making eye contact. And you ask, “So what do you do when you’re not solving equations?” And the student says: “Well, I play video games.” Now at Olin, that would probably not get you admitted. Despite the fact he might have perfect test scores, and he may be the next prodigy in computer science, I’m not sure that he or she would fit in well at Olin and grow, and the other students might not get much from the interaction. So we might put that fish back in the pond, and he or she would show up at another university. And he may go on to win a Nobel Prize. But it wouldn’t be an Olin kid. Q: What’s your attrition rate? R.M.: It’s very low. I think our 4-year graduation rate is between 90% and 95%. Lots of students may decide they don’t want to be a practicing engineer, and that’s fine with us. But they get the degree. An increasing fraction of Olin graduates are going to medical school or getting M.D./Ph.D. degrees, or going to law school, often in patent law. For example, almost 10% of our graduating class last year went directly to Harvard Business School. They have this program in which students agree to go out and work for 2 years and then come back to campus for a 2-year M.B.A. Q: Your gender ratio is pretty even. But how are you doing in attracting other types of underrepresented minorities? R.M.: In a nutshell, not nearly as well. We have about the same percentage as other small, elite, undergraduate engineering schools, which is to say about 5%. It’s very hard to do. One explanation is that our medium math/verbal SAT score has been 1490 to 1500 for the past 5 years. And if you look within the underrepresented population of high school students, the percentage of students who have an SAT score in that range is quite low. And those kids can go anywhere they want. Olin does really well in competing for students against other engineering schools. But it’s harder for us to compete with the Harvards and Stanfords because of what I call opportunity costs. They are 18 when they apply, and Olin offers a really cool engineering degree program. On the other hand, they’re 18 and at the top of their class. I might want to be an engineer, they think, or I might want to be a brain surgeon. Do I have to make that decision at 18? If I go to Stanford, I don’t have to decide right now. Q: What about the decision to charge tuition? Your Web site says it’ll cost students almost $40,000 a year to go to Olin, even with a half-tuition scholarship. R.M.: Right. We give every student, independent of family need, a $20,000-a-year merit-based scholarship as part of the admissions package. In addition to that, Olin is one of a small and declining number of schools that also gives full need-based aid and has need-blind admissions. In spite of all that, we are much more expensive than we were 5 years ago. Q: Why the change? R.M.: It was a result of the 2008 financial crisis. Like so many schools, we had a significant drop in our endowment, which makes it unviable in the long term to continue to offer full-tuition scholarships to every student. We also guessed correctly that this would not be a short-term recession, that it would be a long recovery, and that we couldn’t just hold our breath in the meantime. We needed to find another way to breathe. Q: Have you noticed any change in the demographics? R.M.: We were scared to death of what might happen. We did everything we could to try to prevent changes in demographics. In terms of the numbers, the only real effect is that we had a dip in female to male ratio in the first class, in fall 2010. And that’s because women are an underrepresented group and because of that they are offered a better financial deal by many schools. Q: Let’s talk about faculty. Without offering graduate degrees, is it harder to attract faculty members interested in carrying out a strong research program? R.M.: Olin set out to be not just a teaching institution. After all, you can only teach what you know, and if you’re not continually learning, in a fast-moving field, then your usefulness is limited. Olin faculty receive more competitively awarded funding, per capita, than most other universities: a total of between $1 million and $2 million a year for a faculty of between 35 and 40. We do this by having teaching loads that are not as high as at many tuition-driven, undergraduate institutions. We want them to have time for research. We expect faculty members to produce papers as good as anybody else in their discipline. But it might not be good enough, in terms of quantity, for promotion at a research-intensive university, where faculty are expected to, say, produce five papers a year and train two Ph.D. students and bring in $500,000 a year in federal grants to fund the tuition for those graduate students. The type of faculty members we recruit is different. Their preparation and background is as good or better than at most universities where I’ve worked. They are very well-prepared people, with great credentials. But the difference is that Olin looks for faculty members who really want to be inspirational teachers at the undergraduate level. Instead of working toward a Nobel Prize themselves, they are more interested in preparing a future Nobel Prize winner. Q: What are your plans for the next 10 years? R.M.: Olin has a mission, given to us by the Olin Foundation, to become an important and constant contributor to the advancement of engineering education in the United States and around the world. So we feel that, given our current educational paradigm, that tweaking the knobs and having the SAT scores [of incoming students] go up 20 points isn’t really worth the energy. We have a higher calling, and that is to inspire other universities to think about the undergraduate education they are offering. The idea is to incorporate the latest learning in cognitive sciences and education and do a better job of inspiring the next generation of students in STEM education. As you probably know, only about 4.5% of the bachelor degrees awarded in the United States last year went to students studying engineering. And it’s a declining market share. About half of the students who declared engineering upon entering any college in the U.S. will not graduate with an engineering degree. We think that this is largely a fixable problem, but not by staying home and teaching Olin students. Instead, we’re hoping to help inspire and lead a transformation of engineering education in the U.S. and around the world. So we plan to expand our faculty without expanding our student body, to work more with other universities in what we call consultation and co-design partnerships. The idea is for faculty members at other universities to come to us with their ideas about how to innovate, and give them a chance to try them out and plant them at Olin. There are about 10 universities that have already done that, and about 200 universities have contacted us to talk about their ideas. To enroll, they have to send us a proposal, and include the fact that there are others on campus who share their views on reform. Before they launch it, however, they want to talk with like-minded people, and figure out how to implement it. We may also hold alumni sessions to see what has worked, and to spread these ideas. We have about 350 beds on campus, and we don’t intend to grow our student population. But we hope that through these partnerships, we can touch 25,000 students a year without enrolling them on our campus. Q: In some ways, Olin has a very traditional structure, in terms of operating a residential college for 18- to 22-year-old students who stay at Olin and graduate in 4 years. That’s not what people at Coursera and edX and Udacity are talking about when they describe what they want to accomplish. What’s wrong with their vision? R.M.: Rather than traditional, I’d say we have a residential vision for education. We think of engineering as a profession. And like all professions, it has less to do with what you know than with what you can do. To be good at a profession is the equivalent of being good at a performing art. And I don’t believe that Coursera has a vision of teaching concert pianists over the Internet. When you have our type of educational goal, I think it’s unlikely that in the short term remote education is going to replace that face-to-face interaction and co-design. Having that human contact with an expert who can react to the important issues is essential. You can’t learn everything from a book. A lot of it comes from direct experience. You have to learn to listen to that inner voice and shape it with reactions from other people. I don’t think you can learn to become a good public speaker by only interacting with a computer. I think you have to learn to perform in front of a live audience, to read the audience, how to deal with stage fright, and so on. Q: What about training an engineer? R.M.: You can learn a lot of the content from a book, or by interacting with the Internet. But you can’t learn the process of engineering from a book. The American aerospace industry was invented in a bicycle shop in Ohio. It wasn’t invented in a physics lab. In the United States, in my view, we don’t do a good enough job of teaching the process of creative design. And while there’s obviously a place for the content and body of knowledge, assuming that is all education is about or the most important part is a distraction. Imagine medical education had discovered Coursera and decided we can vastly increase the number of cardiologists in this country by making their education free over the Internet to thousands of people who can learn tomorrow. And we’ll use social media as the primary interaction method and assessment. Are you ready to leave your cardiologist and go there? At some point, they need to do open-heart surgery. It can certainly reduce the early part of the curriculum, so that people aren’t bored to tears by sitting in a classroom. But the heart of it, pardon my choice of words, is what you can do. It’s not about what you know. In other words, it’s experiential learning. *Update 10 January, 4:20 p.m.: This article has been revised to clarify Miller’s view of the application process at other schools. Franklin W. Olin College Trio of innovators. Richard Miller (center), with Sherra Kerns and David Kerns, on the Olin College campus.last_img read more

