Watch Author Amish Tripathi at Express Adda

first_img Advertising Author Amish Tripathi is guest at Express Adda today Related News Extreme left, right have captured public debate: Author Amish Tripathi By Express Web Desk |New Delhi | Published: July 8, 2019 7:35:21 pm Amish had worked for over a decade in the financial services industry before he decided to drop his surname and set out to make a name as a writer.After the thumping success of the first book, he brought out the next two instalments of The Shiva Trilogy in quick succession — The Secret of the Nagas (2011), and The Oath of the Vayuputras (2013) — making it, arguably, the fastest-selling book series in the history of publishing in India.The Express Adda is a series of informal interactions organised by The Indian Express Group and features those at the centre of change. Famous writer, and now director of the Nehru Centre in London, Amish Tripathi is at the Indian Express Adda. 1 Comment(s) ‘That this election is so unpredictable tells us how robust our democratic process is’: Ruchir Sharma last_img read more

Brazils Bolsonaro offers his son the post of ambassador in Washington

first_img Advertising Best Of Express Advertising Related News jair bolsonaro, brazil president, brazilian president jair bolsonaro, brazil president jair bolsonaro, eduardo bolsonaro, world news, Indian Express Bolsonaro’s eldest son, Flavio, is advancing his conservative social agenda as a senator. (File)Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday he had invited his son Eduardo to become ambassador to the United States, underscoring his family’s influential role in the country’s diplomacy and domestic politics. Karnataka: Supreme Court to rule today, says Speaker’s powers need relook Cocaine found on Brazil President Bolsonaro’s security plane bound for G-20 summit Eduardo Bolsonaro, currently a federal congressman, told reporters separately he would accept the role if nominated. His father said earlier that the appointment would hinge on his son’s acceptance.“If it is a mission given by the president, I would accept,” Eduardo Bolsonaro told reporters, adding he was prepared to resign from Congress if the president appoints him.He added the ultimate nomination still depended on conversations with his father and Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo. Brazil struggles through President Jair Bolsonaro’s first six months center_img The appointment would need to be approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before passing to the full upper house for confirmation.Brazil’s previous ambassador to Washington retired in April.The far-right Brazilian president, who said his campaign last year was inspired by U.S. President Donald Trump, has made friendly overtures to the American leader and made similar use of family members as official advisers.Bolsonaro’s eldest son, Flavio, is advancing his conservative social agenda as a senator.Carlos Bolsonaro, another son of the president and a Rio de Janeiro city councilman, has taken a role in his father’s social media communications and stirred controversy by attacking members of the Brazilian Cabinet. Post Comment(s) Brazilians hold general strike to protest pension overhaul Eduardo Bolsonaro, the third of the president’s four sons and a daughter from three marriages, has counseled his father on foreign affairs.After his father’s election in October, Eduardo Bolsonaro was one of his first envoys to Washington, where he met with Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, and was spotted wearing a “Trump 2020” cap.Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon named the younger Bolsonaro the Latin American leader of his right-wing nationalist organization, “The Movement.”During the Brazilian leader’s White House visit in March, Trump heaped praise on Eduardo Bolsonaro, who sat by his father during an Oval Office chat while Brazil’s foreign minister and ambassador in Washington were nowhere to be seen. By Reuters |Brasilia(brazil) | Published: July 12, 2019 8:46:20 am NRC deadline approaching, families stranded in Assam floods stay home In undecided Congress, first open call for Priyanka: She should be party chief last_img read more

Boosting genetic diversity may save vanishing animal populations But it may also

first_imgIn both streams, the populations increased 10-fold and genetic diversity doubled. Later generations were more fecund, with many of the most fit offspring being hybrids of the local and introduced fish, Reid reported at the meeting. But the findings also sounded a note of caution. In the second stream, the rapid infusion of new fish almost completely eliminated pure residents—an outcome conservationists usually hope to avoid. That result suggests “a slow trickle of immigration might be preferable,” Fitzpatrick says.Another genomic study showed some small populations experience natural genetic rescue—and benefit from it. Nancy Chen, a population geneticist at the University of Rochester in New York, and her team study the threatened Florida scrub jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens), whose numbers are down to a few thousand individuals, split among a few hundred sites. For 50 years, researchers have regularly counted and assessed all the jays found at Archbold Biological Station near Lake Placid, Florida. More recently, they’ve collected blood samples from each bird, which enabled Chen and her colleagues to track genetic changes over time.The team discovered that the population naturally gets a slow infusion of new blood. Typically, birds trickle in from smaller groups a few kilometers away. The newcomers are less genetically diverse than those already there, but because they are from a different population, they help maintain the resident group’s diversity. However, with fewer birds arriving in recent years because of population declines, that diversity is declining, putting the population at risk of dying out. “Gene flow from small populations may be really important,” she concluded at the meeting.Most biologists have assumed that larger populations are better sources of new blood. But Chris Kyriazis, a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, used computer models to study the impact of deleterious mutations hidden in a source population. Because such mutations tend to be harmful only when both parents pass the mutation to offspring, they are likely to be eliminated from historically small, inbred populations and to persist in larger ones. Kyriazis’s modeling suggests intermediate-size populations, not the biggest ones, could be the best source for genetic rescues, he reported at the meeting and in a preprint posted 21 June on bioRxiv.Sometimes, genomic results suggest the rescue strategy may backfire. Just 1000 island foxes (Urocyon littoralis) are left on California’s Santa Catalina Island, and 60% of them have a cancer that affects their ears. Paul Hohenlohe, an evolutionary biologist from the University of Idaho in Moscow, had identified many genes that make the foxes susceptible to the cancer and wondered whether they were a candidate for genetic rescue. But he found that the Santa Catalina foxes have a genetic advantage over neighboring populations that might be sources of new blood: They have more variation throughout their genome, including in the cancer genes, he reported at the meeting. Furthermore, the Santa Catalina foxes are better adapted to the island’s hot, arid climate than the other foxes, many of which live on wetter, cooler islands. So, he recommends letting nature take its course and monitoring whether the foxes eventually evolve resistance to the cancer.These studies are helping invigorate a strategy that many believe is sorely needed. Fitzpatrick says, “The urgency of the problem and the availability of the tools makes it a really exciting time.” Email Boosting genetic diversity may save vanishing animal populations. But it may also backfire PROVIDENCE—The expanding global human footprint is dividing the world’s flora and fauna into ever-smaller, more isolated populations that could wink out because of inbreeding, disease, or environmental change. For decades, conservationists have proposed revitalizing those holdouts by bringing in new blood from larger populations. But they’ve wondered whether it really works—and how to do it without swamping the genetic identity and unique adaptations of the group at risk. Last month at Evolution 2019 here, researchers described how genomic tools are refining what is known as genetic rescue.Although zoos have worked to maintain genetic diversity in endangered species by carefully matching individual animals for breeding, the strategy has rarely been tried in nature. Genetic rescue “should be attempted more frequently,” Andrew Whiteley, a conservation genomicist at the University of Montana in Missoula, and his colleagues wrote last week in Trends in Ecology and Evolution. But showing that it works requires tracking multiple generations for years, something few studies have attempted. And researchers have only recently been able to detect what happens on a molecular level. Now, says Sarah Fitzpatrick, an evolutionary biologist at Michigan State University’s (MSU’s) W. K. Kellogg Biological Station in Hickory Corners, “We have genomic tools to study these populations … in ways we never could before.”Adding new blood to small populations really does help, a long-term experimental evolution study of wild guppies in Trinidad has demonstrated, says Brendan Reid, an MSU conservation biologist who works with Fitzpatrick. Decades ago, researchers seeded the headwaters of two streams in the mountainous country with guppies taken from a distant habitat. In one stream, the displaced fish had to travel a long way and only slowly made their way downstream to a small, isolated population. In the other stream, the fish more quickly joined another isolated group. Every month for 2.5 years, Fitzpatrick and her colleagues caught, marked, and studied all the fish they could find at the isolated groups’ territories before returning the fish to the streams. They tracked the growth, survival, and genetic diversity of the fish over about seven generations. 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Countrycenter_img Tim Zurowski/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Elizabeth PennisiJul. 16, 2019 , 5:55 PM A Florida scrub jay population relies on birds from other groups to sustain its genetic diversity.last_img read more

