This Australian farmer is saving fossils of some of the planets weirdest

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It’s all laid out here, the rise of animal life. Ediacara Conservation Park Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Gehling and Droser hypothesize that Dickinsonia grazed like modern-day placozoans—millimeter-size pancakes that represent the simplest multicellular animals. The researchers think Dickinsonia lay atop the bacterial mat, digested it for a while—leaving an imprint—and then moved on to the next grazing spot, where it left another print. Gehling says he got the idea by seeing how his son’s Frisbee imprinted his lawn after a few days.Kimberella, a limpet-shaped creature with a front and back, also left trails, possibly scratch marks made by its radula—a sawlike structure similar to that used by molluscs to chop their food.Droser doesn’t think any of the Nilpena creatures were predators, though. “None have teeth that we can see,” she says.Researchers can also see how these communities changed over time. Repeated burials over perhaps 40 million years created fossil layers—35 so far—that can be carefully prized apart to reveal successive snapshots. Like ungumming the pages of a book, “we literally go in and pull off layers,” Droser says.This ability to follow the interrelationships of Ediacarans and the tracks they left behind on successive snapshots of the sea floor has allowed researchers to resolve 10 genera and a total of 60 species, far more than any other Ediacaran site.One recently exposed slab earned the title “Alice’s Restaurant” for its exquisite display of many rare species, some first discovered here. Its exceptionally fine grain gives the fossils the appearance of having been expertly stamped with a cookie cutter. “Just when I think we’ve captured it, I’m on to a whole new learning curve,” Droser says. In June 2018, the team reported two new genera, which they named after Barack Obama and David Attenborough. Ross Fargher, rancher and landowner of Nilpena cattle station, in his wool shed. JASON IRVING Jason Irving, South Australian Department for Environment and Water Paleontologist Mary Droser (bottom right) speaks to tourists about how her team excavates Nilpena’s fossils, which are likely to draw more visitors now that the site is part of a conservation park. Mary Droser, University of California, Riverside We invented a new way of doing paleoecology here. Nilpena’s platforms show the rippled rocks of a half-billion-year-old sea floor on one side and the imprints of life on the other. Nilpena addition to Ediacara park Clad in blue jeans with a prominent brass belt buckle, boots, and Akubra hat, Fargher comes across as an iconic outback stockman, with an easygoing, forthright manner of speaking. But he quickly veers off script. As he leads a group of tourists across the fossil beds, Fargher holds forth on the life and times of Ediacaran creatures. On one rippled golden rock, he points out a large imprint the size of a dinner plate made up of concentric circles. It’s not a complete animal, he tells us, but the holdfast for a frondlike creature called Arborea that was torn off by a storm that swept across the ancient sea floor and buried this community in sand.Arborea’s fractal body design disappears from the fossil record at the end of the Ediacaran period. But some of its bilaterally segmented neighbors may provide the answer to “Darwin’s dilemma”: Where did today’s animal life come from? Sites from the Cambrian period, 541 million to 490 million years ago, reveal an explosion of novel animal forms. But when Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, all known older rocks were barren of life. He called the lack of earlier forms “inexplicable” and wrote that it “may be truly urged as a valid argument” against evolution.Then in the 1940s, Australian geologist Reginald Sprigg, exploring in the Precambrian rocks of the Ediacara Hills 15 kilometers north of here, discovered imprints of a pancakelike shape divided by segments emerging from a central ridge. He named it Dickinsonia after his boss, Ben Dickinson, director of mines in South Australia.Later, amateur naturalists unearthed a plethora of smaller fossils at the same site, among them Spriggina, which resembled a segmented worm up to 3 centimeters long with a horseshoe head. Finally, in 2004, the International Union of Geological Sciences proclaimed a new geological period—the Ediacaran—from 635 million to 541 million years ago. NILPENA CATTLE STATION IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA—Fly over the cattle station here in a Cessna 172 and you’ll see a dry riverbed snaking through brown, mottled earth punctuated by the occasional patch of saltbush. There’s no sign of the 200 cattle currently being run on this property, which is about the size of New York City and sits 450 kilometers north of Adelaide, Australia. But cattle are not the main asset of this remote station.Instead, Nilpena’s prize specimens lie exposed and motionless on the gentle slopes of Mt. Michael like some open-air diorama: the weird forms of Earth’s first multicellular creatures, frozen in rock for 560 million years. About 60 species from the Ediacaran period pattern the hillside, the richest collection of such forms on Earth. Some creatures exhibit bilateral symmetry, others the trifold symmetry of the Mercedes-Benz logo; still others resemble heraldic shields, or are leafy with a repeating, fractal structure.The plethora of species here isn’t the only thing that sets it apart. Almost alone among Ediacaran sites, Nilpena preserves entire communities of organisms, intact because of ancient accidents of preservation and the foresight of its modern landowner, a rancher named Ross Fargher. JASON IRVING center_img JASON IRVING Such coarse resolution makes studying the imprints under a microscope in a museum less important. And because the fossils have been preserved where they lay on the ocean floor, researchers can study them “as if you were going down in a submarine to view them,” Narbonne says.Mistaken Point is the world’s only other site to preserve Ediacaran communities in situ. But those rocks are older by 5 million to 20 million years and the communities are dominated by the leafy fractal fossils. Nilpena offers a glimpse into a more developed Ediacaran world.Researchers got their first panoramic view of that world in the mid-1980s, when a visitor asked Fargher about the rippled rocks paving the floor of his 100-year-old wool shed. More fossils turned up on the hillside nearby. Soon paleontologists from the University of Adelaide were making a beeline here and carting away slabs. That didn’t sit well with Fargher.”Alarm bells started to go off,” he said, recalling that the Sprigg site in the Ediacara Hills was “pretty well stripped bare” by looters and even paleontologists carting specimens back to museums.When Gehling came calling in 2001, Fargher was resolute. Research was fine but the fossils had to stay put. He agreed to make an exception for new species, so a “type specimen” that clearly exhibits diagnostic features of a species can be stored in a museum and analyzed by other scientists. But in most cases, paleontologists had to come here, where the lost world of the Ediacaran was on full display.To explore ancient Nilpena, researchers examine a slab of rippled rock—usually flipping it over to see the fossils underneath—study it on-site, and then replace it on the hillside. New species have come to light, such as Funisia dorothea, described a decade ago by Droser and Gehling. Although bits and pieces of this creature had previously been found, the slabs revealed enough intact specimens for the researchers to realize it represented a colony of tubular, corallike creatures tethered to the sea floor. Each individual was the same size, suggesting they had been spawned at the same moment through reproduction, rather than budding one by one.Some of the creatures that populate the slabs have body plans never seen again in the evolutionary record, such as Tribrachidium—a creature with triradial symmetry that resembles a ninja throwing star—or the fractal rangeomorphs. But in some cases, the slabs record behavior resembling that of later animal life. Dickinsonia, for example, apparently moved around, because it left tracks: a series of faint, identical imprints, ranging from the size of a thumbprint to the length of a forearm. Each set of tracks leads up to the main fossil. At Nilpena, “We can see who was living with whom and what they were doing,” says paleontologist Doug Erwin of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Whereas most paleontologists study early life forms through museum specimens, here they can see the animals—for that is what many of the Ediacaran creatures appear to be—in the context of their ecosystems. “We invented a new way of doing paleoecology here,” says University of California, Riverside, paleontologist Mary Droser, who, together with Jim Gehling of the South Australian Museum in Adelaide, has worked on the fossils for the past 17 years. By Elizabeth FinkelMar. 28, 2019 , 11:45 AM 0 Lake Torrens National Park Email Nilpena Station Km Concentric circles, once thought to be jellyfish (left), are now known to represent a holdfast that tethered a frondlike, fractal creature such as Arborea to the ancient sea floor. Ediacaran communities also included the pancakelike, segmented Dickinsonia (right), which reached up to a meter in length and appears to have been an animal. Fargher helps the scientists by using his earth-moving equipment to flip slabs. He also guards the site with fencing and video surveillance during the months the researchers are away. Looting is a constant worry: In 1994, one slab illegally heaved out of Bunyeroo Gorge in a reserve some 60 kilometers southeast of here ended up on sale in Tokyo for $330,000, Gehling recalls.”Ross is heroic,” Droser says. Last year, the U.S. Paleontological Society gave Fargher its Strimple Award for amateur paleontology, the first time it has been awarded to an Australian.Jane Fargher, Ross’s wife, advocates for the fossils from the outback pub she runs in a nearby town. It was she who, in 2016, persuaded state government ministers visiting nearby to meet Droser. Surprised to find that California schoolchildren were learning more about Nilpena than Australian children were, the state government created the Ediacara action plan and provided AU$1.7 million to purchase the land and establish the park, and to support research and education.”Nilpena’s story is unique and you don’t need to be a paleontologist to understand why,” says the author of the plan, Jason Irving, manager of protected areas for the South Australian Department for Environment and Water in Adelaide. “It’s all laid out here, the rise of animal life.”The enthusiasm has spread. “That’s what is so inspiring about this story,” Droser says. “It’s all the nonscientists who’ve made this their mission.” To help fund the conservation park, Adelaide teacher Mary Lou Simpson established the Flinders Ranges Ediacara Foundation as the vehicle for a public-private partnership to help buy the land and support its ongoing maintenance. It raised more than AU$500,000 from local fossil enthusiasts, philanthropists, and foundations. According to the deal, the Farghers will stay on as caretakers, running cattle on their remaining portion of the station.”People have been trying to protect Nilpena for a long time,” Irving says. “There is so much goodwill to make it happen and the stars are definitely aligned to create a new way of protecting the fossils.” Droser and Gehling have published more than 40 papers describing a peaceful, predator-free community where segmented creatures such as the pancake-shaped Dickinsonia—up to a meter long—and mollusklike Kimberella grazed on slimy bacterial mats; tiny helminthoidichnites tunneled just below the surface; and tethered, leafy, fractal creatures absorbed nutrients from the seawater directly through their outer skin.Researchers owe that opportunity to Fargher. For more than 30 years, he has helped guard the fossils from looters who have pilfered nearby Ediacaran sites; he also runs tours and helps scientists with logistics. But in recent years, ranchers in the region have struggled with persistent drought and low beef prices, and researchers have worried about what would happen if the 59-year-old Fargher were to sell his property. “We all thought Fargher’s efforts were remarkable, but we also thought: what now?” Erwin says.As of this week, those worries are over: On 28 March, the state government of South Australia, using AU$2.2 million raised in a public-private partnership, will purchase about half of this station from the Farghers to add to the existing Ediacara Conservation Park, increasing its size more than 10-fold. The new status may also boost a government bid for World Heritage status for Nilpena and nearby sites. “I am thrilled with this news,” says paleontologist Guy Narbonne of Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, who works at Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve, an Ediacaran site in Canada’s Newfoundland and Labrador province. “Now, this outstanding assemblage of fossils from the dawn of animal life is available to view and study for time immemorial.” N. DESAI/SCIENCE Researchers are still puzzling over exactly how the Ediacara relate to the rest of life on Earth. Many look nothing like modern organisms. But, Narbonne says, “A consensus is emerging that Ediacaran communities include the ancestors of the animals we see around us.” That interpretation got a big boost in September 2018, when other researchers examined Dickinsonia fossils from Russia that retained a dark film of organic matter. They detected a cholesterollike molecule that is the biochemical signature of animals.Other Ediacaran sites have been discovered in the United Kingdom, Namibia, Canada, Russia, and China. But Nilpena offers something rare: slabs of ancient sandstone, some bigger than a tennis court, that record entire ancient communities. Periodic storms repeatedly buried the ancient sea floor in sediment, preserving fine imprints of organisms “like a bologna sandwich,” Droser says, with the decaying organism as the bologna.Exactly how these prints were preserved on the underside of the sandy slabs here is a matter of debate. Gehling and Droser think the overlying sands turned to cement, perhaps because of high levels of the mineral pyrite, forming a death mask of the decaying creatures below. Another model, published this week in Nature Ecology & Evolution, posits that finer, more fluid sediments beneath the fossil flowed into the space vacated by the decaying creature, creating a mold that prevented the upper sand layer from collapsing.The size of the sediment grains determines how detailed the fossil impressions are. Some slabs with salt-size grains have revealed the 3-millimeter, shield-shaped Praecambridium sigillum. In other slabs, the grains themselves are up to 3 millimeters in size, making it hard to detect anything smaller than a centimeter. 10 JIM GEHLING last_img read more

