Month: July 2019

Johns Hopkins researchers identify protein clumps in diseased hearts

0 Comment

first_imgMay 9 2018Similar to how protein clumps build up in the brain in people with some neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, protein clumps appear to accumulate in the diseased hearts of mice and people with heart failure, according to a team led by Johns Hopkins University researchers.In experiments described in the May 11 issue of the journal Circulation Research, the investigators report identifying in diseased hearts the form of the protein that tends to clump, and visualizing it in the heart using a noninvasive positron emission tomography (PET) scan could, they say, lead to advances in monitoring disease progression and testing new therapies.Heart failure is a chronic condition in which the heart doesn’t fill or pump blood as well as it should, leading to excessive fatigue. About 5.7 million people in the U.S. have heart failure, and about half of people diagnosed will die within five years, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”From a molecular standpoint there’s not a unified, clear mechanism for why the heart goes into failure,” says Giulio Agnetti, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and University of Bologna. “But by figuring out this mechanism, we may be able to devise better treatments and diagnostic tools.”Current drugs used to treat heart failure -; such as those that lower blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels -; reduce stress on the heart and symptoms associated with heart failure without necessarily fixing the underlying cause. Once the heart fails to pump, the only treatment in the end is a heart transplant.Previous work by this team, published in 2014, showed that the protein desmin accumulates in clumps called amyloid in the hearts of dogs with heart failure. Desmin is a protein found in the cell’s “skeleton,” or supporting structure, and is known as intermediate filaments. Why it clumps in diseased heart cells isn’t known, Agnetti says.To see if desmin protein clumps are also found in human heart failure, the researchers studied the proteins from heart tissue biopsies from people with or without heart failure. They used a fluorescent antibody commonly used in Alzheimer’s disease research and a new fluorescent stain for amyloid developed by Agnetti to visualize and quantify the desmin protein clumps. They observed twice as many desmin clumps in heart failure patients than those without heart failure.The team used a common mouse model of heart failure to look for desmin clumps. In this model, the aorta -; the main artery coming from the heart -; is surgically constricted, which noticeably raises pressure and stress, and causes heart failure. After four weeks of pressure on the aorta, the mice develop symptoms of heart failure such as an enlarged heart and lung congestion. Desmin amyloid was more than doubled in the heart failure mice when using the same antibody and staining techniques used for the human tissue samples.Then the researchers treated proteins from the mice hearts with epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) -; a chemical from green tea known to break up amyloid. The treatment cut by half the amount of protein clumps.”Interestingly, green tea has already been demonstrated to curb the incidence of cardiovascular disease as well as improve cognitive impairment in Alzheimer’s models, though the mechanism for such action is unclear,” says Agnetti. “EGCG’s ability to ‘de-clump’ these sticky proteins could be one of green tea’s healthy effects. Knowing how this chemical works could open new avenues for designing a new class of drugs that target protein clumping.”Related StoriesMaternal proximity to oil and gas areas associated with congenital heart defects in babiesStudy explores role of iron in over 900 diseasesAlzheimer’s gene may affect cognitive health before adulthood, study findsNext, the researchers wanted to identify the form of desmin that tended to clump. Based on their earlier work, they thought that one or more chemical phosphate groups added to the 27th or 31st building blocks in desmin’s protein structure might affect how the protein clumps. They genetically engineered versions of desmin with one, both or none of the phosphate groups attached to desmin, tagged them with a green fluorescent signal to make them visible, and put them in heart cells using a virus.A week later, using a microscope to track the green glow, the cells with desmin and two phosphate groups were still pumping, and this form of desmin was incorporated in the muscle fibers. The researchers say they believe this shows that the desmin with two phosphate groups is most likely the normal, healthy version of the protein.The cells that had a single phosphate on desmin at the 31st position in the protein’s chain of amino acids contracted more rapidly and had more green clumps, leading the researchers to believe that this behaves as the diseased version of the protein.Agnetti learned from Richard O’Brien, M.D., Ph.D., a former Johns Hopkins neuroscientist now at Duke University, that PET is used to detect protein clumps in the brains of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease patients and can detect the clumps in certain genetic heart conditions that cause excessive protein clump formation. Following O’Brien’s advice, the researchers tested if they could use this noninvasive technique to detect desmin clumps in mice with heart failure. Healthy and heart failure mice were injected with Amyvid, a radioactive dye that allows the researchers to see the protein clumps by PET. The heart failure mice had 13 percent more of the Amyvid taken up in their hearts than the healthy mice.”PET imaging of protein clumps may be eventually used in patients to identify structural changes in the heart as the disease progresses, and this information likely holds prognostic value,” says Peter Rainer, M.D., Ph.D., a former postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins who is now at the Medical University of Graz in Austria. “It could be used as a nice measure of the effect of an intervention to halt or reverse disease progression.”In future experiments, the research team plans to confirm its results in more human tissue samples. The investigators also hope to identify a drug or small molecule to prevent desmin from forming clumps.”There is a lot of emphasis placed on the role of genes in modern times, but we’re born with our genes and at present we can do very little about the ones we have,” says Agnetti. “I think the next step is to follow up with the proteins that are dynamically modified in response to environment, which places a larger emphasis on lifestyle intervention to help prevent diseases. Natural compounds like EGCG in green tea and modified dietary interventions could play a role in keeping us healthy.” Source:https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/heart_failure_the_alzheimers_disease_of_the_heartlast_img read more

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

US Senate Shelves LongDebated Patent Troll Bill

0 Comment

Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) A U.S. Senate bill intended to crack down on frivolous patent lawsuits has floundered after months of negotiation between key stakeholders. The bill aimed to discourage so-called patent trolls—companies that amass patents with no intention of making any product and instead generate revenue by filing suits against allegedly infringing firms. But opponents of the bill—including university groups and biotech firms—feared the Senate’s offensive against patent predators would make it too costly for legitimate patent holders to protect their claims.On Wednesday, Senator Patrick Leahy (D–VT), who introduced the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act in November 2013, pulled it from Thursday’s Judiciary Committee agenda. “Regrettably, competing companies on both sides of this issue refused to come to agreement,” Leahy said in a statement. The bill has been postponed repeatedly, and it is now unlikely that Congress will have time to act on it this year. Email Opponents of the bill claimed certain provisions would make protecting their intellectual property prohibitively risky and expensive. One major concern was a provision that tries to discourage unfounded patent infringement lawsuits by requiring the losing party to pay the winning party’s legal fees. That might force patent trolls to think twice about taking a company to court, but it might also frighten a small business away from entering complicated litigation, says John Vaughn, executive vice president of the Association of American Universities (AAU), a Washington, D.C., group that represents major research campuses. “Universities don’t sue over patents very often, but their startup companies may, and neither universities nor startups have deep litigation budgets,” Vaughn tells ScienceInsider. (AAU supported language that would require the court to consider fee shifting only in certain circumstances.)AAU, along with other organizations including the American Council on Education, the Association of University Technology Managers, and the Biotechnology Industry Organization, issued a letter on 20 May encouraging the committee not to support the bill. Another provision that makes them uneasy is the requirement that a patent holder who files a lawsuit disclose anyone with a financial interest in the patented product. That requirement is intended to prevent large, predatory patent holders from disguising themselves behind small shell companies, but it could also have negative effects on universities, Vaughn says. For one, it could put off venture capitalists who want to remain anonymous when investing in a new technology. The bill’s provisions “are all targeted at abusive practices, and we recognize that,” Vaughn says, but “universities saw unintended consequences that would sweep in legitimate behaviors.”Technology companies, whose tangled assortments of patents make them prime targets for patent trolls, are among the bill’s supporters. The delay in the Senate is “deeply disappointing,” said Michael Beckerman, CEO of the Internet Association, whose members include Google, Facebook, and Amazon, in a statement. Beckerman suggested that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–NV) bypass the Judiciary Committee altogether by calling for a vote on similar legislation that passed in the House of Representatives (over the opposition of university groups) this past December.Meanwhile, two bills now in the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Senate commerce committee aim to put more restrictions on demand letters—notices demanding licensing fees for infringement, which patent trolls often send out en masse with little detail about the patent in question. Vaughn says that compared with the Senate’s broad attempt at reform, this more targeted legislation has a better chance of becoming law this year. read more

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Ratzilla Ancient giant rodent chomped like a crocodile