Assam floods Death toll rises to 11

first_img Assam floods: Centre releases Rs 250 crore aid as death toll touches 17 “As per the Met department forecast, there will be more rainfall across Assam and the water level in the Brahmaputra is likely to rise,” Kumar Sanjay Krishna, additional chief secretary (revenue and disaster management), said at a press conference on Sunday. “Dhubri and other lower Assam districts will probably see more severe flood in coming days.”Krishna said the state government was fully capable of handling the situation. “Last year, we had received Rs 590 crore from the Centre. We have sufficient funds in our hands and already released Rs 55.85 crore to the districts,” he said.Meanwhile, the NDRF and SDRF have rescued 7,833 people in the past 24 hours across the state. As many as 10,840 litres of mustard oil, 7,922 quintals of rice, tarpaulin sheets, water pouches, biscuits, milk powder, dal, salt and other essential items have been distributed among the flood-affected people.About 70 per cent of the Kaziranga National Park, the habitat of the Great Indian Rhino and a world heritage site, has been affected too, the official said. “Many animals have moved to highlands. We have a sufficient stock of fodder and forest officials are on alert.” Related News Karnataka: SC to rule today, says Speaker’s powers need relook Best Of Express NRC deadline approaching, families stranded in Assam floods stay home Advertising An Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) report said four fresh deaths were reported from Jorhat, Barpeta and Dhubri districts.Of the 28 affected districts, Barpeta is the worst hit with 7.35 lakh people affected, followed by Morigaon where 3.50 lakh people are hit. They are followed by Dhubri where the number of affected is 3.38 lakh, the ASDMA said.Till Saturday, around 14.06 lakh people were affected in 25 districts out of the total 33 districts. In undecided Congress, first open call for Priyanka: She should be party chief By PTI |Guwahati | Updated: July 14, 2019 8:38:19 pm More Explained Hima Das donates half of salary for Assam flood relief, appeals for help Advertising The Brahmaputra is flowing above its danger mark in Guwahati, at Nimatighat in Jorhat, Tezpur in Sonitpur, Goalpara and Dhubri towns, and at Badarpurghat in Karimganj.Burhidehing river is flowing above its danger mark at Khowang in Dibrugarh, Subansiri at Badatighat in Lakhimpur, Dhansiri river at Numaligarh in Golaghat, Jia Bharali at NT Road Crossing in Sonitpur, Kopili at Kampur and Dharamtul in Nagaon, Puthimari at NH road crossing in Kamrup, Beki at Road Bridge in Barpeta, Katakhal river at Matizuri in Hailakandi and Kushiyara river at Karimganj town, the ASDMA said.It said 3,181 villages were under water and 87,607 hectares of crop areas had been damaged. Authorities are running 327 relief camps and distribution centres in 24 districts, where 16,596 people are taking shelter at present.Embankments, roads, bridges, culverts and infrastructure have been damaged at various places in Sonitpur, Golaghat, Jorhat, Baksa, Dibrugarh, Nalbari, Hojai, Morigaon, Lakhimpur, Darrang, Nagaon, Kamrup, Barpeta, Dhubri, Majuli, Karimganj, Sivasagar, Hailakandi and South Salmara. Assam, Assam floods, Assam floods death toll, Assam flood news, Assam weather, Assam news, Assam rain news, Assam floods update, Assam update, Assam floods army, Baksa, Baksa assam, Assam floods, indian express, latest news Kamrup: People stand on a damaged embankment washed out by the floods due to incessant rainfalls, at Hajo in Kamrup. (PTI)The flood situation in Assam worsened on Sunday with the death toll rising to 11 and affecting nearly 26.5 lakh people across 28 districts. Assam floods: Over 26 lakh people affected, PM Modi assures CM of assistance Explained: Kulbhushan Jadhav case file Massive erosions have been witnessed at several places of Udalguri, Barpeta and Sonitpur districts, the ASDMA said.“For repairing embankments, 168 proposals worth Rs 250 crore were approved after last year’s flood,” Krishna said. Post Comment(s)last_img read more

Snapchat May Risk Connecting Apps Despite Facebook Uproar

first_imgThe Cambridge Analytica controversy sprang from the use of an old version of Facebook’s Connected Apps API, which had a “friends permission” feature that let third-party developers collect users’ data without their consent or knowledge.Through a personality test developed by Cambridge University academic Aleksandr Kogan, Cambridge Analytica managed to obtain data on 50 million Facebook members without their knowledge or consent.Although the app was installed by just 270,000 users, the “friends permission” feature allowed access to the data of tens of millions of their friends. “The advantage — and disadvantage — of social apps like Snapchat and Facebook is that they rely on user traffic and data to make money, and for their stock valuation,” Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of research at Nucleus Research, told TechNewsWorld.Snapchat needs to make money. Its return on capital following last year’s IPO was -45.02 percent, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence, which indicated the company had a nearly 1 in 20 chance of default.”Access to data on user behavior is key to targeted advertising,” said Michael Jude, research manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan.”The name of the game in social media is monetizing user data creatively,” he told TechNewsWorld. Third-party access “is one way, but this is a sensitive area, and Snapchat needs to avoid irritating its users while disclosing enough information to make a third party willing to pay for it.”Congress has invited Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, along with the leaders of Google and Twitter, to testify April 10.United States Representative Bobby L. Rush earlier this week introduced the “Data Accountability and Trust Act.”Facebook also faces several lawsuits — brought by states, investors and users — over the Cambridge Analytica issue.Facebook shut down its “Partner Categories” feature, which lets third-party data providers offer targeting directly on Facebook, earlier this week.None of this is going to help Snapchat, which is in trouble. It recently redesigned its platform to separate social content from media content, and it laid off 120 engineers.The new format is bad for advertisers because users can just avoid ads, observed Trip Chowdhry, managing director of equity research at Global Equities Research.”Snap lacks user data, hence ad targeting will always remain challenging,” he wrote in a research note. “Its ad targeting will always remain imprecise because it doesn’t have interest, social or activity graphs, so it “will struggle to acquire advertisers.” Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. Email Richard. Snap either should create the API or delete it completely, suggested Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.”There’s a lot of nervousness right now about third-party apps, and the concern they were used to manipulate not only the U.S. election but also Brexit,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Leaving a blank page isn’t a good idea because folks will fill the page with their imaginations.”However, killing the API would impact Snapchat’s ability to monetize, Frost’s Jude pointed out.If Snap should decide to retain the feature, it could safeguard user data and ensure user privacy by abstracting the base data to a metadata set, he noted.”Providing access only to sanitized and masked data is a good approach,” Jude remarked. “In other words, you can know about me, but you can’t know who I am.” How Facebook Got in Troublecenter_img Fear and Loathing on the API Trail The Root of Social Media Evil Snapchat soon may have a Connected Apps feature that is similar to the functionality at the heart of the Cambridge Analytica brouhaha, which has Facebook writhing under congressional scrutiny and consumer backlash.The latest beta features a new Connected Apps tab within the setting page, Mashable reported earlier this week.The page displays the following text: “These apps are connected to your Snapchat account. Choose an app to control what it has access to.”Snapchat already allows Bitmoji and Shazam apps to connect directly to users’ Snapchat accounts.It’s not clear whether Snapchat actually plans to implement the feature, given the heat Facebook has drawn. Further, it’s not clear how similar it might be to Facebook’s Connected Apps API.last_img read more

