By Toni Gibbons The Holbrook City Council approved a tentative $10.3 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year 2018-19 at the council meeting on June 12. Within those numbers, were requests to reinstate the $8,500Subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Ad Holbrook Council approves tentative $10.3 million budget June 18, 2018
By Diana Hutchison The Navajo County Community College District Governing Board held its regular monthly meeting on June 19, with all board members in attendance. The board had several items to address onSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Ad June 28, 2018 Board chairman questions award of security contract
On Sept. 9, a local rancher in Heber area reported to the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office two cows were discovered deceased in the area of Forest Road 9886T, Phoenix Park Wash area west of Heber/Overgaard.Subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Ad September 18, 2018 Ranchers report 24 head of cattle deceased
Decline in enrollment a concern for NPC By Toni Gibbons In his enrollment report to the Navajo County Community College Governing Board on April 16, Interim Vice President for Learning and Students Services Ricky Jackson reported that enrollment at Northland PioneerSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Ad April 23, 2019
Best Of Express P Rajagopal, Saravana Bhavan founder sentenced to life for murder, dies Chandrayaan-2 launch on July 22 at 2.43 pm: ISRO More Explained Taking stock of monsoon rain Advertising The chief minister said the government will only dig ponds, since the Yamuna floodplain is a very big natural reservoir and does not require any construction of any kind.The Delhi government Tuesday approved a pilot project for conservation of water by creating small ponds in the Yamuna floodplains from Palla to Wazirabad, a move aimed at addressing the “water problem” of the city. 0 Comment(s) Advertising Inside Delhi govt school with 210 CCTVs, principal hopes project will help, some students not so sure Announcing the Cabinet’s decision, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the move will increase the water table and authorities will pump out water stored in these ponds.There is water scarcity in various parts of the country, including Delhi and the project will not only help authorities deal with current water problem, but also tackle future difficulties, he said.“We have prepared a scheme…in coming days, we will recharge ground water in the floodplains of Yamuna. This is an experimental study for us. Its result will tell us how much it can conserve water,” Kejriwal said. By PTI |New Delhi | Published: July 2, 2019 10:07:25 pm Delhi: Court summons CM Arvind Kejriwal in defamation case Ayodhya dispute: Mediation to continue till July 31, SC hearing likely from August 2 “Del govt plans to store yamuna water during rainy season. One season’s water sufficient to meet one year’s Delhi’s water needs. Requested Centre’s support (sic),” he had tweetedOn his part, Delhi Urban Development Minister Satyendar Jain had said that this is a pilot project, which will later be implemented across the city to address the water problem. Related News Visiting rape victim, CM Arvind Kejriwal stresses on need for death penalty The chief minister said the Centre has assured the AAP government of full cooperation to implement the project.“I recently met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on this issue. The Centre has assured us that it will soon take a decision on this,” Kejriwal said.After the Cabinet decision, the Delhi government will require the concurrence of some Central government agencies, about which the Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat was informed in the recent meeting with him.After the meeting with Modi last month, Kejriwal had said that his government had planned to store Yamuna water during the rainy season. As per the plan, the government will rent farmers’ land located on the Yamuna floodplains and create small ponds in the radius of 20-kilometres from Palla to Wazirabad to conserve water.The chief minister said the government will only dig ponds, since the Yamuna floodplain is a very big natural reservoir and does not require any construction of any kind.Besides rainwater, overflow water of Yamuna during the monsoon season will come into these ponds and will be percolated. This will increase ground water table, Kejriwal said, adding that the expected project cost is around Rs 50 crore.“We have constituted a five-member committee to prepare modalities of the project. It has been asked to submit its report by Monday,” Kejriwal said.
Advertising British police have opened an investigation into a leak of confidential memos that led to the resignation of Kim DarrochBritish police said on Friday that they had opened an investigation into a leak of confidential memos that led to the resignation of the British ambassador to Washington. Post Comment(s) British woman police officer sacked for ‘racist’ slurs against Indian restaurant staff Advertising “I fear there may be more,” he said. “People are shaken by what has happened. The basis on which we have worked all our careers suddenly feels as if it is challenged.”After Darroch’s resignation, a diplomatic source told Reuters that a lack of support from Johnson during a televised debate with his rival for the premiership, foreign minister Jeremy Hunt, had been a factor in the envoy’s decision to quit. Taking stock of monsoon rain Kim Darroch quit on Wednesday after Donald Trump called him “stupid” and “wacky”, following the publication of the confidential memos by a newspaper. In them, Darroch called Trump’s administration inept.London’s Metropolitan Police said its counter-terrorism command, which takes national responsibility for investigating allegations of criminal breaches of the Official Secrets Act, was leading the investigation.“Given the widely reported consequences of that leak, I am satisfied that there has been damage caused to UK international relations, and there would be a clear public interest in bringing the person or people responsible to justice,” Met Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said in a statement. More Explained British Police arrest 4 after gay women are assaulted on London bus Best Of Express ‘Truth, justice have prevailed’: PM Modi on Kulbhushan Jadhav verdict Related News Jharkhand court drops ‘donate Quran’ condition for bail to Ranchi woman over offensive post Advertising By Reuters |London | Updated: July 13, 2019 3:44:17 pm The leaked memos have cast a shadow over ties between Britain and the United States and taken centre stage in the contest to be the next British prime minister.Boris Johnson, a frontrunner in that race, has been heavily criticised by lawmakers in his own party and the opposition for failing to defend the ambassador.In his statement, Basu urged the person or people who leaked the memos to turn themselves in.“I would say to the person or people who did this, the impact of what you have done is obvious,” he said. “However, you are now also responsible for diverting busy detectives from undertaking their core mission. You can stop this now. Turn yourself in at the earliest opportunity, explain yourself and face the consequences.” UK police arrest four men suspected of planning far-right terrorism Basu said journalists and publishers could be in breach of the law if they published further details from the memos.“I would advise all owners, editors and publishers of social and mainstream media not to publish leaked government documents that may already be in their possession, or which may be offered to them, and to turn them over to the police or give them back to their rightful owner, Her Majesty’s Government.”The memos said rumours of “infighting and chaos” in the White House were mostly true.The head of Britain’s diplomatic service, Simon McDonald, said this week he was “bracing” himself for further leaks, which he described as “the worst breach of trust in our service in my career”. After Masood Azhar blacklisting, ICJ verdict in Kulbhushan case isolates Pakistan In an interview on Friday, Johnson denied he was responsible for Darroch’s resignation, but admitted his comments had been a factor.