Hackers Targeted DC Police Cams Days Before Inauguration

first_imgClosed circuit cameras can be important for collecting evidence about a crime. Fortunately for the D.C. police, that wasn’t an issue while some of its network was disabled.”If a crime had been committed in an area and its compromised camera held important evidence, then they might have found themselves in trouble,” said Bob Hansmann, director of security analysis and strategy Forcepoint.”In this case, they were lucky and nothing crucial happened,” he told TechNewsWorld.In addition, cameras have a deterrent effect whether they’re working or not.”In this instance, it was beneficial that the general public did not know about the attack when it happened,” noted James Scott, a senior fellow with the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology.”So long as the attack was not common knowledge, the camera itself acted as a deterrent to crime, because potential offenders were not aware that it was infected with ransomware,” he told TechNewsWorld. Ransomware extortionists are feasting on the Internet of Things, maintained Simon Crosby, CTO of Bromium.To prevent these attacks, devices need to be shielded so they’re not exposed on the Internet where hackers can find them, he said.”Right now, attackers are having a field day finding exploitable systems that infrastructure operators either do not recognize are Internet-facing or think their exposure is too obscure for criminals to find, which is a very dangerous assumption,” Crosby told TechNewsWorld.In addition to being discovered easily by hackers, networks of IoT devices have another problem: diversity.”Fleets of PCs can be protected with uniform defenses, but what do you install on rail kiosks, video cameras, cars or televisions?” Crosby asked.”The operating systems in these devices may not be able to support embedded security software,” he pointed out, “so the solution to protecting them requires collaboration among device manufacturers and strategies to block attacks before they reach these IoT endpoints.”Ransomware has become a lucrative pursuit for hackers, which is why it will continue to be a problem. An estimated billion dollars will be paid to digital extortionists in 2016, according to the Herjavec Group.”Hackers have every incentive in the world to continue these attacks and to innovate in order to bypass basic defenses,” said Mark Dufresne, director of threat research and adversary prevention at Endgame.”This is a new reality in which we will live for a long time,” he told TechNewsWorld, “and we will see it take new forms, such as hitting IoT devices.” John Mello is a freelance technology writer and contributor to Chief Security Officer magazine. You can connect with him on Google+. A ransomware attack darkened the video surveillance system of the District of Columbia’s police department eight days before the presidential inauguration of Donald J. Trump.Video storage devices for 70 percent of the CCTV system were unable to record anything between Jan. 12 and Jan. 15, as police techies scrambled to combat malicious software found on 123 of 187 networked video recorders, The Washington Post reported Friday.However, the safety of the public was never in jeopardy during the camera blackout, Brian Ebert, a Secret Service official, told the Post.Although the city has characterized the malicious software it found as ransomware, no ransom demand appears to have been made. The city resolved the problem by taking the storage devices offline, removing all their software and then restarting them.The city is investigating who might be behind the hack, which affected only CCTV cameras monitoring public areas and did not reach deeper into the city’s networks, the Post reported. Other municipal infrastructures have been targeted in similar ways in the past. A ransomware attack last fall took down the ticket machines for San Francisco’s light rail system for about a day.”We’re going to see more and more of these kinds of attacks this year,” said Stephen Gates, chief research intelligence analyst with Nsfocus.”This is a perfect example of hackers taking advantage of these municipal systems. They can cause all sorts of havoc,” he told TechNewsWorld.”We’re seeing more and more ransomware attacks against the IoT, which is a disturbing trend,” said Jean-Philippe Taggart, a senior security researcher with Malwarebytes.”CCTVs, hotel locks, libraries, hospitals — the criminals have a wealth of potential targets to choose from,” he told TechNewsWorld.center_img Blind Deterrent Attractive Target Feasting on IoTlast_img read more

Regular dietary peanut consumption after immunotherapy may extend allergy treatment benefits