Gadget Ogling Rolling Records Designing Lawns and Placated Phones

first_imgWelcome to Gadget Dreams and Nightmares, the column that’s stopped shaking its head in disbelief that it’s actually December long enough to cast an analytical gaze over the latest gadget announcements.On the last page of the calendar are a portable record player, a device to craft designs into lawns, and a bed for your phone. Yes, you read that last part correctly. I can’t imagine that I’d use RokBlok outside of my home in any case, but it seems like it’d be a fun little party trick. Just make sure to ask your host’s permission before you run RokBlok over the top of their prized first-run Japanese copy of Thriller.Rating: 3 out of 5 Into the Grooves Vinyl Vehicle As ever, these are not reviews, partly because I’m not so sure a delivery truck can make it through the snow we’re already getting in my part of the world. The ratings relate only to how much I’d like to try each item. RokBlok is a portable record player without a turntable. It’s a block that dashes around the top of your records, and uses both its needle and built-in speaker to soundtrack your day.All you need to operate it are your records and a flat surface. If you’d like higher quality audio, you can connect it to your Bluetooth speaker or headphones.It’s designed with protecting your records in mind, as it has rubber wheels and the center of gravity isn’t on the needle itself. That should help prevent RokBlok from widening the grooves and help you enjoy your records for years to come. Still, I’d be reluctant to trust it completely with the rarer, more expensive records in my collection.RokBlok is expected to retail at US$99, though its crowdfunding backers can get one for $59 as a campaign reward. That seems a fair price for something you’re unlikely to use as your main record player, especially if you’re a conscientious audiophile.That you’d need to cart along a Bluetooth speaker to make it more useful — unless you’re wearing headphones — means it’s a little less portable than I’d like. Smartphone Slumber Y-art Workcenter_img The effect is neat — temporary artwork that washes away as soon as you roll the grass back into place. The demo video for Grassffiti doesn’t make it seem like the device leaves the clearest or most detailed images, so I imagine it would leave a stronger impact when creating larger-scale images, which are created by breaking them down into smaller sections.Grassffiti is not available to the public, which is a shame, as it could provide some additional color to homes everywhere without having to annoy landlords or neighbors with drastic landscaping changes.Rating: 4 out of 5 Turf Techniques I probably should give more care to my phone than I do. I’ve no idea how the screen’s still intact, because I’ve dropped it at least once a week in the year I’ve owned it. The least I can do is make sure my gateway to the world gets a good night’s rest, especially since it’s the first thing I reach for in the morning.To that end, I am ever-so-slightly considering bringing the Phone Bed into my home. It’s a little silly, all things considered, but I wonder if making sure our phones are well protected before putting ourselves to sleep is such a bad thing.I can picture doing so and feeling a mite more relaxed. It’s from Arianna Huffington’s new company, Thrive Global, which promotes well-being and healthy sleep, so it’s certainly on brand. Kris Holt is a writer and editor based in Montreal. He has written for the Daily Dot, The Daily Beast, and PolicyMic, among others. He’s Scottish, so would prefer if no one used the word “soccer” in his company. You can connect with Kris on Google+. The bed’s surface has room for multiple phones, and two spaces inside the frame for tablets. It can charge up to 10 devices at once, so it’s designed for the whole family to make use of. However, to get the full restfulness effect, you’ll need to leave the Phone Bed outside of your bedroom and turn off your devices, which might prove complicated if you use them as alarm clocks.At the very least, the Phone Bed would prove a good way to make sure I always leave my phone in the same place when not in use. Better that than having to scramble through the sheets of my own bed trying to find it.Rating: 3 out of 5 Sleep Tights What better way to add a little temporary flair to the facade of your home and grounds than with a design of your choosing on your lawn?Grassffiti, which is clearly not a name its creators came up with while inebriated (try saying it out loud after a few tipples), is the brainchild of University of Tokyo researchers. It’s a lawnmower that brushes blades of grass in different directions to create a visible image. It’s a similar technique to the one used on sports fields to give a striped effect to the grass, but it’s a little more refined and detailed.last_img read more

Heat and reapplication impact different sunscreen products containing common ingredients

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 8 2018With the growing awareness of ultraviolet (UV) exposure resulting in an increased risk of photoaging and skin cancers, consumers are using higher sun protection factor (SPF) sunscreens with frequent reapplication. New research, Evaluation of Reapplication and Controlled Heat Exposure on Oxybenzone Permeation from Commercial Sunscreen Using Excised Human Abdominal Skin, presented today at the 2018 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) PharmSci 360 Meeting demonstrates that heat and reapplication influences different sunscreen products containing the same amount of a key ingredient, oxybenzone, potentially affecting safety and toxicity of the UV filters included in sunscreens.”What our research shows is that current safety testing procedures may be underestimating the amount of oxybenzone being absorbed into the skin considering heat and reapplication, such as someone sunbathing on the beach,” said presenting author, Paige Zambrana, a pharmaceutical sciences graduate student at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. “Although sunscreens are intended for the entire body under higher temperatures with reapplication every 80 minutes, safety testing for setting UV filter limits only require single dose testing under baseline skin temperature of 32 degrees Celsius.”The researchers performed in vitro permeation tests, which indicated that oxybenzone, using lotion and spray sunscreen formulations, was able to permeate human skin with significantly higher cumulative permeation occurring from the lotion. With the addition of 24-hour heat exposure on the lotion, there was a 2.1-fold increase in cumulative permeation of oxybenzone when comparing sunscreen reapplication at 80 min and 160 min, to a single application and a 1.2-fold increase in permeation when comparing 24-hour heat application to 24-hour baseline temperature sunscreen reapplication studies. When comparing formulations, applying lotion with 24-hour heat and reapplication significantly increased the cumulative oxybenzone permeation 3.1-fold more than the spray reapplication.Related StoriesOlympus Europe and Cytosurge join hands to accelerate drug development, single cell researchSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds researchTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CT”Although sunscreen use is important and generally safe, our work suggests that some additional preclinical and clinical safety testing parameters should be considered before maximum UV filter levels are established,” noted Audra Stinchcomb, Ph.D., principal investigator and professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. “Also, given oxybenzone’s potential environmental hazards and recently being banned in Hawaii, we are focused on how different factors affect people to provide accurate predictions of total oxybenzone absorption.”The next stage of this work will examine sunscreen use through controlled in vitro and in vivo testing procedures with the eventual aim of establishing an in vitro-in vivo correlation between the two tests. In addition, clinical trials with currently marketed sunscreen products will be performed to assess sunscreen use conditions allowing for a better understanding of the current maximum absorption of oxybenzone.Evaluation of Reapplication and Controlled Heat Exposure on Oxybenzone Permeation from Commercial Sunscreen Using Excised Human Abdominal Skin will be presented Wednesday, Nov. 7, 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (EST) Poster Forum 5 the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Source: read more