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University Revokes German Research Minister’s Doctorate

first_imgThe German minister for education and research finds herself this evening with no university degree. After a long-running investigation into accusations of plagiarism in Annette Schavan’s 1980 Ph.D. dissertation, the University of Duesseldorf today revoked the German minister’s doctoral degree (link in German). Because Schavan completed her Ph.D. on an accelerated program, she did not earn any other university degree. Schavan will challenge the university’s decision in court, according to her lawyer. She is on an official visit in South Africa and has not yet commented publicly on the decision. She has previously denied any deliberate wrongdoing, but has said the dissertation contains possible mistakes and oversights. An anonymous blogger first posted accusations of plagiarism in Schavan’s dissertation in May 2012. Schavan then asked the university to investigate. In October, a report by a professor who was asked to evaluate the case was leaked to the press. That report found roughly 60 pages in the 351-page dissertation that contained passages that were slightly reworded from sources without any citation indicating their source. Schavan’s degree is in education studies. Her dissertation is titled, “Person and conscience-Studies on conditions, need and requirements of today’s consciences.” Last month, the university’d Council of the Faculty of Philosophy decided to launch the formal process of revoking the doctorate. After a 6-hour meeting today, the 15-member council voted 12 to 2 to invalidate her degree. One member abstained. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Schavan is a close confidant of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has offered Schavan support during the ongoing investigation. Schavan’s lawyer released a statement saying “the decision was reached through a flawed process” and is on shaky legal ground. If Schavan loses the court case, however, she is expected to resign.last_img read more