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 25 2019UNC School of Medicine researcher Edwin Kim, MD, MS, says the results of a multi-year observational study are encouraging for those suffering from peanut allergiesRegular dietary peanut consumption after completing oral immunotherapy (OIT) or sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) for peanut allergy may provide continued protection against accidental exposures to the allergen, according to a new study led by Edwin Kim, MD, who presented the findings at the annual American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) conference in San Francisco.The observational study followed 55 people who had completed OIT or SLIT peanut immunotherapy trials at UNC-Chapel Hill and were desensitized to between 300 mg and 5,000 mg of peanut – with 300 mg representing one peanut kernel. Desensitization increases the amount of peanut it takes to cause an allergic reaction, decreasing the likelihood of a severe reaction caused by accidental peanut exposure.”People just want to know that they are protected,” said Kim, assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics at the UNC School of Medicine and director of the UNC Food Allergy Initiative. “They don’t necessarily want to eat large amounts of their allergen, they just want a level of reassurance that if a restaurant cook makes a mistake or a food label is wrong, they won’t have a severe allergic reaction.”Related StoriesResearchers identify new allergen responsible for allergy to durum wheatUnreliable diagnostics for fish allergy testingPeanut allergy tolerance treatment may increase the risk of anaphylaxisAfter completing their immunotherapy trial, participants were encouraged to introduce foods containing peanuts into their diets with a goal of about 300 mg of peanut each day. As part of their long-term follow-up, participants were asked to report how much they ate, how often they ate it and how they felt afterward.The majority of participants continued regularly eating peanuts daily for up to eight years after completing immunotherapy. Among those still eating peanuts, the median amount of daily consumption was 600 mg. No reactions from accidental ingestions were reported for the 55 participants, but ten people reported allergic reactions to the daily peanut foods they introduced into their diet. The majority of reactions were mild and treated with antihistamines, however three reactions required epinephrine and two required EMS. Although these more significant reactions were infrequent, it is a reminder that incorporation of dietary peanut in this capacity should only be done under the guidance of an allergist.”One of the big questions out there now is, ‘what does life after immunotherapy look like?'” said Kim. “That’s what we were trying to answer with this research, and it appears that eating these small amounts of peanut is safe, can improve quality of life, and may help to maintain desensitization.”Kim says more longitudinal studies need to be done, but he and colleagues are hopeful this research can be applied to other types of food allergies.Source: http://www.med.unc.edu/last_img read more

FDA warns two breast implant makers for failure to comply with postapproval

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 20 2019Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued warning letters to two breast implant manufacturers for failure to comply with their requirements, under their premarket approval orders, to conduct post-approval studies to assess the long-term safety and risks of their silicone gel-filled breast implants.The FDA issued warning letters to Mentor Worldwide LLC of Irvine, California, and Sientra, Inc. of Santa Barbara, California. Every manufacturer of approved silicone gel-filled breast implants is required to conduct post-approval studies to further evaluate safety and effectiveness of the products and to answer additional scientific questions about the long-term safety and potential risks of breast implants that their premarket clinical trials were not designed to answer.”Post-approval requirements are critical to ensuring the safety and effectiveness of the medical products we regulate and we’ll continue to hold manufacturers accountable when they fail to fulfill these obligations,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “We’re issuing these warning letters based on the manufacturers’ low recruitment, poor data, and low follow-up rates in their required post-approval studies. We expect these manufacturers to meet the pre-specified study requirements in order to ensure the collection of long-term data that can be used to inform long-term patient safety. Post-approval studies, along with other surveillance tools such as adverse event reports, registries, and scientific literature, allow the FDA to help ensure the safety of medical devices and protect patients.”The FDA’s warning letter to Mentor Worldwide LLC (Mentor) noted several serious deficiencies in the manufacturer’s post-approval study for its MemoryShape breast implant, first approved in 2013, including that the manufacturer had failed to enroll the required number of patients in the study. The action also notes Mentor had poor follow-up rates with patients in the study. Finally, the FDA notified Mentor that there were significant data inconsistencies in the study, including poor patient accounting and missing race and ethnicity data. While the FDA had concluded after reviewing several interim study reports submitted by Mentor that progress on the post-approval study appeared adequate at that time, the agency advised Mentor of concerns about patient enrollment, follow-up rates and data inconsistencies.Mentor’s failure to address these concerns and comply with its post-approval study requirements is a violation of the firm’s pre-market approval order.The FDA’s warning letter to Sientra, Inc. (Sientra) noted a serious deficiency in the manufacturer’s post-approval study for its Silicone Gel Breast Implants, first approved in 2013. The manufacturer had poor follow-up rates with patients. Currently, the manufacturer reported a follow-up rate of 61 percent, which is below the target follow-up rate. In the response to the manufacturer’s most recent interim study report, the FDA notified the manufacturer that the study progress was inadequate because of low follow-up rates. Sientra’s failure to address these concerns and comply with its post-approval study requirements is a violation of the firm’s pre-market approval order.Related StoriesSmoke-free generation ‘in sight’ as numbers of smokers drop dramaticallyGay men in China eight times more likely to face social discriminationWHO releases guidelines for preventing dementia, and they don’t include supplementsThe FDA requested responses from both manufacturers within 15 working days of the issuance of the warning letters, with details about how the noted violations will be corrected. The FDA may take action for a failure to comply with post-approval orders, including pursuing applicable criminal and civil penalties, where appropriate.The FDA’s actions today are part of the agency’s ongoing commitment to its public health mission of ensuring patient access to safe and effective medical devices. As part of the Medical Device Safety Action Plan, the FDA committed to streamlining and modernizing how the agency implements postmarket actions to address device safety issues to make responses to risks more timely and effective, including taking actions against manufacturers when their postmarket studies are non-compliant with any study requirements. The FDA has issued several warning letters in recent years to manufacturers who did not adequately fulfill certain postmarket study requirements, reflecting the agency’s commitment to take more aggressive actions against manufacturers who fail to comply.In addition to the required post-approval studies, the FDA has taken additional steps to ensure the agency is monitoring the safety and risks of breast implants. For instance, FDA staff have coordinated with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the Plastic Surgeons Foundation to develop the Patient Registry and Outcomes for Breast Implants and Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) Etiology and Epidemiology (PROFILE), which collects real world data regarding patients who have a confirmed diagnosis of BIA-ALCL. The data collected from this registry, have contributed to a better understanding of BIA-ALCL and FDA communication updates to the public regarding BIA-ALCL.Additionally, the FDA has worked with multiple stakeholders to facilitate the development of the National Breast Implant Registry (NBIR) to provide a platform for collecting additional real world data on the safety and performance of breast implants. This newly launched registry will greatly add to the information we collect in our own post-approval studies about the long-term safety of breast implants, and potentially enhance our understanding of the long term safety and risks associated with breast implants.The FDA remains committed to thoughtful, scientific, transparent, public dialogue concerning breast implant safety and effectiveness. The FDA welcomes public dialogue about breast implant safety and risk at the upcoming public meeting of the General and Plastic Surgery Devices Panel at the FDA’s headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland on March 25-26, 2019, which will also be available via webcast.Health care professionals and consumers should report any adverse events related to breast implants to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program. The FDA monitors these reports and takes appropriate action necessary to ensure the safety of medical products in the marketplace. Source:https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm633890.htmlast_img read more

FDA approves treatment for adults with nonradiographic axial spondyloarthritis

first_img Source:https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm634671.htm Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Mar 28 2019The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Cimzia (certolizumab pegol) injection for treatment of adults with a certain type of inflammatory arthritis called non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis (nr-axSpA), with objective signs of inflammation. This is the first time that the FDA has approved a treatment for nr-axSpA.”Today’s approval of Cimzia fulfills an unmet need for patients suffering from non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis as there has been no FDA-approved treatments until now,” said Nikolay Nikolov, M.D., associate director for rheumatology of the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Rheumatology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.Nr-axSpA is a type of inflammatory arthritis that causes inflammation in the spine and other symptoms. There is no visible damage seen on x-rays, so it is referred to as non-radiographic.Related StoriesRegular physical activity can be effective in reducing pain from arthritisStill-to-be-approved drug proves to be new option for treating active rheumatoid arthritisResearchers identify new clues on tissue damage in rheumatoid arthritis and lupusThe efficacy of Cimzia for the treatment of nr-axSpA was studied in a randomized clinical trial in 317 adult patients with nr-axSpA with objective signs of inflammation, indicated by elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) levels and/or sacroiliitis (inflammation of the sacroiliac joints) on MRI. The trial measured the improvement response on the Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Score, a composite scoring system that assesses disease activity including patient-reported outcomes and CRP levels. Responses were greater for patients treated with Cimzia compared to patients treated with placebo. The overall safety profile observed in the Cimzia treatment group was consistent with the known safety profile of Cimzia.The prescribing information for Cimzia includes a Boxed Warning to advise health care professionals and patients about the increased risk of serious infections leading to hospitalization or death including tuberculosis (TB), bacterial sepsis (infection in the blood steam), invasive fungal infections (such as histoplasmosis, an infection that affects the lungs), and other infections. Cimzia should be discontinued if a patient develops a serious infection or sepsis. Health care providers are advised to perform testing for latent TB and, if positive, to start treatment for TB prior to starting Cimzia. All patients should be monitored for active TB during treatment, even if the initial latent TB test is negative. The Boxed Warning also advises that lymphoma (cancer in blood cells) and other malignancies, some fatal, have been reported in children and adolescent patients treated with tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers, of which Cimzia is a member. Cimzia is not indicated for use in pediatric patients. Cimzia must be dispensed with a patient Medication Guide that describes important information about the drug’s uses and risks.Cimzia was originally approved in 2008 and is also indicated for adult patients with Crohn’s disease, moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis, active ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis who are candidates for systemic therapy or phototherapy.The FDA granted the approval of Cimzia to UCB.last_img read more