Vilcek Foundation prizes awarded to immigrants for their work on human biology

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 8 2019The Vilcek Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 Vilcek Foundation Prizes for Biomedical Science, awarded to immigrants who have made significant contributions to the field. Dr. Angelika Amon will receive the $100,000 Vilcek Prize, while Drs. Amit Choudhary, Jeanne T. Paz, and Mikhail G. Shapiro will each receive the $50,000 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise.”Immigrant scientists are behind some of the most transformative discoveries made on American soil, as epitomized by the winners of the Vilcek Foundation Prizes,” says Jan Vilcek, Chairman and CEO of the Vilcek Foundation. “Their work has extraordinary implications for our understanding of human biology and our prospects for treating human disease.”The Vilcek Prize, awarded to individuals with records of significant accomplishment, is bestowed to Austrian-born molecular and cell biologist Angelika Amon, the Kathleen and Curtis Marble professor of cancer research and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Amon studies cell growth and division, and how errors in these processes contribute to birth defects and cancer. Her research has identified molecular, protein, and spatial signals crucial to triggering progression in cell division, as well as how certain errors in cell division, a state called aneuploidy, lead to disorders like Down syndrome. Amon has also illuminated the interplay between aneuploidy and cancer cells, increasing the potential for new treatments capable of selectively targeting cancer cells. Among other honors, Amon has been elected into the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the European Molecular Biology Organization, and received the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences and the Ernst Jung Prize for Medicine.The Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise are awarded to emerging biomedical scientists who have shown exceptional promise early in their careers. The recipients are the following:Amit Choudhary’s research lies at the intersection of physics, biology, and chemistry. He identified a fundamental force integral to the structures of biomolecules like proteins and nucleic acids, opening up avenues for new modes of drug design and delivery, as well as insight into molecules tied to the origin of life. He refined controls for the genome-editing enzyme CRISPR-Cas9 to minimize unintended effects, increasing its potential for treating genetic disorders and curbing vector-borne diseases. His research on binge-eating snakes led to insights on insulin-secreting pancreatic beta cells, suggesting possible therapeutic approaches for human diabetes. Choudhary, born in India, is an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, a member of the Renal Division faculty at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and an associate member of Broad Institute.Related StoriesNanoparticles used to deliver CRISPR gene editing tools into the cellNew study reveals ‘clutch’ proteins responsible for putting T cell activation ‘into gear’Sugary drinks linked to cancer finds studyJeanne T. Paz uses optogenetics, a technique in which light is used to control genetically modified brain cells in living animals, to understand the brain mechanisms underlying epileptic seizures in rodent models. Her work revealed the role of the basal ganglia and thalamus in mediating seizures with a genetic underpinning, as well as those following stroke-induced brain damage. Her research forms the potential basis for predicting and arresting seizures, even in cases of intractable epilepsy, with implications for treating brain disorders such as dementia as well. Paz, born in Georgia (then part of the Soviet Union), is an assistant investigator at the Gladstone Institutes and assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco.Mikhail G. Shapiro developed a new class of noninvasive imaging tools to visualize molecules and structures in living organisms at high resolution. Shapiro fashioned sensors allowing magnetic resonance imaging to visualize clinically relevant molecules, like dopamine, which play a role in various brain disorders. Then, he coopted structures known as gas vesicles, a biological feature in certain bacteria, to serve as ultrasound sensors; Shapiro also demonstrated that these and other biomolecules could be used to monitor and manipulate genetically engineered microbes, allowing for their greater potential as therapeutic drugs. Shapiro was born in Russia (then part of the Soviet Union), and is a professor of chemical engineering at the California Institute of Technology.The prizewinners were selected by independent panels of biomedical experts. In addition to biomedical science, the 2019 Vilcek Foundation Prizes also recognize immigrant contributions in culinary arts and art history. The prizewinners will be honored at a gala at the Mandarin Oriental in New York in spring 2019.The Vilcek Foundation was established in 2000 by Jan and Marica Vilcek, immigrants from the former Czechoslovakia. The mission of the foundation, to honor the contributions of immigrants to the United States and to foster appreciation of the arts and sciences, was inspired by the couple’s careers in biomedical science and art history, as well as their appreciation for the opportunities they received as newcomers to this country. The foundation awards annual prizes to immigrant biomedical scientists and artists, sponsors cultural programs, and manages the Vilcek Foundation Art Collections. Source: read more

GARP protein can be a potential target for immunotherapy against colorectal cancer

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 19 2019Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in both men and women. Despite significant advances in therapies for this particular cancer, the five-year survival rate is 12 percent, according to the American Cancer Society.Immunotherapies have emerged as a promising treatment for many cancers and are effective against melanoma, lung cancer, and renal cell carcinoma. These immunotherapies include checkpoint therapies such as PD-1 inhibitors, which help activate the immune system against the cancer.Despite the promise these immunotherapies hold, clinical trials involving PD-1 inhibitors have been disappointing against colorectal cancer. Further, only a subset of colorectal cancer patients with certain mutations seem to respond well to anti-PD-1 therapy.In an article published in the March issue of Cancer Research, Zihai Li, M.D., Ph.D., and his team at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) report a potential new target for immunotherapy directed against colorectal cancer.Like PD-1, GARP is a protein expressed on the surface of our immune cells. Li and his team hope that targeting this protein could be a potential therapy for colorectal cancer patients who do not respond to other immunotherapies.”In terms of cancer therapy, the immune system has so many buttons you can push,” says Li. “PD-1 checkpoint therapy is an example of that. Researchers are constantly looking for more buttons to push, and I think that GARP could be one of those buttons.”Li is chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at MUSC and co-leads the cancer immunology research program at MUSC Hollings Cancer Center.An important balance exists within the immune system. While we need our immune system to protect us against diseases like cancer, we also need regulatory mechanisms to keep it from attacking our body. Collectively, these are known as tolerance.Cancer takes advantage of tolerance mechanisms to hide from our immune system. T cells are a type of immune cell that can target and kill cancer cells. However, they can come in many different flavors. One flavor, called a regulatory T (Treg) cell, makes sure we maintain tolerance to our own cells. Cancer cells can increase the presence of Treg cells in order to avoid being killed off by other types of T cells.Li and his lab have always been interested in how Tregs can be regulated both in terms of tolerance and in disease states like cancer. The research team led by Li found that disrupting GARP, a cell surface receptor on T regulatory cells, decreases tolerance, reduces colon cancer development, and inhibits migration of Treg cells to the gut in a preclinical model.Related StoriesResearchers identify potential drug target for multiple cancer typesStudy: Nearly a quarter of low-risk thyroid cancer patients receive more treatment than necessaryAdding immunotherapy after initial treatment improves survival in metastatic NSCLC patients”Fundamentally we shed some light on basic T regulatory cell biology,” explains Li. “We found that GARP, specifically that on T regulatory cells, is important for immune tolerance. It also seems to be involved in immune evasion by cancers in the gut.”The MUSC team showed that, in a mouse model of colitis, genetic deletion of GARP on Treg cells prevented the immune system from maintaining optimal tolerance in the gut. Without GARP, the Treg cells could no longer efficiently suppress the immune system and fewer of them traveled to the gut. Further, the team showed that deleting GARP on Treg cells in a mouse model of colon cancer diminished tumors by half compared with mice with intact GARP.”In our preclinical cancer model, mice with no GARP on their Treg cells had a better outcome, and more T cells infiltrated the tumor,” says Li. “Interestingly, this only seems to be the case in the gut. When we induced cancer in other places like the skin, there was no difference between mice with or without GARP on Treg cells.”Another major player involved in the regulation of Treg cells is TGF-beta. TGF-beta is released by cells and can regulate different parts of the immune system. It is known that GARP is involved in TGF-beta activation. Li’s work indicates that GARP and TGF-beta work together to regulate Treg migration to the gut.If researchers can figure out how colon cancer cells increase Treg homing to the gut, they could block that homing signal. That would enable the immune system to find and eradicate the cancer.Li and the research team found CD103, a cell surface protein, to be that homing signal.”When GARP is expressed on the surface of Treg cells, it can grab TGF-beta that’s secreted from other cells,” explains Li. “This causes an upregulation in CD103 expression, which acts like a zip code to the gut for Treg cells.”Ultimately, the MUSC’s team is the first to show the role that GARP plays in regulating the activity of Treg cells in the colon. Their next steps will be to characterize the presence of GARP on Treg cells in human colon cancer, as GARP can be therapeutically targeted.”It turns out that colon cancer patients have high levels of TGF-beta, which upregulates Treg cells”, says Li. “This may be one of the reasons why they don’t respond to PD-1 therapy. However, these could be the patients that anti-GARP therapy could work really well on.”Source: read more