Power Corrupts Over a decade ago, companies became concerned about taking on too much risk, and they came up with the not-so-brilliant plan of hiring risk officers. These folks had staff and were given the responsibility to ensure that the companies, generally financial institutions, didn’t take on excessive risks. Instead, it was if these institutions suddenly felt that any risk was acceptable, and the U.S. market crashed catastrophically as a result of loans that weren’t properly secured.What happened was that the risk managers had responsibility but no real authority, so while they were viewed as some kind of shield, they were in effect more like sacrificial goats. They became blame magnets, which actually didn’t really work well either. Since they had no authority, the blame still flowed to the idiots making the bad decisions.Hiring ethics officers won’t work either, because they won’t have enforcement authority. Often, they won’t have the necessary visibility into company practices to ensure that the firm complies with policies and laws — let alone behaves ethically. If the government comes calling due to a CEO misdeed, there might be an attempt to throw the ethics officer under the bus, but law enforcement — as with the risk managers — likely will go after the decision maker and not the sacrificial goat ethics officer.Appointing an ethics officer might have the unintended impact of convincing the other executives that ethics is no longer their concern, and they might go off the ethical rails even more than before — similar to what happened with financial institutions after they got risk officers.That, of course, most likely would be catastrophic, because governments and investors eventually react poorly to out-of-control CEOs. In fact, they tend to overreact with company-killing regularity. Several us have become increasingly concerned about the lack of ethics on the part of market-leading companies at the moment. Kara Swisher’s New York Times column is an eye opener, considering that she concluded that “too many digital leaders have lost their minds.”She cited some frightening examples of poor leadership — ranging from Saudi funding (concerning given the alleged murder of a reporter); to Facebook’s Portal device, which appears designed to violate user privacy; to Elon Musk’s increasing insanity; to Google’s recent coverup of a massive user data breach that forced it to close Google+.Swisher’s column points to the solution adopted by Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, who hired a chief ethical officer — but I think that would just repeat the mistake we made with chief risk officers around a decade ago.In response to her piece, Scott Cleland, who runs Precursor Watch, commented that these huge firms and their CEOs have ethics problems following them around like the dirt that followed Pigpen in the Peanuts comic strip. These firms, through Section 230 of the U.S. Code, largely have been given immunity to civil law, which appears to have promoted wrong, unjust, dishonest, unethical, and/or uncivil behaviors by the firms’ employees and leaders.While I think Cleland overemphasizes the impact of Section 230, which detracts from what is more likely a practice of hiring people who think ethics is optional, his proposed solution should work. He suggests these firms and executives need to be held more aggressively to the same laws we all must follow.I’ll share my views on that and then close with my product of the week: a new video-conferencing solution that could evolve to make most business trips obsolete. I’ve been involved with video conferencing in some shape or form going well back to the 1960s, when I first saw the video call demonstration at Disneyland as a child. I was part of a joint Apple/IBM trial in the 1980s, which ended badly, and I’ve been involved with the technology since the mid-90s as an analyst.Generally, the cycle goes like this: The market gets really excited about technology that could reduce plane travel and increase employee collaboration, everyone and their brother jumps into it, companies buy the products, the employees avoid using them, the market consolidates, and in around five to 10 years, the market forgets and starts the cycle over.One of the more interesting recent attempts were telepresence robots with tablets that could display the faces of those remotely using them. They weren’t that successful, even though they did attempt to deal better with creating the impression that the remote worker was there.Spatial, which launched last week, has an idea that, while not yet mature, could get us far closer to where we need to go. It uses augmented reality to create ghost-like avatars of the remote people, who then can move around the room and interact with others as if they were present. The remote workers also get avatars of those in the conference room, almost as if they dropped into the workers’ homes to collaborate with them. Rob Enderle has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2003. His areas of interest include AI, autonomous driving, drones, personal technology, emerging technology, regulation, litigation, M&E, and technology in politics. He has an MBA in human resources, marketing and computer science. He is also a certified management accountant. Enderle currently is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group, a consultancy that serves the technology industry. He formerly served as a senior research fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester. Email Rob. Wrapping Up Even though the technology is raw now, I can see that the increased application of artificial intelligence tech, better AR glasses, and improved rendering capability — like what exists in the new Nvidia RTX platform — could make this experience far more realistic.Even in its raw form, an impressive number of companies have seen the value and have signed up, because it seems to work better for a number of interactions than the technology they have.I really hate getting on planes, and I live in a resort town now, which means that I’m going to love anything that has the potential to make most of my air travel obsolete. As a result, Spatial is my product of the week. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network. Internal Audit I think a better solution would to be to reinstate, fund, and once again empower internal audit operations in these firms, allowing auditors to function much as they did when internal auditing first came to be, largely after the market crash in the first half of last century.Internal audit can, and often does, operate like internal affairs in police departments. However, both of those operations often have been gutted over time, losing qualified people, funding and authority. Today — particularly in some newer firms — those functions are either nonexistent or assigned to an ineffective department of employee rejects who comply with the letter but not the intent of their mandate.Staffed, funded, and with adequate authority, internal audit not only would have the experience to root out bad behavior but also the ability to terminate those exhibiting it. The internal audit department also would have the added benefit of ensuring the quality of operations, something that firms like Tesla currently need badly. (Its plants are so badly run, the firm is hemorrhaging money.)When properly set up, internal audit’s ability to prevent behavior ranging from just bad management to embezzlement and sexual harassment largely would be unmatched and could go a long way toward ensuring that a firm isn’t taken out by its own employees. Ethics Officer Won’t Work Spatial Mission Planning Whether we are talking about the book Brotopia, which focuses mostly on misogyny at scale, or Technically Wrong, which focuses on idiotic product development practices, or on a slew of recent articles on related subjects, the common message is that these firms are largely out of control.Given that a number of us believe they are massively overvalued as well, the potential for a catastrophe driven by bad executive behavior is almost a given. Such a catastrophe could reset the market, likely wiping out jobs, 401Ks and savings tied to the segment.I think internal audit is the only type of organization that could be capable of fixing this problem in a timely way, and that the interim use of ethics officers actually would do the exact opposite of what was intended. I don’t expect this will end well at all. I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” but I often think that as they come up the ranks, executives view this as a goal and not a warning. It is clear that at some point executives feel they have reached a level of power where the rules their companies have just don’t apply to them.In a way I was lucky — or unlucky, depending on how you look at it — to have an extremely unethical father. I was lucky in that I saw the damage it did to his marriages, finances, opportunities and the quality of his life. I was unlucky because I was often collateral damage, as were my brothers, sister, and his wives.The amount of damage this behavior can cause, once it is discovered, can be devastating. It can wipe out the companies and the executives’ personal fortunes, and in some cases it can even land them in prison.The thing is, it isn’t as if these folks weren’t already wealthy — but it becomes a competition as to who has the most expensive car, the most yachts, the biggest island, or the prettiest mistress (even if she is an employee).They lose perspective — placing physical things, often inanimate, as higher priority over the things they really should care about: their families, employees, image/reputation, and even their continued freedom.