0 Comment

first_imgAn immense, bison-sized rodent that lived in southern South America about 3 million years ago may have used its thicker-than-your-thumb front teeth much like a modern-day elephant uses its tusks, a new study suggests. Known only from its 53-centimeter-long skull and described less than a decade ago, Josephoartigasia monesi is the largest fossil rodent yet discovered and may have weighed a metric ton (see artist’s conception above). Now, researchers using sophisticated software (the same sort employed to analyze stresses in aircraft parts) have estimated the bite forces the creature might have generated when it chewed. First, the scientists used a CT scanner to create a detailed model of the fossil skull; then they added a model of a lower jaw scaled up from a chinchilla, a close modern-day relative. Simulations suggest that at the rearmost tooth in the jaw, J. monesi’s bite forces measured about 4165 newtons, or about three times higher than those estimated for tigers and midsized crocodiles, the team reports online today in the Journal of Anatomy. At the tips of the creature’s ever-growing front teeth, bite force likely measured only about 1400 newtons. Yet for some inexplicable reason, the researchers say, those front teeth are apparently strong enough to take three times the stress produced by that bite force—a sign that the megarodent may have been using its chompers for something other than chewing. It’s possible that J. monesi used its front teeth to dig up roots, to defend itself against predators, or during fights for territory or for mates, just as modern-day elephants do, the researchers suggest. Future analyses of microwear patterns on the creature’s teeth may provide better insights into Ratzilla’s dietary habits.*Correction, 6 February, 11:22 a.m.: This article has been revised to clarify the region of South America where the fossil skull of this creature was found.last_img read more

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

When is the suns next superflare due

0 Comment

first_imgIn 1859, a massive solar flare bombarded Earth with so much energy that telegraph wires burst into flames, and stunning auroras could be seen as far south as Cuba and Hawaii. Such a powerful event would likely be devastating for our modern world, with the potential to knock out satellites, electrical grids, and technology worldwide. But when can we expect the next superflare? Astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, studied 84 sunlike stars and observed 29 of these supersized solar flares over a 4-year period to find out how often they occur. Good news! A star like our sun will probably experience such an extreme flare only once every 250 to 480 years—astronomers say 350 years is the most likely scenario.  The team presented its findings in a poster at the International Astronomical Union General Assembly in Honolulu this month. Just how “super” is a superflare? The eruptions the team studied to make their prediction were 150 times more powerful than an average flare and at least 10 times more powerful than a 1989 flare that knocked out power to the entire province of Quebec, Canada.last_img read more

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

China pursues fraudsters in science publishing

0 Comment

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Since 2012 scores of authors, many of them Chinese, have been snagged in a peer-review scandal involving papers published in international journals. Journals discovered that authors or their brokers had suggested their own reviewers, provided email addresses to accounts controlled by the perpetrators, and then reviewed their own work. The findings, first reported by the blog Retraction Watch, prompted major publishers to retract scores of papers. In March, the London-based BioMed Central (BMC) began retracting 43 papers, and on 18 August Springer, which owns BioMed Central, said that it would retract 64 papers. Elsevier and SAGE have also retracted papers en masse.In some cases the publishers say that authors weren’t solely to blame. “Some researchers may have innocently become implicated in attempts to manipulate the peer review process by disreputable services,” Elizabeth Moylan, senior editor for research integrity at BMC, wrote on the publisher’s blog last March after an internal investigation. Four months later, Diagnostic Pathology: Open Access, a BMC journal, took the unusual step of updating a retraction notice, noting that the authors’ institute in Shanghai, China, had found that the researchers “intended to purchase language editing services for their manuscript only and did not participate in influencing the peer review process.” The CAST investigation underscores the role of paper brokers, who profit from China’s publish-or-perish mentality. According to People’s Daily, the association contacted each of the 31 Chinese authors who had papers retracted by BMC. (BMC provided CAST with information when asked but did not collaborate on the investigation, says BMC spokesperson Shane Canning.) Fully 29 authors admitted to using a broker, with many shelling out fees ranging from $600 to more than $5500.The CAST investigation identified five companies that helped authors of the retracted papers secure fraudulent peer reviews, People’s Daily noted. (In 2013, before the peer-review scandal came to light, Science published an investigation into China’s paper brokers, uncovering schemes in which scientists could purchase authorship of accepted papers or have papers ghostwritten. One broker singled out by Science was also targeted by the CAST investigation.)The Chinese government is taking steps to prevent fraud. Earlier this month, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) announced that it had investigated authors of 22 retracted papers whom it had supported, revoking funding in egregious cases. If a retracted paper was submitted as the basis for a grant application, “the employer of the offending researcher has to return all of the funding for the grant, regardless of how much of the money has been spent,” NSFC President Yang Wei told Science. For fraud committed after grant approval, the foundation is revoking all money due after a paper’s submission. Because many of the retracted papers were in medical science, China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission is also reacting to the scandals. In September, it released new regulations requiring institutions to fully investigate cases of scientific misconduct and forbidding researchers from signing their names to papers they did not help research or write. Companies that provide legitimate English-language editing services are attempting to distance themselves from less-principled brethren. Last month, six editing companies formed the Alliance for Scientific Editing in China and adopted industry standards, such as requiring members to publish ethics policies and forbidding them from manipulating the peer review process.Such measures may not be sufficient, says Lin Songqing, an editor with the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Wuhan. Until more institutions begin firing scientists who commit fraud, he says, “Paper trading will still exist for a long time.” Science administrators and officials themselves feel pressure to rack up publications, he adds—which gives them “incentive to hide the truth” about publishing abuses. Zhang Yuehong, editor of the Journal of Zhejiang University-SCIENCE in Hangzhou, says more journals should do their own policing, adopting tools like Open Researcher and Contributor ID, which allows editors and readers to easily examine authors’ academic backgrounds.Fighting misconduct is a long-term struggle, Yang warns. “Academic fraud in different varieties comes and goes like tidal waves,” he says. “One has to watch for new forms of fraud constantly.” Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Emailcenter_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country China’s main basic research agency is cracking down on scientists who used fake peer reviews to publish papers, demanding that serious offenders return research funding. The move accompanies an announcement by the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) in Beijing, first reported by state media on 12 November, that it had investigated dozens of scientists involved in peer-review scams. The probe’s findings highlighted the role of China’s many unscrupulous paper brokers, which peddle ghostwritten or fraudulent papers.“If it wasn’t obvious before, it is now difficult to deny China’s research community has serious underlying ethical issues,” says Benjamin Shaw, China director for the English-language editing company Edanz in Beijing. Others caution that the sanctions on discredited authors are not severe enough to deter academic dishonesty. But the coordinated response by funding agencies and CAST, which links China’s science and technology community with the government, suggests China is taking the publishing abuses seriously.last_img read more

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Podcast Street dogs cockroach poop and finding life in the Milky Way

0 Comment

first_imgDo cockroaches use poop to communicate? Are some parts of the Milky Way more habitable than others? And are street dogs really as altruistic as they seem? Science’s Online News Editor David Grimm chats about these stories and more with Science’s Multimedia Producer Sarah Crespi. Plus, Brenden Lake discusses a new computational model that rivals the human ability to learn new concepts based on just a single example.last_img

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Five years after the meltdown is it safe to live near Fukushima