Reducing smoking among Medicaid recipients by 1 could result in 26 billion

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Apr 12 2019Reducing smoking, and its associated health effects, among Medicaid recipients in each state by just 1 percent would result in $2.6 billion in total Medicaid savings the following year, according to new research by UC San Francisco.The median state would save $25 million, ranging from $630.2 million in California (if the smoking rate dropped from 15.5 percent to 14.5 percent) to $2.5 million in South Dakota (if the rate dropped from 41.3 to 40.3 percent), the research found.The study, by Stanton A. Glantz, PhD, director of the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, is published April 12, 2019 in JAMA Network Open.”While 14 percent of all adults in the U.S. smoke cigarettes, 24.5 percent of adult Medicaid recipients smoke,” said Glantz. “This suggests that an investment in reducing smoking in this population could be associated with a reduction in Medicaid costs in the short run.”Related StoriesStudy finds increase in cigarette smoking among minority teens after college affirmative action bansPrenatal exposure to paternal tobacco smoking linked to high asthma riskStudy: Smoking does not shorten the length of telomeresTotal Medicaid costs in 2017 were $577 billion.”There is no question that reducing smoking is associated with reduced health costs, but it’s commonly assumed that it takes years to see these savings, which has discouraged many states from prioritizing helping smokers quit,” said Glantz.”While this is true for some diseases, such as cancer, other health risks such as heart attacks, lung disease and pregnancy complications respond quickly to changes in smoking behavior. So reducing the prevalence of smoking would be an excellent short-term investment in the physical health of smokers and the fiscal health of the Medicaid system,” he said.Glantz derived state-by-state percentages of Medicaid recipients who smoke based on data from the 2017 Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System, which provides the percentage of smokers among the population of each state, and the 2017 National Health Interview Survey, which identifies Medicaid recipients in four major regions in the United States (Northeast, Midwest, South and West).He then estimated potential Medicaid savings based on a previous research finding which showed that a 1 percent relative reduction in smoking prevalence is associated with a reduction of 0.118 percent in per capita health care spending.Glantz noted that the study looked only at the potential savings from reducing the total number of Medicaid recipients who smoke. But even if each smoker just smoked less, there would be additional reductions in health care costs, he said.Cost reductions from reducing smoking would continue and likely grow over the long term.”Because some health risks linked with smoking, such as cancer, can take years to fully manifest, these savings would be likely to grow with each passing year,” Glantz said.The paper shows predicted reductions in Medicaid costs by each state. Source: read more

Driving to work may increase the risk of premature death by a

first_imgBy Sally Robertson, B.Sc.May 2 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Adults who are obese and commute by car are at a 32% increased risk of death from any cause, compared with normal-weight peers who walk or cycle to work, report researchers. The finding, which was recently presented at this year’s European Congress on Obesity, was based on an analysis of more than 160,000 British individuals.Pair Srinrat | ShutterstockFor the study, researchers from the British Heart Foundation examined data from 163,149 people (aged between 37 and 73 years) who provided information about whether they drove to work, walked and cycled (active-mixed), only cycled or only walked, as part of a UK Biobank study.Previous assessments of UK Biobank data have found that active modes of commuting such as cycling or walking were associated with a 50% decreased the risk of death, compared with commuting by car.A 32 percent difference in premature deathGiven that in the UK, 57% of men and 66% of women in the UK are overweight or obese, lead investigator Carlos Celis and colleagues investigated whether different ways of commuting to work may have an impact on the link between obesity and adverse health outcomes.Obesity was defined as a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30 and the health outcomes being assessed were death from any cause, death due to heart disease and hospital admission due to non-fatal heart disease.At the congress, Celis reported that a total of 2,425 participants died and 7,973 developed heart disease over a mean follow-up period of five years.Compared with normal-weight individuals who had an active-mixed commute, obese people who drove to and from work were at a 32% increased risk for premature death, a two-fold increased risk for heart disease and an almost 60% increased risk for non-fatal heart disease.By contrast, obese individuals who said they had an active commute were found to be at a similar risk for death from any cause as normal-weight active commuters, suggesting that an active commute could decrease the detrimental health effects of being obese.However, obese people who had an active commute were still at an 82% increased risk for heart disease, compared with normal-weight individuals who also had an active commute.Active commutes are easily ‘fitted within our daily routines’The study’s lead author, Edward Toke-Bjolgerud, says the results suggest people who are overweight or obese could decrease the risk of premature death if they walked or cycled to work. U.S studies have reported similar adverse health outcomes associated with overweight or obesity.The findings are not new. A 2013 study conducted by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the University of Cambridge found that each five-unit increase in BMI (from 30 to 35, for example) was associated with a 49% increased risk for death from cardiovascular disease, a 38% increased risk for death from respiratory disease and a 19% increased risk for death from cancer.The authors of the current study say that irrespective of body weight, engaging in physical activity could partly reduce the health risks associated with obesity.The authors conclude: Our findings, if causal, suggest that people with overweight or obesity could potentially decrease the risk of premature mortality if they engage in active commuting.However, compared to other forms of physical activity – such as gyms and exercises classes – active commuting can be implemented and fitted within our daily routines, often with no additional cost, but at the same time could increase our overall physical activity levels and therefore help to meet the current physical activity recommendations for health.”last_img read more

American medical students less likely to choose to become primary care doctors

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jul 3 2019Despite hospital systems and health officials calling out the need for more primary care doctors, graduates of U.S. medical schools are becoming less likely to choose to specialize in one of those fields.A record-high number of primary care positions was offered in the 2019 National Resident Matching Program — known to doctors as “the Match.” It determines where a medical student will study in their chosen specialty after graduation. But this year, the percentage of primary care positions filled by fourth-year medical students was the lowest on record.”I think part of it has to do with income,” said Mona Signer, the CEO of the Match. “Primary care specialties are not the highest paying.” She suggested that where a student gets a degree also influences the choice. “Many medical schools are part of academic medical centers where research and specialization is a priority,” she said.The three key primary care fields are internal medicine, family medicine and pediatrics. According to the 2019 Match report, 8,116 internal medicine positions were offered, the highest number on record and the most positions offered within any specialty, but only 41.5% were filled by seniors pursuing their M.D.s from U.S. medical schools. Similar trends were seen this year in family medicine and pediatrics.In their final year of medical school, students apply and interview for residency programs in their chosen specialty. The Match, a nonprofit group, then assigns them a residency program based on how the applicant and the program ranked each other.Since 2011, the percentage of U.S.-trained allopathic, or M.D., physicians who have matched into primary care positions has been on the decline, according to an analysis of historical Match data by Kaiser Health News.But, over the same period, the percentage of U.S.-trained osteopathic and foreign-trained physicians matching into primary care roles has increased. 2019 marks the first year in which the percentage of osteopathic and foreign-trained doctors surpassed the percentage of U.S. trained medical doctors matching into primary care positions.Medical colleges granting M.D. degrees graduate nearly three-quarters of U.S. students moving on to become doctors. The rest graduate from osteopathic schools, granting D.O. degrees. The five medical schools with the highest percentage of graduates who chose primary care are all osteopathic institutions, according to the latest U.S. News & World Report survey.Beyond the standard medical curriculum, osteopathic students receive training in manipulative medicine, a hands-on technique focused on muscles and joints that can be used to diagnose and treat conditions. They are licensed by states and work side by side with M.D.s in physician practices and health systems.Although the osteopathic graduates have been able to join the main residency match or go through a separate osteopathic match through this year, in 2020 the two matches will be combined.Physicians who are trained at foreign medical schools, including both U.S. and non-U.S. citizens, also take unfilled primary care residency positions. In the 2019 match, 68.9% of foreign-trained physicians went into internal medicine, family medicine and pediatrics.But, despite osteopathic graduates and foreign-trained medical doctors taking up these primary care spots, a looming primary care physician shortage is still expected.The Association of American Medical Colleges predicts a shortage of between 21,100 and 55,200 primary care physicians by 2032. More doctors will be needed in the coming years to care for aging baby boomers, many of whom have multiple chronic conditions. The obesity rate is also increasing, which portends more people with chronic health problems.Related StoriesResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairAMSBIO offers new, best-in-class CAR-T cell range for research and immunotherapyRaw meat can act as reservoir for bacteria associated with hospital infectionsStudies have shown that states with a higher ratio of primary care physicians have better health and lower rates of mortality. Patients who regularly see a primary care physician also have lower health costs than those without one.But choosing a specialty other than primary care often means a higher paycheck.According to a recently published survey of physicians conducted by Medscape, internal medicine doctors’ salaries average $243,000 annually. That’s a little over half of what the highest earners, orthopedic physicians, make with an average annual salary of $482,000. Family medicine and pediatrics earn even less than internal medicine, at $231,000 and $225,000 per year, respectively.Dr. Eric Hsieh, the internal medicine residency program director at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, said another deterrent is the amount of time primary care doctors spend filling out patients’ electronic medical records.”I don’t think people realize how involved electronic medical records are,” said Hsieh. “You have to synthesize everything and coordinate all of the care. And something that I see with the residents in our program is that the time spent on electronic medical records rather than caring for patients frustrates them.”The Medscape survey confirms this. Internists appear to be more burdened with paperwork than other specialties, and 80% of internists report spending 10 or more hours a week on administrative tasks.The result: Only 62% of internal medicine doctors said they would choose to go into their specialty again — the lowest percentage on record for all physician specialties surveyed.Elsa Pearson, a health policy analyst at Boston University, said one way to keep and attract primary care doctors might be to shift some tasks to health care providers who aren’t doctors, such as nurse practitioners or physician assistants.”The primary care that they provide compared to a physician is just as effective,” said Pearson. They wouldn’t replace physicians but could help lift the burden and free up doctors for more complicated care issues.Pearson said more medical scribes, individuals who take notes for doctors while they are seeing patients, could also help to ease the doctors’ burden of electronic health record documentation.Another solution is spreading the word about the loan forgiveness programs available to those who choose to pursue primary care, usually in an underserved area of the country, said Dr. Tyree Winters, the associate director of the pediatric residency program at Goryeb Children’s Hospital in New Jersey.”The trend has been more so thinking about the amount of debt that a student has, compared to potential income in primary care,” said Winters. “But that’s not considering things like medical debt forgiveness through state or federal programs, which really can help individuals who want to choose primary care.”KHN data correspondent Sydney Lupkin contributed to this report. This article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.last_img read more

