Philadelphia Will Follow Pennsylvania’s Bonus Depreciation Policy

first_imgCorporate taxpayers in Philadelphia will need to add back bonus depreciation. They will then be allowed to take normal depreciation.Pennsylvania Bonus DepreciationPhiladelphia will follow the state’s income tax treatment of the federal bonus depreciation deduction.Advisory Notice – Bonus Depreciation Policy Update, City of Philadelphia Department of Revenue, July 31, 2018, ¶204-647Login to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img

Hurricane Florence Victims Receive Mississippi Tax Relief

first_imgMississippi is following federal extensions granted to victims of Hurricane Florence.What is the Extended Deadline?Taxpayers from counties that are designated federal disaster areas will have until January 31, 2019 to file tax returns due beginning September 7, 2018.Which Taxpayers Receive Relief?The extension applies to Mississippi:– individual income;– corporate income; and– pass-through entity tax returns.How is Relief Granted?Taxpayers residing in the affected counties do not need to contact Mississippi to get relief. Mississippi automatically provides interest and penalty relief on filing and payment due dates within the postponed period.Income Tax Bureau Notice 80-18-001, Mississippi Department of Revenue, September 20, 2018, ¶200-869Login to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img read more

R Kelly breaks silence, denies sexual abuse charges

first_img(AP) – An emotional R. Kelly says he’s being “assassinated” and denies sexually abusing women and controlling their lives.“CBS This Morning” on Wednesday broadcast Kelly’s first interview since he was charged with sexually abusing four people, including three underage girls. Kelly says “all of them are lying.”The R&B singer says he’s done “lots of things wrong” when it comes to women, but he says he’s apologized. He denies doing anything against their will.The singer believes social media is to blame for creating the allegations against him.At one point during the interview, Kelly stands up and rants, saying: “I have been buried alive, but I’m alive.” He says he needs someone to help him “not have a big heart.”CBS says it interviewed Kelly for 80 minutes.last_img read more

MSHP Sgt. says I-70 more dangerous than Highway 63

first_imgDon’t believe it when you hear them say Highway 63 is the deadliest stretch of road in Missouri.“It’s quite misleading.  I don’t know what their criteria was, [but] the study was actually done by a fleet management business.”The Highway Patrol’s Sgt. Scott White says between 2008 and 2017, I-70 saw 423 fatal crashes compared to 160 for the same period onHighway 63. He doesn’t how the study came up with those incorrect numbers.last_img

Data Security: The End Game

first_img Help users comply with data retention timeline policies Data security is a hotbed of activity and stands to be a huge growth area in the next decade.  The world is rapidly changing and with the explosion of social media, data is becoming more at risk than ever before.  Users and organizations are beginning to realize the need for new, comprehensive, flexible and robust data security.  Sadly, such solutions are just not available yet.  In fact, in industry is still trying to define the end-game of capabilities which should be part of future data security services.I have been blogging about the shortcomings of data security and provided some thought on how the industry must evolve.  In that spirit, here is my future wish-list of functions the data security industry must embrace and combine, in order to fully realize the value proposition of data security. In all fairness, some of these capabilities are currently available in a piecemeal manner.  Most of those lack maturity, scalability, or efficiency.  To satisfy future needs, we require a comprehensive solution which properly combines all these critical areas.  Such a package is necessary to empower users and organizations to easily manage and protect their data and aid them in complying with corporate policies and evolving regulatory requirements, in a cost effective and sustainable manner. Solution must seamlessly integrate with how users work and help them to classify and characterize their data Educate and reinforce good security behaviors and corporate policies with the user community in timely and relevant situations Enable data owners to search for their sensitive data across the enterprise Learn and remember nuances of specific users to better reduce false positives for the previously stated capabilities Provide the structure for users to easily understand and manage who has rights and permissions to access and possess their data.  Including the ability for revocation, replacement with current versions, or destruction of their protected data on other users systems within the enterprise Provide mechanisms to easily share and send data securely outside of the organization Secure the data from unauthorized exposure in transit, storage, and while in use< Support electronic discovery actions to locate and copy data required by legal request Facilitate users ability to securely destroy data Extend security services to platform and endpoints where data is consumed, created, and managed.  This includes servers, clients, smart phones and handhelds, portable storage devices, cloud services, and virtual machines Allows users to make some risk decisions for their data while providing guidance and tracking accountability Protect data from unauthorized editing, tampering, or destruction while in transit, storage and during use System must trigger and report when corporate policies are being violated and be able to interdict at the time and place of incursion with the flexibility to either block actions or engage the user for override authorization (tracked with acknowledgement of policy) Provide tagging and cluster functions for users to easily find all their data related to a topic, keyword, project, or person and then manage the security functions for that collection or grouplast_img read more

How Do I know My Project Is Really On Track?