0 Comment

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images How robots are becoming critical players in nuclear disaster cleanup Mystery cancers are cropping up in children in aftermath of Fukushima The biggest challenge at present, Ono says, is contaminated water. Cooling water is continuously poured over the melted cores of units 1, 2, and 3 to keep the fuel from overheating and melting again. The water drains into building basements, where it mixes with groundwater. To reduce the amount of contaminated water seeping into the ocean, TEPCO collects and stores it in 10-meter-tall steel tanks. They now fill nearly every corner of the grounds, holding some 750,000 tons of water. The government is evaluating experimental techniques for cleansing the water of a key radioisotope, tritium. Ono says a solution is sorely needed before the plant runs out of room for more tanks.TEPCO has found ways to divert groundwater from the site, cutting infiltration to about 150 tons per day. Now it’s about to freeze out the rest. Borrowing a technique for making temporary subsurface barriers during tunnel construction, a contractor has driven 1500 pipes 30 meters down to bedrock, creating something akin to an underground picket fence encircling the four crippled reactor units. Brine chilled to –30°C circulating in the pipes will freeze the soil between the pipes; the frozen wall should keep groundwater out and contaminated water in. TEPCO was planning to start the operation shortly after Science went to press.The most daunting task is recovering the fuel debris. TEPCO modeling and analyses suggest that most, if not all, of the fuel in the Unit 1 reactor melted, burned through the reactor pressure vessel, dropped to the bottom of the containment vessel, and perhaps ate into the concrete base. Units 2 and 3 suffered partial meltdowns, and some fuel may remain in the cores.To try to confirm the location and condition of the melted fuel, the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning, set up by TEPCO and other entities, has been probing the reactors’ innards with muons. Wispy cousins of the electron, muons are generated by the trillions each minute when cosmic rays slam into the upper atmosphere. A few muons are absorbed or scattered, at a rate that depends on a material’s density. Because uranium is denser than steel or concrete, muon imaging can potentially locate the fuel debris.In February 2015, a group at Japan’s High Energy Accelerator Research Organization in Tsukuba supplied two van-sized muon detectors, which TEPCO placed adjacent to the Unit 1 reactor at ground level. After a month of collecting muons, the detectors confirmed there was no fuel left in the core. Because they were positioned at ground level, the devices could not image the reactor building basements and so could not pin down where the fuel is or its condition. TEPCO plans to use robots to map the location of the fuel debris so it can develop a strategy for removing it (see story, right).A second team has developed detectors that observe muons before and after they pass through an object of interest, promising a more precise picture of reactor interiors. For Fukushima, the researchers—from Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and Japan’s Toshiba Corp.—built mammoth detectors, 7 meters across, which they intended to place outside Unit 2. That work has been postponed because TEPCO decided to first send a robot into the containment vessel; high radiation levels have delayed that plan. “Our current task is to reduce that exposure,” Ono says, using robotic floor and wall scrubbers in the area workers need to access to deploy the robot.While the authorities struggle to clean up the site and resettle residents, some locals are judging safety for themselves. In 2014, a group of enterprising high school students in Fukushima city, outside the evacuation zone, launched an international radiation-dosimetry project. Some 216 students and teachers at six schools in Fukushima Prefecture, six elsewhere in Japan, four in France, eight in Poland, and two in Belarus wore dosimeters for 2 weeks while keeping detailed diaries of their whereabouts and activities. “I wanted to know how high my exposure dose was and I wanted to compare that dose with people living in other places,” explains Haruka Onodera, a member of Fukushima High School’s Super Science Club, which conceived the project. The students published their findings last November in the Journal of Radiological Protection. Their conclusion: “High school students in Fukushima [Prefecture] do not suffer from significantly higher levels of radiation” than those living elsewhere, Onodera says.That’s good news for Fukushima city residents, perhaps, but cold comfort to displaced people now weighing the prospect of moving back to homes closer to the shattered nuclear plant. The Fukushima plant is crowded with 10-meter-tall tanks storing tainted water used to cool melted nuclear fuel masses and groundwater that infiltrated the site—some 750,000 tons in all. Now, the nuclear refugees face a dilemma: How much radiation in their former homes is safe? In a herculean effort, authorities have so far scooped up some 9 million cubic meters of contaminated soil and leaves and washed down buildings and roadways with the goal of reducing outdoor radiation exposure to 0.23 microsieverts per hour. Last September, the government began lifting evacuation orders for the seven municipalities wholly or partly within 20 kilometers of the plant. As the work progresses, authorities expect that 70% of the evacuees will be allowed to return home by spring 2017. A  long, grinding struggle back to normal is underway at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan. As workers make progress in cleaning up contaminated land surrounding its infamous reactor, evacuees are grappling with whether to return to homes sealed off since the accident there 5 years ago. The power plant itself remains a dangerous disaster zone, with workers just beginning the complex, risky job of locating the melted fuel and figuring out how to remove it.The magnitude 9.0 earthquake that struck northeastern Japan on 11 March 2011 and the 40-meter tsunami that followed left 15,893 dead and 2572 missing, destroyed 127,290 buildings, and damaged more than a million more. It also triggered the meltdowns at Fukushima and the evacuation of 150,000 people from within 20 kilometers of the nuclear plant as well as from areas beyond that were hard hit by fallout.Related content: Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) But evacuees are torn over safety and compensation issues. Many claim they are being compelled to go home, even though radiation exposure levels, they feel, are still too high. “There has been no education regarding radiation,” says Katsunobu Sakurai, the mayor of Minamisoma, where 14,000 people were evacuated after the accident. “It’s difficult for many people to make the decision to return without knowing what these radiation levels mean and what is safe,” he says. Some citizen groups are suing the national government and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the Fukushima plant’s owner, over plans to end compensation payments for those who choose not to return home. Highly contaminated areas close to the nuclear plant will remain off limits indefinitely.Conditions at the plant are “really stable,” the plant manager, Akira Ono, recently told reporters. Radioactivity and heat from the nuclear fuel have fallen substantially in the past 5 years, he says. But cleanup is off to a slow start, hampered by sketchy knowledge of where the nuclear fuel is located. Last year managers agreed to a road map for decommissioning the site over the next 30 to 40 years that calls for removing melted nuclear fuel masses and demolishing the plant’s four reactor halls at a cost that could top $9 billion. TEPCO intends to start removing nuclear debris from the reactors in 2021.There has been no education regarding radiation. It’s difficult for many people to make the decision to return without knowing what these radiation levels mean and what is safe.Katsunobu SakuraiOno puts the decommissioning at “around 10%” complete. One big hurdle was cleared in December 2014, when crews removed the last of 1535 fuel rods stored in the Unit 4 spent fuel pool. At the time of the accident, some feared that cooling water had drained out of the pool and exposed the fuel to air, which might have led to overheating and melting. It hadn’t, but the fuel remained a threat.last_img read more

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Meet Vaclav Smil the man who has quietly shaped how the world