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 3 2018Immunotherapy is making headlines for saving the lives of hundreds of cancer patients including former President Jimmy Carter. But many of these therapies, only work for a small portion of people who have a specific molecule called PDL1 in their cancer makeup.UCF College of Medicine cancer researcher Dr. Alicja Copik has just discovered a way to make that therapy viable to thousands by using the body’s own natural killer (NK) cells in a new way. Her findings were recently published in OncoImmunology.NK cells are part of the body’s defense system and act as an army to protect us from invaders like viruses and infections. Copik has discovered a way to make NK cells even more powerful – by stimulating them with nanoparticles that multiply them and heighten their killing ability. Her technology has been licensed and is now progressing to clinical trials as a therapy for leukemia and later for other cancers.In her latest study, Copik discovered that her energized NK cells do even more. They change the cellular makeup of tumors – especially the molecular defenses cancers use to protect themselves from the body’s immune system. “Cancer is a very smart enemy,” Copik explained. “That’s why we have to use so many tools to fight it.”Here’s what her research has uncovered:For a malignant tumor to survive, cancers can place a protein molecule called PDL1 on their cells. The molecule tells the body’s immune system, “I’m one of your own cells, so don’t eat me” Copik said humorously. For patients with PDL1 on their cancers, new immunotherapy drugs use an antibody that blocks the PDL1 protection, allowing the body’s immune system to kill the cancer. These drugs have been very successful – even in stopping Stage 4, metastatic cancer and leading to long-lasting remissions- but only for patients whose tumors test positive for PDL1. Only 15 to 30 percent of patients — depending on the cancer — have PDL1 on their cancer cells.Copik’s goal was to make PDL1 therapies effective for more patients. In the lab, she discovered that NK cells, stimulated with the nanoparticles developed in her lab, attack the tumor and induce it to present PDL1 – which the new drugs then can target. In her study, combining NK cells with the new immunotherapy drug lead to improved survival rates in mice with cancer. Recent work from other scientists has shown that once inside the tumor, NK cells go a step further – they recruit other immune cells to prime the immune system to attack cancer. “So these activated NK cells will work synergistically with these immunotherapies,” she said.Related StoriesSugary drinks linked to cancer finds studyNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancerTrends in colonoscopy rates not aligned with increase in early onset colorectal cancerActivated NK cells have advantages over other cancer therapies. First, they seldom cause side effects like chemotherapy and radiation. And the NK cells don’t attack healthy cells. So cancer patients could safely receive additional NK cells from people who are not a 100 percent match. Because blood banks remove and discard NK cells when they collect blood platelets and plasma for donation, Copik said there is a potential for scientists to develop ways to save such NK cells for cancer therapies.Copik envisions her new discovery can be joined with planned NK cell clinical trials. And she said UCF’s new comprehensive cancer treatment and research center – to be housed in the former Sanford Burnham Prebys research institute – will allow College of Medicine researchers even more opportunities to find a cure for cancer. The center will include basic scientists, like Copik, clinical researchers, cancer physicians and patients in the same facility. And the UCF researcher said such partnership will provide new opportunities for discovery – and inspiration.”As a scientist, it’s important to know from physicians and patients, ‘Where are the gaps in treatment? Where are the challenges?’ You see where we should be directing our efforts,” she said. “And when you’re in the lab late at night you think about these patients. They are your motivation and your inspiration. You know we must do this work now because patients are waiting.”Source: https://www.ucf.edu/
Influenced by Money and Politics Bad Data’s Ripple Effect Problems arising from spectrum reallocation are nothing new, noted Bill Menezes, senior principal analyst at Gartner, a research and advisory company based in Stamford, Connecticut.”Whenever spectrum gets reallocated, frequently there’s an existing use that may get affected, so the idea that this could happen is not unusual,” he told TechNewsWorld.In the 3.5 GHz band, for example, there was an issue with interference with the Navy’s existing use of the spectrum for radar, so safeguards were imposed to prevent interference with naval operations. In the 5.0 GHz band, protocols were put in place to keep cellular users from infringing on WiFi users’ operations.”When a frequency is adjacent to an incumbent’s, the FCC might set up a ‘guard band’ and say new users can’t stray into that band,” Menezes explained.As for the 24 GHz band, he noted that problems there could reach far beyond weather forecasting.”If you think of all the smart devices that are coming out for consumers and agriculture that rely on weather forecasting data,” Menezes said, “there’s a potential huge ripple effect if the effectiveness of that data is compromised.” Technology Leadership Jeopardized The wireless industry has voiced strong opposition to any delays in auctioning the 24 GHz spectrum.”The Federal Communications Commission began looking at the 24 GHz band five years ago and put rules in place more than a year ago,” said Meredith Attwell Baker, CEO of the CTIA, which represents the U.S. wireless communications industry.”During that time the commission conducted an exhaustive review of all factors, consulted all relevant agencies, and balanced interests appropriately,” she continued.”An auction delay will not change the outcome of that review,” Baker maintained. “It will have the sole effect of risking America’s global technology leadership by slowing down the deployment of next-generation 5G networks.”The group also cast doubt on concerns about 5G technology interfering with weather forecasting.”This is an absurd and dangerous distraction that risks America’s 5G leadership in order to protect weather sensors that do not exist and that the government has no plans to launch,” CTIA Senior Vice President Nick Ludlum said.”The rules for the 24 GHz band were developed by the FCC in consultation with NASA, NOAA and many other federal agencies over the past five years,” he maintained. “Changing them now undermines President Trump’s 5G strategy while doing nothing at all to protect actual weather data.” 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. Just days before the House hearing, two Democratic senators, Ron Wyden of Oregon and Maria Cantwell of Washington, sent a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai requesting that he block any companies from operating in the 24 GHz band until weather forecasting operations were protected.”To continue down the path the FCC is currently on, to continue to ignore the serious alarms the scientific community is raising, could lead to dangerous impacts to American national security, to American industries, and to the American people,” the senators wrote.The FCC began auctioning spectrum in the 24 GHz band despite the objections of NASA, NOAA and members of the American Meteorological Society, Wyden and Cantwell pointed out. Those organizations asserted that the out-of-band emissions from broadband transmissions in the 24 GHz band would disrupt the ability to collect water vapor data measured in a neighboring band used by meteorologist to forecast the weather.”The national security and public safety implications of this self inflicted degradation in American weather prediction capabilities would be significant,” the senators wrote.They cited a U.S. Navy report released in March, which found the amount of interference to weather satellites permitted by future commercial broadband uses in the 24 GHz band at the FCC’s emission levels would result in increased risk in flight and navigation safety, as well as degrade battle space awareness. Despite the concerns raised by the scientific and military communities, it seems unlikely they will slow down the carriers’ implementation of 5G.”I don’t doubt that there may be some issues with the frequencies that close together, but I doubt that this will change the rollout of 5G,” said Phoenix-based Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research, a high-tech research and advisory firm.”You have to realize that to get to 5G bandwidths, carriers are using a combination of technologies and frequency bands,” he told TechNewsWorld. “This may not even impact all of the carriers equally.”The FCC should suspend the 24 GHz band auction until it solves this problem, maintained Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, a technology advisory firm in Hayward, California.”Despite the promotional yapping around 5G, sizable commercial availability is still some ways off,” he told TechNewsWorld.”The FCC could halt or delay the auction while it clarifies the issue but instead is going for a symbolic win, since the 24 GHz auction is estimated to bring in seven times more revenues than the previous 28 GHz spectrum auction,” King said.”We’ve seen previous auctions touted for political gain,” he added, “and I expect more than a little of that is infecting the FCC’s leadership and decision-making process.” Significant Security and Safety Implications Next-generation 5G mobile communications technology could have a harmful impact on weather forecasting in the United States, based on expert testimony presented before a U.S. House committee during a hearing on the future of weather forecasting.Interference from 5G wireless phones could reduce the accuracy of weather forecasts by 30 percent, said Neil Jacobs, Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere at NOAA. Jacobs made the remarks to members of the Environment Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.The effect would be to return forecasting accuracy to 1980s levels, Jacobs added.Consumers and government agencies rely on accurate weather information, and it also can be important for disaster preparedness and recovery, noted the Aerospace Industries Association, an industry advocacy group, in a letter to the committee.”Interference-free radio frequency spectrum communications that allow for accurate readings make these applications possible,” the AIA maintained.”Unfortunately, today’s spectrum reality could directly impact the future of accurate weather readings,” the association continued. “Spectrum is a finite resource and as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) looks to free up spectrum for emerging technologies like 5G, the risk of interference with existing users rises, in both the incumbent band and the adjacent bands.”The risks to weather forecasting came to light as the FCC prepared to auction off the 24 GHz spectrum, according to the letter.”While it was a multi-year process to get to the auction itself, it is unclear if the proper testing to ensure that harmful interference with weather equipment in the directly adjacent band would not take place had been conducted fully,” the organization asserted.
Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Oct 15 2018The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) this week administered the first vaccine in a Phase 1 clinical trial to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of a Marburg vaccine candidate in healthy adult volunteers.The WRAIR study evaluates the VRC-MARADC087-00-VP vaccine, developed by the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH). The recombinant chimpanzee adenovirus type 3-vectored Marburg virus vaccine candidate being tested is aimed at stimulating rapid but durable immunity. This vaccination strategy is considered optimal to protect both first-line health workers and general populations in areas where outbreaks occur.Related StoriesOlympus Europe and Cytosurge join hands to accelerate drug development, single cell researchUM scientists receive $3.3 million NIH contract to develop opioid addiction vaccineNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancer”Given the recent deadly outbreak of Marburg virus in Uganda, there is a critical need to develop a safe and effective vaccine which has the potential to protect our soldiers and the public from this serious threat,” said Lt. Col. Melinda Hamer, chief of the WRAIR Clinical Trials Center in Silver Spring, Md., where the trial is being conducted.Forty healthy, adult volunteers will be enrolled and assigned into one of two groups to evaluate different vaccine dosages. Volunteers will be closely followed over the course of approximately one year after vaccination for safety and immune system response.The Marburg virus is in the same family as Ebola and causes severe hemorrhagic fever in humans. Case fatality rates in Marburg outbreaks have ranged from 24% to 88%. The most recent outbreak occurred in Uganda in 2017.WRAIR conducted the first Ebola vaccine clinical trial in Africa in 2009, testing an early vaccine candidate also developed by the VRC at NIAID. During the 2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak, WRAIR conceived of, and then initiated a Phase I clinical trial of the VSV-EBOV vaccine candidate over a period of just 11 weeks at its CTC. WRAIR has conducted six Ebola vaccine studies to date.”This first-in-human trial of the NIH vaccine is part of an important inter-agency effort by the US government to anticipate and counter emerging infectious threats to the Americans, both military and civilian, at home and abroad,” added Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad, the director of the Emerging Infectious Diseases Branch at WRAIR. Source:http://www.wrair.army.mil/
Source:https://ecdc.europa.eu/en/news-events/new-hiv-diagnoses-alarmingly-high-levels-european-region-despite-progress-eueea Because it is better to know: improving HIV testingRelated StoriesAlcohol reduction associated with improved viral suppression in women living with HIVPrevalence of anal cancer precursors is higher in women living with HIV than previously reportedHIV therapy leaves unrepaired holes in the immune system’s wall of defenseReaching and testing those at risk of infection with HIV is still a public health challenge across Europe. In order to diagnose HIV early, interrupt existing transmission chains and prevent further infections, Europe needs to work more closely with vulnerable populations.The new ECDC guidance on integrated HIV and viral hepatitis testing provides countries with the latest scientific evidence to help develop, implement, improve, monitor and evaluate national or local testing guidelines and programmes for both HIV and viral hepatitis. Such programmes should contribute significantly to the elimination of viral hepatitis and HIV as public health threats by 2030 as outlined by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).Revamping political commitment: the game changersThe momentum to revamp political commitment to end AIDS by 2030 has never been so strong in the European Region.The ministerial policy dialogue on HIV organized by WHO in cooperation with the Government of the Netherlands and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in Amsterdam in July 2018, registered the highest ministerial attendance ever recorded at such a meeting, with 11 ministers or deputy ministers of health attending. Participants expressed governments’ firm commitment to scale up efforts to implement the Action Plan for the Health Sector Response to HIV in the WHO European Region and achieve the 90-90-90 targets. As a result, country-specific roadmaps are in development to reinforce a common agenda among key policy-makers, partners, funders and implementers.Another recent milestone towards ending AIDS is the United Nations Common Position on Ending HIV, TB and Viral Hepatitis through Intersectoral Collaboration launched at the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly on 27 September 2018. For the first time, 14 United Nations agencies have joined forces to end the epidemics of the European Region deadliest communicable diseases. The Common Position, coordinated by WHO, is an unprecedented step by the United Nations to scale up efforts by 2030, as demanded by SDG. Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 29 2018The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the WHO Regional Office for Europe release the latest data on the HIV epidemic in the European Region, marking the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day.Vytenis Andriukaitis, the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “Despite our efforts, HIV still damages the lives of so many people, and causes not only much suffering and illness, but also discrimination and stigmatisation. A lot of progress has been made, but there is still much more we must do. We need to capitalise on the full potential of our joint and sustained actions, as well as increased collaboration with our partners across borders if we want to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of eliminating HIV – in Europe and worldwide – by 2030. We must overcome the stigma of HIV infection and treatment and continue our efforts in dispelling false beliefs about how HIV and AIDS are spread. It is important for our public health services to support easy and affordable access to testing and medical care for vulnerable groups at risk of HIV infection”.”It is an important signal for Europe’s HIV response that we see a decline in new HIV diagnoses in the EU/EEA. Especially since we see this drop among men who have sex with men. This was the only population in the EU/EEA that experienced constant increases in reported HIV cases during the past decade”, stresses ECDC Director Andrea Ammon. “There are several reasons that can explain the decline across the EU/EEA. They include successful programmes to offer more frequent and targeted HIV testing to promote earlier diagnosis. This allows rapid linkage to care and immediate start of antiretroviral treatment for those tested positive and wider uptake of evidence-based prevention such as pre-exposure prophylaxis. This decline also shows that a stronger focus on addressing and including vulnerable populations in the HIV response, as outlined in new ECDC testing guidance, makes the difference.””It’s hard to talk about good news in the face of another year of unacceptably high numbers of people infected with HIV. While efforts to prevent new HIV infections are gradually showing signs of progress, we are not on course to meet the 90-90-90 targets by the 2020 deadline. My call to governments, ministers of health and decision-makers is bold: scale up your response now”, says Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “To support people living with HIV and protect those at higher risk of infection, we need to fast track action by tailoring interventions. This means investing wisely in prevention, testing and treatment particularly in key populations to end the AIDS epidemic as we promised.”Key findings The increase in new HIV diagnoses continued for the WHO European Region as a whole, but its pace was slower than in previous years. One reason for the persistent HIV epidemic in Europe is that late diagnosis remains a challenge across the whole Region. Every second person diagnosed with HIV has already reached an advanced stage in the infection. With over 130 000 new HIV diagnoses in 2017, the eastern part of the Region observed a rate of increase of 68% in 2008-2017, compared with 95% in 2007-2016. In the central part of the Region, the increase was 121% compared with 142% respectively. Of new HIV diagnoses in the eastern part of the Region, 59% are reported to be from heterosexual transmission. Data need to be carefully considered as they depend on the transmission mode reported by the individuals. Men are suffering disproportionately from HIV across the entire Region: 70% of new HIV diagnoses are in men. In 2017, over 25 000 people were diagnosed with HIV in 30 of the 31 countries of the EU/EEA. This translates into a decline from a rate of 6.9 per 100 000 population in 2008, to 6.2 per 100 000 in 2017. The overall decline in the EU/EEA resulted primarily from a 20% drop in new diagnoses among men who have sex with men between 2015 and 2017, which remains the predominant mode of HIV transmission (38% in 2017) in this part of Europe. There was also a reduction in diagnoses attributed to heterosexual transmissions involving people from countries with generalised HIV epidemics. Despite this measurable progress in reducing the number of new HIV diagnoses, overall rates continue to increase in about one third of EU/EEA countries. The number of AIDS cases continued to decline in the Region as a whole. In the eastern part, the situation has begun to stabilise, and numbers of AIDS cases between 2012 and 2017 declined by 7%. In the EU/EEA, 9 out of 10 (89%) AIDS diagnoses in 2017 happened within only 90 days of the HIV diagnosis, indicating that the majority of AIDS cases in the EU/EEA could have been avoided with early diagnosis.