first_imgAny PM practitioner always has one paranoia to some degree which is ensuring their project or program is on track with budget ($/people) and schedule at any point in time during the life or lifecycle of the project.   PM’s use scheduling tools to varying degrees to manage their project. I’ve seen PM’s use a simple word document or excel spreadsheet of their own design to a detailed task level resource driven project schedule and successfully managed to their expected outcomes.  I think it’s scalable to the size of the project and the experience of the PM.  However, even the most detailed schedule depends on the discipline of the team to provide accurate and timely updates estimating their progress to date.  Even though at the current point in time all looks good, it’s the forward view of the next tasks and the competency of how well they were scoped, estimated, and resourced to see the reality of predictive negative or positive consequences with the remaining work.  Any change – and change will happen, can very quickly change the dynamic of the project.  I can sum this up in a few commonly known project ‘laws’ as follows:-       “Work expands to fill the time allotted – Parkinson’s Law”         –       “If it can go wrong it will – Murphy’s law.”      –       “If it can’t possibly go wrong, it will – O’Malley’s corollary (result/outcome) to Murphy’s law.”      –       “It will go wrong in the worst possible way – Sod’s law.”             –       “Murphy, O’Malley, Sod and Parkinson are alive and well – and working on your project.”Have you even been on a project where everything is going just, ‘too good’ and the team starts getting nervous as something unpredictable has got to happen?  We missed something… we lose a key team member… the external environment changes… there’s a ‘act of God’ (common reference) such as bad weather causing damage to the facility…or my favorite, ‘differing site conditions’.   I know this is IT project centric, but I started in the construction background and I love to read those stories describing that during an excavation for building foundations to a new building a construction worker notices some bones or items and they come to discover it’s an old burial site also potentially filled with historical artifacts.  Therefore work is stopped temporarily as now it’s an ‘historical archeological site’ and until fully investigated – no one is doing nothing and interest is building on borrowed money to finance the project along with proportional delays until the project can start generating expected benefits. To a degree it happens in IT projects when an external vendor delays the release date of a product or software that was a dependency to the project.  As decision is made to go with existing, do a work around, put the project on hold and wait, or cancel the project and reassign the team to the next priority project.  I have to believe in the ‘butterfly effect’ or chaos theory which simply defined states those small differences in the initial condition of a dynamical system may produce large variations in the long term behavior of the system.  In other words can a minor misinterpretation of the initial scope statement cause a large impact later on during the execution phase of the project? Of course as minor mistakes always occur in a project but its how well the team reacts to the discovery and rallies to identify a solution and impact analysis to the project parameters.  It’s a continual dynamic which is why poor communication is almost always listed as a basic cause of a project failure despite the extensive use of OneNote and continuous update emails.  There’s still a gap from the time the problem is realized until the time the team is communicated about it and then can react to it.  All h time the problem is still there.So where am I going with all this? Keep in mind that ‘blogging’ is not an article but a written conversation so it’s ok to go off into tangents.  Point is that the PM never ‘really’ knows how well the project is doing until it’s completed and the entity (customer / stakeholder) receives the benefit from its use.  The simple rule of thumb is to get as far as you can on the project at every opportunity without the customers/stakeholders thinking you padded the schedule and officially ask you to pull it in.  It’s not often that happens as usually a PM gives a near best estimate then the project team works like hell to get fairly close to the goals when in actuality in most cases they exceeded it then with little rest go onto the next project .  Ah yes – now you get where I’m coming from – been there – done that – got the T-shirt.  Perhaps now if I add another Project Law of, ’The 1st 90% of project takes 90% of the time and the last 10% of a project takes another 90%…’, you factor in that PM paranoia now knowing that despite all the metrics on linear timeline, that last part of the project integration when any/all mistakes made prior will now expose themselves and will need to be dealt with as we go into mini-crisis mode working late hours. Sometimes I think ‘Pizza Delivery’ was one of the best inventions, right after ‘beer’ which is great to celebrate with (in moderation of course and always have a designated driver) after the PIR (Post Implementation Review).  As always, I’m hoping this blog post will generate comments and I’m interested to hear what other PM’s think.  …JGH (or the PM Pied-Piper as I was recently given the moniker.)last_img read more

Intel® Xeon® Processor 7500 Series Helps Hawking and COSMOS Consortium Figure out How the World Began

first_imgWatch Video“The universe we live in is enormous,” explains Professor Stephen Hawking. “It is complicated and non-linear. We are trying to develop a seamless history, from the first reactions of the first seconds after the big bang through to the present day, 13.7 million years later.Hawking is working with the COSMOS Consortium at Cambridge University, which is trying to understand the origins of the universe. Helping it is the COSMOS super computer based on Intel® Xeon® processors 7500 series.“High-performance computing is so important in cosmology because of one word: data,” says Hawking. In the past two decades, cosmology has emerged as a data-driven field with many successful space- and ground-based experiments telling us more about the universe. The deluge of data has allowed cosmologists to construct increasingly sophisticated mathematical theories with sufficient precision to capture all that is being observed. We need to create realistic mini big bangs on the COSMOS super computer to fast-forward to today and then test if the predicted universe matches the latest observations. Without super computers like COSMOS, we would not be able to reach out and make contact between theory and the real universe to test whether our ideas are really right.”For the whole story, watch our new COSMOS video. As always, you can find this one, and many others, in the Intel.com Reference Room.last_img read more

