U Penn Museum Criticized for Staff Cuts (Updated)

first_imgArchaeologists around the world are condemning the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology for laying off 18 researchers, in particular one of the world’s leading archaeobotanists, Naomi Miller, who has been in the field for 30 years. News of the planned layoffs, announced late last month, has ricocheted through the global archaeology community, with help from several academics who have notified more than 1000 of their colleagues.Miller’s “departure from the field will have serious ramifications for many on-going archaeological projects throughout” the Near East, where she studies plant remains to better understand agricultural economies, wrote Melinda Zeder, director of the archaeobiology program at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., in a letter sent last weekend to Richard Hodges, the museum’s director. Hodges was traveling and not available to speak with ScienceInsider, but spokesperson Pam Kosty said that “it’s obviously difficult for everybody at the museum, these layoffs,” and “we’re doing what we can to try to save people.” Like many other museums and nonprofits, the University of Pennsylvania Museum has been hard-hit by a sinking endowment and a difficult fundraising environment.In an interview, Zeder, who has collaborated with Miller, sympathized with the museum’s plight but argued that while the museum has presented the cuts as a solution to a short-term budget shortfall, “it seems to me counterintuitive to take measures that have a permanent impact on just the thing you’re trying to save.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)”There’s quite an active campaign” to protest the loss of Miller, which will be effective at the end of May, Zeder says. “We’re just stunned.”12/16 update:The director of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology tells ScienceInsider this morning that the layoffs had been mislabeled and that many of those affected would be able to garner outside grants and stay on at the museum before the end of the May deadline. “We’re starting to think strategically to safeguard people like Naomi [Miller],” says Richard Hodges, “as opposed to facing up to the fact in 6 months time that we won’t have any choices.” Hodges says museum staff are committed to helping Miller and the others find grant money from the university’s endowment, the U.S. National Science Foundation, and other sources and says he’s “very certain” that Miller will still be at the museum on 1 June. “We have no interest in getting rid of decent scholars,” Hodges says. The 18 affected scholars were originally brought in on grants but in the last several years have been supported under the museum’s operating budget.last_img read more

The tires on your car threaten Asian biodiversity

first_imgScientists are warning of yet another growing threat to biodiversity in Southeast Asia: rubber plantations. Over the past decade, more than 2 million hectares of forests and farms worldwide have been turned into rubber plantations. The biggest impact has been in Southeast Asia—including the Xishuangbanna region of southwest China—which hosts 84% of the world’s 9.9 million hectares planted with rubber trees, according to a new review. The driver is growing demand for rubber products, particularly tires, which consume 70% of annual rubber production. But conservationists hope new efforts to grow rubber more sustainably could curb the ecological impact.For the moment, however, the expansion of rubber plantations is taking a growing toll on flora and fauna. The researchers surveyed previous studies and found that conversion of forest to rubber monoculture significantly decreases the number of bird, bat, and insect species. The change in landscape is particularly hard on specialized and often threatened birds that feed on the fruit and insects found in forests. The team reports that no studies have documented the impact of forest conversion on ungulates, primates, large predators, or waterbirds, but they conclude that it is unlikely these larger animals are unaffected.The impact goes beyond the boundaries of the plantations. Pesticide, herbicide, and sediment runoff leads to eutrophication of area streams, affecting aquatic life. The loss of smaller trees and shrubs leads to soil erosion and increased landslide risk. And rubber trees soak up deep soil moisture, making it harder for native vegetation to thrive.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Not all the rubber plantations have the same deleterious effects. Some growers embrace agroforestry practices, in which rubber trees are mixed in with native vegetation. Agroforests are more benign for biodiversity. But rubber yields are lower than in monoculture plantations where rubber trees completely supplant original trees and shrubs.”Together, these findings show that rubber expansion could substantially exacerbate the extinction crisis in Southeast Asia,” report Eleanor Warren-Thomas, a conservation scientist at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, U.K., and colleagues online today in Conservation Letters.The situation is likely to get worse. The researchers cite separate studies suggesting that global rubber consumption will grow 3.5% annually in the near term. The team then projected what this would mean for rubber land use under various scenarios, including expansion of rubber plantations at current yields, more intense cultivation that increases yields, and the possibility of losing land now planted in rubber to oil palm. “We estimate that 4.3–8.5 million ha of additional rubber plantations are required to meet projected demand by 2024, threatening significant areas of Asian forest,” the researchers write.There may be hope. Warren-Thomas told ScienceInsider that sustainability certification schemes have been successful in reducing the negative impacts of oil palm and paper and pulp growing practices. A significant number of corporations have agreed to purchase only certified products, and 400 of the world’s largest corporations have pledged to make their supply chains free of deforestation by 2020. A similar effort for rubber has just gotten started. The Sustainable Natural Rubber Initiative launched its pilot phase in January seeking to get growers, processors, traders, and users to comply with voluntary guidelines to produce rubber more sustainably. Warren-Thomas says that with many local governments still eyeing expansion of rubber crops as a development strategy. “At the moment, certification schemes are really one of the only ways to lead to change in these big industries,” she says.She adds that more research is needed to determine the optimum mix of preserved areas, high-yielding monoculture plots, and low-yield agroforests that will meet both conservation and supply goals.One worry is that the certification efforts have been slow to catch on in China, which is the world’s largest consumer of rubber. Warren-Thomas hopes that the world’s major tire manufactures, all of whom do business in China, will embrace the effort.In a sign that the sustainability movement might be gathering strength, yesterday the International Union for Conservation of Nature released a report titled No Net Loss and Net Positive Impact: Approaches for Biodiversity that details how some environmental groups and companies are going beyond the sustainability standards. The report contends that if done right, commercial agriculture and forestry can have a net positive impact on biodiversity.last_img read more

How long should a woman wait to freeze her eggs?