A bacterium may limit cardiovascular risks of 1 in 2 people study

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jul 1 2019In 2007, Patrice Cani (FNRS-WELBIO researcher) and his team at the Louvain Drug Research Institute of University of Louvain, in close collaboration with Willem de Vos, professor at UWageningen, discovered the beneficial effects of an intestinal bacteria, Akkermansia muciniphila, able to moderate the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes, in mice. In 2017, the team discovered (still in the mouse) that the use of a pasteurized form of Akkermansia leads to an even greater protection than the living bacterium regarding various cardiovascular disease risk factors such as insulin resistance, hypercholesterolemia, or the storage of fat in adipose tissue.Following these discoveries, the UCLouvain team, in collaboration with the Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc, developed a clinical study in order to administer the bacteria to humans. For this, it was necessary to develop the capacity to produce the bacterium in large quantity and to make sure that the tests would be without risk for the participants.The UCLouvain researchers administered Akkermansia to overweight or obese volunteers, all displaying insulin resistance (pre-diabetes type 2) and metabolic syndrome, in other words, having several elevated risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. The volunteers were randomly divided into 3 groups (placebo, live bacteria and pasteurized bacteria) and were asked not to change their dietary habits or their physical activity. Akkermansia was provided as a nutritional supplement.The primary goal of this UCLouvain study was to demonstrate the feasibility of daily ingesting Akkermansia for 3 months, without risk. Clara Depommier and Amandine Everard, UCLouvain researchers, observed excellent compliance (the supplements were easy to ingest) and tolerance (there were no side effects) in the groups taking live or pasteurized bacteria.Related StoriesCurved shape of bacteria can make it easier to find foodGrowth problems in preterm infants associated with altered gut bacteriaStudy shows how gastric stem cells fight colonizing bacteriaThe conclusions are clear: the tests in humans confirm what had already been observed in mice. Ingestion of the (pasteurized) bacterium prevented the deterioration of the health status of the subjects (pre-diabetes, cardiovascular risks). Even better, the researchers observed a decrease in inflammation markers in the liver, a slight decrease in the body weight of the subjects (2.3 kg on average) as well as a lowering of cholesterol levels. In contrast, the metabolic parameters (insulin resistance or hypercholesterolemia) in placebo subjects continued to deteriorate over time.Who does it benefit? According to the WHO, one in three people die every day from cardiovascular disease worldwide. In Western countries, one in two people is overweight and has increased cardiovascular risks. This research of the UCLouvain would limit these risks and therefore potentially have an impact (limit the effects) on half of the population, if properly used.In conclusion, this pilot study demonstrates the feasibility of administrating (pasteurized) Akkermansia bacteria to humans in the form of a food supplement and reports encouraging results on the effectiveness of the Akkermansia-based dietary supplements to reduce cardio-metabolic risk factors. These results pave the way for a large-scale study, to confirm/elaborate these first results, but also endorse the commercialization of the bacteria as food supplements, by 2021. Source:Université catholique de LouvainJournal reference:Cani, P.D. et al. (2019) Supplementation with Akkermansia muciniphila in overweight and obese human volunteers: a proof-of-concept exploratory study. Nature Medicine. doi.org/10.1038/s41591-019-0495-2.last_img read more

Study reveals how protein mutation is involved in Christianson syndrome

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jul 4 2019Rearing its head in infancy, Christianson Syndrome is a rare disorder whose symptoms include intellectual disability, seizures and difficulty standing or walking. Although it is becoming increasingly diagnosed, with little being known about the neural mechanism behind the disease, therapeutic options for patients remain limited.Now, researchers at McGill University focusing on the intellectual disability aspect of the disease, have shown for the first time how a specific mutant form of the SLC9A6 encoding gene for the NHE6 protein affects the ability of neurons to form and strengthen connections. The findings, which the researchers hope could eventually lead to new treatments for patients, are published online in the journal Neurobiology of Disease. Using mouse models to study the hippocampusRelated StoriesNew therapy shows promise in preventing brain damage after traumatic brain injuryPosterior parietal cortex plays crucial role in making decisions, research showsRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaTo make their discovery, the researchers grew mouse neurons on a dish, expressing a mutant version of SLC9A6 discovered in patients. Using high-resolution microscopy and electrophysiology they examined changes in appearance of these brain cells as well as how they responded to artificial learning and memory-type stimulations in a dish.”We found that by attempting to rescue the ‘GPS’ function of the protein by compensating with other pharmacological agents, we were able to restore at least some of the proper mechanisms to allow other proteins to be trafficked around the cell normally and thus restore their ability to ‘learn’,” notes Andy Gao a PhD student in Dr. McKinney’s lab and the study’s first author.A hope for potential therapiesThe first study to clearly demonstrate that mutations in SLC9A6 can lead to changes in synaptic function that could be related to the cognitive deficits associated with Christianson Syndrome, the researchers hope that these insights will eventually provide more clues as to how to modify the impact of the mutation in order to provide clinical benefit.”Interestingly enough, other groups are starting to show that the implicated protein is actually expressed less as well in other more common neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Diseases,” notes Dr. McKinney, who is also Associate Dean, Academic Affairs at the Faculty of Medicine. “Through our work, we can start to develop potential therapeutic targets to improve the quality of life, not only for those suffering from Christianson Syndrome, but from other disorders as well where NHE6 is perturbed.” Source:McGill UniversityJournal reference:McKinney, A. et al. (2019) A Christianson syndrome-linked deletion mutation (Δ287ES288) in SLC9A6 impairs hippocampal neuronal plasticity. Neurobiology of Disease. doi.org/10.1016/j.nbd.2019.104490. NHE6 functions like a GPS inside of brain cells, helping other proteins navigate to the correct location to allow the neurons to function properly and remodel the connections they form between themselves during learning and memory situations. This protein regulates pH of the vesicles, which contain the cargo that moves inside the brain cell. It prevents it from becoming too acidic or too alkali. We now show that if this protein loses its function because of a mutation, then other proteins can no longer be sent to the right places, and thus these neurons are unable to properly undergo learning-type mechanisms. Using methods to regulate the pH of the vesicles we can rescue the cargo trafficking and learning of the neuron.”Dr. Anne McKinney, Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at McGill’s Faculty of Medicine and study’s senior authorlast_img read more

At Detroit auto show trucks and SUVs are king

The BMW X2 is introduced during the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, on January 15, 2018 In an effort to add some excitement to a waning sedan market, Volkswagen revealed a new Passat—its higher-end sedan—with more than 20 design changes and a sportier option. BMW premiered a new coupe version of its i8 hybrid electric vehicle, promising enhanced power and range. BMW also expanded its SUV lineup with the new X2—designed to fit in between its X1 and X3 compact utilities and distinguishing itself in a crowded crossover market with the company’s signature zip and a “distinctive exterior design.” The auto show gave a boost to three models by awarding its annual best of the year distinctions.The 2018 Honda Accord was awarded best car of the year, helping the Japanese company’s family sedan best its top rival, the Toyota Camry—also a finalist for the award. Among utility cars, Volvo’s XC60 SUV was the winner, a much-needed boost for the Chinese-owned Swedish car company as it aims to reassert itself into the American market. From European car makers to American icons, there were dozens of new offerings for the North American market. While sedans and electric cars were still in the game, the industry clearly favored the large SUVs and trucks that are the source of high profit margins and prefered by US consumers two to one. To meet Americans’ changing buying habits and preferences, newly offered trucks and SUVs were more luxurious and family-friendly, stuffed with more technology and premium materials, while lower-cost, paired down versions of the same models were also offered. In some cases, manufacturers have also tweaked vehicles to make them slightly taller than those of the prior generation. That’s a response to consumers who enjoy a greater sense of command over the road.”Pickup trucks are not just work trucks at all any more. They are much more seen as family cars,” said industry analyst Rebecca Lindland of Kelley Blue Book. Analysts said 2018 would be the year of trucks and SUVs, which have been making a dramatic comeback the last several years after a precipitous decline during the Great Recession starting in 2008. Volkswagen introduces the new Jetta at the 2018 North American International Auto Show Press Preview in Detroit, Michigan on January 15, 2018 The top five selling vehicles in 2017 were the F-150 pickup, the Chevrolet Silverado pickup, the Ram 1500 pickup, the Toyota RAV4 SUV and Nissan Rogue SUV, in that order. With gas prices still affordable, the economy booming, and unemployment low, analysts said US consumers are preferring higher-priced, amenity-laden, large cars compared to more modest family sedans and small compacts. “Consumers, as soon as the recession was over, were ready to buy vehicles. And we really haven’t seen a deterioration,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at Cox Automotive, adding that recently passed US tax cuts are also likely to fuel pickup and SUV sales.The larger models are highly profitable for car makers. Ford’s F-150, the best selling car in the US in 2017, had an average transaction price of $58,000, Lindland said. Larger, ‘muscular’Unveilings commenced at a rapid clip on Monday, even after some major car makers debuted new models over the weekend. Citation: At Detroit auto show, trucks and SUVs are king (2018, January 15) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-01-detroit-auto-trucks-suvs-king.html The Acura RDX prototype is introduced during the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, on January 15, 2018 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. © 2018 AFP Ford’s massive Lincoln Navigator SUV won, in the truck category, in part because of its towing capability, an awards representative said. Some automakers tried to stand out with flash and glamour. Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger emerged from a redesigned Mercedes-Benz G-Class SUV on Sunday night. GM brought out a redesigned Silverado on Saturday night against a backdrop of earlier models dating back decades—emphasizing its roots in American history.”Muscularity is very important in a truck,” said GM’s design chief Michael Simcoe, while introducing the Silverado. At the same time, he said consumers are increasingly looking for luxury in trucks. “We have customers who want luxury car levels of refinement and comfort,” he said. “This is the fastest growing segment in the truck business.” Chief performance officer of Nissan Motor Company and chairman of Nissan North America, Jose Munoz introduces the Nissan Xmotion concept car at the 2018 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Michigan, on January 15, 2018 Honda, Volvo, Ford scoop awards at Detroit auto show Explore further Fiat Chrysler offered an updated Ram pickup, boasting of new multifunction USB ports, a 12-inch touchscreen display and support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, among other features. Car makers appealed to Americans’ deep love of SUVs and trucks on Monday at the Detroit Auto Show, unveiling a host of choices from luxurious to utilitarian, while also beefing up the humble sedan. read more