Using Mobility to Build Confidence in Your Service

first_imgIf executed well, service can build confidence in your customers. For utilities, employees’ actions—or inactions—directly impact customers’ confidence in your organization and the services you provide.It doesn’t matter if…a technician is installing a smart meter;a lineman is installing a new transformer;a distribution system manager is trying to rebalance the load during peak periods;or a customer service representative is fielding billing-related calls from customers…The connections, both human and technological, that occur will directly and indirectly influence the perceived value of your utility service.  In fact, there is nothing that affects the confidence that customers have in your utility more than the quality of the service that they receive.Considering that customer satisfaction with American utilities is on a downward slope for the third straight year, now is the time to reevaluate processes for field service and customer service. Utility leaders need to embrace customers’ expressed pain points as an opportunity for business process improvement (BPI). Fortunately, many of the contributing factors to customers’ dissatisfaction are indeed in the control of field service technicians and customer service representatives. And many can be resolved almost immediately with mobile technologies.For example, American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) founder and chairman Claes Forness recently noted that today’s utility customers are most sensitive to price changes and service disruption. However, “quality plays a more important role in satisfying customers than price in almost all ACSI-measured industries.”Customers understand that, for better or worse, there isn’t a lot of competition in the utilities space and that rates are highly regulated. But they still expect a certain level of service reliability or professionalism from customer service teams. People’s true character always comes to light in stressful or emergency situations. So when outages occur due to routine utility equipment maintenance or unexpected repairs, your employees’ actions (or perceived inaction) become demonstrative of your service organization’s character. If you react fast, communicate with customers, and prioritize service quality, customers will take notice. They’ll also vocalize when you fail to do any of the above, as discovered in a 2016 ACSI benchmarks study which revealed that speed of power restoration after an outage, or lack of speed and perceived inability to improve on it, reduced consumer confidence in utilities.Repairing an underlying technology issue doesn’t automatically repair the relationship utilities have with customers in that moment. Resecuring customer confidence in utilities’ service quality is not as simple as dispatching highly skilled and passionate workers to substations during peak periods or into the field for residential and commercial outage calls either. Those traits don’t necessarily facilitate more proactivity or a faster reaction. Data does.That’s why you have to dispatch well-informed workers. You have to give them all the data they need to confidently make real-time decisions about how to resolve an issue, close a deal, or install a piece of equipment that will influence customer satisfaction. And they have to be able to do it faster than before, which is only feasible with a well-connected, reliable, and purpose-built computer within arm’s reach at all times.Unlike laptops or notebooks that are heavy in hand and not easy to use outside a vehicle, truly mobile computers such as rugged tablet PCs give utility technicians every tool they need to do their job at the very moment they need it in a single device. Rugged tablets survive anything the job brings, so they are always available—always on the job—just like your technicians. No return trips to the central garage. No repeat service calls. And, if needed, technicians can easily collaborate with supervisors or specialized team members to resolve more challenging issues without ever leaving the job site. In other words, the right mobile technologies, due to their real-time, no-holds-barred data access, give utility employees the confidence needed to not just do the job, but do it with precision and professionalism. That is the “secret sauce” to building customer confidence in your organization.This should be a relief to utilities, especially those who have already made significant investments in mobility solutions for their field service workforce. In fact, many have already experienced the powerful benefits of mobile tech. The 2016 ACSI results weren’t all gloom and doom for utilities—residential customers actually credited electric utilities with more reliable service this year. One could argue that a correlation exists between this increase in service reliability and utilities’ reliance on more reliable rugged tablet solutions across multiple operations.The takeaway? Correcting today’s customer satisfaction challenges doesn’t necessarily require a complete system reboot. It just requires better utilization of the mobile technologies already proven to benefit several other utility operations. Once you find the right rugged tablet hardware and workflow software combination, it will suddenly become easier to:Take technology-based measures to improve upon response procedures (ie, automated dispatch and troubleshooting, faster routing, immediate ID of equipment requirements, etc)Confidently communicate status updates to customersAnticipate issues before they occur to minimize service disruptionsProvide value-added services to residential and commercial customersAnd therefore, it will become easier to:Do the best service work you can, as fast as customers want;Restore customer confidence in your utility’s service capabilities;Reduce customers’ negative social media posts about your utility and replace them with positive posts boasting exceptional service (service experience drives more social media posts than other aspects of a purchase);Secure repeat customer sales for equipment and/or services (the most productive sales activities for any business)Want to leverage mobile technologies to improve upon your customer satisfaction rating? Check out these tips for finding the right technologies and applying them to your organization:How to Ask Your Sales Rep the Tough Questions about Rugged Mobile DevicesNew Guide: Is Your Mobile PC Really Built to Last?Wheels, Watson, and the Wide World of Mobility ROIApollo’s Low-Tech Lessons for High-Tech Utilities: Learn, Challenge, Applylast_img read more