first_imgIn 2012, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine announced that it was no longer “experimental” for a woman to freeze her eggs simply because she wanted to wait to have a child. Since then, demand for the procedure has skyrocketed, even though its costs remain high. Now, scientists say they have figured out—taking economic and biological considerations into account—the best age for women to freeze their eggs if they want to get pregnant as late in life as possible.Two main factors determine when it’s best to freeze human eggs: how viable those eggs will be when thawed and how much it’s going to cost. The longer a woman waits to freeze her eggs, the less likely they are to result in a live birth. Yet, older women get more bang for their buck by freezing their eggs, because the procedure benefits them most; young women potentially waste money freezing their eggs because they’ll still likely be quite fertile a few years down the line.To figure out the best age for women to freeze their eggs, researchers gathered data from national registries and surveys of pregnancies and fertility treatments, ongoing research studies of natural conception rates, and medical records from a national network of infertility practices. They then created decision models to compare the probability of live birth when a woman either froze her eggs for a specific number of years or decided to wait that specific number of years to try to get pregnant by natural methods or in vitro fertilization if needed. The team ran the models at ages ranging from 25 to 40 years old and assumed that conception attempts would begin 3, 5, or 7 years after the initial decision to freeze or not. (Those horizon years are arbitrary; no data exist on the average time between egg freezing and use.)Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Egg freezing offered the greatest advantage over not freezing when the wait period was 7 years, the team reports in Fertility and Sterility. For that longer timespan, the researchers found that although egg freezing always costs more than not freezing, it also increased the chances of a live birth for all ages. For women under 32, however, that increase was minimal—less than 10%, the threshold the researchers considered “clinically significant”—and generally not worth the expense of freezing, because a woman’s natural fertility is still relatively high. The largest improvement came when eggs were frozen at age 37, increasing the probability of live birth at age 44 from 21.9% to 51.6%.Fertility rates, however, are most strongly influenced by the age of a woman’s eggs. As a result, the nearly 52% probability of a successful pregnancy using those eggs frozen in time at age 37 is lower than what many women and their doctors consider acceptable. According to the study, most women would have to freeze their eggs by age 34 to have at least a 70% chance of live birth. Considering the researchers found that egg freezing provided the most improvement in live birth rates over not freezing after age 30, “we feel the sweet spot for those electing to freeze is age 31 to 33,” says co-author Tolga Mesen, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the Fertility Clinic at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.Oocyte cryopreservation is relatively new, and there is limited information about the use of frozen eggs for the prevention of age-related fertility decline. As a result, “studies like this are based on hypothetical assumptions,” says Dominic Stoop, director of the Centre for Reproductive Medicine at UZ Brussel in Belgium. Still, “the data inputs for these models are some of the best I’ve seen,” says Wendy Vitek, a reproductive endocrinologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. “Besides, women want these answers now. Modeling is an effective way to get the data that we’re interested in now.”last_img read more

‘Monogamous’ penguins spend most of their year apart

first_imgWith its spiky head plumage and intense red eyes, the southern rockhopper penguin (Eudyptes chrysocome, seen above) looks more like a slightly predatory guy at a college party than a committed monogamous partner. But these males mate for life, reuniting with the same female year after year during mating season. Despite their monogamous mating patterns, however, the birds really don’t spend much time together,  according to a new study. Using GPS trackers mounted to the penguins’ legs, scientists monitored 16 birds from a colony in the Falkland Islands over the course of a mating season. The data show that males arrived at the nesting site approximately 6 days before their female counterparts and stayed about 6 days longer. However, the short mating season means the pairs are only united for about 20 to 30 days a year. And when they were separated, it was usually by a large distance: During the winter months, partners were separated by an average distance of about 600 km, and one pair was observed as far as 2500 km apart, the team reports online today in Biology Letters. Despite the large spatial segregation, their habitats were quite similar, ruling out the possibility that partners are spending the winter months apart because of sex-based differences in habitat or food preference. So why don’t the birds just stick together? So far it’s still a mystery, but the team speculates that if the birds arrived at and left the nesting site at the same time, they’d be much more likely to spend the winter together. But because the females show up late and leave early, the cost of finding one another after a week of dispersing through the open ocean might not be worth it—it’s easier to just meet back at the nesting site next year.last_img read more

Cleveland Clinic will discipline doctor who wrote antivaccination column

first_imgThe Cleveland Clinic yesterday released an apology from a staff physician who published an antivaccination column late last week on the news website Cleveland.com. The doctor, Daniel Neides, will be “appropriately disciplined,” the Ohio hospital added in its own statement, which noted that the family physician’s views do not reflect his institution’s.”Cleveland Clinic is fully committed to evidence-based medicine,” the clinic stated. “Harmful myths and untruths about vaccinations have been scientifically debunked in rigorous ways. We completely support vaccinations to protect people, especially children who are particularly vulnerable.” Neides is the medical director and chief operating officer of the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute, an alternative medicine arm of the prestigious, traditional hospital. His repetition, without evidence, of claims that vaccine ingredients—preservatives and so-called adjuvants, which enhance the body’s response to the vaccine—are dangerous, as well as the long-discredited assertion that vaccines cause autism, ignited a storm of criticism from doctors on Twitter, as STAT reports. In his statement yesterday, Neides backtracked: “I apologize and regret publishing a blog that has caused so much concern and confusion for the public and medical community. I fully support vaccinations and my concern was meant to be positive around the safety of them.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)STAT also notes that the Ohio hospital is far from alone among major medical centers in supporting so-called alternative medicine, because patients want it and are willing to pay for it. The National Institutes of Health also funds the $131 million National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.last_img read more