Got batteries Outage stalls giant tech show in Las Vegas

An attendee takes pictures of the new Samsung Family Hub smart refrigerator during a news conference at CES International, Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Human sleeves are on display to promote Netflix’s sci-fi series “Altered Carbon” at CES International Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) People look through Samsung Gear VR virtual reality goggles at the Samsung booth during CES International, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher) Tesla’s enormous battery amazes in quick outage response Citation: Got batteries? Outage stalls giant tech show in Las Vegas (2018, January 10) retrieved 18 July 2019 from LG’s David Vander Waal introduces the InstaView ThinQ smart refrigerator during a news conference at CES International, Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) People watch a demonstration of Intel Mobileye sensor technology at the Intel booth during CES International, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher) Human sleeves are on display to promote Netflix’s sci-fi series “Altered Carbon” at CES International Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) A sign advertises 5G devices at the Intel booth during CES International, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher) What happens to all those internet-connected refrigerators, robots and other devices when the power goes out? Mariana Marcaletti laughs as she tries on a Spartan boxer, an underwear that blocks radiation from wireless devices, during CES Unveiled at CES International Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Moodo’s smart fragrance box is displayed during CES Unveiled at CES International Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The Huawei Mate10 Pro phone is on display at the Huawei booth during CES International, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher) Moodo’s smart fragrance box is displayed during CES Unveiled at CES International Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Explore further Thousands of people attending the world’s biggest consumer technology show got a chance to test the battery life of the latest gadgets Wednesday when some showrooms and hallways went dark inside the vast Las Vegas Convention Center.The power has been out for at least an hour in some areas of the annual CES event. Conference organizers said on Twitter that it was an “isolated power outage” they were working to resolve.Dozens of reporters queued quietly for lunch boxes in a darkened press room. The room was dimly lit thanks to emergency overhead lights and the glow of laptops running on battery power.Rick Rohmer, a product engineer with electrical-systems specialist Legrand, said the power outage affected only part of a booth for Qi, a consortium of companies that make wireless chargers. Most of its display was lit as hundreds of attendees passed by in the dark on their way to a brightly lit giant screen TV over the convention center’s fully functioning South Hall.”We lucked out,” he said. “If our extension cord went over there we’d be out of power.”NV Energy, the region’s power supplier, hasn’t responded to requests for comments. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. read more

Reliance merges music apps amid streaming rise in India

Reliance Industries said it was integrating its own music app, Jio Music, with Saavn and that the combined entity would be worth $1 billion Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries said Friday it was integrating its music app with sector leader Saavn in a $1 billion deal that shows the high hopes for streaming in the billion-plus market. Music streaming giants Spotify, Tencent invest in each other © 2018 AFP Explore further Citation: Reliance merges music apps amid streaming rise in India (2018, March 23) retrieved 18 July 2019 from This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Reliance, a company with holdings from oil to telecoms run by India’s richest person Mukesh Ambani, said it would pump $100 million into the combined platform, one-fifth of it immediately, in hopes to make it “one of the largest streaming services in the world.”Reliance said that it was integrating its own music app, Jio Music, with Saavn and that the combined entity would be worth $1 billion.Saavn, based in New York, has sought to tap into the appetite for music by tech-savvy Indians by offering a vast catalog of songs across 15 languages.But like many streaming apps including global leader Spotify, Saavn has struggled to turn rapid growth into profit. It said last year that it had 22 million monthly users, a sliver of the potential in India.A joint statement did not specify how the joint platform would be branded but said it would preserve one of the key attractions of Saavn—original content by artists from the subcontinent.”Nearly 10 years ago, we had a vision to build a connected music platform, dedicated to South Asian culture across the globe,” Rishi Malhotra, the co-founder and CEO of Saavn, said in a statement.”Our alignment with Reliance enables us to create one of the largest, fastest-growing and most capable media platforms in the world,” he said.As part of the deal, Reliance will take a stake in Saavn for $104 million while Malhotra and his two fellow co-founders will keep their leadership posts.Existing stakeholders in Saavn include the German media giant Bertelsmann and US investor Liberty Media.Streaming has rapidly transformed the music industry around the world by providing unlimited, on-demand songs online.Reliance’s deal with Saavn comes amid expectations that Spotify will soon launch in India, with reports that the Swedish company has located office space and hired key employees. read more