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 18 2018Research led by Suresh Alahari, PhD, Fred Brazda Professor of Biochemistry and Microbiology at LSU Health New Orleans, suggests a novel protein may be a promising therapeutic target to treat or prevent metabolic disorders. The study also reported for the first time metabolic distinctions between male and female mice. The findings are published in the December 2018, issue of the International Journal of Obesity, available at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41366-018-0241-8#author-information.The researchers conducted studies in both a mouse model and in human tissue to advance our understanding of the role of Nischarin, a novel protein discovered by the Alahari lab, in fat distribution and insulin resistance leading to diabetes and obesity. Nischarin functions as a molecular scaffold and is involved in the insulin signaling pathway.Related StoriesObese patients with Type 1 diabetes could safely receive robotic pancreas transplantDiabetes patients experiencing empathy from PCPs have beneficial long-term clinical outcomesMetabolic enzyme tied to obesity and fatty liver disease”Nischarin disruption resulted in insulin resistance in female mice, but not in male mice, suggesting that Nischarin protects against diabetes in females,” notes Dr. Alahari. “Our human data indicate that Nischarin expression is suppressed in fat tissue of obese humans. Higher expression of Nischarin correlates with lower BMI and improved glucose and lipid metabolism.”Working with experimental Nischarin-mutant as well as wild mice fed chow and high-fat diets, the researchers found gender differences in body fat distribution, increased insulin resistance and decreased glucose tolerance in the females.To link the work in mice with human disease, the scientists also studied paired samples of human subcutaneous and visceral fat that were obtained from 400 individuals (267 women, 133 men), ranging in age from 19 to 93 years, with BMIs from 18.9 to 78.9 kg/m². The research team found that Nischarin expression was lower in both visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissues of individuals with obesity. The majority of parameters associated with obesity – impaired glucose and lipid metabolism as well as insulin resistance – were inversely correlated with Nischarin expression, as were weight, waist circumference and waist-hip ratio. They also found that Nischarin expression was higher in the visceral fat.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the age-adjusted percentage of US adults who were obese or had been diagnosed with diabetes rose in all states from 1994-2015. “In 1994, all but two states had prevalence of obesity less than 18% and no state exceeded 22%. In 2015, no state had less than 18% and all but one state exceeded 22%. Similarly for diagnosed diabetes, in 1994, no state had prevalence less than 6.0%. In 2015, all states exceeded 6.0%; 27 of these exceeded 9.0%.””Understanding how Nischarin in adipose tissues influences metabolic dysfunction might warrant a new paradigm in metabolic studies,” Alahari concludes. Source:https://www.lsuhsc.edu/
Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Feb 13 2019No association between antiepileptic drug use and dementia risk found in over 100,000 patients followed in general and neuropsychiatrist practices in GermanyEpilepsy is a common neurological condition with a prevalence of around 2%. Many antiepileptic drugs are available to prevent epileptic seizures, allowing up to 80 percent of patients to become seizure-free. However, previous research has found a positive association between the use of AEDs and dementia.The goal of the present study, which will be published in the next issue of Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, was to investigate the hypothetical association between AED use and dementia risk in 101,150 individuals receiving treatment from more than 1,400 physicians in Germany.”In recent years, it has been suggested that there is a bidirectional relationship between epilepsy and dementia,” explains lead investigator Prof. Karel Kostev, Dr MS, from the IQVIA Epidemiology Team based in Frankfurt, Germany. “In view of this, the prescription of antiepileptic drugs might be an effective strategy to prevent cognitive decline and dementia in patients affected by epilepsy. However, some researchers have assumed that AEDs could affect cognition by inhibiting neurotransmission and suppressing neuronal excitability”.This retrospective cohort study used data from the Disease Analyzer database (IQVIA), which compiles information obtained directly and in anonymous format from computer systems used by general practitioners and specialists. This database has already been used in several studies focusing on dementia in recent years.This study included patients aged ≥60 whose first dementia diagnosis was documented between January 2013 and December 2017 (index date). Controls without dementia were matched (1:1) to dementia patients by age, gender, physician (general practitioner or neuropsychiatrist), diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment, and observation time prior to the index date (in years). The index date for the controls was a randomly selected visit between January 2013 and December 2017.Related StoriesA program of therapy and coping strategies works long-term for family dementia carersAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaWhy women who work are less likely to develop dementiaThe study included 50,575 patients with dementia and 50,575 controls without dementia. The mean age was 81.0 years (SD=7.4 years), and 61.5% of patients were women. Overall, there was no significant association between any use of AEDs and dementia risk (odds ratio [OR]=0.99). Furthermore, the duration of AED therapy was not associated with a risk of dementia (OR=1.00 per therapy year).The only group of drugs associated with increased dementia risk were generic levetiracetam brands (OR=1.70, p<0.001) although no association was found for the original levetiracetam brand (OR=0.84, p>0.05).”The major message of this study is an all-clear for epilepsy patients, who should not fear that their AED use will result in a higher risk of dementia,” noted first author Louis Jacob, PhD, of the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (France), “However, it is possible that some of the newest generic brands of levetiracetam may have negative effects on cognitive function in older individuals with epilepsy, and these effects have not yet been investigated.”The authors of the study also note that: “These findings must be interpreted with great caution, and more research should be conducted to corroborate these results before any conclusions are drawn”.The study is subject to some limitations, since no data from special epilepsy centers or on epilepsy severity were available. The main strengths of this study are the use of real-world data, the high number of cases and controls available for analysis, and the number of comorbidities and co-prescribed drugs included in the multivariate regression analyses. Source:https://www.iospress.nl/
Retail group: Those using both online, stores spending more This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Shoppers spent a record amount online during the holiday season. Explore further That’s according to Adobe Analytics, which reports online shopping during the holiday season reached $108.2 billion, up almost 15 percent from $94.4 billion the year before. The research arm of software maker Adobe says more than a third of online holiday revenue came from purchases made on smartphones or tablets.Adobe Analytics says people likely spent more due to low unemployment rates and a strong stock market.Last week, the National Retail Federation said in-store and online holiday spending rose 5.5. percent, the strongest gain since the Great Recession. © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Citation: Click, tap, buy: Holiday shoppers spent record amount online (2018, January 16) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-01-click-holiday-shoppers-spent-amount.html
The use of bots to meddle in political elections. Algorithms that learn who people are and keep them coming back to social media platforms. The rise of autonomous vehicles and drones that could displace hundreds of thousands of workers. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. The “robot apocalypse” that some envisioned with the rise of artificial intelligence hasn’t arrived, but machine learning systems are becoming part of Californians’ everyday lives, tech experts told state lawmakers in Sacramento earlier this month. As use of the technology becomes more widespread, so will the challenges for legislators who will have to grapple with how and when they should step in to protect people’s personal data.”AI might be over-hyped, but it is here to stay,” said Olaf Groth, an international business professor at UC Berkeley. “We are indeed at the threshold, at the moment, between AI being a new development that promises significant growth in the economy, and AI also causing significant disruptions in society.”The state Assembly hearing was the second this year to take on the issue of artificial intelligence. The committee’s chair, Assemblyman Ed Chau, D-Arcadia, said he hoped it would be one of many to open a dialogue on a force already reshaping society. Members of the Little Hoover Commission, an independent state oversight agency that reviews government operations, held a similar discussion last month.AI is loosely defined as the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that traditionally require human intelligence. Courts use artificial intelligence to determine whether defendants are fit for release on bail, scientists are developing AI systems to match patients with treatment and at least one company is using AI to rethink how local stores deliver groceries.Representatives with tech companies Adobe and Postmates argued during this month’s hearing that lawmakers should not move too quickly on developing privacy regulations.”The best thing we can do to make AI unbiased (and efficient) is to ensure (lawmakers) can get trained on the broadest sets of data that are out there,” said Dana Rao, vice president of intellectual property and litigation with Adobe.But tech privacy experts countered, saying users want more control over how their personal information is shared. Patients, for example, may agree to share their medical data with one AI developer, but might not want that business to release their information to their employers or health insurance companies.State lawmakers have started to tackle some of these issues. Legislation this year would require social companies to identify bots on their platforms. Other bills would fund independent research on the addictive qualities of social media, require manufacturers to install new security features on their internet-connect devices and force police to disclose all of their tech equipment, such as facial recognition software.Jonathan Feldman of the California Police Chiefs Assn. envisioned a scenario in which police will someday use AI to predict violent or criminal behavior, allowing officers to make better decisions on the job. But without better transparency laws, the public will have little knowledge of what these automated systems are collecting from everyday people and whether their predictions are accurate, said Matt Cagle, a technology lawyer with the ACLU of Northern California.Samantha Corbin, a tech privacy lobbyist who recently co-launched the We Said Enough App to report sexual harassment, argued there should be more state protections against data misuse across all fields.”The level of information that can be aggregated, the degree of intimate knowledge that will be known about individuals—this lifetime data—is in many ways unprotected by outdated existing laws regarding privacy, security and even human research,” she said. Citation: Artificial intelligence can transform industries, but California lawmakers are worried about privacy (2018, March 16) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-artificial-intelligence-industries-california-lawmakers.html ©2018 Los Angeles Times Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Facebook to launch privacy center ahead of EU regulations Explore further
Credit: CC0 Public Domain This article first appeared on Particle, a science news website based at Scitech, Perth, Australia. Read the original article. What determines who we fall in love with? Is it a matter of circumstance? Is it written in the stars? Or is our romantic compass something that’s ingrained into our very being?What if the type of people we’re into is determined by the very same internal code that dictates whether or not we like coriander?That’s right, romance might be written in our DNA.Thankfully, there’s now a service that can help you decipher your As, Ts, Gs and Cs and get to the bottom of this love thing once and for all.LOVE IS IN THE AIR, AND IT SMELLS LIKE SCIENCEDNA Romance is a website that promises to match you with potential partners based on your genes.The theory is that your body produces chemical signals, as determined by your DNA. When a potential partner detects these signals (supposedly by smelling them), it creates ‘chemistry’—an innate sense of attraction that can’t be credited to your height, lack of debt or ability to play bass guitar.Some dating services have tried to play off this theory in the past.However, our ability to smell each other is often confounded by the deodorants, perfumes and colognes we wear. Now, DNA Romance is getting straight to the genetic source of chemistry.It’s an interesting hypothesis but not really a new one. As the only person in the Particle team who lacks a significant other, it was natural that I be the one to test it.After all, if gorillas can use a dating app to find love, why can’t I?TRUST THE PROCESSAs quite a lazy person, the concept appealed to me.Why should I get out of my pyjamas and put make-up on and go outside and try to be charming when my genes could do all the heavy lifting for me?Also, if this scientific approach to finding love doesn’t work out, that’s OK too. Because instead of blaming my singledom on my personality or the fact that I eat peas one at a time, I can blame it on my ancestors. So like the dutiful, single lab rat that I am, I spat in a little plastic tube, stuck it in a post box and sent it off for processing at the AncestryDNA factory.A little while later, they slid into my inbox the results of my heritage and a text file of my raw genetic data.(Coincidentally, 58% of me is from Great Britain, 25% from Scandinavia and the rest is a smattering of 10 other genealogical regions. Also, I now have a second cousin in Sydney.)Anyway, I took the raw genetic data file and submitted it to the DNA Romance website along with my personality type, my gender and my sexual preference.I also uploaded a photo. I chose one taken of me at my graduation ceremony. I’m mid-laugh and wearing a mortar board. I like to think it makes me look fun and also smart but also not weird. The very same photo I use for my author profile picture on this page, in fact.Then, for the small price of CAD9.88, I was introduced to my matches.BY THE NUMBERSYour matches include everyone that you have a 70% or more genetic match with.Now, based on past ratios of successful versus unsuccessful dating attempts, I would have expected the majority of my matches to be in the 70 – 85% range, perhaps with a few scattered in the middle and then maybe one around the 95% mark.Surprisingly, the inverse seems to be true.I had 13 matches in the 75 – 79% range, 26 matches from 80 – 89% and 41 matches from 90 –100%. Of these, 13 were actually a 100% match.Which you’d think would make me feel pretty great—look how compatible I am! But automatically, I feel that DNA Romance is less satisfying than something like, say, Tinder because you don’t get that sparkly little self-esteem boost every time someone chooses to match with you. These poor fools can’t help if they dig me or not. It’s just who they are.But actually, the high proportion of perfect scores makes me wonder if being a match for someone is the norm and it’s more unusual to find someone with DNA who is incompatible.Anyway, after a quick scroll through these matches, it was apparent that DNA Romance has been more of a hit in the northern hemisphere.Canada, UK and USA all had heavy representation, whereas there was only one Aussie—a 24-year-old guy from Sydney who had a Japanese manga character as his profile picture. When I asked him what he liked about the site, he said he forgot that he subscribed. Our DNA was a 100% match.But what does that mean? What is it about Mr Shin-chan and I that is so perfectly compatible?OPPOSITES ATTRACTWell, like most things, it comes down to sex. Or rather, breeding.When choosing a mate, we want to do what’s best for our offspring. We want our genes to perpetuate, and that means finding a partner who has a beneficial genetic contribution to make.The world being as unpredictable as it is, often the best thing you can give is genetic variety.If you mate with someone who has different DNA to yours, it means that your offspring will have a combination of the two. Should there be some change in the environment, your offspring are more likely to have something in their genes that will allow them to survive.Conversely, mating with your fam can have some pretty detrimental effects.Now humans have it pretty easy here. We have family photos and Facebook and Ancestry.com to tell us who we should avoid incesting, but if you’re a mouse, how are you supposed to tell if this hunk sniffing your junk is a stranger or your brother?Some research suggests that animals have evolved an ability to distinguish between relations and strangers by smelling differences in the chemicals they make.For instance, the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is a genetic sequence that codes for proteins that play an important role in immunity. These proteins live on your cells and help the body identify foreign substances like bacteria and viruses. Scientists believe it’s chemicals like these that act as interpersonal sex signals.Research has shown that mice preferentially choose to mate with mice that have a different MHC to them. This is an ingrained, evolutionary sense that can help them avoid inbreeding.And it’s this evolutionary biology that DNA Romance bases its matchmaking services on.SNIFFING OUT THE TRUTHWhether sniffing other people’s chemicals actually affects human psychology and behaviour is another question.Some studies have demonstrated that genetic dissimilarity between participants correlates with measures of partnership, sexuality and the desire to procreate, as well as a women’s inclination to stay faithful or sleep around.More studies have looked at the effect of odour itself rather than the genes that might determine it. Investigations have canvassed everything from the role of scent in female orgasms to sexual orientation. It is, however, dubious as to whether we can actually attribute a specific scent to