Expedition probes ocean trench’s deepest secrets

first_img (Graphic) A. Cuadra/Science; (Data) South China Sea Institute of Oceanology Another possible explanation for the topography is a tear in the Pacific Plate, which would make the plate more supple and able to dip more steeply, says Patricia Fryer, a geologist at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. Seismic activity in the trench, monitored by distant seismometer stations, hint at a tear. The newly emplaced deep-sea seismometers have an unprecedented capacity to map tremors under the trench and provide definitive answers, Fryer says.Douglas Wiens, a geophysicist at Washington University in St. Louis in Missouri who led the 2012 expedition, also hopes for clues to whether anything more than luck explains the lack of giant earthquakes at the Mariana Trench. Seismic data should reveal whether the plates are “tightly coupled”—capable of accumulating stresses that can trigger larger quakes—or slide easily past each other. One hint of weak coupling at a subduction zone is the presence of serpentinite—a mineral formed when seawater carried down by a descending plate reacts with mantle rock. Wiens says the 2012 expedition detected serpentinite as deep as 21 kilometers beneath the central Mariana Trench. Serpentinite tends to slide rather than stick, which could bode well for continued quiet at the trench. Other scientists aren’t reassured, however. “The trench may be perfectly capable of much bigger quakes,” says Lin, “but our records are just too short to detect them.” By Jane QiuJan. 11, 2017 , 9:00 AM BEIJING—The Mariana Trench “is a little crazy,” Jian Lin says. The scythe-shaped cleft in the western Pacific sea floor, 2550 kilometers long, plunges nearly 11 kilometers, deeper than any other place in the oceans. But what wows Lin, a marine geophysicist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, is the zany topography. The trench marks a subduction zone, where one slab of crust slides beneath another. But whereas many other subducting plates slope gradually downward, in the Mariana the Pacific Plate dives nearly vertically.Scientists have long wondered what accounts for that precipitous dive, and why the massive earthquakes that generate long-ranging tsunamis at other subduction zones have not been recorded in the trench. Now, a Chinese-U.S. team has planted an array of seismometers on the Mariana’s slopes. By listening for seismic waves, says Lin, a project co-leader, the 5-year, $12 million Mariana Trench initiative aims to image in fine detail the warped rock layers in and around the trench, looking for clues as to what shapes them.“It’s very exciting,” says Robert Stern, a geologist at the University of Texas in Dallas, who is not involved in the effort. “It should provide valuable insight into the peculiar characteristics of the deepest place on Earth.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The initiative focuses on the trench’s deepest spot, a slot-shaped valley called the Challenger Deep. Battling rough seas, scientists aboard the Chinese research vessel Shiyan 3 last month deployed 33 broadband seismometers around the trench, at depths of up to 8137 meters (see map, below). Able to withstand pressures of up to 1000 atmospheres—greater than any other seismometers—the instruments can pick up vibrations from earthquakes and from powerful air guns aboard the research ship, which probe the rock underpinning the trench.Investigators plan to compare the data with findings from a seismology campaign in 2012 in the shallower central Mariana Trench, where the dipping angle is more gradual. That should let them “test various hypotheses about why the Challenger Deep behaves so strangely,” says expedition chief scientist Sun Jinlong, a marine geophysicist at the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology in Guangzhou, China. In a modeling study, the team reproduced the Challenger Deep’s topography and fissure pattern only after factoring in a massive and mysterious downward force tugging at the Pacific Plate.  Expedition probes ocean trench’s deepest secretscenter_img The remotely operated vehicle Deep Discoverer exploring the Mariana Trench at a depth of 6000 meters in 2016. A new effort aims to understand the trench’s unusual geodynamics.  Going deep A Chinese-U.S. team placed 33 ocean-bottom seismometers on the sea floor around the Mariana Trench to better understand its geodynamics. NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research last_img read more

Qatar’s science suffers under Arab blockade

first_img Qatar’s science suffers under Arab blockade For the third year running, Qatar last week put on a major conference in Doha showcasing the Middle East’s growing efforts in genomics and precision medicine. But unlike in previous years, star speakers from Saudi Arabia were absent from the event.That nation and three others—Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Egypt—abruptly severed diplomatic ties with Qatar in early June, citing the Qatari government’s purported support for terrorism. They also imposed sanctions on the gulf state, hampering its decadelong effort to build a world-class scientific infrastructure and catalyze research in the region. “Everyone is losing when it comes to science,” says Hilal Lashuel, a neuroscientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne and a former executive director of the Qatar Biomedical Research Institute.Qatar’s scientific community is tiny: It has about 2000 research staff, including several hundred scientists, many of whom are expats. But to wean itself off income from natural gas and develop a knowledge economy, the government has sunk billions of dollars into R&D. Qatar increasingly punches above its weight in science, having more than doubled its output of scientific papers tracked by Web of Science since 2013. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Giuseppe Masci/Alamy Stock Photo Qatar University’s collaborations with universities in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have ended.center_img The 6-month-old diplomatic freeze is a setback for those efforts. After Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain ordered their citizens to leave Qatar, students and visiting scientists had to pack their bags, along with Qataris in the blockade countries. “It disrupted or ended the education of students,” says Mariam Al-Maadeed, vice president for research and graduate studies at Qatar University in Doha. “Regionally, this is unparalleled,” adds Steven Wright, a political scientist also at Qatar University. He estimates that several hundred students withdrew and went home.The blockade also disrupted shipments to Qatar of lab reagents and equipment, which came mostly from UAE. Workarounds through other countries are now in place, but Qatari researchers can’t easily exchange materials with their gulf neighbors. According to one researcher, a geneticist who comes across a patient with a novel, disease-causing mutation, for example, can’t send DNA samples to colleagues in Saudi Arabia who have seen similar cases.The blockade has put on hold some grants with Egypt, UAE, and Saudi Arabia in fields from solid state physics to coral reefs sponsored by the Qatar National Research Fund. King Abdullah University of Science & Technology in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia, told faculty on five grants to end the projects, says Hamad Al-Ibrahim, executive vice president of research and development at the Qatar Foundation in Doha, which steers many of the country’s research efforts. Scientists in the emirates could face jail time and fines if they show sympathy for Qatar, creating “an environment of fear,” says one Doha-based U.S. scientist. Even without a directive to halt collaborations, UAE’s ban on money transfers from Qatar complicates efforts to pay some of the grants, a Qatar Foundation official says.Another casualty of the tensions are eight projects in biomedicine and other areas, funded in 2016 by Qatar University and four Saudi and UAE universities, Al-Maadeed says. She and Al-Ibrahim emphasize that those grants were a tiny fraction of Qatar’s international collaborations, which include many other countries. “The impact on our scientific activities is nil. It was just scientific diplomacy,” Al-Ibrahim insists.Still, a sense of isolation is creeping in, researchers in Qatar say, as contingents from Qatar’s neighbors vanish from scientific meetings, and Qatari scientists are barred from entering UAE, Bahrain, or Saudi Arabia for conferences there. It was “discouraging” to see Qatar’s empty booth at an international diabetes meeting last month in Abu Dhabi, says the U.S. scientist in Doha.Lashuel, for his part, is dismayed that the blockade is stifling nascent biomedical collaborations, because the gulf countries share common disease challenges that are best tackled through coordination and leveraging their collective R&D investments. “None of these countries,” he says, “have the resources, the human capital to do globally impactful research on their own.”With reporting by Eli Kintisch. By Jocelyn KaiserDec. 18, 2017 , 4:20 PMlast_img read more