The Retail Sky is Changing

first_imgI’ve been thinking a lot about The Economist’s recent article on American retailing, and the issue of store closuresOpens in a new window.Some 4,000 US retail stores were shut in 2016, and at current rates, another 7-8,000 doors may be locked for good this year.As we know, there are many reasons why.Over-Storing and Digital StoringThere’s little question, compared to other developed economies, that the US is ‘over-stored,” with roughly five times the shopping centers of the UK. There’s little question that several historic Middle-America flagship brands — many of which anchor 100’s of malls — are now under siege. And, as my friends in retail real-estate continue to point out, there’s little question that US demographic shifts over the past 20 or so years have marooned many a mall in catchment areas of declining household income.Of course, there’s also that tidal wave known as e-commerce.Store closures touch the nation in many painful ways. As The Economist article pointed out, retailing now accounts for 1-in-9 US jobs, and worst-case store closure scenarios over the next several years place nearly 5 million jobs at risk. There’s the social landscape blight of empty stores and weed-infested parking lots, and the potential financial implications of the $2.5 trillion USD capital (both debt and equity) supporting US retailing.But a bleak landscape for retailing?It’s certainly concerning for those now affected (and soon to be affected) by store closures.  Job loss is painful by any measure.But I’d argue that store closures are not proof that the retail sky is falling.  In today’s unified commerce world, store presence is increasingly a minor measure of brand health.The retail sky is changing. In a major way. Irrevocably.The Major ShiftThe best retailers I know are radically re-thinking the purpose, the capabilities, the size and location of the store. They’re restructuring messaging and services to deliver differentiating value across a decision journey that regularly begins on-line – even when it ends in the store. They know, as posted by Forrester’s ongoing research, that more than 50% of US retailing revenue is now directly influenced by or purchased through the internet.They know, as The Economist reports, that from 2014-2016, job losses in traditional store-based retail were offset by postings for e-commerce, warehousing, and technology jobs.And they know, as industry leader Neil McPhail pointed out in response to a recent post, that it’s no longer about the future of the store — it’s about the future of experience.    From inspiration all the way through to post-sale service.A bleak future? Hardly.But within the retailing revolution comes this question: can you keep pace?last_img read more