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India One Step Closer to UNSC Seat

first_imgIndia is one step closer to the UNSC seat but this support that has gathered for India has left China sulking. Related Itemslast_img

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first_imgThe warning from the prominent Indian business lobby group, comes just days ahead of the 23 June EU Referendum, which will decide whether UK votes to remain or leave the EU. Related Itemslast_img

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India Might Get Fillip in Slowing UK Trade Post Brexit

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Female birds get drabber when their males fool around

first_img By Kai KupferschmidtNov. 4, 2015 , 1:00 PM Bill Holsten The shining honeycreeper is a small, tropical bird found in Central America. In a new study, scientists compared the colors of almost 6000 species of birds. One conclusion: Birds that live in the tropics tend to be particularly colorful. Bill Holsten ‹› Bill Holsten Bill Holsten Birds display an astonishing diversity of plumage colors. Males are more colorful than females in some species (top row, left to right: Baltimore oriole, red-legged honeycreeper, and variable seedeater). But females look the same as males in other species In some species, males and females look very similar. One example is the golden-hooded tanager in this picture. center_img In many bird species, the males are more colorful than the females, as in these house finches. The male is on the left, and the female on the right. Bird species in which one male can mate with many females tend to have more colorful males. But the promiscuity has an even stronger effect on females, making them drabber. That’s one of the more surprising conclusions in a new study of more than half of all living species of birds, which also reveals that a bird’s size and breeding location has a strong influence on the extravagance of its plumage.“This paper is one of the most ambitious comparative studies ever conducted,“ says Geoffrey Hill, an ornithologist at Auburn University in Alabama, who was not involved with the work. But Richard Prum, an ornithologist at Yale University, says the paper is flawed because the team relied on pictures of birds in a book rather than observing them in the wild. “You couldn’t study animal pheromones with scratch-and-sniff recreations.”Most scientists believe that bright colors signal good health or a great immune system. But why are some bird species more colorful than others? That’s been tough to resolve because it is hard to quantify how colorful a plumage is, says Bart Kempenaers, an ornithologist at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen, Germany. “How do you compare bright red with bright blue or yellow? That is the problem we had to solve.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Kempenaers and his colleagues tried a new approach: scanning pictures. The scientists focused on passerine birds, a group that makes up more than half of all known bird species and that is sometimes known as perching birds for their arrangement of toes—three pointing forward, one back. The researchers scanned illustrations in the Handbook of the Birds of the World, the only book covering every known living bird species, and then used a computer program to quantify how colorful each bird’s plumage is.The tricky part was getting just one number that they could compare across species. For each bird, the scientists looked at six different patches of feathers (nape, crown, forehead, throat, upper breast, lower breast) and then identified the 1% of birds that were closest in color in the same patch. The more males, the higher the score for that patch. The researchers then calculated the average of the six patch scores for each bird. In essence, the scientists measured how “malelike” a bird appeared. But because male birds, in general, tend to be more colorful, that measure also works as a measure of how colorful a bird’s plumage is.Analysis of the data yielded several trends: Larger birds are more likely to be colorful, possibly because they are less likely to be eaten by predators and can afford to be conspicuous. Tropical birds also tend to be more colorful, an observation already made by Charles Darwin. “We can’t say with any certainty what’s driving it. But we can say with certainty it is a very strong and real trend,“ says James Dale, an ecologist at Massey Unviersity. Albany, in New Zealand, and one of the authors of the paper published online today in Nature.The authors noticed one more trend: In species where males mate with more than one female (called polygyny), male birds tend to be more colorful than in monogamous species. This was already known and it is seen as the result of strong competition between males for females. But the authors found that polygyny had an even stronger effect on females: It made them drabber. In monogamous species, males also get to choose females, so there is some sexual selection pressure on them to appear more beautiful. But males in many polygynous species basically take whatever they can get, Kempenaers says. “In these species, sexual selection is acting only on the men. For females there is just natural selection and that favors an inconspicuous plumage.”Tim Caro, an expert on coloration in animals at the University of California, Davis, says the paper is interesting because it looks at female ornamentation as well as male. “Usually most attention is focused on ornamented males,” he wrote in an email.Yet Prum, who has studied the evolution of avian plumage coloration, says that the generalizations arrived at in the study are meaningless, because evolution acts on individual lineages in different ways. For instance, he points out that the biggest passerine bird, the lyrebird from Australia, is large and polygynous, yet both males and females are also drab.Prum also argues that studying avian plumage color off prints is “scandalous,” because there are some aspects of bird coloration that birds can see, but humans cannot. These can only be captured by using a method called spectrometry on live birds or museum specimens, he says.The authors did measure more than 500 bird specimens in museums to test their technique. “The results were very similar whether we used handbook plates or museum skin data,” Dale says. Some information on color will not be picked up by the technique, he acknowledges. “But we compensate for that by having a very large sample size so that the results we get are still very biologically relevant.” The shining honeycreeper is a small, tropical bird found in Central America. In a new study, scientists compared the colors of almost 6000 species of birds. One conclusion: Birds that live in the tropics tend to be particularly colorful. Birds display an astonishing diversity of plumage colors. Males are more colorful than females in some species (top row, left to right: Baltimore oriole, red-legged honeycreeper, and variable seedeater). But females look the same as males in other species Bill Holsten Female birds get drabber when their males fool around Bill Holsten last_img read more