Bezos unfazed by antitrust concerns on Amazon

first_img Explore further Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos said Thursday he was not worried about the potential for anti-trust scrutiny of the company as it becomes an important economic force. © 2018 AFP Citation: Bezos unfazed by antitrust concerns on Amazon (2018, September 14) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-bezos-unfazed-antitrust-amazon.html As Amazon slashes prices, Bezos sees jump in wealth Speaking at a Washington business gathering, Bezos said it was normal to draw scrutiny but he did not anticipate any actions that would prevent the internet giant from innovating and growing.”We are so inventive that whatever regulations are promulgated, that will not stop us from serving customers,” Bezos said in a question-and-answer session at a dinner hosted by the Economic Club of Washington.”Customers are still going to want low prices. They’re still going to want fast delivery. They’re still going to want a big selection.”Bezos said it was unsurprising and even normal to face questions when a company like Amazon becomes so big.”All big institutions of any kind are going to be and should be examined, scrutinized and inspected,” he said.”We want to live in a society where people are worried about big institutions. That’s OK.”But Bezos said he did not see Amazon—which briefly hit $1 trillion in market value—as a monopoly, arguing that online sales still represent a small fraction of overall retail.”Eighty-five percent of sales is still in the physical world. So that’s where we face competition,” Bezos said.His comments came as US regulators opened hearings on whether to revamp anti-trust enforcement to consider the dominance of digital giants such as Google, Facebook and Amazon.Bezos also said no decision had been made on Amazon’s second North American headquarters, known as HQ2, for which 20 cities have been selected as finalists, and that the choice would be made as scheduled before the end of the year.He said “we have made tremendous progress” in the search but offered no clues, despite reports that Amazon board members had visited locations in the Washington suburb of Arlington, Virginia. 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.last_img read more

Mark Zuckerberg and team take heat for massive data breach Facebook not

first_img This isn’t the first time the Facebook CEO’s leadership has been questioned, but the ever-growing list of problems—Cambridge Analytica, Russian election interference, the spread of disinformation—is prompting tough new scrutiny of Zuckerberg’s leadership and his management team. Attackers exploited three flaws in Facebook’s code to break into tens of millions of accounts.”The hack is just another symptom of a bigger problem, which is that the company is not well managed,” Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser told USA TODAY.Facebook’s popularity and profitability have deflected concerns in the past, but its track record over the past two years should concern investors, analysts are warning. On Tuesday the company’s resilient stock (FB) was down for the second straight day since the breach was disclosed.”The Facebook board has to get to the bottom of why these systemic problems keep happening. Is it Mark Zuckerberg’s responsibility? If so, he might not be the right person to be CEO of the company. Is it Sheryl Sandberg’s responsibility? In which case, she might not be the right person to be COO,” he said.Facebook declined to comment.Facebook’s latest bad news—the largest hack in its 14-year history—compromised the data of nearly 50 million accounts and exposed the data of 40 million more.Details about the attack are still sparse. Facebook says it doesn’t yet know who was behind the attack and has released few details on who was affected or what data was stolen. Also unclear is whether the hackers used the access they gained to millions of Facebook accounts to get into the thousands of other services such as Tinder and Pinterest that take Facebook credentials.As politicians and regulators demand investigations, analysts are sounding alarms.”We see this recent security problem adding to already significant concerns about the company and its management,” CFRA analyst Scott Kessler wrote in a research note Monday.So far the Facebook hack has not touched the same kind of nerve that this year’s disclosed leak of personal information to Donald Trump-connected political targeting firm Cambridge Analytica did, but that could change. Facebook revealed the latest data breach late on a Friday as the nation was transfixed by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s contentious Senate confirmation hearing. The main question facing regulators: Did Facebook do enough to safeguard its more than 2 billion users’ data before the hack? Zuckerberg, whose personal account was also breached, said last week that Facebook is boosting spending on security staff and technology, areas it already invested heavily in.The company raised eyebrows in September when security chief Alex Stamos resigned to join Stanford University as an adjunct professor after reports he disagreed with Facebook management over its handling of Russian manipulation on the platform. Facebook assigned his responsibilities to others and reorganized his team, putting security staffers directly in product and engineering teams to safeguard the company’s infrastructure and its users, but said it would not appoint a replacement.”The reality here is we face constant attacks from people who want to take over accounts or steal information. I’m glad we identified this one, fixed the vulnerability and secured the accounts that may be at risk. But we need to do more to prevent this from happening in the first place,” Zuckerberg told reporters on Friday.A Facebook executive said Monday the data breach was the result of a “sophisticated attack.” Speaking at an Advertising Week panel, the company’s global head of marketing, Carolyn Everson, said Facebook could only detect the hackers “once they made a certain move.”Europe could fine Facebook $1.63 billionIreland’s Data Protection Commission, the lead privacy regulator of Facebook in Europe, said Monday it was told by Facebook that the number of potentially affected accounts in the European Union is less than 10% of the 50 million. It’s not clear how many of the rest are Americans. In a tweet, Facebook said Monday it’s working to confirm the “the location of those potentially affected,” and plans to release more information soon.Facebook was forced to disclose the attack much faster and more publicly to comply with strict new privacy rules in the European Union, which require notification within 72 hours. The breach could result in a $1.63 billion fine—4 percent of its global annual revenue in 2017—if European regulators find the company violated those rules.Distrust of Facebook’s handling of the private information of its users dates nearly to the formation of the company in a Harvard dorm room in 2004, but has grown in Europe and the U.S. as problems keep piling up.Zuckerberg faced tough questions on Capitol Hill about his company’s business and privacy practices in the spring and, last month, Facebook’s chief operating officer Sandberg was summoned, too. The European Commission, the executive arm of the 28-member bloc, recently demanded that Facebook explain to consumers how their data is being used or face sanctions in several countries.The data breach affecting tens of millions of Facebook users comes at a sensitive time for the company. The Federal Trade Commission and other agencies are already investigating Facebook over Cambridge Analytica improperly accessing the personal information of 87 million users without their consent. And public sentiment has been soured by the steady drumbeat of controversies including revelations about Facebook’s role in spreading Russian propaganda during and after the 2016 presidential election.”This really isn’t going to help Facebook’s image. It’s going to make its users even more nervous about their privacy than they already are,” said eMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson. “They are worried about how their data is being used by Facebook, and with this news, they also need to worry about whether their data is being used by hackers.”Last week Facebook was caught using phone numbers provided for security purposes to target Facebook users with ads. At a time when the company is under fire for alleged political bias, its public policy chief was seated just behind Kavanaugh during Friday’s Senate confirmation hearing. Facebook says he was there in a personal capacity, not representing the company. Mark Zuckerberg is facing a major public reckoning following the massive Facebook data breach as a cascade of crises catch up with the social media giant. Facebook says no sign recent hack spread to other apps Citation: Mark Zuckerberg and team take heat for massive data breach, Facebook ‘not well managed’ (2018, October 3) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-10-zuckerberg-team-massive-breach-facebook.htmlcenter_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. Explore further ©2018 USA Today Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.last_img read more