Three Approaches to HPC and AI Convergence

first_imgArtificial Intelligence (AI) is by no means a new concept. The idea has been around since Alan Turing’s publication of “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” in the 1950s. But until recently, the computing power and the massive data sets needed to meaningfully run AI applications weren’t easily available. Now, thanks to developments in computing technology and the associated deluge of data, researchers in government, academia, and enterprise can access the compute performance they need to run AI applications that further drive their mission needs.Many organizations that already rely on a high-performance computing (HPC) infrastructure to support applications like modeling and simulation are now looking for ways to benefit from AI capabilities. Given that AI and HPC both require strong compute and performance capabilities, existing HPC users who already have HPC-optimized hardware are well placed to start taking advantage of AI. They also have an opportunity to gain efficiency and cost benefits by converging the two applications on one infrastructure.Approach 1: Using existing HPC infrastructure to run existing AI applicationsThis usually involves running AI applications developed on infrastructure-optimized AI frameworks, such as TensorFlow*, Caffe* and MXNet* on an HPC system. Companies looking to add AI capabilities to an existing HPC system based on Intel® Xeon® processors should ensure they use the latest optimized framework that best supports their planned use case.An example of this type of use case can be seen in a recent collaboration project between Intel and Novartis, which used deep neural networks (DNN) to accelerate high content screening capabilities within image analysis. High content screening is fundamental in early drug discovery as it enables the analysis of microscopic images to see the effects of thousands of genetic or chemical treatments on different cell cultures. This is done through classical image-processing techniques to extract information on thousands of pre-defined features such as size, shape and texture. Applying deep learning to this process means the system is automatically learning the features that can distinguish one treatment from another.By applying DNN acceleration techniques to process multiple images, the team cut the time to train image analysis models from 11 hours to 31 minutes – an improvement of greater than 20 times1. This was done using a typical HPC infrastructure—eight CPU-based servers and a high-speed fabric interconnect—with optimized TensorFlow machine learning framework1. This enabled them to optimize their use of data parallelism in deep learning training, and to make full use of the server platform’s large memory support. As a result, they were able to scale more than 120 3.9-megapixel images per second with 32 TensorFlow workers.Approach 2: Adding AI to the modeling and simulation workflow to accelerate innovation and discoveryOrganizations already using HPC to run modeling and simulation can introduce AI to their existing workflows to gain insights from their results faster. While existing visualization techniques enable scientists to derive insights from simulation results, some of this process can be automated using a continuous workflow that runs a simulation and modeling HPC workload and then feeds the data it creates into an AI workflow for improved insight.Here is an example of how Princeton University Neuroscience Institute used a similar approach with HPC, machine learning (ML) and AI to analyze data coming from functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans to determine what’s going on inside the brain. The study involved using an ML system that has been being trained on real-life scans to create a model of the brain that would be able to recognize different cognitive processes.he model was then used to look at real-time fMRI brain images of patients reacting to conflicting stimuli to ‘guess’ which cognitive processes were going on (and which stimuli were being paid more attention). This information was then used for immediate feedback by updating the stimuli presented. This ability to quickly analyze fMRI data using HPC and react using ML and AI systems is helping scientists better understand cognitive processes with a view to eventually improving the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders.Approach 3: Combining HPC and AI modalitiesA more ambitious approach is to embed HPC simulations into AI, where AI uses simulation to augment training data or provide supervised labels for generally unlabeled data. Alternatively, AI could be embedded into HPC simulations, replacing explicit first principles models with learned functions.In the field of astronomy—typically a heavy user of HPC—numerous new use cases have emerged for accelerating space research by combining HPC and AI modalities. One use case involves using AI to study gravitational lenses, a rare phenomenon that happens when a massive object like a galaxy or black hole comes between a light source and an observer on earth, bending the light and space around it. This means astronomers can see more distant (and much older) parts of the universe that they wouldn’t usually be able to see.Gravitational lenses are hard to find and traditionally have been identified by manually processing space images. In 2017 researchers from the universities of Bonn, Naples, and Groningen used a Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) to accelerate detection. They started by creating a dataset to train the neural network by feeding six million images of fake gravitational lenses to the AI network, and leaving it to identify patterns. After this training, the AI system was set loose on real images from space, analyzing them to identify gravitational lenses at greater speed than human examination and with incredibly high rates of accuracy.Another recent use case demonstrated that AI-based models can potentially replace computationally expensive tasks in simulation. In this example, Intel collaborated with High-Energy Physics (HEP) scientists to study what happens during particle collisions. The study used a huge number of CPUs to power its most complex and time-consuming simulation tasks. This included processing information from high-granularity calorimeters—the apparatus that measure particle energy. The team aimed to accelerate their ability to study collision data from these devices in preparation for greater data volumes coming from future collisions.The team wanted to see if Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) trained on the calorimeter images could act as a replacement for the computationally expensive Monte Carlo methods currently used to analyze them. GANs were seen as a suitable AI application as they are excellent at generating new variations based on the data studied. GANs were used to generate realistic samples for complicated probability distributions as they also allow multi-modal output, interpolation, and are robust against missing data.After training the GAN, the team found strong agreement between the images it generated and those produced by the simulation-based Monte Carlo approach. They reviewed both high-level qualities like energy shower shapes, and detailed calorimeter responses at a single-cell level and found that the agreement was incredibly high. This opens a promising avenue for further investigation for machine-learning-generated distributions in place of costly physics-based simulations.Getting started with AI applicationsWhen taking your first steps towards converged AI and HPC, it is important to understand different AI capabilities and how they can help solve the particular problems your organization is working on. The next step is to find AI frameworks that support your use case. During framework selection, it is best to look for ones that are already optimized for your current HPC infrastructure. For companies wanting to run AI on existing Intel® technology-based infrastructure we’ve created this overview of resources optimized for popular AI frameworks.The next step is to run an AI workload pilot on your existing HPC infrastructure. At Intel, we work with customers across academia, government and enterprise to help them scope, plan and implement AI capabilities into their HPC environments. To find out more about how to optimize HPC architectures for AI convergence read this solution brief.For organizations wanting to optimize their existing infrastructure for specific workloads such as professional visualization or simulation and modeling, Intel® Select Solutions for HPC offer easy and quick-to-deploy infrastructure. Optimized for specific HPC applications, Intel® Select Solutions help to accelerate time to breakthrough, actionable insight, and new product design. 1 20x claim based on 21.7x speed up achieved by scaling from single node system to 8-socket cluster. 8-socket cluster node configuration, CPU: Intel® Xeon® 6148 Processor @ 2.4GHz, Cores: 40, Sockets: 2, Hyper-threading: Enabled, Memory/node: 192GB, 2666MHz, NIC: Intel® Omni-Path Host Fabric Interface (Intel® OP HFI), TensorFlow: v1.7.0, Horovod: 0.12.1, OpenMPI: 3.0.0, Cluster: ToR Switch: Intel® Omni-Path Switch. Single node configuration: CPU: Intel® Xeon® Phi Processor 7290F,  192GB DDR4 RAM, 1x 1.6TB Intel® SSD DC S3610 Series SC2BX016T4, 1x 480GB Intel® SSD DC S3520 Series SC2BB480G7, Intel® MKL 2017/DAAL/Intel Caffe.Tests document performance of components on a particular test, in specific systems. Differences in hardware, software, or configuration will affect actual performance. Consult other sources of information to evaluate performance as you consider your purchase.  For more complete information about performance and benchmark results, visit www.intel.com/benchmarksIntel® technologies’ features and benefits depend on system configuration and may require enabled hardware, software or service activation. Performance varies depending on system configuration. No computer system can be absolutely secure. Check with your system manufacturer or retailer or learn more at www.intel.com.last_img read more