0 Comment

first_img As an undergraduate, Smil studied the natural sciences at Charles University in Prague. He lived in an old converted cloister. Its thick stone walls kept it chilly, summer and winter. And in the first of Smil’s personal energy transitions, heat came not from wood, but from coal—hard black anthracite from Kladno or dirty brown lignite from North Bohemia.He got to indulge his curiosity, taking 35 classes a week, 10 months a year, for 5 years. “They taught me nature, from geology to clouds,” he says. But Smil decided that a traditional scientific career was not for him. No lab bench called: He was after the big picture.After graduation, he also realized that his future would not be in his homeland: He refused to join the Communist Party, undermining his job prospects. He worked in a regional planning office while Eva pursued her medical degree. After Soviet troops invaded, many friends and neighbors panicked and left. But the couple waited for Eva’s graduation, dreading a travel ban. They finally departed in 1969, just months before the government imposed a travel blockade that would last for decades. “That was not a minor sacrifice, you know?” Smil says. “After doing that, I’m not going to sell myself for photovoltaics or fusion or whatever and start waving banners. Your past always leads to who you are.”The Smils ended up at Pennsylvania State University in State College, where Vaclav completed a doctorate in geography in 2 years. With little money, they rented rooms from a professor’s widow, and Smil made another energy transition: Periodically, an oil truck arrived to refuel the basement furnace. Smil then took the first job offer he received, from UM. He’s been there ever since.For decades until his retirement, Smil taught introductory environmental science courses. Each year ended with a 10-question, multiple choice final exam, with a twist: “There could be no right answer, or every answer was correct, and every combination in between,” says Rick Baydack, chair of the environmental science department at UM, who was once Smil’s student.Otherwise, Smil was a ghost in his department, taking on only a few graduate students. Since the 1980s, he has shown up at just one faculty meeting. But as long as he kept teaching and turning out highly rated books, that was fine for the school. “He’s a bit of a recluse and likes to work on his own,” Baydack says. “He’s continued down a path he set for himself. What’s happening around him doesn’t really matter.”Rootless bohemian cosmopolitanToday, Smil straddles the line between scientist and intellectual, flashing the tastes of a “rootless bohemian cosmopolitan,” as his old communist masters used to call him. He’s fluent in a flurry of languages. He’s a tea snob and foodie who is reluctant to eat out because so much restaurant food is now premade. Stand in a garden and he can tell you the Latin names of many of the plants. He’s an art lover: Mention the Prado Museum in Madrid and he might tell you the secret of finding 5 minutes without crowds to appreciate Diego Velázquez’s Las Meninas, his favorite painting, which depicts a Spanish princess encircled by her retinue. And then he’ll say, “I appreciate and love blue-green algae,” which helped kick off Earth’s oxygen age. “They are the foundation.”Smil’s breadth feels anachronistic. In modern academic science, all the incentives push to narrow specialization, and Smil believes his eclectic interests have complicated his career. But his ability to synthe-size across disparate fields also has proved a strength, enabling him to trace how energy courses through every capillary of the world’s economy.Smil’s writing career kicked off in the mid-1970s, just as an embargo on oil sales by Middle Eastern nations woke up developed nations to just how hooked they were on petroleum, for transportation, heating, farming, chemicals, even electricity. The jolt came just after the publication of The Limits to Growth, an influential study that, using a simple computer model, warned of a pending depletion of the planet’s resources. 40 The Gates Notes, LLC Fuel consumption (%) 1880 8 1860 Email 2 10 7 As a teenager in the 1950s, Vaclav Smil spent a lot of time chopping wood. He lived with his family in a remote town in what was then Czechoslovakia, nestled in the mountainous Bohemian Forest. On walks he could see the Hohenbogen, a high ridge in neighboring West Germany; less visible was the minefield designed to prevent Czechs from escaping across the border. Then it was back home, splitting logs every 4 hours to stoke the three stoves in his home, one downstairs and two up. Thunk. With each stroke his body, fueled by goulash and grain, helped free the sun’s energy, transiently captured in the logs. Thunk. It was repetitive and tough work. Thunk. It was clear to Smil that this was hardly an efficient way to live.Throughout his career, Smil, perhaps the world’s foremost thinker on energy of all kinds, has sought clarity. From his home office near the University of Manitoba (UM) in Winnipeg, Canada, the 74-year-old academic has churned out dozens of books over the past 4 decades. They work through a host of topics, including China’s environmental problems and Japan’s dietary transition from plants to meat. The prose is dry, and they rarely sell more than a few thousand copies. But that has not prevented some of the books—particularly those exploring how societies have transitioned from relying on one source of energy, such as wood, to another, such as coal—from profoundly influencing generations of scientists, policymakers, executives, and philanthropists. One ardent fan, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates in Redmond, Washington, claims to have read nearly all of Smil’s work. “I wait for new Smil books,” Gates wrote last December, “the way some people wait for the next Star Wars movie.”Now, as the world faces the daunting challenge of trying to curb climate change by weaning itself from fossil fuels, Smil’s work on energy transitions is getting more attention than ever. But his message is not necessarily one of hope. Smil has forced climate advocates to reckon with the vast inertia sustaining the modern world’s dependence on fossil fuels, and to question many of the rosy assumptions underlying scenarios for a rapid shift to alternatives. “He’s a slayer of bullshit,” says David Keith, an energy and climate scientist at Harvard University. 1840 1820 1980 5 10 1920 1940 Give Smil 5 minutes and he’ll pick apart one cherished scenario after another. Germany’s solar revolution as an example for the world to follow? An extraordinarily inefficient approach, given how little sunlight the country receives, that hasn’t reduced that nation’s reliance on fossil fuels. Electric semitrailers? Good for little more than hauling the weight of their own batteries. Wind turbines as the embodiment of a low-carbon future? Heavy equipment powered by oil had to dig their foundations, Smil notes, and kilns fired with natural gas baked the concrete. And their steel towers, gleaming in the sun? Forged with coal.”There’s a lot of hopey-feely going on in the energy policy community,” says David Victor, an expert on international climate policy at the University of California, San Diego. And Smil “revels in the capability to show those falsehoods.”But Smil is not simply a naysayer. He accepts the sobering reality of climate change—though he is dubious of much climate modeling—and believes we need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. He has tried to reduce his own carbon footprint, building an energy-efficient home and adopting a mostly vegetarian diet. He sees his academic work as offering a cleareyed, realistic assessment of the challenges ahead—not as a justification for inaction. And he says he has no ax to grind. “I have never been wrong on these major energy and environmental issues,” he says, “because I have nothing to sell.”Despite Smil’s reach—some of the world’s most powerful banks and bureaucrats routinely ask for his advice—he has remained intensely private. Other experts tap dance for attention and pursue TED talks. But Smil is a throwback, largely letting his books speak for themselves. He loathes speaking to the press (and opened up to Science only out of a sense of duty to The MIT Press, his longtime publisher). “I really don’t think I have anything special to say,” he says. “It’s out there if you want to know it.”An Iron Curtain childhoodThis past December, Smil stepped out of a hotel in Washington, D.C., and pulled on a knit cap—he’d allow no wasted heat, especially given a persistent head cold. He had given a lecture the previous day and now was making a beeline for a favorite spot: the National Gallery of Art. He was a regular in the nation’s capital during the 1980s and ’90s, consulting with the World Bank, the Central Intelligence Agency, and other government agencies. But the United States’s security clampdown after 9/11—its the increasing political dysfunction—soured him on the country’s leaders. “This government is so inept,” he said. “It cannot even run itself in the most basic way.”Still, Smil can’t shake his affection for the United States. It goes back to his childhood: During World War II, U.S. soldiers—not Soviet troops—liberated his region from the Nazis. And it was to the United States that Smil and his wife, Eva, fled in 1969, after the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia to stymie a political uprising.Nothing was exceptional about his childhood, Smil says. His father was a police officer and then worked in manufacturing; his mother kept the books for a psychiatric hospital’s kitchen. But even as a boy, he was aware of the miasma of falsehood that surrounded him in Cold War Czechoslovakia, and it spurred his respect for facts. “I’m the creation of the communist state,” he says, recalling how, as a child, he heard that the Soviet Union had increased production of passenger cars by 1000% in a single year. “I looked at it and said, ‘Yeah, but you started from nothing.’” Officials would claim they had exceeded their food plan, yet oranges were never available. “It was so unreal and fake,” Smil says. “They taught me to respect reality. I just don’t stand for any nonsense.” 10 10 Elizabeth Wilson, Dartmouth College 20 6 1960 10 Modern biofuels 2 Natural gas 10 Coal 1900 100 3 By Paul VoosenMar. 21, 2018 , 9:00 AM Hydroelectricity Rooftop photovoltaic Wind Heat pumps Large hydroelectric stations Solar water heaters Geothermal Central solar power Tree plantations Liquid biofuels Underground coal mining Oil and gas Surfacecoal mining Through dozens of books, Vaclav Smil has helped shape how people think about the past and future of energy. You could take a paragraph from one of his books and make a whole career out of it. [He] does a really good job of being nuanced. Crude oil Areas of energy sites (m 2 ) One troubling implication of that density reversal, Smil notes, is that in a future powered by renewable energy, society might have to devote 100 or even 1000 times more land area to energy production than today. That shift, he says, could have enormous negative impacts on agriculture, biodiversity, and environmental quality.To see other difficulties associated with that transition, Smil says, look no further than Germany. In 2000, fossil fuels provided 84% of Germany’s energy. Then the country embarked on a historic campaign, building 90 gigawatts of renewable power capacity, enough to match its existing electricity generation. But because Germany sees the sun only 10% of the time, the country is as hooked as ever on fossil fuels: In 2017, they still supplied 80% of its energy. “True German engineering,” Smil says dryly. The nation doubled its hypothetical capacity to create electricity but has gotten minimal environmental benefit. Solar can work great, Smil says, but is best where the sun shines a great deal.Perhaps the most depressing implication of Smil’s work, however, is how long making the fourth transition might take. Time and again he points back to history to note that energy transitions are slow, painstaking, and hard to predict. And existing technologies have a lot of inertia. The first tractor appeared in the late 1800s, he might