Core technology for ultrasmall 3D image sensor

first_img New progress toward chip-based ghost imaging Figure 2. Schematic feature showing an application of the OPA to a 3D image sensor. Credit: KAIST More information: Seong-Hwan Kim et al. Thermo-optic control of the longitudinal radiation angle in a silicon-based optical phased array, Optics Letters (2019). DOI: 10.1364/OL.44.000411 Figure 1.The manufactured OPA chip. Credit: KAIST A 3-D image sensor adds distance information to a two-dimensional image, such as a photo, to recognize it as a 3-D image. It plays a vital role in various electronics including autonomous vehicles, drones, robots, and facial recognition systems, which require accurate measurement of the distance from objects.Many automobile and drone companies are focusing on developing 3-D image sensor systems, based on mechanical light detection and ranging (LiDAR) systems. However, it can only get as small as the size of a fist and has a high possibility of malfunctioning because it employs a mechanical method for laser beam-steering.OPAs have gained a great attention as a key component to implement solid-state LiDAR because it can control the light direction electronically without moving parts. Silicon-based OPAs are small, durable, and can be mass-produced through conventional Si-CMOS processes.However, in the development of OPAs, a big issue has been raised about how to achieve wide beam-steering in transversal and longitudinal directions. In the transversal direction, a wide beam-steering has been implemented, relatively easily, through a thermo-optic or electro-optic control of the phase shifters integrated with a 1D array. But the longitudinal beam-steering has been remaining as a technical challenge since only a narrow steering was possible with the same 1D array by changing the wavelengths of light, which is hard to implement in semiconductor processes. Journal information: Optics Letters Citation: Core technology for ultra-small 3-D image sensor (2019, February 8) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-02-core-technology-ultra-small-d-image.html If a light wavelength is changed, characteristics of element devices consisting the OPA can vary, which makes it difficult to control the light direction with reliability as well as to integrate a wavelength-tunable laser on a silicon-based chip. Therefore, it is essential to devise a new structure that can easily adjust the radiated light in both transversal and longitudinal directions.By integrating tunable radiator, instead of tunable laser in a conventional OPA, Professor Hyo-Hoon Park from the School of Electrical Engineering and his team developed an ultra-small, low-power OPA chip that facilitates a wide 2-D beam-steering with a monochromatic light source. This OPA structure allows the minimizing of the 3-D image sensors, as small as a dragonfly’s eye.According to the team, the OPA can function as a 3-D image sensor and also as a wireless transmitter sending the image data to a desired direction, enabling high-quality image data to be freely communicated between electronic devices.Kim said, “It’s not an easy task to integrate a tunable light source in the OPA structures of previous works. We hope our research proposing a tunable radiator makes a big step towards commercializing OPAs.”Dr. You added, “We will be able to support application researches of 3-D image sensors, especially for facial recognition with smartphones and augmented reality services. We will try to prepare a processing platform in NNFC that provides core technologies of the 3-D image sensor fabrication.” A KAIST research team developed a silicon optical phased array (OPA) chip, which can be a core component for three-dimensional image sensors. This research was co-led by Ph.D. candidate Seong-Hwan Kim and Dr. Jong-Bum You from the National Nanofab Center (NNFC). Provided by KAIST Explore further 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.last_img read more

Robots that can sort recycling

first_img A key step in the process happens on fast-moving conveyor belts, where workers have to sort items into categories like paper, plastic and glass. Such jobs are dull, dirty, and often unsafe, especially in facilities where workers also have to remove normal trash from the mix.With that in mind, a team led by researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has developed a robotic system that can detect if an object is paper, metal, or plastic.The team’s “RoCycle” system includes a soft Teflon hand that uses tactile sensors on its fingertips to detect an object’s size and stiffness. Compatible with any robotic arm, RoCycle was found to be 85 percent accurate at detecting materials when stationary, and 63 percent accurate on an actual simulated conveyer belt. (Its most common error was identifying paper-covered metal tins as paper, which the team says would be improved by adding more sensors along the contact surface.)”Our robot’s sensorized skin provides haptic feedback that allows it to differentiate between a wide range of objects, from the rigid to the squishy,” says MIT Professor Daniela Rus, senior author on a related paper that will be presented in April at the IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics (RoboSoft) in Seoul, South Korea. “Computer vision alone will not be able to solve the problem of giving machines human-like perception, so being able to use tactile input is of vital importance.”A collaboration with Yale University, RoCycle directly demonstrates the limits of sight-based sorting: It can reliably distinguish between two visually similar Starbucks cups, one made of paper and one made of plastic, that would give vision systems trouble.Incentivizing recyclingRus says that the project is part of her larger goal to reduce the back-end cost of recycling, in order to incentivize more cities and countries to create their own programs. Today recycling centers aren’t particularly automated; their main kinds of machinery include optical sorters that use different wavelength light to distinguish between plastics, magnetic sorters that separate out iron and steel products, and aluminum sorters that use eddy currents to remove non-magnetic metals. Provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology Explore further Citation: Robots that can sort recycling (2019, April 17) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-04-robots-recycling.html Credit: Massachusetts Institute of Technology “If a system like RoCycle could be deployed on a wide scale, we’d potentially be able to have the convenience of single-stream recycling with the lower contamination rates of multi-stream recycling,” says Ph.D. student Lillian Chin, lead author on the new paper.It’s surprisingly hard to develop machines that can distinguish between paper, plastic, and metal, which shows how impressive a feat it is for humans. When we pick up an object, we can immediately recognize many of its qualities even with our eyes closed, like whether it’s large and stiff or small and soft. By feeling the object and understanding how that relates to the softness of our own fingertips, we are able to learn how to handle a wide range of objects without dropping or breaking them.This kind of intuition is tough to program into robots. Traditional hard (“rigid”) robot hands have to know an object’s exact location and size to be able to calculate a precise motion path. Soft hands made of materials like rubber are much more flexible, but have a different problem: Because they’re powered by fluidic forces, they have a balloon-like structure that can puncture quite easily.How RoCycle worksRus’ team used a motor-driven hand made of a relatively new material called “auxetics.” Most materials get narrower when pulled on, like a rubber band when you stretch it; auxetics, meanwhile, actually get wider. The MIT team took this concept and put a twist on it, quite literally: They created auxetics that, when cut, twist to either the left or right. Combining a “left-handed” and “right-handed” auxetic for each of the hand’s two large fingers makes them interlock and oppose each other’s rotation, enabling more dynamic movement. (The team calls this “handed-shearing auxetics”, or HSA.)”In contrast to soft robots, whose fluid-driven approach requires air pumps and compressors, HSA combines twisting with extension, meaning that you’re able to use regular motors,” says Chin.The team’s gripper first uses its “strain sensor” to estimate an object’s size, and then uses its two pressure sensors to measure the force needed to grasp an object. These metrics—along with calibration data on the size and stiffnesses of objects of different material types—are what gives the gripper a sense of what material the object is made. (Since the tactile sensors are also conductive, they can detect metal by how much it changes the electrical signal.)”In other words, we estimate the size and measure the pressure difference between the current closed hand and what a normal open hand should look like,” says Chin. “We use this pressure difference and size to classify the specific object based on information about different objects that we’ve already measured.”RoCycle builds on an set of sensors that detect the radius of an object to within 30 percent accuracy, and tell the difference between “hard” and “soft” objects with 78 percent accuracy. The team’s hand is also almost completely puncture resistant: It was able to be scraped by a sharp lid and punctured by a needle more than 20 times, with minimal structural damage.As a next step, the researchers plan to build out the system so that it can combine tactile data with actual video data from a robot’s cameras. This would allow the team to further improve its accuracy and potentially allow for even more nuanced differentiation between different kinds of materials. Recycling robot can use sense of touch to sort through the trash Every year trash companies sift through an estimated 68 million tons of recycling, which is the weight equivalent of more than 30 million cars. RoCycle can detect if an object is paper, metal, or plastic. CSAIL researchers say that such a system could potentially help enable the convenience of single-stream recycling with lower contamination rates that confirm to China’s new recycling standards. Credit: Jason Dorfman This is a problem for one very big reason: just last month China raised its standards for the cleanliness of recycled goods it accepts from the United States, meaning that some of the country’s single-stream recycling is now sent to landfills. This story is republished courtesy of MIT News (web.mit.edu/newsoffice/), a popular site that covers news about MIT research, innovation and teaching. 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.last_img read more