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Japan’s damaged x-ray satellite: Space scientists looking for clues

first_imgSpeculation about possible causes of an onboard explosion centers on a rupture of the helium tank for an x-ray detector cooling system, fuel leakage from the attitude control engines, and a battery malfunction. Takashi Kubota, JAXA program manager, said they are now analyzing the last transmissions of data received from the craft for clues as to what might have happened. He said the agency and its partners are striving to re-establish communications with the satellite as a first priority. They have 20 windows of opportunity to communicate each day and are sending commands hoping something gets through. At the same time they are gathering whatever clues they can from other sources about the attitude and condition of the craft. The agency has even asked the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan to train its 8.2-meter Subaru Telescope, located atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii, on Hitomi. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Tsuneta said that given the capabilities of the various instruments on the craft, “Astronomical researchers worldwide had extremely high hopes for this satellite, I think they would like it to be recovered no matter what it takes.” At a press conference in Tokyo today, officials of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said that because of the difficulty of gathering information from the wayward Hitomi x-ray observatory they couldn’t say how long it might take to figure out what has gone wrong. A joint JAXA-NASA mission, Hitomi was launched 17 February and was still undergoing commissioning when normal communications were lost on 26 March. Originally called ASTRO-H, Hitomi carries a suite of instruments designed to detect x-rays and gamma rays emanating from black holes, swirling gases in galaxy clusters, and supernova remnants. Ground stations have intermittently picked up signals apparently from the spacecraft on four occasions, raising hopes that the main body of the craft might be intact. But the last of those glimpses of life was on 29 March. Ground visual and radar observations indicate that the craft has split into at least two pieces and is likely spinning. “At the moment, there is no evidence of a collision with space debris,” said Saku Tsuneta, director general of JAXA’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Science in Sagamihara near Tokyo.last_img read more

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Trump met with prominent anti-vaccine activists during campaign