say, but the use of horses in U.S. farming didn’t peak until 1915—and continued into the 1960s.Fossil fuels have similar inertia, he argues. Today, coal, oil, and natural gas still supply 90% of the world’s primary energy (a measure that includes electricity and other types of energy used in industry, transportation, farming, and much else). Smil notes that the share was actually lower in 2000, when hydropower and nuclear energy made up more of the mix. Since then, “we have been increasing our global dependence on fossil fuels. Not decreasing,” he says.A key factor has been the economic boom in China, a nation Smil has studied since the 1970s, and its burgeoning appetite for coal. Smil was among the first Western academics invited to study the Chinese energy system. He sounded early warnings about the nation’s cooked farm statistics and perilous environmental state. Now, Smil is disheartened by China’s consumer culture: Instead of aiming to live more modestly, he says the Chinese are “trying to out-America America.”Meanwhile, despite years of promotion and hope, wind and solar account for just about 1% of the world’s primary energy mix. In part, he notes, that’s because some of the key technologies needed to deploy renewable energy on a massive scale—such as higher-capacity batteries and more efficient solar cells—have seen only slow improvements. The bottom line, he says, is that the world could take many decades to wean itself from fossil fuels.An odd coupleSmil sees few options for hastening the transition. And that is where he and some of his biggest fans—including Gates—diverge. Smil’s realism appeals to Gates, who first mentioned Smil on his blog in 2010. Like many tech tycoons, Gates had made failed investments over the previous decade in biofuels, a technology Smil has scorned because it is so land-hungry. Over the next year, Gates, who declined to be interviewed for this story, publicly detailed his conversion to Smilism. It was not an easy one: After reading his first Smil book, Gates “felt a little beat up. … Am I ever going to be able to understand all of this?” But he ultimately concluded that “I learn more by reading Vaclav Smil than just about anyone else.” That enthusiasm has written Smil’s epitaph: “I’ll forever be Bill Gates’s scientist,” Smil says. 10 Solar farm photovoltaic 1 Power density (Watts per square meter) 1800 The two have met just a few times, but they email regularly. And Gates has opened doors for Smil: Swiss banks weren’t calling for his advice before. But they keep the relationship pure. “I would never ask him for any favor—never ever,” Smil says. “As simple as that.”But when it comes to the future of energy, they make an odd couple. In 2016, Gates helped start Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a billion-dollar fund to speed clean energy innovations from the lab to market. “I am more optimistic than [Smil] is about the prospects of speeding up the process when it comes to clean energy,” Gates has written. Smil puts it another way: “He’s a techno-optimist, I’m a European pessimist.”Smil says that pessimism is rooted in his understanding of history. But even some of his fans say he puts too much stock in the lessons of the past. “Sometimes I’ve heard him speak too confidently” about how slowly technology transitions occur, says Keith, another Gates adviser. History, Keith notes, offers a small sample size.Smil says he would be delighted to be proved wrong—as he has been, twice, in the past. In particular, a breakthrough in cheap energy storage would change the game. “Give me mass-scale storage and I don’t worry at all. With my wind and photovoltaics I can take care of everything.” But “we are nowhere close to it,” he says.A personal take on solutionsWhen not on the road, Smil lives a quiet life in Winnipeg. He cultivates hot peppers, tomatoes, and basil in containers. (Deer would eat a traditional garden.) He cooks meals in Indian or Chinese styles, eating meat maybe once a week. He drives a Honda Civic, “the most reliable, most efficient, most miraculously designed car.” He built his current home in 1989, a modest house of about 200 square meters. He used thicker-than-standard studs and joists, so he could stuff 50% more insulation into the walls, and all of the windows are triplepaned. There’s a 97% efficient natural gas furnace. “My house,” he says, is “a very efficient machine for living.”Despite those choices—and all that can be learned from his work—Smil is not comfortable offering solutions. Any he suggests typically come down to encouraging individual action, not sweeping government policies or investment strategies. If we all cut consumption, lived more efficiently, and ate less meat, he suggested at one recent lecture, the biosphere would do fine. Fewer livestock, for instance, might mean farmers would stop overfertilizing soybeans to feed to animals. Less fertilizer, in turn, would drastically cut emissions of nitrous oxide, a powerful greenhouse gas, from the soil. “Less pork and less beef, right? That’s it,” Smil says. “Nobody is really talking about it.”Such statements can make Smil sound as though he were an author of The Limits to Growth—not a critic. And the reality is that “there are many Vaclavs,” says Ted Nordhaus, an environmentalist and executive director of The Breakthrough Institute, an environmental think tank in Oakland, California. There is the hard-edged skeptic, and then “there are times where Vaclav will be an old-fashioned conservationist. We could all be perfectly happy living at the level of consumption and income as Frenchmen in 1959.”Smil doesn’t apologize for his contradictions. And for all his insistence on documenting reality, he accepts that many concepts cannot be defined. What does a healthy society look like, and how do you measure it? He abhors gross domestic product, the traditional measure used by economists, because even horrendous events—natural disasters and shootings, for example—can prompt spending that makes it grow. But the alternatives don’t look great, either. Happiness indexes? Some of “the happiest nations on the planet are Colombia and the Philippines,” Smil says. “What does that tell you?”Lately, he’s been thinking about growth, the obsession of modern, fossil-fueled economies and the antithesis of Smil’s lifestyle of efficient, modest living. How do children grow? Energy systems? Cyanobacteria? Empires? His next book, in 195,000 words, will examine growth in all forms. “I’m trying to find the patterns and the rules,” he says. “Everything ends. There is no hyperbolic growth.”Still, although Smil can see the present better than most, he is loath to predict the future. Those two times he was wrong? He could not have imagined, he says, how soon the Soviet Union would fall. Or how fast China would grow. And he is not about to say that a collapse is inevitable now—not even with humanity on a problematic course and unlikely to change direction soon. “You ask me, ‘When will the collapse come?’” Smil says. “Constantly we are collapsing. Constantly we are fixing.” 9 David Lipnowski 2015 10 4 0 Down the density ladder In the past, humanity has typically adopted energy sources that have greater “power density,” packing more punch per gram and requiring less land to produce. Renewables (green), however, are lower in density than fossil fuels (brown). That means a move to renewables could vastly increase the world’s energy production footprint, barring a vast expansion of nuclear power. 1 5 Energy inertia The transition from wood (“traditional biofuels”) to fossil fuels—first coal, then oil and natural gas—took more than a century. Today, fossil energy is dominant, with wind and solar making up a mere sliver of the mix. The pace of past energy transitions suggests that a full-scale shift to renewables will be slow. 10 10 Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) 10 10 Nuclear electricity 3 Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe 60 2000 80 10 Thermal electricity generation 10 Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country (Graphic) J. You/Science; (Data) V. Smil, Energy Transitions, Praeger, 2017; V. Smil, Power Density, Mit Press, 2015 Traditional biofuels 10 Wind and solar electricity 10 Smil was intrigued and taught himself programming to re-create the model for himself. “I saw it was utter nonsense,” he recalls; the model was far too simple and easily skewed by initial assumptions. He constructed a similar model of how carbon dioxide emissions affect climate and found it similarly wanting. He understood the physics of the greenhouse effect and the potential for a carbon dioxide buildup to warm Earth, but models seemed too dependent on assumptions about things like clouds. Ever since, he’s held models of all kinds in contempt. “I have too much respect for reality,” he says.Instead, he scoured the scientific literature and obscure government documents for data, seeking the big picture of how humanity generates and deploys energy. What ultimately emerged in several blandly titled books—including General Energetics: Energy in the Biosphere and Civilization (1991), Energy in World History (1994), and Energy Transitions: History, Requirements, Prospects (2010)—is an epic tale of innovation and transformation, worked through one calculation at a time.That work has guided a generation to think about energy in the broadest sense, from antiquity to today, says Elizabeth Wilson, director of the Institute for Energy and Society at Dartmouth College. “You could take a paragraph from one of his books and make a whole career out of it,” she says. And yet Smil has avoided mental traps that could come with his energy-oriented view, she adds. “[He] does a really good job of being nuanced.”In essence, Smil says, humanity has experienced three major energy transitions and is now struggling to kick off a fourth. First was the mastery of fire, which allowed us to liberate energy from the sun by burning plants. Second came farming, which converted and concentrated solar energy into food, freeing people for pursuits other than sustenance. During that second era, which ended just a few centuries ago, farm animals and larger human populations also supplied energy, in the form of muscle power. Third came industrialization and, with it, the rise of fossil fuels. Coal, oil, and natural gas each, in turn, rose to prominence, and energy production became the domain of machines, as such coal-fired power plants.Now, Smil says, the world faces its fourth energy transition: a move to energy sources that do not emit carbon dioxide, and a return to relying on the sun’s current energy flows, instead of those trapped millions of years ago in deposits of coal, oil, and natural gas.The fourth transition is unlike the first three, however. Historically, Smil notes, humans have typically traded relatively weak, unwieldy energy sources for those that pack a more concentrated punch. The wood he cut to heat his boyhood home, for example, took a lot of land area to grow, and a single log produced relatively little energy when burned. Wood and other biomass fuels have relatively low “power density,” Smil says. In contrast, the coal and oil that heated his later dwellings have higher power densities, because they produce more energy per gram and are extracted from relatively compact deposits. But now, the world is seeking to climb back down the power density ladder, from highly concentrated fossil fuels to more dispersed renewable sources, such as biofuel crops, solar parks, and wind farms. (Smil notes that nuclear power, which he deems a “successful failure” after its rushed, and now stalled, deployment, is the exception walking down the density ladder: It is dense in power, yet often deemed too costly or risky in its current form.) Meet Vaclav Smil, the man who has quietly shaped how the world thinks about energy (Graphic) J. You/Science; (Data) V. Smil, Energy Transitions, Praeger, 2017; V. Smil, Power Density, Mit Press, 2015 Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is an avid reader of Vaclav Smil’s books, including Energy and Civilization, at the bottom of this stack. “I learn more by reading [him] than just about anyone else,” Gates has written. 10 4last_img read more