chemicals like MHC and to determine what (if anything) they add to body odour.Generally, there’s a conclusion that the scent of other humans affects our behaviour. What, how, why? These are questions we can’t answer right now.But I did have some questions that I thought my matches could answer. I hit up a couple of likely candidates with a thumbs up and waited to see if anyone took the half-hearted bait.ME AND MR 86%Almost instantly, I got a response. Mr 86%, a librarian from Santa Fe, New Mexico, responded to my thumbs up with a sparkly heart and some polite small talk.After telling him I was trying out DNA Romance for the purposes of writing an article, I asked him how he was finding the whole thing. His response was more intelligent than anything that will ever exist on Tinder.”It depends on what you mean by ‘the whole thing’. I was pretty sceptical of the idea of genetic-based dating when I joined, seemed a little … eugenicsy? However, I was persuaded by the journal links on their page that it was at least not pseudoscience in the strictest sense; they are using genotyping as a predictor for a kind of in-person attraction …”There was some discussion of the merits of personality typing, the DNA Romance business model and the positive dynamics of a female-skewed dating service.Mr 86% then recommended to me the Open Humans Slack channel, which is an online community in which individuals can contribute their data (say, their DNA) to advance other people’s research projects. Open Humans was established to help individuals empower themselves by using their own data to learn about who they are as well as facilitating new kinds of research projects and enabling data reuse in the community.THE FUTURE OF DNAI was never going to be lucky enough to meet Mr 86% in person—Santa Fe is just a little too far to go just to sniff someone. I had thought about asking him to send a worn t-shirt in the mail so I could get a whiff and see if the genetic analysis held any truth. I have a suspicion he would have agreed, but I erred on the side of not-creepy.So it’s a non-result for this single lab rat, and it remains unclear as to whether DNA Romance is actually useful for finding love.One thing it is good for is raising questions. Rather than a life partner, I came out of the other side of this with more questions as to how the rules of attraction actually work. Would the smell of Mr 98% attract me more than Mr 75%? What if Mr 75% was a total dreamboat? Would my nose overrule my eyes?Other than creating intrigue, DNA Romance functions as a platform that enables conversation with people you might not otherwise interact with (as well as providing ready-made talking points).DNA Romance is also perhaps useful as an indicator of how we might live in the future. Once we understand our DNA more thoroughly, it’s not unreasonable to assume that it will impact not only our love lives but also our jobs, medical treatments, exercise regimes and diets.In the meantime, it’s back to blindly feeling my way through the Perth dating pool. Wish me luck. No, opposites do not attract Provided by Particle Explore further Citation: Dating website matches you based on your DNA (2018, April 3) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-dating-website-based-dna.html Sick and tired of looking for love? There’s now a website that does it for you, using your DNA. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Superconducting material limits short-circuit currents Explore further Originally designed to obtain and distribute energy from a few large sources, Europe’s power grid must now cope with an emerging class of energy sources, such as solar, wind, tidal and thermal, from a number of different suppliers. Renewables can also have intermittent availability or produce surges in electricity.This irregularity can stress the network of distribution lines and substations which make up the grid, causing faults which may result in frequent power outages, damaged equipment and productivity loss to the economy.For such reasons, independent power producers may not be allowed to connect renewable energy sources until the grid is upgraded, creating a bottleneck for energy suppliers.’Connections can be delayed by years or they may not happen at all,’ said Yoram Valent, the co-founder of Israeli company GridON. ‘This has a negative impact on the power capacity utility operators can offer, while delaying the potential revenue stream from desirable low-carbon renewable sources.’GridON makes devices called fault current limiters (FCLs), which are installed at key points on the grid to limit abnormal electric currents.By reacting instantaneously to faults and current spikes, FCLs improve the resilience of the network and allow the energy capacity to be increased – which can include adding new sources from independent producers – without the very costly and time-consuming task of revamping the whole grid.Renewable producersValent and his colleagues have created a FCL that has been on the market since 2013. However, it proved to be too large and expensive for renewable producers such as wind farms that feed into the distribution level of the grid.As part of an EU-supported project that ended last year, they combined the core technology used in their large-scale device with a power electronics system, to create a much smaller and lighter FCL suitable for renewable energy production. It is designed to be installed in the utility substations or at the power generation sites and mitigate excessive fault currents from the renewable source. Reducing the FCL’s size also helped lower its cost. Provided by Horizon: The EU Research & Innovation Magazine Renewable energy is on the rise in Europe as the economy develops away from the use of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, but an ageing electricity grid is struggling to keep up with the rapid pace of developments. As the ways we obtain energy change power grids need to evolve to keep up with the new demands. Credit: pxhere/923295, licensed under CC0 Public Domain Citation: Buzz feed—bringing renewables to the power grid (2018, April 12) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-feedbringing-renewables-power-grid.html This means that in the future, new energy sources should get approval to connect to the grid much faster. In the UK, one of the countries where the grid is outdated and needs a major upgrade, Valent and his colleagues are aware of hundreds of requests from renewable producers who want to link up.’By using our FCL, we guarantee that the grid won’t be exposed to excessive faults and connection approvals may go through faster,’ said Valent. ‘It’s an enabler for connecting new sources, renewable or any, to the grid.’The use of superconductors – materials that conduct electricity without losing any energy – could also improve FCL technology. Conventional materials such as copper wire lose a portion of their energy as the charge passes through the metal. Superconductors don’t themselves allow energy to be lost in transmission, although operational superconductors consume energy through expensive cryogenic cooling systems.Super-conducting fault current limiters (SCFCLs) should be much more effective where high voltages are involved, combining low-power dissipation, high-sensitivity and a high-speed of operation.The biggest challenge is to make the superconductors work at higher temperatures – usually they have to be close to absolute zero to operate effectively. This means SCFCLs are too costly for widespread commercial use.Power transmissionProfessor Pascal Tixador and his group from Institut Néel, one of the laboratories for French National Center for Scientific Research, and partners, are aiming to make SCFCLs more affordable and robust as part of the FASTGRID project to develop better power transmission.In order to bring down the cost of SCFCLs, the team is engineering better versions of the ReBCO (rare earth, barium, copper oxide) wires now used in their devices.They are pursuing the application of novel superconducting wires with a component of sapphire for use in SCFCLs. Recent breakthroughs have allowed thin layers to be produced from the mineral. When a superconductive coating is added, these wires have an outstanding ability to limit abnormal current and carry many times more current than their copper predecessors, properties that has been validated in the lab.The next step is to evaluate how they could be implemented in SCFCLs on an industrial scale and to find a way to make them cost-effective.The technology could be vital to plans to create a European supergrid and a single energy market. At the moment, each country has their own energy infrastructure and energy doesn’t flow freely across borders. But a new network to pool electricity that spans Europe and the surrounding region has been proposed. It should help with the adoption of renewables, where short blackouts are an issue. An area depending on energy from a wind farm, for example, could use energy produced elsewhere by solar in times of low wind.Direct currentDeveloping a supergrid will require a new high voltage direct current (HVDC) grid system. Direct current is required to transport electricity over long distances instead of alternating current, which is more efficient in smaller networks. However, fault current can be more severe when direct current is used, making FCLs even more crucial. ‘FCLs can reduce the fault current that needs to be cut by a factor of 10,’ said Prof. Tixador. SCFCLs are the only viable solution to limit abnormal currents produced by high voltages, according to Prof. Tixador. The goal of the EU-funded FASTGRID research is to provide high-voltage superconducting transmission lines that can be used in the next generation transmission network. SCFCLs, together with future energy storage systems, would be an important element in assuring the safety and reliability of the network. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