Mining Nutrients, Tubeworms Reach Ripe Old Age

first_imgAlbuquerque, New Mexico–Marine biologist Charles Fisher has solved a mystery of the deep: How do some giant tube worms that live on the ocean floor obtain the hydrogen sulfide they need to survive? The answer: They mine it.Hydrogen sulfide is an essential nutrient for bacteria that live in the guts of the meter-long tube worms, in a symbiotic relationship with their hosts. The microbes process sulfide and inorganic carbon, releasing carbohydrates that nourish the worm. Tube worms that live around volcanic vents on the deep sea floor have a plentiful supply of hydrogen sulfide dissolved in the hot water that spurts from the vents. But tube worms living elsewhere on the ocean floor have no obvious source of this nutrient.Fisher, a researcher at Pennsylvania State University, has spent several years trying to explain this conundrum. He looked for hydrogen sulfide in ordinary seawater near tube worms living 600 meters beneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, but couldn’t find enough of the gas to keep the creatures alive. So he descended in a submersible, collected tube worms together with the rock they were attached to, and found the answer.At the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology here last week, Fisher reported that the tube worms had sprouted transparent, flexible tubes through and around the rock. Vent-dwelling tube worms lack these appendages. Laboratory tests indicated that these “roots” can absorb hydrogen sulfide dissolved in the surrounding sediment, Fisher said. But he has not yet determined exactly how they extract the nutrient, he noted.Fisher has also been measuring the growth rates of these tube worms and found that they grow much more slowly than those living around vents. Large, slow-growing worms, he said at the meeting, may be at least a century old.Fisher’s findings “are pretty novel,” says marine biologist Peter Girguis of University of California, Santa Barbara. Girguis says, however, that Fisher’s estimate of the worms’ longevity still needs to be confirmed.last_img read more

Museums and Zoos Go Ape Over Stimulus Stigma

first_imgBy signing the $787 billion stimulus bill Tuesday at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, which draws part of its power from rooftop solar panels built by a local company, President Barack Obama highlighted his campaign to create and preserve green jobs. But the choice of locale was also a vote of confidence for a museum community badly shaken by recent actions in the U.S. Congress.Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate voted to ban museums from receiving any funding in the stimulus package. Although conferees eventually resorted to House language that didn’t mention museums, the final bill still excludes educational institutions with living exhibits—that is, zoos and aquariums. Adding insult to injury, the law lumps them together with “casino or other gambling establishments,” golf courses, and swimming pools as outside the pale. How did this issue even come before Congress?Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)In December, the U.S. Conference of Mayors put out a list of 15,000 “shovel-ready” municipal projects that included a handful of improvements to museums and zoos, many designed to improve energy efficiency. Groups opposed to the stimulus plan called many of the projects an inappropriate use of federal dollars and linked the list to a comment from the mayor of Las Vegas that stimulus funding could help finance a museum on the history of organized crime. The House quickly inserted the gambling language into its version of the stimulus bill, and an amendment by Senator Tom Coburn (R–OK) expanded it to include museums. That amendment passed 73 to 24.Museum officials say the language is a clear sign that politicians don’t fully understand how museums serve the U.S. economy and society as a whole. “Last year, museums attracted 850 million visitors,” says Ford Bell, president of the American Association of Museums in Washington, D.C. “That’s more than the attendance at all professional sporting events in the country, and it tells you about our role in educating the public and boosting tourism. But if you ask most members of Congress, they’ll say museums are nice but not essential.”Next week, the association hopes to change that attitude by bringing 310 members to Washington to lobby Congress. It’s the first time the organization has engaged in this time-honored practice, says Bell, who plans to make it an annual event.last_img read more

Roundup 10/2: Fresh Faces Edition

first_imgThe National Academy of Engineering will hold a forum on Monday on the role of innovation in “Rebuilding a Real Economy.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Next Thursday, 8 October, the Senate Energy committee will have a hearing on the nominations of Marcia McNutt to direct the United States Geological Survey and Arun Majumdar to run Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy at the energy department. Massachusetts Institute of Technology guru Ernie Moniz (left) will be talking about low-carbon energy technology at a Hitachi/AAAS speech on 14 October. (Photo: MIT) Andrew Revkin polls four experts and wonders if President Barack Obama, who this week made his first visit to Denmark as President, will be returning to Copenhagen in December to negotiate the climate treaty.last_img read more

Universities, Scientists Urge NIH to Narrow Conflicts Rule

first_imgThe biomedical research community is reacting with concern to a proposal from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to clamp down on financial conflicts of interest in research. In a flood of comments, many groups and some individual scientists say NIH is asking investigators to report irrelevant information. Although they agree reform is needed, many urge NIH to narrow the proposal. They also think the government should create a central database for disclosing conflicts to the public. In May, NIH proposed several changes to a 1995 Public Health Service (PHS) conflicts of interest regulation. They included lowering the threshold for reporting industry income (from $10,000 to $5000 annually) and requiring investigators to report to their institutions all financial interests related to their job. Institutional officials would then scan these reports for conflicts with an NIH-funded project and, when appropriate, disclose the conflicts publicly on their Web sites. NIH wants investigators to report not only industry payments, but also income from non-profit organizations (except universities). NIH received more than 170 comments by yesterday’s deadline, the bulk from academic institutions, societies, and individual scientists. Many concerns are summed up in an 11-page letter from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the Association of American Universities (AAU), and two other university organizations. The groups worry about “onerous regulations” that “create a glut of policies that increase activity without adding protections” and “erode … trust.” Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) The AAMC/AAU letter urges NIH to require that only income related to research be reportable, so that, say, royalties from writing a textbook would not need to be reported. It also says NIH should exempt payments from academic hospitals and nonprofits that fund research. The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology argues for exempting activities for scientific societies such as reviewing grants that are “an essential part of scientific life.” Many commenters also urge NIH to exempt travel reimbursement, retirement and mutual funds, and patents that haven’t been licensed. Universities dislike NIH’s plan to have institutions each post conflicts online; this will be confusing to the public and costly, they say. A better solution is to create a central federal database with the information, they suggest. It should be coordinated with the September 2013 launch of a federal database in which drug companies will report payments to physicians. NIH got mixed advice on a relatively new concern: that because a researcher who breaks the rules is usually sanctioned by his or her institution, not NIH, a violator can escape punishment by moving to another university. The AAMC/AAU letter claims the new institution should not be required to consider the previous institution’s sanctions, but instead “should have the freedom” to decide if the information is relevant. But others disagree. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (which publishes Science) says sanctions should move with an individual, as they now do for research misconduct. And Harvard University Vice Provost for Research David Korn suggests that PHS create a “registry … of offenders” who have been barred by their institutions from receiving grants. NIH has not yet posted all the comments online; agency spokesperson Don Ralbovsky said they should be up sometime next week. He said NIH is reviewing the comments and will have a timetable for issuing the final rule “once the analysis is further along.”last_img read more