Using common social media tactics to subvert US elections

first_imgThe latest efforts to disrupt the U.S. midterm elections through Facebook manipulation seem to be following a persuasion playbook refined by legitimate companies and organizations—but with a twist. The aim of these possibly Russia-linked perpetrators appears to be to draw in as many people as possible with emotional appeals and then spur them to action. In this case, though, the action is public protest rather than affinity marketing, and the goal is to sow dissension rather than to build brand awareness.”They’re almost functioning like social media editors, figuring out what the trending topics are in the U.S. and figuring out where they can insert themselves,” said Jennifer Grygiel, a communications professor at Syracuse University.The idea, experts say, is to widen the rifts in the U.S. population via propaganda that is less about winning hearts and minds and much more about setting Americans against one another.The removed pages share “moralistic language” and appeal to emotions, said Jay Van Bavel, a New York University psychology professor who studies group identity. “The conflict already existed but they’re stirring it up, picking at a scab.”David Stewart, a marketing and business law professor at Loyola Marymount University, said those behind the scheme are trying to create an “us versus them” mentality, without which Facebook users might not be so polarized.Groups tied to the Russian government have been trying to meddle in U.S. politics since at least the 2016 elections. In February, the Justice Department charged 13 Russians and three companies with plotting to aid Donald Trump’s presidential campaign through fake Facebook posts, ads and groups.More recently, Facebook said it had removed 32 apparently fake accounts and pages on Facebook and Instagram created by “bad actors” involved in what Facebook calls inauthentic political behavior ahead of the U.S. midterms. Although Facebook didn’t specifically say Russians were behind the latest efforts, the reported activity shared many similarities with Russian influence campaigns during the 2016 presidential election.It isn’t clear how well the efforts worked or if they have swayed the outcome of elections, either in 2016 or this time around. Sowing discord, however, could prompt people to stay home instead of voting—or to vote for more extreme candidates who support their view, experts say. Discord could also lead to real-world violence and conflict. © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Explore further In this Nov. 1, 2017, file photo, Facebook ads linked to a Russian effort to disrupt the American political process are displayed as Google’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel Kent Walker, Facebook’s General Counsel Colin Stretch, and Twitter’s Acting General Counsel Sean Edgett, testify during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Groups tied to the Russian government have been trying to meddle in U.S. politics since at least the 2016 elections. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File) During the 2016 elections, Russian agents bought a slew of issue-based ads to push arguments for and against immigration, gun rights and other issues. Many of them attempted to stoke racial divisions by mentioning police brutality or disparaging the Black Lives Matter movement.Russian agents took advantage of the same tools available to businesses and groups to target messages with precision. One video parodying Trump was targeted at blacks who also were interested in, HuffPost Politics or HuffPost Black Voices, for instance. This time around, the efforts seem more focused on calling people to participate in protests and take action, at least based on the limited information provided by Facebook so far.The removed accounts appear designed “to trigger standoffs between genuine Americans, bringing the risk of real-life violence from false stories,” wrote the Digital Forensic Research Lab of the Atlantic Council, which has been working with Facebook to study misinformation and foreign interference on its services.Those behind the accounts aren’t spending a lot of time creating original posts. Instead, they do what many other people do on social media to get likes and clicks: They steal or reshare other people’s posts.From there, legitimate organizations sometimes spread the messages further.”Americans thus became the unwitting amplifiers of Russian information operations,” the Atlantic Council researchers wrote.One indication that these efforts are working is that legitimate activist groups seem to have gotten swept up in some of the event listings created by these purportedly fake groups. For instance, several anti-racism groups attached themselves to a Washington protest called “No Unite the Right 2.”Though April Goggans, an organizer of Black Lives Matter DC, said the protest was organized by real people in the U.S., the event listing on Facebook was created by a left-leaning account that Facebook identified as fake. Facebook cancelled the account—and the listing—less than two weeks before it was to take place.Overall, the 32 accounts Facebook deleted recently tried to organize about 25 events. About half took place, even though the unknown agents behind them had no one on the ground and had to coerce people into attending the events purely through Facebook.Van Bavel said that suggests the agents behind this “have a fairly sophisticated understanding of what our weak spots are psychologically as Americans.” This Nov. 1, 2017, file photo shows some of the Facebook ads linked to a Russian effort to disrupt the American political process and stir up tensions around divisive social issues, released by members of the U.S. House Intelligence committee, are photographed in Washington. Groups tied to the Russian government have been trying to meddle in U.S. politics since at least the 2016 elections. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick, File) Facebook finds ‘sophisticated’ efforts to disrupt elections (Update) This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: Using common social media tactics to subvert US elections (2018, August 14) retrieved 18 July 2019 from read more

Uber buys AI firm to advance push on autonomous cars

first_imgUber unveiled its newest self-driving vehicle produced by Volvo Cars at its Uber Elevate summit in Washington in June Uber said Wednesday it has acquired computer vision startup Mighty AI to help advance its technology for self-driving cars. Citation: Uber buys AI firm to advance push on autonomous cars (2019, June 26) retrieved 17 July 2019 from Explore further Uber hurt by political ‘market swirl’ after IPO, CEO sayscenter_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2019 AFP Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but the ride-hailing giant said some 40 employees from the Seattle-based firm would join Uber’s advanced technology group developing plans for autonomous taxis.Mighty AI specializes in computer vision, a field within artificial intelligence that is used to better understand or “label” the surroundings of vehicles that will be deployed autonomously.”The team at Mighty AI has built technology to label at scale using the latest AI and user experience techniques,” said Jon Thomason, vice president of software engineering for the Uber division.”Training our AI at increasing pace is critical to scaling our self-driving technology, and I look forward to bringing Mighty AI’s technology together with our existing labeling automation expertise to help us move even faster.”Daryn Nakhuda, Mighty AI’s chief executive, said in a statement released by Uber: “I’m excited to pair Mighty AI’s platform and expertise in generating high-quality labeled data with Uber ATG’s world-class research and engineering to accelerate the development of self-driving technology.”Uber, which has become the most important ride-hailing operator, has been moving into new technologies that could see deployment of autonomous vehicles and even flying cars in the coming years.The news comes as Apple indicated had acquired self-driving tech startup to advance its own ambitions in the sector.The news site Axios first reported the Apple deal for, saying the price would be below the $77 million raised by the startup.Apple, which has been testing its own autonomous technology, offered no details on the transaction.last_img read more

Rockies trade deadline plans are more complicated because of recent struggles general

first_img MLB trade rumors: Potential sleeper moves Astros, Yankees, Phillies could make to bolster rotations Nolan Arenado says next Cubs-Rockies series could get ‘spicy’ The Rockies aren’t sure about their trade deadline plans.Colorado remains in playoff contention but has lost four in a row and 11 of its last 13 games. General manager Jeff Bridich told reporters this week the team was still evaluating its options. “The way that we’ve looked at the deadline in the past, especially in the recent past, is that if we are truly competing, if we’re showing signs as a team of being a legitimate competitor for being a postseason team, we’re going to do what we can to add to that and strengthen the team,” Bridich said, via “Right now, it feels different. That’s disappointing.”Despite the recent struggles, the Rockies are just 3 1/2 games out of the second National League wild-card spot. The team, however, does not seem like a serious threat to win a championship this season. Related News “This group right now is struggling and playing, objectively, just really bad baseball,” Bridich said. “We’re finding ways to lose, collectively as a group, instead of finding ways to win. That does make any sort of trade deadline decisions more complicated.”There’s really no facet of our game, at this level, that is high quality right now. So, there is really no group within the group that stands out. It all needs addressing. It’s all sub-par.”Bridich said Colorado may not make any additions because there are no “quick fixes,” yet nothing has been ruled out. “Honestly, what it really comes down to is the onus is on me,” Bridich said. “All these guys in uniform are my decisions. That’s not lost on me whatsoever. So, I certainly know I can have an effect, and the front office can ultimately have an effect. This time period coming up with the deadline is one of those time periods of the year where that effect can be felt from a roster perspective.”The Rockies also could look to sell, but they haven’t made Jon Gray or Scott Oberg available yet, according to MLB Network. MLB trade rumors: Rangers ‘likely’ to move Mike Minor; Phillies, Brewers interested in starterlast_img read more