2018 March for Science will be far more than street protests

first_img The March for Science has matured. It may even have outgrown its name.What began last year as a primal scream against newly elected U.S. President Donald Trump and his policies shows signs of becoming a movement. This year’s second worldwide event, set for 14 April, will likely feature fewer sites and smaller crowds. But the passion remains, transforming a single day of grassroots mass protest into sustained global expressions of support for science.The overall coordinating body, for example, has evolved and diversified its activities. The 230,000 people on its mailing list now regularly receive requests to sign online petitions to legislators on timely topics; the most recent letter, for example, urges Congress to support research on gun violence. They can also participate in a Vote for Science campaign that highlights a different issue each month—last month agriculture, this month the environment, next month health—and ends with an “ask” of elected officials.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Organizers of the San Diego, California, march participate in public outreach events, such as the trademarked “Two Scientists Walk Into a Bar” initiative. March for Science organizers want next week’s event to leave a legacy beyond abandoned signs. By Jeffrey MervisApr. 4, 2018 , 10:35 AM JEFF MALET PHOTOGRAPHY/NEWSCOM And that’s not all. In July, hundreds of activists will gather in Chicago, Illinois, for a 3-day “summit” to learn community organizing and communications skills, find out about projects in other cities, and recruit volunteers for their own efforts. By the end of May the organization hopes to make its first round of community grants, small awards to seed a handful of grassroots projects being launched by affiliated groups around the world. The initial funding for the grants comes from sales of a book, Science Not Silence: Voices from the March for Science Movement, a keepsake that captures the unprecedented 2017 march in words and pictures.“Last year the goal was to get people out in support of science,” says Caroline Weinberg, one of the founders of the March for Science and the interim executive director of the overall organization. “This year we trying to put more emphasis on direct advocacy.”Organizers were stunned by the number of people—more than 1 million—who took to the streets last year in some 450 cities around the world. Nobody expects the total for this year’s events to match that outpouring, and organizers are also avoiding overhyping the flagship march in Washington, D.C.Even so, more than 200 satellite marches are scheduled, about one-quarter outside the United States. And some countries, notably Mexico, see a march as the best way to rally public support behind a platform to strengthen the scientific community as well as to promote the value of science to society.Flexible tiesSince January 2017, Weinberg has seen March for Science grow from an ad hoc, all-volunteer body to an international organization with a paid staff of 10 scattered around the United States. (AAAS, which publishes Science, is a major sponsor.) Decisions are made collaboratively by the staff and a 10-person board comprised of representatives from satellite groups around the world.The satellite marches will soon have three options for linking to the mothership, Weinberg says. Being a chapter will reflect the closest ties and provide the greatest access to resources. In contrast, “no contract” status will allow local groups to use the March for Science logo and tap into its resources without requiring adherence to the organization’s policies and practices. The third option, an affiliate, “is a step between the two,” says Weinberg, who lives in New York City. The organization is actively recruiting a permanent head, she adds, but there are no plans to set up a brick-and-mortar headquarters in any location.Keeping it localMany satellite organizations have also diversified well beyond their roles in pulling off the inaugural march. Some have tapped into the continued enthusiasm—and surplus contributions—from last year’s march to create nonprofit organizations that have become year-round advocates for science in their communities.Given a nationwide election in November, many U.S. groups say electing more science-friendly candidates to local, state, and federal offices is a high priority. In San Diego, California, march organizers received “requests from three different groups to set voter registration booths, and we said yes to all of them,” says Navid Zohoury, co–lead organizer of the event and a chemist at Inova Diagnostics, a local biotech company. “Voter registration is playing a much bigger role for us this year.”But the march is only one of several activities organized by a new nonprofit, San Diego for Science, that evolved from last year’s march. The umbrella organization is also helping out with “Two Scientists Walk Into a Bar®,” in which pairs of scientists spend 2 hours talking with patrons in 25 bars about whatever is on their minds.“We’re trying to demystify science,” says Zohoury, adding that the button he and others wear for the event—“I’m a scientist. Ask me anything”—is a great conversation starter. Begun 3 years ago by the city’s Fleet Science Center, “Two Scientists” has hopes of becoming a nationwide phenomenon.In Oklahoma City, science advocates won’t be staging a march on 14 April. Last month, organizers rescheduled their event for the fall in anticipation of a statewide teachers strike that began this week. Now, a Vote for Science fair will be used as “a lead-up to the general election,” with marchers making their presence felt at the state capital, says Jocelyn Barton, a clinical psychologist and president of the local March for Science group. An April march would also have strained the capacity of their more activist members, she admits. The strike “is where all the energy is right now,” she says. 2018 March for Science will be