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Rogue ozonedestroying emissions traced to northeastern China

0 Comment

first_img An international team of researchers has traced the rogue use of a banned, ozone-degrading chemical to a region centered on two provinces in northeastern China. Trichlorofluoromethane (CFC-11), once a common refrigerant also used to produce building insulation, was to be phased out by 2010 under the 1987 Montreal Protocol because of its contribution to a then–rapidly growing hole in Earth’s ozone layer.As use declined ahead of the ban, atmospheric concentrations of CFC-11 started to drop. Scientists projected a gradual decrease, because CFC-11 would continue to leak from old refrigerators and escape from foam insulation long after production and use stopped. But in 2012, levels started to increase in the Northern Hemisphere, with evidence pointing to sources in China. Now, Matthew Rigby of the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom and colleagues have used atmospheric observations and modeling to narrow down both the source and the magnitude of emissions, showing they are coming from Shandong and Hebei provinces and represent new production and use of CFC-11. In addition, amounts have increased since the chemical was banned, the team reports today in Nature. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) TOMS science team & and the Scientific Visualization Studio/NASA/GSFC Banned trichlorofluoromethane contributed to the rapid growth of Earth’s ozone hole. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Emailcenter_img The paper is “very definitive,” providing “firm evidence” that there is a continuing problem with emissions from China, says Ian Rae, a chemist at the University of Melbourne in Australia who was not involved in the study.The authors say further investigation is needed to confirm which processes are responsible for the increasing CFC-11 emissions. But, “if consistent with historical usage, it would be expected that emissions have primarily occurred during, or following, [insulation] foam blowing.” That conclusion is in line with previous on-the-ground investigations by the Environmental Investigation Agency, a London- and Washington, D.C.–based environmental group, which singled out the CFC-11 used to create rigid polyurethane insulation in homes and commercial buildings.“The Chinese have been doing the best they can” to identify and shut down the rogue operations, Rae says. “But regulators have real trouble keeping tabs on what is going on” throughout the country.Over the past year, China has been bolstering efforts to crack down on the illegal releases, according to plans filed with the United Nations Environment Programme, which monitors compliance with the Montreal Protocol. “We hope that the information that this new study provided helps the Chinese government take steps to address the issue,” says Sunyoung Park, a study co-author who is a geochemist at Kyungpook National University in Daegu, South Korea. By Dennis NormileMay. 22, 2019 , 1:15 PM Rogue ozone-destroying emissions traced to northeastern China Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Morehouse To Honor Robert F Smith Angela Bassett

0 Comment

first_img Photos And Video From Jay-Z’s Historic B-Sides Show At Webster Hall The commencement ceremony is slated to take place on May 19. More than 300 scholars will receive degrees and over 3,000 individuals are expected to attend.SEE ALSO:Morehouse Makes History With New Transgender PolicyMorehouse Receives $1.5M Gift From Black Billionaire Robert F. Smith AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisMoreShare to EmailEmailEmail Graduation season is about to be in full swing and as institutions across the country celebrate the accomplishments of graduates, they will also recognize individuals who have left indelible marks within their respective industries by awarding them with honorary degrees. Morehouse College recently announced that actress Angela Bassett and entrepreneur Robert F. Smith will be given honorary degrees at its 135th commencement ceremony in May. Angela Bassett , Graduation , Honorary Degree , Morehouse , Morehouse College , Robert F. Smith center_img Commencement 2019 speaker will be investor and philanthropist Robert F. Smith, chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners. @RFS_Vista https://t.co/wNtYGhUcsV #Morehouse— Morehouse College (@Morehouse) April 20, 2019 Jay-Z Webster Hall show Smith—who is the founder and chief executive officer of the venture capital firm Vista Equity Partners—will deliver the keynote address at the ceremony. He will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. The billionaire has used his platform and resources to push philanthropic efforts forward. Earlier this year he donated $1.5 million to Morehouse for the creation of a scholarship fund and the development of a new outdoor study area on campus. He was also the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s largest private donor and has been an advocate for education and combating global poverty.Bassett has used her artistry to bring the narratives of strong Black women to film and television. Some of her most pivotal roles were in films that include What’s Love Got to Do With It, Boyz ‘N the Hood, Malcolm X, Black Panther and countless other projects. Bassett will receive an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree.“As Morehouse College celebrates its 152nd year of serving students, we are honored to welcome our community partner Robert F. Smith, one of the greatest business minds of our time, back to campus to share in the ceremony that is the highlight of the year,” David A. Thomas, President of Morehouse College, said in a statement. “His words of inspiration, and the presence of our other honorary degree recipients, will give the Class of 2019 a memorable experience that will challenge them to take the lessons that they learned as Men of Morehouse and become game-changers in their future endeavors.”last_img read more

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Churches in Poland are providing sanctuary—to birds

0 Comment

first_img Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Jacek Sopotnicki/Alamy Stock Photo Most churches are focused on heaven, but in Poland, they seem to be providing a more earthly benefit: sanctuary for dozens of species of birds.That’s what biologists found when they surveyed the properties of 101 churches and an equal number of farmsteads in villages in southern Poland. Previous research had found that farms in Eastern Europe support large numbers of different kinds of birds, providing important sanctuaries for the species in areas where their more natural habitat was lost. But the new study, which examined the features of in-use churches and farms, as well as their surrounding grounds, shows churches had 1.6 times more species on average than farms, and about twice as many birds overall, the researchers report this month in Biological Conservation.Tall, old churches with separate bell towers hosted the highest bird diversity. That may be because they mimic the isolated, rocky hills that abound in the Polish landscape, the authors say. Another reason: Birds have had centuries to incorporate the oldest of the churches into their habitats. Finally, there were fewer cats—which are notorious bird predators—at most of the surveyed churches. The numbers mean churches may be important for maintaining bird diversity in Poland, which is home to more than 10,000 churches, the authors say. They even suggest ecominded pastors could boost conservation efforts by preserving structures attractive to birds, including building nooks and bell towers. Churches in Poland are providing sanctuary—to birds By Joshua Rapp LearnOct. 26, 2018 , 2:55 PMlast_img read more

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Before it became an internet trend Rooftopping used to be a part

0 Comment

first_imgRooftopping – that dangerous and bizarrely trendy “hobby” of adrenaline junkies seeking a sky-high thrill – is actually not a new phenomenon at its core. While the social media aspect of it may be, it was once a necessary part of construction work. Anyone who has ever visited a college dorm has likely seen the famous image, appropriately titled “Lunch atop a skyscraper, 1932,” of construction workers in New York City taking a much-deserved break. They are sitting on a steel girder, suspended in mid-air, hundreds of feet above the ground, chatting and sharing a meal. It is enough to make anyone’s heart skip a beat.A worker bolts beams during construction; the Chrysler Building can be seen in the background.While the photo was actually staged, that construction workers in the early 20th century would have to be out on these girders and other beams very high above the ground is not fiction. The famous high rises of the era – the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and Rockefeller Centre – were not made with the same types of cranes and other construction machinery we have today. Rooftopping, as it is known today, was simply a part of the job.New York City skyline with urban skyscrapers at sunset, USA.It takes a certain person, with a certain constitution, to be able to do high-rise construction work today, but that was especially so in the 1920s and 30s. Safety equipment was not what we see today, if present at all.Photographs exist of workers perched on the edges skyscrapers under construction, riveting, welding, doing what they do best, with little to no safety equipment, except perhaps good thick gloves. Hardhats were not even used, let alone harnesses in most cases.World famous landmarks that are hiding something from the publicLewis Hine, a photographer who was employed to record the building of the Empire State Building, described these workers as courageous heroes, and it is easy to see why in his images.Photograph of a cable worker taken by Lewis HineInterestingly, the construction of the Empire State Building involved some particularly adept individuals. While workers were employed from both the U.S. and Europe, hundreds were hired from the Kahnawake Mohawk reservation near Montreal, Canada.Empire state building, by Lewis Hine.The Mohawk had been involved in construction at high levels since 1886 on a project over the St. Lawrence River, and members of the Indigenous nation were believed to have no fear of heights (it was later stated by Mohawk member Kyle Karonhiaktatie Beauvais in 2002 that they were afraid of heights; they just handled it better).Empire State Building Girders and Workers.By 1916, they were working on almost all of New York City’s major construction projects, and several moved their entire families to Brooklyn to avoid the long commute home at the end of the week, becoming residents of the area.Raising the Mast, Empire State Building (1932)Photographing these death-defying laborers became popular at the same time. Whether by dare or coercion, many photographs exist of workers going about their day, as well as many that are staged and set up. However the images were produced, the fact remains that construction workers were still rooftopping long before the trend ever became a social media sensation.Young structural workers high up on skyscraper.Perhaps astonishingly, when one looks at the photographs and the conditions in which these men worked, only 5 people, out of a total of 3,400 workers, were killed during construction of the Empire State Building. This is remarkable when compared to the construction of the original World Trade Center in the 1970s, when 60 people lost their lives, even though better safety equipment was available.Jumping the derrick, by Lewis Hine.Similarly, the Chrysler Building, erected in 1928, recorded no deaths at all during its construction. In fact, if we look at death rates per 1,000 workers, the Panama Canal holds the record to being the deadliest construction project with 5,609 dying during the U.S. construction period alone (estimates are as high as 30,000 for the total project, but this may never be confirmed). Many of these deaths were due to jungle hazards, such as malaria and yellow fever, as well as bubonic plague, in addition to accidents.Read another story from us: New York’s 1977 blackout shone a light for the hip-hop movementRooftopping may be the domain of thrill-seekers today with a desire to become famous on social media, however, it was once a necessary, and perhaps even more dangerous aspect of ordinary work. Men risked their lives every day for a paycheck, not for kicks, or fame and fortune. It would be interesting to hear what they think of rooftoppers today.Patricia Grimshaw is a self-professed museum nerd, with an equal interest in both medieval and military history. She received a BA (Hons) from Queen’s University in Medieval History, and an MA in War Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada, and completed a Master of Museum Studies at the University of Toronto before beginning her museum career. She has lived and traveled all over Canada and Europe.last_img read more