first_imgThis past August, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump spoke with prominent proponents of the discredited link between vaccines and autism, including disbarred British physician Andrew Wakefield, at a fundraiser in Florida.Trump chatted with a group of donors that included four antivaccine activists for 45 minutes, according to accounts of the meeting, and promised to watch Vaxxed, an antivaccine documentary produced by Wakefield, the senior author of a now retracted 1998 Lancet study linking autism to the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. Trump also expressed an interest in holding future meetings with the activists, according to participants. The Trump transition team did not respond to requests to confirm the content of the 11 August event.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)“There was a concentrated opportunity to discuss autism” with Trump, says Mark Blaxill, one of the participants. Blaxill is executive director of XLP Capital, a technology investment firm with offices in New York City and Boston, and editor-at-large of the Age of Autism website, which says it gives “voice to those who believe autism is an environmentally induced illness, that it is treatable, and that children can recover.”Gary Kompothecras, a chiropractor and Trump donor from Sarasota, Florida, and Jennifer Larson, a Minnesota-based technology entrepreneur, confirmed to ScienceInsider that they were also at the event.Earlier this week, on Age of Autism, Larson wrote: “Now that Trump won, we can all feel safe in sharing that Mr Trump met with autism advocates in August. He gave us 45 minutes and was extremely educated on our issues. Mark stated ‘You can’t make America great with all these sick children and more coming’. Trump shook his head and agreed. He heard my son’s vaccine injury story. Andy told him about Thompson and gave him Vaxxed. Dr Gary ended the meeting by saying ‘Donald, you are the only one who can fix this’. He said ‘I will’. We left hopeful. Lots of work left to do.”Trump is no stranger to the anti-vaccine movement. He has suggested in interviews, tweets and during debates that he sees some link between childhood vaccinations and autism, despite the lack of any scientific evidence supporting such a link. (The U.S. Institute of Medicine concluded in a 2014 report that there is no link, adding that the current vaccine schedule for children should be left as it is.) “Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn’t feel good and changes – AUTISM,” Trump tweeted in 2014. “Many such cases!”As president, Trump will have the authority to appoint a number of influential public health officials, including the surgeon general, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the head of the Food and Drug Administration. It is not clear how any views he holds on vaccination might influence his appointments or administration policies.Wakefield, who was barred from practicing medicine in the United Kingdom after authorities concluded he had committed “professional misconduct” and now lives in Austin, did not respond to a request for comment.last_img read more

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Updated: Researchers rally around science advocate convicted in Egypt

first_img *Update, 13 September, 5:15 p.m.: A new letter of support for Serageldin includes 90 Nobel Prize winners, 20 heads of state, and some 150 scholars. More information can be found here. The court will hear his appeal next week. Here is our original story from 11 August:Scientists, engineers, and others are hoping an Egyptian court will reconsider a prison sentence given to one of the nation’s most prominent science advocates. Last week, in a surprising outcome, an Egyptian judge sentenced Ismail Serageldin, founding director of Egypt’s Library of Alexandria, to 3.5 years in prison for financial misdemeanors. Serageldin has appealed the 31 July verdict, and this week more than 180 scientists, engineers, physicians, and public figures issued a declaration of support (in Arabic) on his behalf.Serageldin directed the library, also known as the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and its 14 affiliated research institutes and museums, from 2001 until he retired this year. Previously, he worked as an economist at the World Bank and chaired the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research, which helps steer a global network of research facilities.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)After the 2011 revolution in Egypt, several employees at the library accused Serageldin and three colleagues of misusing public funds. Of 118 charges, the judge dismissed all but three: not giving some employees enough work, improperly canceling life insurance policies, and improperly renting out cafeterias at the library. Supporters of Serageldin expected the Court of Misdemeanors in Alexandria to also toss out those charges. But the judge instead sentenced Serageldin to prison; his colleagues received 6- to 18-month terms. In a statement posted on Facebook on 1 August, Serageldin wrote (in Arabic) that he had “adhered to all local and international laws.” Serageldin expects to be back in court next month for a hearing on his appeal. Meanwhile, he remains free.Farouk El-Baz, a space scientist at Boston University and member of the library’s advisory board, is optimistic that the appeals court will overturn the conviction. “It will be OK,” he says. “His hand is clean and his conscience is clear.” D.shennawy/Wikimedia Commons By Erik StokstadSep. 13, 2017 , 5:15 PMcenter_img Ismail Serageldin Updated: Researchers rally around science advocate convicted in Egyptlast_img read more

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China tightens its regulation of some human gene editing, labeling it ‘high-risk’