far more than street protests HENRY ARROYO/ENZOGRAFIA PHOTOGRAPHY Oklahoma City organizers aren’t alone in having to accommodate external factors. Many sites have shifted from a march to a rally or fairlike event because other events claimed their preferred venue, or to hold down costs. Organizers in Blacksburg, Virginia, initially moved their march up 1 day to avoid clashing with an annual scrimmage by the local university’s football team that draws tens of thousands of spectators as well as a chocolate festival in the city. They eventually reclaimed the 14 April date after conferring with local police.Satellite organizers also face “march fatigue.” There are now marches “going on practically every weekend, so burnout is definitely a factor,” says Mark Shapiro, a retired physicist at California State University in Fullerton, who this year is reprising his role as lead organizer for the Fullerton march. He notes his march is the only one scheduled this year for Orange County, which hosted four last year.A complicated global pictureEuropean organizers are also expecting many fewer marches, and some countries won’t be holding any. There’s no shortage of reasons.“Fake news everywhere, poor budgets, little recognition from the society: It’s all exhausting,” says Léa Verdière, a graduate student in biology at the University of Rennes in France who heads the team planning a 3-hour march there. “Ironically, those are also some of the reasons why we will march.”In Brussels, the chronic tensions between national and EU scientific organizations foiled plans for a march this year. “We found that many groups had quite different reasons for marching for science, and they weren’t all compatible,” says Charlotte Thorley, a communications specialist and chair of the Science March Brussels organizing team. “Because of where we are, there is also a split between whether we march for Europe or for Belgium, and even within Belgium there are issues with whether we march for Flanders or Wallonia,” a reference to the Dutch- and French-speaking regions of the country.Randy Caldwell, an organizer in Munich, Germany, says that he and his colleagues opted for an alternative to a march, which they worried might convey a confrontational tone. “It will be more of a pro-fest than a protest,” Caldwell says. The lack of strong support for the event from any of the city’s major universities, he adds, “shows why marching on is so important.”Australian organizers are expecting about the same number of local marches as last year. “We encourage everyone to come out and show their support,” says Taylor Szyszka, a graduate biochemistry student at the University of Sydney and spokesperson for the March for Science Australia.Some cities will be seeing their first science marches as organizers welcome more chances to hit the streets. In Mexico, organizers hope that growing enthusiasm—they expect marches in at least 14 cities this year, up from 12 in 2017—will help highlight the problems facing the nation’s academic scientists. “Nothing has changed for good, only bad,” since last year’s event, says Camilo Alcantara Concepción, a biology professor at the University of Guanajuato.A march in transitionElsewhere, however, local organizers are sensing that a march may no longer capture all the pro-science messages that they want to express.“We might be in a transition year,” says Angela Jordan, president of the March for Science organization in Mobile, Alabama. “Last year we marched and heard from speakers,” says Jordan, a research development coordinator at the University of South Alabama there. “This year we want it to be more of a science festival,” with interactive events for the public and posters from winning student science fair projects supplementing the rally.Thorley notes that “marches need something to rally against,” and that the threat of funding cuts at U.S. science agencies, restrictions to mobility, and attempts to muzzle government scientists offered plenty of tinder to stoke U.S. passions. “In the EU we don’t have that.” Instead of a march or rally, the Brussels group will offer a 3-hour program on the value of evidence and international collaboration.Not on Earth DayAnother sign of the movement’s growing maturity is its decision not to again hold the march on Earth Day, which this year falls on 22 April. “Earth Day is a very powerful event, and we decided to let it stand on its own,” Weinberg says.Last year’s national march had a strong environmental flavor, including a keynote address from Dennis Hayes, a lead organizer of the first Earth Day in 1970. This year’s speakers include oceanographer and climate advocate David Titley, dancer and chemist Crystal Dilworth, astrophysicist Hakeem Oluseyi, and health and social policy professor Susan Sorenson.The March for Science will continue long after the speeches have ended, however. In July, a “March for Science Summit” will be “all about skill-building” for outreach, organizing, and advocacy, says Stephanie Fine Sasse, a staffer based in San Francisco, California, who’s leading the planning. She’d like participants to “leave the meeting with the feeling that they can do something they couldn’t do before.”Fine Sasse is also coordinating the group’s first wave of community grants, which will total $10,000. She hopes additional fundraising will allow the grants programs to grow.Whatever the future holds, the national leaders of March for Science think that its name will remain relevant. “Over time it may become a metaphor,” Fine Sasse says. “But for now, the March for Science serves its purpose as a branding tool and a way to gain visibility.”With reporting by Dennis Normile in Shanghai, China; Lizzie Wade in Mexico City; Catherine Matacic in Washington, D.C.; and Hinnerk Feldwisch-Drentrup in Berlin.*Correction 4 April, 7 p.m.: This story has been updated to correct the name of the San Diego organization and the nature of the relationship between the satellite groups and the national entity.last_img read more