© 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. China’s presence at the Shangri-La Dialogue meeting this weekend is being led by Lt. Gen. He Lei, vice president of the People’s Liberation Army’s Academy of Military Science.The move follows a recent pattern of not sending high-level officials to the three-day forum that begins Friday, in an apparent attempt to deflect attention from China’s shoring up its claims to virtually the entire South China Sea.At last year’s meeting, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sharply criticized what he called Beijing’s disregard for international law by its “indisputable militarization” of artificial islands in disputed areas of the South China Sea. The waterway, crucial to global trade and rich in fish and other resources, is claimed in whole or in part by six governments.In comments at a regularly scheduled briefing Friday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying rebuffed suggestions that China was contributing to tensions in the region.”I think all regional countries with the sharp eyes hope the U.S. can play a constructive role, and not be a destroyer but a contributor to the regional peace and stability,” Hua said.Mattis is again representing the U.S. at this year’s forum, which comes amid on-again, off-again prospects for a summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that had been planned for this month. China is North Korea’s most important ally and has encouraged talks while seeking to preserve its own economic and diplomatic interests.The Singapore gathering also follows the Pentagon’s decision last week to withdraw its invitation for China to participate in a multinational naval exercise in what it called “an initial response” to China’s militarization of the South China Sea.The Pentagon cited evidence China has deployed anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missile systems and electronic jammers to contested areas in the Spratly Islands, where China has built military installations on man-made islands.Despite strong mutual suspicions, the U.S. had included China in the past two versions of the naval exercise known as Rim of the Pacific, or RimPac, in 2014 and 2016.China’s Defense Ministry on Thursday said it still hoped for a “sound a healthy” relationship with the U.S. military.At the same news conference, ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang also confirmed China’s development of its latest-model type 055 guided missile destroyer, which weighs 10,000 tons and features both stealth design and a land-attack capability.The PLA navy is believed to be planning to link the 055s with its slightly smaller type 052 destroyers as part of its future aircraft carrier strike forces. China operates one carrier at present, while another is undergoing sea trials and others are believed to be in the construction or planning stages. China has dispatched a low-level military delegation to an annual security conference in Singapore that has dwelled heavily in past on Chinese activities in the South China Sea. Explore further Citation: China dispatches low-level official to security conference (2018, June 1) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-06-china-dispatches-low-level-conference.html China’s first home-built aircraft carrier begins sea trials In this March 8, 2018 file photo, Vice President of China’s Academy of Military Sciences, Lt. Gen. He Lei gestures as he speaks during a press conference on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress at the State Council Information Office in Beijing. China has dispatched a low-level military delegation to an annual security conference in Singapore that has dwelled heavily on Chinese activities in the South China Sea. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File) This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
New wind turbines show high efficiency in low winds Introduction of wind power generation into the electric power system is proceeding actively, mainly in the United States and Europe, and is expected to continue in Japan. However, upon the implementation, it is crucial to deal with prediction uncertainty of output fluctuation. The fluctuation of wind power generation is usually small, but it becomes extremely large due to the occurrence of gusts and turbulence at a non-negligible frequency. Such extreme outliers have been regarded as a source of severe damage to power systems.To cope with such a fluctuation of wind power generation, the goal setting such as “absolutely keep the frequency fluctuation within 0.2 Hz” would be unattainable or would result in an overly conservative design. Therefore, the probabilistic goal setting such as “keep the frequency fluctuation within 0.2 Hz with 99.7 percent or more” is indispensable.Probabilistic uncertainty is evaluated statistically, commonly by assuming that it obeys normal distribution for its mathematical processability. The output outliers in wind power generation are, however, more frequent than represented by normal distribution. Even if a complicated simulator can be constructed without assuming normal distribution, it is not realistic to investigate the statistical property by Monte Carlo simulation. This is because the required number of samples explodes before sufficiently many extreme outliers occur.An evaluation method was developed for the impact of wind power fluctuation on power system quality. The method first builds probabilistic models assuming the stable distribution (an extension of the normal distribution) on the uncertainty. Then, instead of using the model as a simulator to generate data samples, we compute the statistical properties directly from parameters in the model. The important feature is 1. the influence of extreme outliers can be properly considered, 2. model can be determined easily from actual data, and 3. computation cost is very low. The method was proved to be valid through its application to frequency deviation estimation based on actual power system data.This newly proposed probabilistic evaluation method enables us to quantitatively evaluate the power system risk caused by the occurrence of extremally abrupt changes of wind power generation. Countermeasures based on the evaluation would contribute to improvement of the reliability and economic efficiency of the electric power system. It should be also noted that the proposed method is applicable to analysis and synthesis of various systems which have extreme outliers. More information: Kenji Kashima et al. Stable Process Approach to Analysis of Systems under Heavy-tailed Noise: Modeling and Stochastic Linearization, IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control (2018). DOI: 10.1109/TAC.2018.2842145 Citation: Evaluation method for the impact of wind power fluctuation on power system quality (2018, June 20) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-06-method-impact-power-fluctuation-quality.html Abrupt changes of wind power generation output are a source of severe damage to power systems. Researchers at Kyoto University developed a stochastic modeling method that enables to evaluate the impact of such phenomena. The feature of the method lies in its significant computational effectiveness in comparison to standard Monte Carlo simulation, and its applicability to analysis and synthesis of various systems subject to extremum outliers. Journal information: IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control Explore further Provided by Japan Science and Technology Agency The left figure is an example of time series of fluctuation of power generation outputs. The right figure shows the histogram of the frequency of corresponding power fluctuation. When we can assume mild fluctuation as illustrated by the red line, modeling with normal distribution is acceptable. However, wind power generation fluctuation contains abrupt changes as illustrated by the blue line. Consequently, the corresponding histogram has slowly-decaying heavy tails, which represents the extremal outliers. Credit: Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
A Florida software company is being purchased by a California private equity firm for $11 billion. © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Citation: Equity firm buys Ultimate Software for $11 billion (2019, February 4) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-02-equity-firm-ultimate-software-billion.html Explore further SAP buying Qualtrics for $8 billion in cash The South Florida Sun Sentinel reports that Ultimate Software announced Monday that it’s being purchased by San Francisco-based Hellman & Friedman. Ultimate will continue operation under its founder and CEO, Scott Scherr.The 29-year-old company is based in a Fort Lauderdale suburb and provides human resources and payroll software for such companies as Subway, Red Roof Inn and Yamaha Corp. of America. It has about 5,000 employees and Fortune magazine has rated it the country’s top tech employer four years in a row.Scherr says the sale will allow the company to provide new services and continue its expansion. The sale is expected to make some longtime employees millionaires through their stock ownership. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.