first_imgHe Jiankui (left), discussing his creation of genetically altered babies, prompted China to issue tighter regulations on gene-editing experiments. In January, a preliminary investigation found that He deliberately sidestepped regulations, dodged oversight, and used fake ethical review documents, according to Chinese media. (No official report was ever publicly released.) But as the scandal unfolded over the past 3 months, many Chinese ethicists and researchers noted that the most relevant regulations date back to 2003 and need updating in light of CRISPR’s emergence and other research advances.The new rules cover experiments that involve gene editing, the transfer of genes or attempts to regulate gene expression, the use of stem cells, and other “high-risk” technologies in humans or in human organs or embryos that would be implanted in a person. All would require approval by a yet-to-be-specified agency under the State Council, the country’s highest administrative authority. Research involving human subjects using low- or medium-risk technologies—which will be defined later—will need institutional and provincial approval. The 16-page document also gives requirements for informed consent by trial participants and the information needed on applications. It also states that conflicts of interest or lack of clarity on funding sources will be grounds for rejecting a proposed trial.The regulations specify a range of legal penalties, including warnings, fines, a lifetime ban on participating in clinical research, and criminal charges, depending on the seriousness of the infraction. The National Health Commission posted the draft regulations on its website on Tuesday and will accept comments from the public until 27 March. There is no date given for when the new rules might take effect.      Wei Wensheng, a molecular biologist at Peking University in Beijing, says regulation of what is now “a chaotic situation” in China gene editing has been needed. In particular, he adds, it is “very reasonable to set tight regulations on germline editing.” But Wei notes that the same national approval will now be required for clinical research relying on editing somatic cells, such as those in the blood, that are not passed on to future generations. “On paper, there is basically nothing wrong” with this requirement. “But in a practical sense, if it takes too long to get permissions, it could be a bottleneck that will slow down research,” he says. “It depends on execution, on how they handle each case.” In the wake of the shocking news that one of its scientists had produced genetically altered babies, the Chinese government this week issued draft regulations that would require national approval for clinical research involving gene editing and other “high-risk biomedical technologies.” Although some Chinese researchers welcome the move to tighten oversight, there are worries that the rules could impose a burden on areas of genetic research that are not so controversial.“I am happy to see the national regulations regarding new biomedical technologies; I think this makes relevant policy more clear,” says Wei Jia, a medical oncologist who is involved with an ongoing trial using gene editing to modify cancer patient T-cells at the Affiliated Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital of Nanjing University Medical School in China.The regulations are in response to the late November 2018 claim by He Jiankui, then of Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China, that he had altered the DNA embryos in a way that would give the babies and their descendants resistance to HIV. This approach is called germline engineering—it can involve changing DNA in embryos or sperm or eggs—and is banned in many countries, by law or regulation. He’s effort, using a technique called CRISPR, resulted in twin girls born last fall; one more baby, he said, is on the way. The experiment earned He worldwide condemnation for prematurely using a still glitchy technique that might negatively affect the babies’ development and health in a medically unnecessary and unjustified intervention.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) By Dennis NormileFeb. 28, 2019 , 11:50 AMcenter_img Imaginechina/AP Images China tightens its regulation of some human gene editing, labeling it ‘high-risk’last_img read more

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Referee for England-US match loves yellow card

first_imgCarlos Simon, who will referee the match between England and the United States at the World Cup, went through cards with the speed of a Las Vegas dealer at the 2006 tournament.The Brazilian referee issued five yellows during Italy’s 2-0 first-round victory over Ghana, handing the first to Daniele de Rossi 10 minutes in.He gave out eight more in Spain’s 3-1 win over Tunisia, and added four yellows and a red to his total as Germany beat Sweden 2-0 in the second round.He’s been selected to officiate England’s first match at this year’s World Cup, on Saturday. Given an English team and an American side filled with Premier Leaguers, it could make for a match of attrition.”A foul in England is a foul,” American goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann said. “In another country, they’re wondering if it’s a yellow card or a red card.”The U.S. had its own card-filled night at the last World Cup. In the 1-1 draw against Italy, the Americans went a man up when De Rossi was sent off by Uruguayan Jorge Larrionda in the 28th minute for an elbow that split Brian McBride’s left cheek.Seventeen minutes later, the sides were evened when Pablo Mastroeni was shown red for a studs-up tackle on Andrea Pirlo.American defender Eddie Pope was sent off two minutes into the second half for his second yellow.World Cup matches generally are refereed more tightly than league games, especially than those in England.”You go into a World Cup, you always want to have a little bit of sense of what FIFA has now chosen to clamp down on,” American midfielder Michael Bradley said. “That will be something we think about.”advertisementBradley, who plays for Borussia Moenchengladbach in Germany, missed last year’s Confederations Cup final against Brazil after getting a red card in the semifinal victory over Spain for a lunging tackle.Yet, he doesn’t want think about curbing the roughness too much.”Having a physical edge is something that we bring on our best days and I think we need to look to have on Saturday,” he said.England forward Wayne Rooney will be playing his first World Cup match since his team’s penalty-shootout loss to Portugal in the 2006 quarterfinals. He got a red card that night for stamping on Ricardo Carvalho’s groin _ with then-Manchester United teammate Cristiano Ronaldo running over to Argentinian referee Horacio Elizondo to plead for Rooney’s dismissal.”I think you always have to be conscious of referees and their decisions,” said American defender Jay DeMerit, captain of Watford in England’s second-tier Championship.”If you go in and do a tackle that you think you might be able to get away with in England, you might not be able to get away with it on this type of stage, you know. And I think that’s our job, to realize that, and to understand the rules.”FIFA has tried to increase protection of goal-scorers, telling referees to give red cards for career-threatening fouls. But just because Simon gave out lots of cards four years ago, American right back Steve Cherundolo doesn’t necessarily expect a similar spate.”I think the game Saturday, of course it will be a hard-fought game,” he said. “Both teams want to win. Both are physically talented. So I assume there will be some tackles that may be reported or punished by a yellow card _ I hope no red cards. It’s part of the game, but I don’t expect the referee to show more only because he has in the past.”Coach Bob Bradley knows games probably will be called tightly, and has made his feelings known.”It’s important that there’s discipline,” he said Wednesday. “I think we’ve seen in a number of World Cups, especially in the first round, the fact that players must respect the game, must respect their opponents. Otherwise, there will be cards given.last_img read more