Vodafone Egypt fined 500000 euros for coverage outage

first_img The National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) said it made the “unprecedented” move after services dropped “for several hours, in multiple regions” on June 3 just before the holiday which marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting.Vodafone is the leading provider in Egypt, according to official figures, servicing 40 million of the country’s more than 100 million mobile phone lines.It is positioned ahead of three other national operators: Orange, Etisalat and We.NTRA also stressed “the need to compensate subscribers affected by this interruption”.Many Vodafone Egypt users have taken to social media to voice their dissatisfaction.The company on Thursday sent a text message to users apologising for “the network’s performance” and offering up free internet packages as compensation. Egyptian authorities said Monday they had fined the national branch of mobile phone giant Vodafone 500,000 euros over a coverage outage last week just ahead of the Eid al-Fitr holiday. © 2019 AFP 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: Vodafone Egypt fined 500,000 euros for coverage outage (2019, June 10) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-06-vodafone-egypt-fined-euros-coverage.htmlcenter_img Egyptian authorities have said they fined the national branch of mobile phone giant Vodafone 500,000 euros over a coverage outage last week just ahead of the Eid al-Fitr holiday Egypt bans international Internet voice calls Explore furtherlast_img read more

Francisco Lindor on creating a set of Topps cards MLBs young stars

first_imgFrancisco Lindor is only in his fifth big league season, but he’s already an All-Star fixture and a regular in AL MVP voting – he’s finished in the top nine each of the past three years – and now he has his own baseball card set. No, not a set of cards with only his face, but a 50-card Topps set that he helped create, from choosing the player list to assisting with the design and all those things. He took a few minutes this week to talk with SN about the 2019 Topps X Lindor set, and a few other baseball-related topics. MORE: Watch ‘ChangeUp,’ a new MLB live whiparound show on DAZNSPORTING NEWS: How did this set come to be? Was it your idea? Did Topps come up with it and approach you? LINDOR: It was mutual. I always wanted to make my own baseball cards, along with a couple other players, and they had an idea as well. So we tried to create a set with guys from different eras, with Vladdy (Guerrero) Jr. in there, (Derek) Jeter is in there and (Roberto) Clemente is in there and (Javy) Baez is in there. We put a little bit of different graphic designs and it turned out to be pretty cool. SN: You have Clemente in the set, a couple of times. Growing up in Puerto Rico, what did you know about him? LINDOR: Clemente is someone who was a good baseball player, but was a great person, had great character. He cared more about helping others than anything else, you know? Coming from Puerto Rico, that’s the one player your parents talked about, your grandparents talked about. Having him in the set is special. That’s the one player that I said, ‘Everybody’s got to have a baseball card of him.’SN: Probably could have made a 50-card set of just Clemente, I imagine. LINDOR: (laughs) Yeah.SN: And not just with Clemente, but your set has a strong Puerto Rico feel to it.LINDOR: Being in Puerto Rico, growing up and idolizing different players, and playing with Team Puerto Rico was a blessing. Now to create a set and to add cards with guys from Puerto Rico, it’s pretty cool. It’s good for all fan bases, for Latin-American fans, for American fans, it’s got a little bit of it all.SN: I saw you have other guys from that 2011 draft class. Do you ever go back and just think about all the stars who came out of that first round? LINDOR: To be honest, I didn’t really pay attention to it then. I got drafted and then Baez got picked up after me and then I was like, ‘All right, I’m done,” y’know? Later I’ve seen the guys who came after me in the draft, and it was pretty cool to see all the good talent, and seeing those players perform at the highest level, it’s special. SN: We saw some young guys perform at the highest level at the Home Run Derby, with Vladdy Jr. and Pete Alonso and Ronald Acuña, and there are other rookies, guys like Fernando Tatis Jr. out there having success and making an impact. What do you see with all these young guys, the next generation of talent arriving? LINDOR: It definitely is fun. It’s fun because they bring a lot of excitement to the game. There are some strong boys in this year’s rookie class, those guys can hit home runs. Tatis is a special player. Vladdy is, Alonso as well, and a couple other guys. It’s fun to watch them. I like to see the different guys have success. MORE: Sporting News All-Stars return in Topps’ 2019 Heritage setSN: How’d you pick the players that made this set. At 50 cards, there had to be tough cuts. LINDOR: By guys that I’ve met, and if I didn’t meet them, guys who I like their swing. Like with Vladdy Jr. I didn’t know him much. He wasn’t in the big leagues when I made the cards, the set, but I’d seen his swing and the fans like him, so I had to go with him. SN: You guys have spent pretty much every day of the past several years in first place in the AL Central, usually by a lot of games ahead of second place. Has it felt different this year, chasing the Twins the whole way? LINDOR: Yeah, but it’s still fun. At the end of the day, whether we’re in first place or second place, we’re still playing hard and chasing something. If you’re in first place, you’re trying to go for the best record in the league. In second place, you’re trying to catch the team that’s ahead of you. It’s still fun, man. It’s been a good ride. I’ve been blessed to be with this team, surrounded by a great group of guys. SN: That deficit was double-digits for a while, but you’re as close as you’ve been since May. Feel like things are coming around? LINDOR: I think everybody’s enjoying the game, everybody’s counting on each other and they really believe we can win. It’s just a matter of getting in that good groove. SN: Can’t let you go without asking about Cleveland and the All-Star Game. I was there, and it felt like the city really embraced the opportunity to host the event. What’s the thing you remember most, looking back after a few days? LINDOR: Just how great everything was, and how accommodating everyone in the city was. They made it to where you didn’t have to go far to get to a different venue. Everything was right next to each other. The people were great. Everybody was willing to help, guiding the visitors and giving directions. Overall it was a great event. I’m happy we had it in Cleveland.last_img read more

After This Young Monkey Got Hit by a Car Monkey Strangers Comforted

first_img Left: Pipo screams from the tree days after being abandoned. Right: Pipo sits on the ground. Credit: Liz A. D. Campbell/Springer, the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) Image Gallery: Sneezin’ Snub-Nosed Monkeys The young monkey from the neighboring group grooms Pipo and appears to inspect his injuries. Credit: Liz A. D. Campbell/Springer, the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) Originally published on Live Science.by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeVikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 min and see why everyone is addicted!Vikings: Free Online GameUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndoKelley Blue Book2019 Lexus Vehicles Worth Buying for Their Resale ValueKelley Blue BookUndoGundry MD Total Restore SupplementU.S. Cardiologist: It’s Like a Pressure Wash for Your InsidesGundry MD Total Restore SupplementUndoNucificTop Dr. Reveals The 1 Nutrient Your Gut Must HaveNucificUndoLivestlyThe List Of Dog Breeds To Avoid At All CostsLivestlyUndo Pipo ended up hanging out with the MonkeyWatch group for four months, long after his injuries appeared to have healed, according to Campbell. During that time, he was “fully integrated” into the new group’s social structure and got along with them before eventually departing and returning to his home group. This finding is also good news for Barbary macaques as a species, Campbell wrote. There are only about 10,000 individuals left in the wild, and their numbers have fallen significantly in recent years. Poaching is a significant problem, with monkeys removed from the wild and sold into the pet trade at 150% the rate the population could sustain, according to a 2008 study in the journal Traffic Bulletin. Efforts to restore wild Barbary macaque populations rely on the hope that young poached macaques, often very young monkeys, can be returned to groups they weren’t born into, where strangers can take care of them. (Adult males of this species especially love babies and often “sandwich” them in three-way male-baby-male group hugs, Campbell wrote.) But up until this point, researchers had assumed that only baby monkeys and very young juveniles were candidates for this sort of rehabilitation. Pipo’s case suggests, Campbell wrote, that older juveniles might also be able to return to the wild to live with groups of strangers. This seemed to attract the attention of another group of macaques. “At 14:40, a neighbouring group (MonkeyWatch Group) arrived,” Campbell wrote. “A juvenile approached Pipo, inspected his injuries, and groomed him. Approximately 20 min later, an adult male also approached and groomed Pipo. When MonkeyWatch Group left the area later in the day, Pipo left with them. He did not scream again after MonkeyWatch Group arrived.” Photos: Adorable and Amazing Guenon Monkey Faces Even monkeys know it’s right to care for strangers in need. (Or maybe their parents just didn’t teach the helpers about “stranger danger.”) In a new paper published in the July issue of the journal Primates, scientists document for the first time Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) fostering an older juvenile macaque — a stranger to them — after finding him lost and hurt on the side of the road days after he had been struck by a car inside a park in Morocco. The monkeys groomed and cared for the injured juvenile, named Pipo and almost 3 years old, and socialized with him until he was healed and ready to return to his own group. The observation was surprising, study author Liz Campbell, a zoologist at the University of Oxford, wrote in the journal article, because “intergroup encounters at this [national park in Morocco] range from immediate withdrawal by one group to lengthy, sometimes aggressive, contests.”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https://www.livescience.com/65917-macaque-comfort-monkey-child.html?jwsource=cl已复制直播00:0000:3500:35  Researchers had never seen monkey strangers getting along like this before. [8 Human-Like Behaviors of Primates] That was good news for Pipo. After a car struck him on March 20, 2018, Campbell wrote, he retreated to a nearby tree while other members of his home group looked on. “Several group members displayed affiliation towards him, and a juvenile sat with him and groomed him as he appeared to be losing consciousness,” she wrote. “At approximately 17:35 (1 hour before sunset), his group left for their sleeping trees, but Pipo was left behind in the tree.” The next day, Pipo was nowhere to be found, Campbell wrote, and she and her colleagues assumed he had died. But on March 22, she wrote, “he was found in the same tree, alone and screaming repeatedly. He later left the tree to feed on the ground but continued screaming intermittently, then returned to the trees.” Precious Primates: Images of Chimeric Monkeyslast_img read more