U.S. to Seek University Input on New Dual Use Reviews

first_imgThe U.S. government will soon be asking university officials to comment on how best to implement recently released dual use research rules at the university level, a senior U.S. science official announced today. “What needs to be ironed out and will be ironed out is how [dual use reviews are] sorted out at the institutional level,” Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said at a workshop sponsored by the National Academies in Washington, D.C. The announcement marks the latest U.S. response to the controversy over a pair of studies that show how to make the H5N1 avian influenza virus transmissible in mammals. On 29 March, the government released a new policy that requires federal agencies that fund unclassified research to systematically review the potential risks of studies involving 15 “high consequence” pathogens and toxins, including H5N1. The reviews are designed to reduce the risks associated with dual use research of concern (DURC) that could be used for good or harm. The policy also requires the funders, scientists, and institutions to work together to develop plans for mitigating risk, including possibly altering the research or withholding research results. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) At the time, Fauci and other officials made it clear that although the new policy applied to only federal agencies, they expected that academic institutions and individual scientists funded by the government would play a growing role in DURC reviews. In particular, past recommendations from a variety of expert panels have suggested that university institutional biosafety committees (IBCs), originally established to oversee the safety of studies involving recombinant DNA techniques, take a bigger role in helping to identify DURC studies before they begin. Fauci did not discuss the details of the new policy, which he said should be released for public comment “soon.” But he said officials will be seeking input on what university-level review practices would be “practical and impractical. … We don’t want to have a government policy that can’t be implemented. … What we are talking about is the path forward.” University groups have expressed concerns about how the new DURC policy will be implemented and how disagreements between scientists and the government might be resolved. Fauci has said that he expects “a lot of constructive conversation” about the new rules.last_img read more

NIH Looks Within for New Translational Center Chief

first_imgThe National Institutes of Health’s (NIH’s) new translational research center has its first chief: Christopher Austin, a neurologist and former Merck researcher who has run drug discovery efforts at NIH for the past 10 years. NIH Director Francis Collins announced the appointment this morning at the inaugural meeting of the advisory council to the 9-month-old National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). Congress signed off on the $575 million NCATS last December after months of controversy over whether NIH was trying to become a drug company. NIH insists that NCATS will restrict itself to addressing bottlenecks in the drug development process. Collins said that after “a vigorous international search,” NIH selected Austin, 51, who now heads NCATS’ division of preclinical innovation. “Chris has had a remarkable career with a great diversity of experiences that place him in a wonderful position to lead this enterprise,” Collins said. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) A Harvard-trained developmental neurogeneticist, Austin worked on genome-based drug discovery at Merck for 7 years. In 2002, he left to become adviser for translational research at the National Human Genome Research Institute, where Collins was then director. Austin helped launch NIH’s molecular libraries program, a set of industry-style small molecule screening centers at academic institutions. Until recently, he headed NIH’s intramural screening center and other programs, such as drug development for rare diseases. When NCATS was created, these were folded into its preclinical division. Austin, who starts on 23 September (his birthday), described the NCATS appointment at today’s meeting as the “culmination” of his career-long efforts to bridge basic research and the clinic. “This is a really hard, ambitious, but deeply important mission we’re all on,” he said. Some observers suggest that NIH struggled to recruit an NCATS director from outside because an industry scientist who moved to NIH would likely have to take a steep salary cut and divest any drug company stock he or she owned. Other deterrents might have been NIH’s bleak budget prospects and the upcoming presidential election, which could result in a change in NIH leadership. Steven Paul, a former Eli Lilly research chief now at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City who served on the search committee, declined to comment on whether government rules hindered the search. What matters, Paul says, is that: “We came up with a terrific person. … Chris has credibility with both academic investigators and the private sector.” At today’s meeting, NIH leaders and its advisers—a mix of patients, industry experts, and academics—began sorting out what NCATS will do. (The meeting also included the overlapping board of the Cures Acceleration Network, CAN, a component of NCATS that will give out grants for drug development.) U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said she hopes NCATS will not only come up with specific tools for improving regulatory science, such as new trial designs, but also get both basic and clinical scientists to think about the steps needed to turn a potential drug into a product. “We do have to think about how we do research somewhat differently,” she said. Thomas Insel, acting director of NCATS, cautioned that the center, which consists mostly of existing programs at NIH, won’t have much new money to work with. “We really have to be very focused,” he said. But CAN board member Tachi Yamada, chief medical and scientific officer at Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., said NCATS doesn’t necessarily need a big budget to have an impact. “A lot of solutions can be very inexpensive if thought through strategically,” he said. Yamada, who has also worked for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, gave the example of an ongoing collaboration he was involved with to work with FDA on gaining approval of a three-drug cocktail for tuberculosis without going through “50 years of clinical trials.” NCATS, he said, will benefit from “some very serious strategic analysis of where the real roadblocks might be in selective areas.”last_img read more