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India beat England by 6 wickets in 4th ODI

first_imgIndia rode on stroke-filled half centuries from Suresh Raina (80) and Virat Kohli (86) as they recovered from an early jolt to post a comfortable six-wicket victory over England and take 4-0 lead in the five-match ODI series in Mumbai on Sunday.Chasing England’s modest total of 220 all out, Kohli and Raina combined well to put on a match-winning partnership of 131 in 113 balls to help India overhaul the target with 9.5 overs to spare at the Wankhede Stadium.Returning to the Wankhede Stadium, the scene of their famous triumph in the World Cup final on April 2, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men first put England on the mat with a clinically efficient bowling display after the visitors had gone off to a flying start of 39 in six overs.The modest target set by England, who were dismissed in only 46.1 overs, was not stiff enough to test the batting strength of the home team who wobbled at 21 for 2 and then 46 for 3 before Raina and Kohli took the game away from the tourists.Raina, who hit his 19th half ton in 129 games, departed at 171 but skipper Dhoni (15 not out) was cool as ever in the company of Kohli, who struck his 18th fifty in 68 ODIs, as the fifth wicket duo stitched an unconquered stand of 52 runs to pull India past the finish line in 40.1 overs.The home team, thus, kept themselves in the hunt for a 5-0 clean sweep in the series with the final ODI scheduled at Kolkata on October 25.It was, incidentally, the first-ever ODI victory for the hosts at this venue against England following defeats in the 1987 World Cup semi final and the 2001-02 bilateral series encounter.advertisementEarlier, India dismissed England for a modest total 220 in 46.1 overs after the visiting team had started in a bright fashion after opting to bat first on a slow surface.last_img read more

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Decision to field first in 1996 WC semis stunned me: Kambli

first_imgFormer cricketer Vinod Kambli on Friday raised suspicion on the 1996 World Cup semi-final between India and Sri Lanka and said he found “something amiss” in the game, a claim which came in for sharp criticism from Sourav Ganguly.Kambli, who scored 1084 runs in 17 Tests and 2477 runs in 104 ODIs for India, said he was suspicious of then captain Mohammed Azharuddin’s decision to field first in the semi-final which was eventually awarded to Sri Lanka because of crowd problem.However, Ganguly said just because India batted second in the match doesn’t mean that it was fixed and Kambli should back up his claims with solid proof.Kambli claims that his suspicion arose due to Mohammed Azharuddin’s decision to field first even though it was unanimously decided that the team would bat after winning the toss.”I will never forget the 1996 match because my career ended after this and I was dropped from the team. I was stunned by India’s decision to field,” Kambli said while participating in a STAR News debate on ex-chief of ICC anti-corruption unit Paul Condon’s statement that in the 90s and in the following years all of cricket’s leading countries were involved in fixing major matches.”I was standing on one side and on the other end my fellow batsman was telling me that we would chase the target.However, soon after they quickly got out one by one. I don’t know what transpired.”Something was definitely amiss. However, I was not given a chance to speak and was dropped soon after. Our team manager at that time Ajit Wadekar was aware of everything. He had even written an article afterwards that Vinod Kambli had been made a scapegoat,” he said.advertisementKambli said he was shocked when it came to know that they have to field when everybody was mentally prepared to bat.”We had been playing well during the entire World Cup and even defeated the likes of West Indies and Pakistan to reach the semifinal. Our openers were all set to bat, however, at the nick of time, we learnt we had to field. I got a huge shock after learning this,” he said.last_img read more