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Winslow strives to balance a budget with a 4 million shortfall

0 Comment

first_imgMay 14, 2019 Winslow strives to balance a budget with a $4 million shortfall By L. Parsons         The Winslow City Council hosted a public work session last week with the purpose of discussing the city’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year 2019-2020.         According to City Manager JohnSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Adlast_img

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Church donates property to expand Taylor cemetery

0 Comment

first_imgJune 13, 2019 Church donates property to expand Taylor cemetery By Toni Gibbons A gift of seven acres by the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints at the corner of Willow Lane and S. 500 Street W. in Taylor was accepted by theSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Adlast_img

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Lynching ruling Supreme Court declines urgent hearing on contempt petition

0 Comment

first_imgBy Express News Service |New Delhi | Published: July 5, 2019 1:59:39 am Karnataka crisis: SC verdict a moral victory for rebel MLAs, says Yeddyurappa 0 Comment(s) Related News SC rules: Rebel Karnataka MLAs can’t be compelled to participate in trust vote Supreme Court, Supreme Court on lynching, lynching cases, mob lynching, Indian express A bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta said the plea will come up for hearing in the regular course.The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to grant an urgent hearing to a contempt petition which contended that the apex court’s 2018 judgment directing measures to curb mob lynching had not yet been complied with. A bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta said the plea will come up for hearing in the regular course. Advertising Harish Salve: The lawyer who represented India in Kulbhushan Jadhav case Condemning the “sweeping” incidents of lynching as “an affront to the rule of law and to the exalted values of the Constitution”, a three-judge bench of the then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud had on July 17, 2018, said that “apart from the directions, we think it appropriate to recommend to Parliament to create a separate offence for lynching and provide adequate punishment for the same. We have said so as a special law in this field would instil a sense of fear for law amongst the people who involve themselves in such kinds of activities….”The SC order had come on petitions filed by social activist Tushar Gandhi and Congress leader Tehseen Poonawalla seeking action against cow protection groups.last_img read more

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Karnataka BJP asks Kumaraswamy to resign immediately

0 Comment

first_img Advertising Related News Advertising By PTI |Banglore | Published: July 14, 2019 5:20:25 pm Pointing out that the Chief Minister has said that without the support of MLAs he will not continue and will seek a trust vote, Yeddyurappa said, despite all their efforts Congress rebel MLAs M T B Nagaraj and K Sudhakar have said they will not withdraw their resignations and have gone (to Mumbai).He also stated that 15 MLAs have approached the Supreme Court and the court may also come to a decision on Tuesday.Five rebel Congress MLAs had moved to the Supreme Court on Saturday against the Assembly Speaker K R RameshKumar for not accepting their resignations.MLAs Anand Singh, K Sudhakar, N Nagaraj (MTB), Munirathna and Roshan Baig have sought impleadment in the already pending application filed by the 10 other rebel MLAson which hearing is scheduled for Tuesday. The coalition government, which has been shaky since it came into being last year after a post-poll arrangement in the wake of a hung verdict, is facing a serious crisis now with 16 MLAs–13 of the Congress and three of the JD(S)–resigning their assembly membership.Besides, two Independent legislators, who were made ministers recently to provide stability to the government,have quit the ministry and withdrawn support.The ruling coalition’s total strength is 116 (Congress-78, JD(S)-37 and BSP-1), besides the Speaker.With the support of the two independents, the BJP has 107 MLAs in the 224-member House, where the half-way mark is 113. More Explained Karnataka crisis: CM Kumaraswamy seeks trust vote, says ‘not ready to misuse position’ “I demand that the Chief Minister, if he is honest and cares for the democratic system, he should immediately resign or should move a motion seeking for trust vote on Monday itself,” state BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa said.Speaking to reporters here, he said, sixteen MLAs of JD(S) and Congress have resigned, and also two independents have withdrawn support to the government and extended it to the BJP.“You (Kumaraswamy) don’t have a majority. So let them(coalition) ask for confidence vote or resign immediately.Tomorrow in the Business Advisory Committee meeting I will advise the same thing to Kumaraswamy and discuss,” he added. Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield Kumaraswamy trust vote, Kumaraswamy resignation, Karnataka government crisis, Karnataka collation government, BJP, Yeddyurappa, Indian Express news Yeddyurappa’s statement came, even as efforts by coalition leaders to mollify rebel Congress MLA M T B Nagarajseemed to have failed as he has flown to Mumbai Sunday. (File)Asserting that the coalition government in Karnataka had lost the majority, the state BJP Sunday demanded the Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy immediately resign or seek a trust vote on Monday itself. In a surprise move amid the existential crisis faced by his government, Kumaraswamy had on Friday announced in the state Assembly that he has voluntarily decided to seek a trust vote to end the “confusion” caused by resignations of rebel MLAs and requested the Speaker to fix a time for the same.According to sources, at the Business Advisory Committee meeting on Friday Kumaraswamy had proposed that the trust vote be held on Wednesday. However, no decision was taken as the principal opposition BJP did not attend the meeting.Yeddyurappa’s statement came, even as efforts by coalition leaders to mollify rebel Congress MLA M T B Nagarajseemed to have failed as he has flown to Mumbai Sunday.Leaders of the Congress-JD(S) coalition had held negotiations with Nagaraj on Saturday in a bid to woo him back to save the H D Kumaraswamy-led government that is on the brink of collapse. Advertising Taking stock of monsoon rain Karnataka crisis: After SC order, Speaker decides to scrutinize afresh resignations of eight MLAs Cabinet asks finance panel to consider securing funds for defence If the resignations of the 16 MLAs are accepted, the coalition’s tally will be reduced to 100. Post Comment(s) Karnataka: Day after promising to stay with Congress, rebel MLA Nagaraj reaches Mumbai After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan Best Of Express last_img read more

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Glowing genitalia reveal the identity of mysterious millipedes

0 Comment

first_img*Correction, 22 April, 3:10 p.m. An earlier version of this story misidentified millipedes as insects. Glowing genitalia reveal the identity of mysterious millipedes By Helen SantoroApr. 18, 2019 , 1:15 PM © Stephanie Ware/Field Museum Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Some arthropods are easy to tell apart. Others, not so much. Some flat-backed millipedes in the genus Pseudopolydesmus look almost identical regardless of their species, making it difficult for scientists to figure out who’s who. Now, researchers have discovered a special way to identify these insect relatives: Shine an ultraviolet (UV) light on their genitals.Under normal light, these millipedes look unremarkable—they’re less than 2 centimeters long with brown exoskeletons. To see whether they looked different in altered lighting, a group of scientists photographed the millipedes under UV light using a special camera that produces highly detailed images. When the mug shots were done, they found that some species’s genitals glowed different colors—a dazzling variety of greens and blues, they report today in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. Others simply stood out more under the UV lighting.The source of the millipedes’ glowing genitalia is still a mystery. However, being able to tell the creatures apart without using arduous techniques like DNA analysis is an important step forward, scientists say. Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwelast_img read more

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Generics manufacturer Zentiva becomes an independent organization

0 Comment

first_imgThe intended growth of our organization brings new opportunities for our people to fulfill their potential. It also positions us well to attract the best talent and retain our team to secure our success for future generations. This is an exciting time for Zentiva and we are confident that with the support of Advent we can realize our ambition.” Oct 3 2018Today marks generics manufacturer Zentiva’s first day as an independent organization, following completion of the company’s previously announced divestment from Sanofi.Zentiva is headquartered in Prague, and the company – now backed by Advent International, one of the world’s largest and most experienced global private equity investors – is entering a new era of independence and transformation.Patrick Aghanian, Head of Zentiva, believes that the divestment brings new opportunities for the company and its customers, resulting in a faster, more flexible and more agile business.Related StoriesHealthcare solutions of the future: Boehringer Ingelheim relies on digitalizationMany healthcare workers often care for patients while sick, study findsNew solution makes fall recovery safer and easier”Zentiva’s roots reach back 530 years to the Black Eagle pharmacy, a small business on the castle side of Prague. We are very proud of our roots and heritage and we look forward to expanding and building our footprint in Generics and OTC medicines across Europe. This heritage not only strengthens our resolve to remain customer-focused, it also drives our future priorities as we strive to improve healthcare with a more personalized approach. It is our aspiration that healthcare should be a right and not a privilege, and that healthcare solutions should be accessible to as many people as possible.””We want to build a reputation that is recognized by our partners as being synonymous with value” he continues. “Standing side-by-side with healthcare professionals, pharmacists and Health System decision-makers, we have the same sense of social obligation to help lower costs and improve access to healthcare. We strive to support people’s daily healthcare needs.”Patrick adds that this latest chapter in the company’s history is also positive news for employees: Source:https://www.zentiva.com/last_img read more