Spurred by opioid epidemic, new pain drugs may lower the risk of overdose and addiction

first_img By Robert F. ServiceAug. 29, 2018 , 2:00 PM Synthetic opioids, such as this fentanyl captured in a drug raid, have caused an alarming rise in overdose deaths. BOSTON—As the opioid crisis continues to ravage U.S. communities, scientists and drug companies have intensified their efforts to develop safer and less addictive pain medications. Now, multiple research groups are claiming progress in devising novel opioids—or alternatives—that seem to offer pain relief with far less risk of addiction or of the opioid-induced respiratory depression that all too commonly leads to death.Most of these studies, reported at a meeting here and in a paper released this week, have only been done in animals, so the experimental compounds face significant hurdles before they can become approved medications. Yet they are raising tentative hopes among researchers. “It’s encouraging,” says Laura Bohn, a biochemist at Scripps Research in Jupiter, Florida. “There has been a really big push to develop nonopioid pain relievers. But it has been really hard.”A record 72,000 people in the United States died last year from overdoses, up nearly 10% from 2016, according to an estimate this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That rise was driven primarily by an increase in overdoses from highly potent synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and carfentanil. Another 2.1 million Americans are believed to regularly abuse opioids, including natural ones like morphine, semisynthetic compounds such as oxycodone, and the synthetics, and have signs of addiction, such as withdrawal symptoms, if they try to quit.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Opioids are powerful pain relievers because they bind to a key cell membrane protein, known as the µ-opioid receptor (MOR), on neurons in the brain and spinal cord. Once activated, the MOR triggers an intracellular “G protein” to initiate a molecular cascade that leads to pain relief. But traditional opioids also activate another intracellular protein, β-arrestin2, which produces respiratory depression and constipation, the most common opioid side effects for such drugs. Several “biased opioids,” including one now under review by the Food and Drug Administration, offer pain relief while reducing β-arrestin2 activation, but it’s not clear whether they are less addictive than conventional opioids.At last week’s meeting of the American Chemical Society here, Neel Anand, a senior director for medicinal chemistry at Nektar Therapeutics, a biotech firm in South San Francisco, California, described an approach that might help. Nektar’s drug, called NKTR-181, is a version of oxycodone to which researchers have linked a molecular tail called polyethylene glycol, a common pharmaceutical strategy for extending the life span of medicines in the blood. Anand reported that in animal studies, NKTR-181 crosses the blood-brain barrier 70 times more slowly than oyxcodone. Instead of a sharp spike in both pain relief and euphoria, caused by an upsurge of the neurotransmitter dopamine in brain regions tied to addiction, NKTR-181 triggers a slower release of dopamine that produces flatter, more sustained pain relief and less euphoria. In clinical studies of more than 600 patients taking the compound, Nektar researchers found far fewer signs of addiction than in patients given oxycodone, as well as fewer side effects.”It clearly works” as a painkiller, says Steven McKerrall, a medicinal chemist with Genentech in South San Francisco. “They’ve built [a timed release] into the drug itself.” But McKerrall and others caution that opioid addicts have devised strategies to defeat other abuse-resistant formulations, for example, by crushing pills that have timed-release coatings. “Addicts will always find a way,” Bohn says.They might have a tougher time with a compound developed by Astraea Therapeutics, a biotech company in Mountain View, California, that hits two brain molecules at once. AT-121 stimulates not only MOR, but also a close cousin known as the nociceptin opioid receptor (NOR). When activated in the brain, NOR appears to counteract MOR. At the same time, it reinforces MOR’s pain relieving activity elsewhere in the central nervous system, says Nurulain Zaveri, Astraea’s founder and chief scientific officer. The drug isn’t the first to target both receptors—another one is already in phase III trials for diabetic nerve pain, among other uses, but that compound targets other receptors as well, and animal studies suggest it may have addictive properties.In this week’s issue of Science Translational Medicine, Zaveri and academic colleagues in the United States and Japan report that rhesus monkeys given AT-121 experienced 100-fold greater pain relief than the same dose of morphine provided. Yet the drug did not trigger respiratory depression, addictivelike behaviors, or even tolerance, where more of a compound is needed over time to produce the same desirable effects such as pain relief. AT-121 even appears to counteract addiction to standard opioids, such as oxycodone, Zaveri says. Monkeys hooked on oxycodone and trained to self-administer the drug sharply reduced further drug seeking when given AT-121. “It looks very promising,” Bohn says of the new compound.Avoiding opioid receptors altogether is another appealing strategy for relieving pain with a reduced risk of addiction, says Roger Kroes, senior director for discovery science at Aptinyx, a biotech firm in Evanston, Illinois, who described one of his company’s compounds at the meeting. Called NYX-2925, it activates the NMDA receptor, which helps strengthen neural synapses involved in learning and memory. Although acute pain doesn’t involve a learned component, chronic pain is thought to bring about long-term neural changes orchestrated, in part, by NMDA receptors.Many well-known drugs that block these receptors—among them ketamine and methadone—can relieve pain and can be less addictive than opioids. But these compounds hit other targets as well and have widespread side effects. NYX-2925, however, is more selective, data show. At the meeting, Kroes reported that in preclinical studies on mice and rats, the compound reduced pain and led to a remodeling of synapses involved in learning and memory, essentially rewiring neural circuitry away from being habituated to pain.The results “were pretty exciting,” says Ben Milgram, a medicinal chemist with Amgen in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who attended the meeting. Aptinyx is now testing NYX-2925 in two phase II clinical studies in people with diabetic nerve pain and fibromyalgia, a disease marked by widespread muscle and skeletal pain.Drugs designed to deliver the benefits of opioids without the deadly risks can easily falter. At the meeting, researchers from Genentech, Merck & Co., and Amgen described compounds designed to tamp down yet another nonopioid receptor target, a protein called Nav1.7. Although all found their target and reduced pain in animals, they proved weaker on other scores; for example, some were poorly absorbed in the blood or blocked other Nav proteins, causing side effects. Still, with the opioid crisis taking an ever-larger toll, even preliminary good news is welcome. CLIFF OWEN/AP PHOTO Spurred by opioid epidemic, new pain drugs may lower the risk of overdose and addictionlast_img read more