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Tihar shows the way

first_imgNew Delhi’s Tihar Jail has always prided itself as being a cut above the others in the country. It has held VIPs and conmen and murderers and thieves, but it also has an aggressive programme to engage prisoners through “extra curricular” activities like yoga, sports, computer education and so on.Instead of getting into drugs and violence which are endemic in prisons, the inmates are entertained, as well as provided an opportunity to do something productive.Tihar’s latest experiment is a project in using the universal love for music to engage its inmates. The 18th century poet and playwright William Congreve once said, “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast.” He may not quite have had rock music in mind, but the general idea is the same.A recent rock concert for the inmates featured several Delhi bands as well as an in-house group, “Flying Souls”, which pointed to the ways in which innovative ideas can be used to occupy prison inmates in some fruitful and pleasant activity.last_img read more

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‘Where will Indian cricket be without Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman, Kumble?’

first_imgWithout Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid, Laxman (above) and Kumble; it is what Indian cricket will look like in 2014.The question this week is:where will Indian cricket be the day after tomorrow? Not literally, but say a decade from now. We have seen what the batting looks like without Sachin Tendulkar. Now,Without Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid, Laxman (above) and Kumble; it is what Indian cricket will look like in 2014.The question this week is:where will Indian cricket be the day after tomorrow? Not literally, but say a decade from now. We have seen what the batting looks like without Sachin Tendulkar. Now take away Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, V.V.S. Laxman and Anil Kumble as well because in 2014 they will not be around.From the current lot, who will be captain? The anchor of the batting? The sane voice in the change room? Ask the current selection committee.There is a good chance they will say that they don’t know and they don’t particularly care because they won’t be picking teams then. It will be someone else’s headache.Indian cricket-as in the long-term, big-picture entity and not the money-spinning hype-fest-is always someone else’s headache. When the BCCI can forget to book the team’s hotel rooms in time for the Bangalore Test (oops, sorry fellas, slipped the mind), planning a smooth hand-over of generations is hardly priority.Captain Ganguly may believe that the Indians are the world’s best side after Australia but what he has is a competitive team, a moment in time. What his team is up against this month though is an idea, a dynasty, an ascendant cricketing empire. The difference lies in the details.Australia are without all but two of the batsmen (Ricky Ponting and Justin Langer) and two of the bowlers (Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne) who beat the West Indies in 1995, the event that marks the beginning of their rise to power. But they haven’t broken stride since. They have been smart with selection, methodical with their planning and only then, lucky to be blessed with bowlers of the calibre of McGrath, Warne and Jason Gillespie. If Simon Katich and Damien Martyn on the current team touring India, spent years waiting to break into the playing eleven, they were years of tough, domestic cricket. Look at them now.And look at India. The domestic game is not a support structure for the elite team, but a parallel universe. This is the end of October and there is no first-class cricket where Parthiv Patel can work out his problems. Where players can be spotted for slots that may open up in six months. If there is no vision for six months from now, what will the next decade look like? The bowling is finding its feet, but the gen next of batsmen seem to be made up entirely of kamikaze pilots.Indian cricket continues to be run by the seat of its pants, more so this year with the fallout of the BCCI elections. This is India’s toughest home season in more than 20 years.Australia are standing on the windpipe every second of every session of every contest, with South Africa and Pakistan to follow. The batsmen are struggling, the bowlers are keeping body and soul together on will alone.Into this scenario, the entrance of the enigmatic and powerful Sunil Gavaskar is intriguing. Not just for its theatrical timing-approached through a text message from Ganguly, named consultant at the very last instant- but its novelty. Of course, the players will respond to and benefit from his presence; he is not Indian cricket’s Mr Ten Thousand for nothing. But the questions and conspiracy theories remain: is this a one-off? Or a long-term relationship? If no,why not?Is this all a dark plot to undermine John Wright? Yes, no, maybe? Whatever for? Nobody knows. There is no clarity to be found outside the dressing room.Hopefully, there is plenty inside. If not, we are toast. The Aussies are already 1-0 up, remember.Deterred either by the BCCI’s administrative wasteland or the prospect of putting their reputations on the line all over again, the best minds in Indian cricket have worked outside the elite level and its key decision-making areas like planning, coaching and selection for too long. It has led to inferior intellects taking-or rather not taking-important decisions. Elsewhere, Richard Hadlee is chairman of selectors in New Zealand.Gavaskar’s Aussie rival Allan Border is a selector and Greg Chappell has already had a crack at the job. It means getting the hands dirty, but there is no other way to build monuments or dynasties. Only when India’s cricket systems evolve will its cricket team.advertisementlast_img read more

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