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Microsoft Unveils RealTime AI for Azure

0 Comment

first_imgMost customers and technology partners that Constellation has spoken to have gone to the Google Cloud Platform using Tensorflow, Wang said.Google will be Microsoft’s biggest competitor at first, he predicted.”In the long run, it’ll be those with massive compute power that will lead AI,” Wang said, “such as Facebook, Alibaba, Tencent and Amazon.”The FPGA-based service “will likely be a popular and cost-effective option, but Microsoft will surely also offer GPU infrastructure options geared to AI as well,” Henschen remarked. “IBM and Google have both brought GPU compute power to their respective clouds.” Microsoft on Wednesday unveiled a new deep learning acceleration platform designed for real-time artificial intelligence, codenamed “Project Brainwave,” at Hot Chips 2017.The platform has three main layers:a high-performance, distributed system architecture; a hardware DNN (deep neural network) engine synthesized onto FPGAs (field programmable gate arrays); and a compiler and runtime for low-friction deployment of trained models. Project Brainwave uses a soft DNN processing unit, or DPU, synthesized onto commercially available programmable gate arrays. This lets it scale across a range of data types, with the desired data type being a synthesis-time decision.Microsoft’s soft DPUs combine the ASIC digital signal processing blocks on the FPGAs with the synthesizable logic to provide a greater and more optimized number of functional units.The DPUs use highly customized, narrow-precision data types defined by Microsoft, which increase performance without real losses in model accuracy. Research innovations can be incorporated into the hardware platform rapidly, typically in weeks.Project Brainwave incorporates a software stack supporting the Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit (MCTK) and Google’s Tensorflow. Support for other frameworks will be added later.Tensorflow is “the currently dominating machine learning technique,” said Holger Mueller, principal analyst at Constellation Research.”That buys Microsoft time to strengthen MCTK,” he told TechNewsWorld. Project Brainwave leverages the massive FPGA infrastructure from Project Catapult that Microsoft has been deploying in Azure and Bing over the past few years. Project Brainwave’s Guts Microsoft’s Project Brainwave Demo At Hot Chips, Microsoft demonstrated the Project Brainwave system ported to Intel’s 14nm Stratix 10 FPGA.It ran a gated recurrent unit (GRU) model five times larger than Resnet-50 with no batching, using Microsoft’s custom 8-bit floating point format (ms-fp8).It sustained 39.5 Tflops of data, running each request in under one millisecond.Microsoft will bring Project Brainwave to Azure users, complementing indirect access through services such as Bing.”This is a good place to start for many of Microsoft’s AI efforts,” said Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research.”What’s been visibly missing is a rich neural network. You can’t do machine learning or AI without one,” he told TechNewsWorld.Fraud detection, retail mass personalization at scale, dynamic pricing and insurance adjustment are among the businesses that would benefit from real-time AI, Wang noted. AI in Real Time “FPGA is a way to add and apply dedicated task-specific computing power geared to deep neural nets to conventional cloud infrastructure,” said Doug Henschen, principal analyst at Constellation Research.”This makes it easier to develop for conventional server capacity and let the FPGAs provide the computing power necessary for AI workloads,” he told TechNewsWorld.Attaching high-performance FPGAs directly to Microsoft’s data center network lets DNNs be served as hardware microservices, calling them by a server with no software in the loop. This reduces latency and allows very high throughput.”Real-time AI is the eventual goal for the vast majority of projects,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.”AI should be able to move at the speed of thought, or it’ll just be an advanced script,” he told TechNewsWorld. Dealing With Competitors Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. Email Richard.last_img read more

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

US Fingers North Korea for WannaCry Epidemic

0 Comment

first_imgThe Problem With Attribution Although the evidence is circumstantial, the case that North Korea was behind WannaCry is a good one, said Scott Borg, CEO of the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit.”WannaCry was incompetently written and managed — so we’re attributing to North Korea something that’s well within its capabilities, because it didn’t demonstrate a lot of capabilities,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Unlike some of the other things that have been attributed to North Korea, this is plausible and highly likely.”A number of recent reports have touted North Korea as a rising cyberpower, but Borg disputes that.”WannaCry is an example of North Korea’s limitations. This was not a competently written piece of ransomware. The whole thing was badly bungled,” he said.”I’m sure the criminal organizations making money off of ransomware were furious with the creators of WannaCry because they undermined the credibility of the whole racket,” Borg added. Why Now? The Gang That Couldn’t Code Straight Speculation has connected North Korea to WannaCry since June, when the NSA said it believed Pyongyang was behind the attack. The British government reached the same conclusion in October, and the CIA concurred in November.While there is evidence indicating that North Korea launched the ransomware virus, that evidence isn’t definitive, maintained James Scott, a senior fellow at the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology.”It is important to understand that attribution is rarely definitive because adversaries can easily obfuscate their actions using technical anti-analysis maneuvers,” he told TechNewsWorld.”They plant false indicators to mislead attribution,” he continued. “They leap-frog through multiple foreign networks and systems, they outsource layers or the entirety of their attacks to cyber mercenaries, and they utilize malware available to multiple adversaries from Deep Web markets and forums.” Lazarus Connection Since there was strong public evidence of North Korea’s connection to WannaCry for months, the timing of the U.S. condemnation may be tied to other concerns.For example, the United States may want to shine a spotlight on Lazarus.”Lazarus has been particularly active recently,” AlienVault’s Doman said. “I’m seeing numerous new malware samples from them daily. A lot of their current activity involves stealing bitcoin and credit card numbers.”The condemnation also comes on the heels of the administration’s announcement of a new security policy.”They may have felt this was an appropriate time because they were going to be reaching out to other countries to do something about the cybersecurity threat and bad actors like North Korea,” James Barnett, a former Navy Rear Admiral and head of the cybersecurity practice at Venable, told TechNewsWorld.center_img The timing of the condemnation also could be part of the White House’s campaign to paint Pyongyang as a global threat.”It’s more about the administration’s message that North Korea is a dangerous actor than it is about cybersecurity,” said Ross Rustici, senior director of intelligence services for Cybereason.”They’re trying to lay the groundwork for people to feel like North Korea is a threat to the homeland,” he told TechNewsWorld.Whatever response the administration decides to make to North Korea’s cyberattacks remains to be seen, but financial problems could render it a hollow one, according to Kris Lovejoy, president of BluVector.”The U.S. government’s ability to procure technology to protect public sector institutions and private sector infrastructure is hampered because there’s no ability to execute on its procurement processes,” she told TechNewsWorld. “It’s ironic that we’re rattling our sabers while we’ve locked the cabinet and not allowed ourselves to get to the armor.” One strong indicator of North Korea’s involvement with WannaCry is the malware’s connection to the Lazarus Group, which has been tied to Pyongyang, observed Chris Doman, a threat engineer at AlienVault.There are two data points that link Lazarus to WannaCry, he told TechNewsWorld: a number of rare code overlaps exist in the programs; and Lazarus planted an early version of WannaCry on a Symantec customer.”The U.S. government may have additional information, but the evidence provided at the time by the private sector was pretty strong,” Doman said.The evidence linking Lazarus to Pyongyang is equally strong, he added.”There are a very small number of publicly assigned Internet addresses assigned to North Korea, and they pop up in Lazarus attacks. The attacks have dated back to at least 2007, and often contain other clues, such as North Korean fonts.” John P. Mello Jr. has been an ECT News Network reportersince 2003. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, IT issues, privacy, e-commerce, social media, artificial intelligence, big data and consumer electronics. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including the Boston Business Journal, theBoston Phoenix, Megapixel.Net and GovernmentSecurity News. Email John. The United States on Tuesday accused North Korea of responsibility for a global ransomware attack that locked down more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries earlier this year.The U.S. now has enough evidence to support its assertion that Pyongyang was behind the WannaCry attack in May, Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert told reporters at a White House press briefing.Bossert made the same accusation in an op-ed published Monday in The Wall Street Journal.If the United States has new evidence linking North Korea to WannaCry, however, it hasn’t released any of it to the public, which could pose problems.”Accurate attribution for cyberattacks is almost always a difficult task, and it’s doubly so when the evidence leading to the conclusion can’t be shared,” noted Tim Erlin, vice president of product management and strategy at Tripwire.”If we’re going to have national security organizations delivering these types of conclusions on attribution to the public, we need to find a way to develop trusted output. The mantra of ‘trust us’ doesn’t cut it here,” he told TechNewsWorld. Locked Armorylast_img read more

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,