How a school of fish is like a rubber band

first_img Andriy Kotlyarov/shutterstock.com When stretched with light signals, rummy-nose tetra schools snap back like rubber bands thanks to purely social forces. To measure the school’s elasticity or springiness, Pokhrel placed 50 tetras in just a few centimeters of water in a large tank, so the fish could only swim horizontally. He shone a light from above, causing the fish to congregate in a square shadow about 25 centimeters wide in the center of the tank. Using computer controls, Pokhrel then split the shadow and moved the two halves apart. In response, the school of fish would stretch out until it suddenly snapped back, with fish darting to one shadow or the other. Pokhrel filmed it all using infrared light the fish cannot see. “Basically, the social forces overcome the external perturbation” of the light, Pokhrel says.Were the school the same as a simple spring, the rate at which the fish accelerate toward the center would increase in proportion with their distance from it. By tracking individual fish, Pokhrel found that, on average, that’s exactly what happened. From the data, he extracted the rate at which acceleration increases with distance—the spring constant—and found that a school of rummy-nose tetra is extremely elastic: Stretch it a given amount and it pulls back with only about one–ten-thousandth the force of a rubber band.Similarly, Julia Giannini, a graduate student at Syracuse University in New York—who until recently worked with Puckett—reported a way to measure an effective “temperature” of a school of tetras. In an ordinary material, temperature is a measure of the average energy of the constituent atoms or molecules.Using the tank, she confined 50 or 100 tetras in a circular shadow about 30 centimeters in radius and then shrank the circle at different speeds, causing the fish to crowd together. Using infrared tracking, she tallied the density of fish in the shadow. Using the individual fishes’ speeds, she calculated a quantity analogous to pressure. Just as with a volume of gas, the pressure increased in proportion to the density. And the constant of proportionality, which depends on the speed at which the circle shrinks, then plays the role of temperature, Giannini told the meeting. A fast-shrinking circle, for example, leads to “hotter” fish. Thus, the school of tetras acts like a gas with a constant, well-defined temperature.The goal of such work is to describe the dynamics of a school of fish or flock of birds using its macroscopic “material” properties, without tracking the individual animals, Puckett says. Just how far you can push the materials analogy remains unclear, he acknowledges. For example, in thermodynamics, when gases of two different temperatures mix, they equilibrate at a common intermediate temperature. It’s not clear whether that would happen with the fish—or even how you could do that experiment, Giannini says.The work has a lot of promise, Goldenfeld says. “They’ve got a way of doing controlled experiments that you can’t do with starlings,” he says. He adds that the work is still in its infancy, but after the talks, Goldenfeld buttonholed Puckett and his team to talk about a possible collaboration. By Adrian ChoMar. 6, 2019 , 8:00 AMcenter_img How a school of fish is like a rubber band BOSTON—Physicists have long noted striking similarities between the movements of flocks of animals and the behavior of atoms and molecules. Now, one physicist has gone further and devised a way to measure the springiness and “temperature” of a school of fish. Such methods may aid physicists in their efforts to analyze flocks of animals as objects made of living “active matter.”To a physicist’s eye, hordes of animals often resemble inanimate physical systems in uncanny ways. For example, mackerel in a school tend to swim in the same direction, aligning their bodies to their neighbors much as iron atoms align their spins to make the metal magnetic. Similarly, a murmuration of starlings wheeling across the sky looks much like fluid droplets as they flow, stretch, and swirl in response to some unseen stirring (perhaps the wind).Such collective behavior arises not because of some grand design, but because each individual moves in response to the animals next to it. “Flocks are held together because the individuals are tracking their neighbors,” says Nigel Goldenfeld, a physicist at the University of Illinois in Urbana who was not involved in the new work. “They’re not paying any attention to the flock as a whole.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Describing a flock as a material system isn’t easy, however, because the individual interactions aren’t physical but social. Nevertheless, James Puckett, a physicist at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, and his students have found a way to measure material properties of a school of rummy-nose tetras (Hemigrammus rhodostomus), a freshwater tropical fish about 3.5 centimeters long that originated in South America. The tetras stick together but have no social hierarchy and avoid light, Aawaz Pokhrel, an undergraduate student working with Puckett told a meeting of the American Physical Society here on 4 March. That makes them ideal for group experiments.last_img read more

Life thrives in Antarctic hot spots created by seal and penguin poop

first_img By Helen SantoroMay. 9, 2019 , 11:00 AM Stef Bokhorst Life thrives in Antarctic hot spots created by seal and penguin poopcenter_img In the desolate Antarctic landscape, life is hard to come by—unless you’re near some seal and penguin poop. The nitrogen-rich feces enrich the soil and create hot spots with lots of biological diversity that can extend more than 1000 meters beyond the borders of penguin and seal colonies, according to a new study.Scientists trekked through fields of waste created by elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) and Antarctic penguins, including gentoo (Pygoscelis papua), chinstrap (P. antarcticus, pictured), and Adélie penguins (P. adeliae). The team examined the soil and plants surrounding these colonies at three separate locations along the Antarctic peninsula. Where there are more seals and penguins—and more of their poop—there was more biodiversity in the land, the researchers report today in Current Biology.The feces partially evaporate as ammonia, which then can get blown more than 1000 meters inland by the wind and is absorbed into the soil, the scientists note. This ammonia then creates a cycle of nutrient enrichment: The nitrogen is consumed by plants and lichens, which in turn support an incredible number of invertebrates, including mites, springtails, and roundworms. In fact, the team identified millions of invertebrates per square meter of soil surrounding the seal and penguin colonies—up to eight times higher than the number found in other parts of the peninsula.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)These findings offer scientists a stronger understanding of how life can thrive in the coldest place on Earth. Now, the big question is whether these biodiversity hot spots will create perfect breeding grounds for something else: invasive plant species that can threaten the future of these environments.last_img read more

VAR ‘lacks clear protocols’

first_img Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/ Retired referee Paolo Casarin and former FIGC President Carlo Tavecchio claim VAR is being misused because there are “no clear protocols.” The technology has caused a great deal of controversy, most recently with several incidents on Wednesday night, infuriating Napoli, Roma and Genoa. “The referees have the power to make decisions, they have to use VAR, it’s an instrument that is there to help them,” Tavecchio told Radio Punto Nuovo. “They need clear protocols, because currently there is too much liberty given to officials and they make mistakes. Nobody is putting the referee’s status into doubt, but VAR is there to avoid errors and the Video Assistant Referee should have more power in penalty box incidents.” The issue of whether a decision is a ‘clear and obvious error’ remains a major problem, as often the VAR doesn’t feel equipped to intervene. Taking advantage of the technology and the referee checking for himself would at least ensure more consistency, but many are reticent to use it. Former referee Casarin was even harsher in his criticism in an interview with the Corriere dello Sport. “I cannot understand why the referees don’t make the most of such a powerful tool to minimise errors. I want to make clear, it can only minimise errors, never eliminate them completely. “There is a bigger problem in play here, and that is behind the scenes. Those at the top of football, I can only assume, are not convinced by VAR. “Either they decide that VAR is of no real interest or they can say this is the path now, anyone who doesn’t like it can leave. “It is unacceptable that in the third season of VAR, we have not yet been able to create a reliable protocol. It’s obvious then that the referees and VAR officials don’t know what to do, so there is no uniformity. VAR has to be written into the rules and give certainty to those who use it. “Referees should feel empowered to use the technology that is open to them, without hiding behind protocol. In the old days, a referee could make a mistake and say he was alone out there, he had to make a split-second decision. Now the only referees who are alone are the ones who want to be in that situation. “I do believe making the dialogue between the referee and VAR booth would be useful, but probably after the game rather than during it.” Casarin also has no time for the new clampdown on handball, which removed some of the protections for an ‘involuntary’ gesture. “Are we meant to teach kids to play with their arms behind their backs at all times? Cards are flying around too now, including to coaches who set one toe out of their technical area. “The handball rules are just meant to increase the number of goals and penalties scored.”last_img read more