Stonehenge Site of First ‘Rock’ Concert

first_imgMost musicologists date the beginning of rock ‘n’ roll to the 1950s, when records by Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, and Jerry Lee Lewis exploded onto the charts. But an interdisciplinary research team working at Stonehenge, the iconic megalithic monument in south England, claims to have found much earlier evidence of rock music—or at least large gatherings of people interested in hearing loud noise. The find could push the origin of such concerts back thousands of years. Archaeologists have long debated the meaning and function of Stonehenge, which, when complete, was made up of two concentric circles of stone pillars, surrounded in turn by a huge circular earthwork ditch called a cursus. Much of the structure, which was built over about 1500 years and took thousands of person-hours to construct, is still standing. Some researchers have argued that it served as an astronomical observatory, although that idea is now largely discounted; others, pointing out that the monument is aligned with the winter solstice and the midsummer sunrise, think it served as a site for seasonal rituals; although still others see it as a burial place for the prehistoric elite, citing the more than 60 cremated skeletons that have been found in and around the stone pillars. Now, a team excavating at Stonehenge, led by archaeologist Chip Aubrey of the University of East Gloucester in the United Kingdom, has uncovered more than three dozen new, relatively intact skeletons from the site, along with other finds that the researchers say strongly suggest the monument was used as an outdoor concert hall. The team’s anthropologists have found that most of the skeletons, the remains of both males and females ranging in age from late teens to early 20s, have well-preserved inner ear structures. When examined under a microscope, the inner ear bones of many of the skeletons’ ears showed telltale signs of scarring and other damage, probably as a result of being exposed to loud noise. Indeed, the team found that when it played loud music from a boom box placed in the exact geometric center of Stonehenge—including cuts from Neil Young and Crazy Horse, known for their high-volume performances—the decibel level was amplified by as much as 75%. 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The implements are in association with the poorly preserved but recognizable remains of an animal skin from which the fur had been shaved off, probably with a sharp stone tool. The researchers interpret this finding as an ancient drum, although they caution that further study will be necessary to confirm this conclusion. Finally, the team’s bioarchaeologists determined the ratio of strontium isotopes Sr87 and Sr86—which vary between different geological formations and can provide clues as to where an individual grew up—in the new skeletons. They found that the young people buried at Stonehenge came from regions both near and far from the monument’s location on England’s Salisbury Plain, and in all geographic directions, which would be expected if Stonehenge were the venue for a major event of some sort. “All of these lines of evidence converge on only one likely conclusion,” says Nigel Tufnel, an anthropologist at the University of Witney in the United Kingdom who was not involved in the excavations. “Young people came to Stonehenge to listen to loud music with a strong beat. Some went back home, but others stayed and were buried here.” As for the monument itself, Tufnel has his own thoughts about its creators. “No one knows who they were, or what they were doing,” he says. “But their legacy remains.” Aubrey cites the work of another research team, working at a smaller megalithic monument nearby, as support for his team’s hypothesis, reported online today in the International Journal of Scientific Archaeology. There, curiously also on the first of April, archaeologists found four strings made of catgut, still intact in the midst of wooden fragments in the shape of a violin. They also unearthed the burials of a half dozen much older individuals. Linguists working with that team have just succeeded in deciphering an inscription on one of the megalith’s stones, written in an ancient Indo-European language. It reads: “If the gods had meant us to go to rock concerts, they would have given us tickets.” *Update: This is an April Fools’ story. If you enjoyed it, here are some of our past pranks:Ice Age Ankle Biters Science, Nature Team Up on New Journal Pig-footed Bandicoot Rises From the Dead Researchers Locate “Funny” Genelast_img read more

ScienceShot: Urine-Powered Cell Phones Make a Splash

first_imgThe newest source of battery power for your cell phone is both cheap and abundant. Scientists at the University of the West of England in Bristol report that microbial fuel cells using human urine can directly power a cell phone battery. The researchers first demonstrated in 2011 that our pee is viable fuel: As it cascades through a series of fuel cells, hungry bacteria consume it and release electrons, which generate an electrical current. Their new research, published this week in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, presents two devices for converting human waste into talk time, which they hope will help people in remote areas stay connected. However, the devices are not quite portable enough to come in handy during a marathon pub crawl. One consists of six, 4-inch-long ceramic cylinders; the other is a network of 25 smaller fuel cells borrowed from the team’s waste-fueled EcoBot. And urine-powered conversations would have to be short and sweet. After 24 hours of charging, a Samsung phone stayed alive for 25 minutes—enough to send several texts and make a 6-minute, 20-second call.last_img read more