A Common Cold Virus Wiped Away Bladder Cancer in One Patient

first_img 7 Odd Things That Raise Your Risk of Cancer (and 1 That Doesn’t) Originally published on Live Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndoGundry MD SupplementsTop Cardiologist: This One Thing Will Properly Flush Out Your BowelsGundry MD SupplementsUndoGundry MDOver Age 47? Here’s What To Do About Dark SpotsGundry MDUndoCity BeautyHow To: Lift Sagging Skin And Jowls (Do This)City BeautyUndoDr. Marty3 Warning Signs Your Dog Is Crying For HelpDr. MartyUndoComparisons.orgCalifornia Drivers With No Tickets In 3 Years Must Read Colorful But Deadly: Images of Brain Cancer A simple cold virus could wipe out tumors in a form of bladder cancer, a small new study suggests. Though the idea of using viruses to fight cancer isn’t new, this is the first time a cold virus effectively treated an early-stage form of bladder cancer. In one patient, it eliminated a cancerous tumor, the group reported July 4 in the journal Clinical Cancer Research. A group of researchers conducted an early-stage clinical trial in which they infected 15 bladder cancer patients with coxsackievirus A21, which is one of the viruses that cause the common cold. Coxsackievirus is not a genetically modified virus; it’s “something that occurs in nature,” said senior author Hardev Pandha, a professor of medical oncology at the University of Surrey in England. [Exercise May Reduce the Risk of These 13 Cancers]Headbutting Tiny Worms Are Really, Really LoudThis rapid strike produces a loud ‘pop’ comparable to those made by snapping shrimps, one of the most intense biological sounds measured at sea.Your Recommended PlaylistVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9接下来播放Why Is It ‘Snowing’ Salt in the Dead Sea?01:53 facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接已复制直播00:0000:3500:35  The researchers gave the patients the virus through catheters that the patients already had inserted for other treatments. They left the virus-filled catheter in for an hour to pump the fluids into the bladder and repeated this treatment. Then, the patients underwent surgery to remove what was left of their bladder tumors. In one patient, the virus completely destroyed the tumor. In all of the other patients, the researchers found evidence that the virus had damaged the tumors and had spurred the immune system to send an army of immune cells to the tumors. None of the patients had any significant side effects, Pandha said. Researchers thought this method would work because the outer membranes of cancerous bladder cells contain a gateway for the coxsackievirus: a molecule called ICAM-1. Because healthy cells don’t carry this molecule, the coxsackievirus doesn’t attack them. Once the virus gets into the cell, it hijacks the cell’s machinery and ends up killing it. Even more cancer cells die when the immune cells are recruited. ICAM-1 is also expressed by other cancer cells, and coxsackievirus has, in fact been previously shown to be effective in treating very advanced bladder cancer and other cancers, such as melanoma, Pandha said. Even so, this is still an early-stage trial, and there’s still a long way to go before the method can be used in treatment, Pandha said. “This would be the foundation for much larger studies where we’d build on this,” he said. Newer studies will try to make the treatment more effective and stop the cancer from coming back, he added. Unfortunately, just getting a common cold won’t treat the cancer on its own. Pandha’s team gave a much higher dose of the virus than you would get if someone coughed on you and you got sick, for example. Interestingly, the patients who were given the virus through the catheter did not get cold symptoms. “I agree that [such viruses are] good therapeutic target[s]” for certain types of cancers, like bladder cancer, said Grant McFadden, director of the Biodesign Center for Immunotherapy, Vaccines and Virotherapy at Arizona State University, who was not a part of the study. But he noted that many studies have looked at whether viruses can target cancer cells. In fact, a host of viruses have been studied for attacking bladder cancer, specifically. It’s likely that many viruses will work well to treat bladder cancer and at least some tumor-destroying viruses “will get approved for use in humans,” McFadden told Live Science. “But this paper isn’t really new or innovative.” In fact, the idea of using viruses to treat cancer goes back nearly 100 years, Pandha said, but only in the past decade or so has it gained momentum. Editor’s note: This article was updated. Only a couple of the authors (not Pandha) are employed by Viralytics, a Merck-owned biotech company that is developing viral-based cancer treatments. 7 Side Effects of Cancer Treatment, and How to Cope with Themlast_img read more

New Dark Energy Data Emerges from Misshapen Distorted Ancient Voids

first_img Originally published on Live Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeVikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 min and see why everyone is addicted!Vikings: Free Online GameUndoAgricoleThe Simple Keto Recipe Meant To PleaseAgricoleUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndoGundry MD Total Restore SupplementU.S. Cardiologist: It’s Like a Pressure Wash for Your InsidesGundry MD Total Restore SupplementUndoKelley Blue Book2019 Lexus Vehicles Worth Buying for Their Resale ValueKelley Blue BookUndoComparisons.orgNew Rule in Rowland Heights, There are voids in the universe, and we can’t see them properly. And that’s a good thing. These voids — giant, irregular gaps in space that are empty of galaxies — are all over the cosmos. But, because they are empty, astronomers can’t directly observe them. Instead, they spot them by mapping galaxies across space, and then marking the areas in between these areas. However, from our perspective on Earth, all those voids look distorted. These areas appear stretched in some places and squished in others. That’s a consequence of “redshifting” of galaxies at their borders, a visual distortion caused by the movement of these systems: As they move away from the viewer (Earthlings, in this case), the galaxies’ wavelengths appear to stretch, becoming more red; those moving toward us would look more blue as their wavelengths get shorter. Dark energy is the name astronomers have given to an invisible force stretching our universe and causing galaxies to move away from one another.Headbutting Tiny Worms Are Really, Really LoudThis rapid strike produces a loud ‘pop’ comparable to those made by snapping shrimps, one of the most intense biological sounds measured at sea.Your Recommended PlaylistVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9接下来播放Why Is It ‘Snowing’ Salt in the Dead Sea?01:53 facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接已复制直播00:0000:3500:35  That distortion turns out to be a good thing, according to a paper published July 9 in the journal Physical Review D. Until now, researchers have relied on precise measurements of the redshifts of individual galaxies to figure out how fast the universe is expanding, and in turn, how much dark energy is present to drive that expansion. But measuring the distortions of voids turns out to be a much more precise technique, allowing the researchers to narrow down that expansion even further. [From Big Bang to Present: Snapshots of Our Universe Through Time] “What we are actually measuring is the distortion in the positions of galaxies around void regions,” said Seshadri Nadathur, a researcher at the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom, and lead author of the paper. “The cool thing about voids is that they are regions of space around which we can very accurately model galaxy motions.” That’s because the math needed to precisely determine the motions of galaxies becomes a lot simpler inside these voids, Nadathur told Live Science. (In this case, the research team studied voids about 5.5 billion light-years from Earth.) “Galaxies move because of gravity pulling them toward regions of excess matter, and the problem generally is that our theory of gravity — Einstein’s general relativity — is very complex, and the equations are hard to solve exactly,” he said. “So most of the time in cosmology we use approximations — known as ‘perturbation theory’ — to help make the problem tractable. This perturbation theory works a lot better in void regions than it does in regions where there is lots of matter, so our predictions are simpler to make and a lot more accurate in voids.” The upshot of that added accuracy is that, using the technique pioneered in this paper, scientists can make much more precise estimates of the expansion rate of the universe, and better confirm that observed expansion rates line up with astronomers’ preferred theories for why the expansion is happening . The new result also further limits the scope of some alternative theories that are floating around out there. The previous best measurements of galactic motion did all this too, but about four times less well, according to Nadathur. Those previous best measurements of the redshifts of galactic voids came from a study of the sky called the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS). This void-distortion measurement also relied on BOSS data, but vastly improved on its conclusions applying this new analysis technique to the data from BOSS. The improved measurement of the universe’s expansion conformed to existing theories of how dark energy works in the universe, the researchers wrote in the paper: that we live in a “flat” universe with constant dark energy driving its expansion. “By putting our results together with those from the BAO [Baryon Acoustic Oscillation] technique, we are able to get a much better measurement of the cosmic expansion rate 5.5 billion years or so ago,” Nadathur said. “And this in turn is very important because it tells us what dark energy has been doing during that time, as well as other things like the curvature of space — which is what gets us cosmologists excited.” The researchers also pointed out in the paper that there are several upcoming efforts to scan the sky more precisely than BOSS, in order to understand dark energy even better. This same technique, the researchers wrote, should vastly improve the precision of those surveys as well. The 11 Biggest Unanswered Questions About Dark Matter Far-Out Discoveries About the Universe’s Beginnings The Biggest Unsolved Mysteries in Physicslast_img read more