Suso hits back at Salvini

first_img Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/ Milan winger Suso hit back at Lega Nord leader Matteo Salvini after the politician criticised his “grit and desire to play football.” Former Deputy Prime Minister of Italy Salvini is a life-long Rossoneri supporter and has often publicly lambasted the players, coach and directors. When the official Milan Instagram account wished Suso a happy birthday, Salvini replied sarcastically. “Hoping that Father Christmas brings you a bit of pace, grit and desire to play football.” Much to the enjoyment of Rossoneri fans, Suso clapped back at the far-right politician. “Thank you. Hoping that Father Christmas brings you a bit of pace, grit and desire to manage better, much better, a country that I love.”last_img read more

CWG cost shot up by 1500 pc, work may not be over in time: BJP

first_imgA view of the Delhi Games venue.BJP today accused the authorities of inflating the cost of Commonwealth Games by 1500 per cent and expressed fears that construction work related to the event may not be completed on time.”The cost of the Games has astronomically shot up by 1500 per cent from the initial assessment. This is a matter of serious economic irregularity….While in 2002 Manchester Games USD 14.63 million were spent, in CWG 2006 at Melbourne it was USD 1 billion, but in CWG 2010, it would be 18 times more,” BJP General Secretary Vijay Goel said.The BJP leader maintained that when the NDA government won the right to hold the Games, the budget was Rs 132 crore for the stadia which has now shot up to Rs 3389 crore. The Games will now cost Rs 87,000 crore. “It is a tragedy that in the name of speedy construction, many procedural requirements have been blatantly violated in tenders and bidding,” he said.Expressing concern at the “slow” speed of work, Goel asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ensure that the projects are completed on a “war footing”.He further alleged that despite Singh’s intervention and appointment of many officials to supervise the Games preparations, the situation had not improved.”The successful start and completion of the Games seems to be a far cry… We are moving very slow and in a slipshod manner… It is an ultra alarming situation. Only a miracle can bring about in-time readiness of the infrastructure,” Goel said.He alleged that though only 70 days were left for the Games to begin, the differences between the Union Sports Ministry, the Organising Committee headed by Suresh Kalmadi and the Delhi government relating to the forthcoming event had not been resolved.advertisementGoel said the construction work was not being undertaken in a planned manner as was visible from “excavations” going on across Delhi.”The whole city still lies totally dug-up,” he said. He alleged that a lot of money was being wasted in such unplanned digging and “inexplicable expenditures”.Pull out by athletes does not bother us: Lieutenant GovernorDelhi Lieutenant Governor Tejindra Khanna said he was not bothered about several star athletes pulling out of the Commonwealth Games as it was upto individual players to decided on their participation.”Those who want to come will come. Those who do not want to come will not come. We are only bothered about making arrangements as per international standards,” he said when asked about withdrawal of several top players from the mega event.”We will leave no stone unturned in our preparation to make the event a great success,” Khanna, who held a high-level meeting on Saturday to review the city’s overall preparations, said.Scottish cycling star Chris Hoy is the latest Olympic champion to withdraw from the Games after Jamaican sprinters Usain Bolt and Shelly Ann Fraser decided to give a miss to the October 3-14 Games.Taking strong exception to pullout of some of the star athletes, Union Sports Minister M S Gill had last week asked CGF President Mike Fennell to bring those champions to New Delhi instead of an army of officials.Gill had said the Games would lose “sheen, interest and its very objective” if star players would not turn up.Beijing Olympic gold medallist Hoy, who also won gold medals in 2002 and 2006 Commonwealth Games, informed Commonwealth Games Scotland (CGS) last week that he is no longer available for selection for the Delhi Games.CWG security: Delhi Police procuring armoured vehiclesAmid fears that terrorists might try to target the Commonwealth Games, Delhi Police is procuring armoured vehicles and will be forming a special commando force to ensure that the mega sporting event passes off without any trouble.Gearing up to the challenge of protecting sportspersons of 71 countries, the Delhi Police is making elaborate arrangements for the event to be held from October 3 to 14.”We will be getting three armoured cars. Delhi will be the first city in the country to use such vehicles in policing,” Police Commissioner Y S Dadwal told PTI in an interview.”These vehicles will be moving around the city and (sometimes) stationed at venues,” he said.The vehicles, each carrying 30 commandos, would be deployed to tackle eventualities like terror strikes.One batch of such commandos is ready while two batches are undergoing special training.Besides, the city police is procuring high-end gadgets and equipment.Its personnel are also being specially trained in frisking, search operations and screening baggage through X-Ray machines. Special training on enhancing communication skills and behavioural patterns are also being imparted.advertisement”The force will have a special commando force which will keep a hawk-eye vigil over the city,” Dadwal said.Apart from around 80,000 Delhi Police personnel, over 17,500 paramilitary personnel, 3,000 specialised commandos and 100 anti-sabotage check teams will be deployed across the city.”There will be elaborate security arrangements for the Games. We have got Quick Reaction Teams, commandos and snippers to secure the event as well as the city,” Dadwal said.When asked about Punjab Police claiming that Sikh militants may target the Games, the Commissioner said he was “not aware” of any threat to the event. “No. I have no information (about Punjab Police alert),” Dadwal said.To a question whether the delay in completion of Games-related projects was compromising security preparedness, he said all venues will be ready on time and he did not envisage any problem in this regard.”We know the stadia and the surrounding areas. We know the city very well. So securing them or other areas will not be a problem,” the city police chief said.”As a preventive measure we have asked schools and colleges to remain closed during opening and closing ceremonies,” Dadwal said.Asked whether he envisages any coordination problems with paramilitary forces which are also being drawn for security measures, he answered in the negative and said all the forces will work under his command and control.last_img read more