Telangana CM to lay foundation stone for Gattu lift irrigation scheme on

first_imgwater (natural resource) Published on Telangana Telangana-to-ch+GMM28BK2A.3.jpg.jpg SHARE SHARE EMAIL SHARE COMMENT Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao will lay the foundation stone for construction of Gattu lift irrigation scheme at Penchikala village in Jogulamba Gadwal district on June 29.An official release here said he would also oversee the works of Tummilla Lift Irrigation project in the district.The Chief Minister would address a public meeting in Gadwal town, organised by the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti, the release said.A senior engineer official of the State Irrigation Department said the Gattu lift irrigation scheme, being constructed at a cost of nearly Rs 554 crore would irrigate 33,000 acres of agricultural land in Gattu mandal, one of the most remote parts of Telangana.In a separate release the CMO said former Hyderabad High Court Judge M S K Jaiswal has been appointed as the chairman of the Telangana State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.Rao signed the file pertaining to the appointment. COMMENTS June 25, 2018 agriculturelast_img read more

AIADMK clinches Lok Sabha poll deal with PMK

first_img SHARE SHARE EMAIL COMMENTS COMMENT SHARE political development RELATED parties and movements Published on Allots seven Lok Sabha seats and one Rajya Sabha seat The ruling AIADMK on Tuesday announced a poll alliance with the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and allotted seven Lok Sabha seats to it for the forthcoming Parliamentary elections. Announcing the deal in the presence of Chief Minister K Palaniswami, AIADMK coordinator and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam said it has also been decided that the PMK will be allocated a Rajya Sabha seat.Under the deal, The PMK will be supporting the AIADMK in the bypolls expected to be held in 21 Assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu, he said. A formal agreement in this regard was signed between the leadership of the two parties in a city hotel.PMK founder leader S Ramadoss described the coalition as “an alliance for people’s welfare, a mega coalition and a victorious alliance. To retrieve the rights of Tamil Nadu people, we have made a 10-point charter of demands,” Ramadoss added.The demands include declaring the Cauvery delta districts as a protected farm region, a caste wise census be held in Tamil Nadu and seven Rajiv case convicts be set free. “This coalition will be successful in all the 40 constituencies in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry,” he said.The rationale for aligning with the AIADMK will be explained by his son and former Union Health Minister Dr Anbumani Ramadoss later, he said. elections February 19, 2019 national elections alliances and coalition AIADMK leader and Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Edappadi K Palaniswami, Deputy Chief Minister O Paneerselvam, PMK leaders S Ramadoss and Anbumani Ramadoss display the letter of agreement between the two parties on the matter of seat sharing for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Photo: R Ragu   –  The Hindu TN: BJP, AIADMK, PMK seal LS poll pactlast_img read more

Dont play with fire Johor Bersatu Youth tells Syed Saddiq

first_img Related News Nation 10 Jul 2019 Syed Saddiq to seek audience with Johor palace on youth age cap issue Nation 09 Jul 2019 Johor makes a ‘U-turn’, agrees that youth age cap should be 30 Nation 10 Jul 2019 Johor Youth Council tells Syed Saddiq to stop interfering in state affairs Less than 24 hours later, state Youth, Sports, Entrepreneurship Development and Cooperatives Committee chairman Sheikh Umar Bagharib Ali issued another statement on the same day, saying Johor would maintain its youth age limit at 40 following “advice from several parties”.center_img Related News JOHOR BARU: The youth age cap issue seems to be causing more harm than good for Pakatan Harapan with Johor Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) Armada chief Norul Haszarul Abu Samah criticising Putrajaya’s move.Although he did not mention names, it was clear that Norul Haszarul’s barbs were aimed at Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, who is also Bersatu Armada chief.He told the minister not to play with fire by interfering in Johor affairs.He added that the age cap issue was still being debated, and in his view, the state government’s handling of the matter was correct.”This state is sovereign with a prosperous and united rakyat where the rejection of the age cap is not a political sentiment but in line with the Johor Sustainable Development Plan 2019-2030 in line with the Mentri Besar’s statement.”We, in Johor, have our own way in deciding the path where it does not need to follow the ways of others,” he said in a statement posted on his Facebook page.Norul Haszarul added that this was a reminder to all ministries not to make hasty decisions and to always practise an open door policy by listening to the views and suggestions of all stakeholders, particularly the youths at grassroots level.He said so far seven states had rejected the motion pertaining to the youth age cap.According to him, Johor aside, Sarawak, Selangor, Perlis, Pahang, Kelantan and Kedah were also retaining the youth age limit at 40.He urged Syed Saddiq to focus on his ministry and leave state affairs to those who were well-versed in them.”I urge the minister in question to stop complaining or sulking and ask help from Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and party president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin each time he fails in his duties.He said they had more pressing matters to attend to than to entertain the minister’s “personal agenda”.On July 8, Johor had announced it would maintain its categorisation of youth for its polices as those between 15 and 40 despite the Federal Government’s move to lower the age limit to 30.Johor, at the time, joined Selangor and Sarawak in maintaining the youth age cap at 40.On Tuesday (July 9), the Johor government changed its stand to lower the youth age limit to 30. {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}last_img read more

Amarnath Yatra suspended for Saturday due to separatistbacked strike in Kashmir

first_img Next Press Trust of India JammuJuly 13, 2019UPDATED: July 13, 2019 17:55 IST PTI image used for representation.Pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Amarnath was suspended for Saturday as a precautionary measure in view of a separatists-sponsored strike in the Kashmir valley on Martyrs’ Day, officials said.As many as 12 batches of pilgrims have so far left for the twin base camps of Pahalgam and Baltal in Kashmir valley from Jammu since the beginning of the pilgrimage on June 30.”Amarnath yatra has been suspended from Jammu as a precautionary measure in wake of the strike called by separatists in Kashmir valley Saturday,” an official said.July 13 is observed as Martyrs’ Day in Kashmir. On this day in 1931, 22 people were killed in firing by the forces of Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh.Separatists have called for a shutdown as a mark of respect to those killed in the firing.On July 8, the pilgrimage was suspended as a precautionary measure in view of the third death anniversary of former Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.Due to the strike, normal life was severely affected in the valley as shops and other business establishments remained closed, while public transport remained off roads, the officials said.They said some private vehicles, however, were plying in intra-city and inter-district routes of Kashmir.Over 1.50 lakh pilgrims have paid obeisance at the cave shrine in the last 12 days of the Amarnath yatra.Over 1.75 lakh pilgrims have so far registered themselves for the 46-day long pilgrimage, which is through the 36-km Pahalgam track in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district and the shorter 14-km Baltal route in Ganderbal district.The pilgrimage commenced on July 1 from both Baltal and Pahalgam routes. Multi-tier security arrangements were made for the smooth and successful conduct of the yatra that concludes on August 15.As many as 2.85 lakh pilgrims had paid obeisance at the cave last year, while the number of pilgrims was 3.52 lakh in 2015, 3,20 lakh in 2016 and 2.60 lakh in 2017.Also Read | 13,004 pilgrims pay obeisance at Amarnath cave shrineAlso Read | Jammu Darshan bus service launched in J&K to promote tourismAlso Watch | First batch of Amarnath pilgrims reaches shrineFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byChanchal Chauhan Amarnath Yatra suspended for Saturday due to separatist-backed strike in KashmirAs many as 12 batches of pilgrims have so far left for the twin base camps of Pahalgam and Baltal in Kashmir valley from Jammu since the beginning of the pilgrimage on June 30.advertisementlast_img read more