Skeptic Applauds Tesla Following Reveal Of Lackluster Audi etron Specs

Titled “Audi e-tron launch – another lap Tesla wins,” and authored by analyst Patrick Hummel, the missive points to an apparent drivetrain inefficiency and the freshly-revealed crossover’s 0-to-60 time (5.5 seconds, .6 seconds slower than the larger Tesla Model X 75D) to make the case the four-rings brand is technologically behind. Said he,While we appreciate that a solid EV product is not only about acceleration and range, there is still a gap to Tesla in the powertrain efficiency ratios that reflect the degree of innovation. The electric powertrain is not a commodity yet and Tesla might be able to sustain its lead for longer.The seemingly poor efficiency is betrayed by the fact that, despite a 95 kWh battery, it supposedly has a range of only 249 miles under the WLTP cycle. The Tesla Model X 75D, despite being larger and carrying 20 kWh less energy storage in its battery pack, has an EPA-rated range of 237 miles. That’s almost assuredly more the E-tron will achieve under that testing regime.Hummel summed up his E-tron criticism with,At the margin, the not-so-impressive key stats could dampen the sales outlook and make it more difficult for Audi (or the premium OEMs in general) to break even with their EVs. This plays into Tesla’s hands and in China, into the hands of the emerging local EV players.And while Audi was the target of most of the analyst’s castigation, his take on Tesla’s prospects, vis-à-vis the Model 3, wasn’t especially positive either. Maintaining a $190 price target for the California company’s shares, he predicted, “We think Tesla will not create enough Model 3 demand at the envisaged price point of >$50k, which would be required to meet 2019 consensus expectations.”Audi E-tron Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on September 19, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News First Look Inside & Out At The Audi e-tron By Autogefühl Source: Electric Vehicle News 23 photos Audi e-tron: Video Round Up Plus Live Images 17 photos UPDATE VIDEO: Audi e-tron Debuts U.S. Price Undercuts Model X UBS issued an unflattering note after the revealAudi spared no expense in the lavish unveiling of its all-electric crossover SUV, the E-tron, last night in San Francisco. While there were many a kind word from assorted media this morning, one outfit was less than impressed: UBS. In a surprising turn of events, the Swiss investment bank which CNBC calls “one of Tesla’s biggest skeptics,” issued a note in which it said the E-tron is evidence that the German automaker is falling short of its Silicon Valley competitor.More Audi E-tron! Source: CNBC read more

Campagna TRex Electric Trike Is No More

first_img Zero Motorcycles-Powered Electric Trike Debuts As Campagna T-Rex Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on January 23, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News Arcimoto Gets $4.5 Million In Funding For Electric Trike Canadian makers of three wheeled sports cars mortally wounded by creditors.Just nine months ago we brought you news of the pivot to electric power by Campagna Motors with our story on the T-Rex Electric, built with help from Zero. Now it seems that trike, and the rest of the T-Rex line, are in limbo as the company assets have been seized by the company’s creditors and company president Andre Morissette has been forced to step down. With a new crop of car-like reverse trikes from Polaris and Vanderhal, both of which seriously undercut the T-Rex’s MSRP, it is understandable that a bank would question their business model.More E-Bikes We have reluctantly covered these three wheeled sports cars in the past even though they aren’t really motorcycles, mostly because we thought they were neat, and they used motorcycle engines. One of these days we will create an official continuum or matrix of motorcycles/trikes/ATVs/cars, but I think even with motorcycle engine and sequential gearbox, a reverse trike that you sit down in is officially a three wheeled car. That being said, the T-Rex, along with the Polaris Slingshot, manages to gain lightness and fun by shedding a wheel and with it all the safety rules a car must conform to.Campagna had been building some sort of three wheeled car since 1995, with power from various bike motors, the BMW 1600cc six cylinders, or Harley-Davidson twin most recently. They were known as a fun if expensive way to shred some canyons, with an MSRP of $50,000 or $60,000 depending on model, and power to weight rations that rivaled Porsche 911. Compared to the Slingshot at $21,000 and the Vanderhall at $27,000, it isn’t hard to see the T-Rex was headed for extinction; a V8 powered Corvette starts at just $55,900.The official news came not via press release but in a simple post to Facebook:To all our customers, dealers, fans and friends out there.Today marks the end of Campagna Motors as we know it.Because we were not able to secure the appropriate funding to secure our proposal to creditors accepted this last november, the bank decided to secure its position and took ownership of our assets today.It will have been a pleasure and an honor to work with you, to serve you and to spend the last 15 years of my life in this amazing adventure. It ends here and now for me unfortunately. I will be moving on in my life but from what I know today, I am hopefull that the next owers of this venture will continue to innovate and create the exceptionnal product that we have been making since 1988.To the future adventurers that will take the leadership in the future I whish you the best of luck. I was always very proud of our vehicles that represent so well the real nature of Quebec and quebecers: audacious, unique, different and creative out of the box stuff.Farewell my friends and long live our products.Andre MorissetteFormer president Source: Electric Vehicle News 5 Favorite Electric Motorcycle Designs Of 2018last_img read more

EGEB Perovskitebased solar cells on sale by 2020 Teslasolar microgrid and WV

first_imgSource: Charge Forward In today’s EGEB:A UK company plans on bringing perovskite-based solar cells to market by the end of 2020.A California casino uses Tesla batteries in its microgrid — and such microgrids could be “the future.”West Virginia welcomes a proposed wind farm. more…Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.https://youtu.be/ee5nKd7zjWoThe post EGEB: Perovskite-based solar cells on sale by 2020? Tesla/solar microgrid, and WV wind appeared first on Electrek.last_img read more

Friday Roundup

first_imgRama sentenced but what is the back story, scrutiny alert, and for the reading stack.  It’s all here in the Friday roundup.Rama Sentenced, But What is the Back Story?As noted here, last week James Rama, a former executive at defense contractor IAP Worldwide Services, was sentenced to four months in federal prison for his role in a bribery scheme involving a security systems project with the Kuwaiti Ministry of the Interior.In its sentencing memo, the DOJ requested that Rama be sentenced to one year.  That the judge rejected the DOJ’s sentencing recommendation is not the story – judges frequently reject DOJ sentencing recommendations in individual FCPA cases.Rather, according to a knowledgeable source who was unable to provide specifics, there is a more interesting back story in connection with the Rama prosecution.  Indeed, as noted in this article:“Mr. Rama said he was disappointed that after a long investigation the case wasn’t pursued to its “proper conclusion.” Defense counsel William Brennan said the elaborate system required for the bribery reached higher at IAP than the Justice Department prosecuted. “There are people…that should have been prosecuted in this case and for whatever reason they were not,” Mr. Brennan said about the bribery scheme Mr. Rama helped engineer on the ground in Kuwait. The Justice Department lawyers present didn’t respond to the allegations at the hearing. The government said in its settlement with IAP that a “variety of factors, including but not limited to IAP’s cooperation,” led to the non-prosecution agreement.”Consistent with the above, Rama’s lawyers stated in this sentencing memo as follows.“Mr. Rama was a minor, albeit integral, part of a much larger scheme concocted by more senior executives at IAP – none of whom will be prosecuted in this case. In addition, IAP has entered into a non-prosecution agreement with the government and agreed to pay a $7.1 million penalty to resolve the matter. It would appear that Mr. Rama is the only individual who will face criminal prosecution in this matter.” (Emphasis in original).Consistent with there being an interesting backstory in the IAP / Rama prosecution, on the same day the DOJ filed its sentencing memo, the court docket indicates that the DOJ also filed a motion under seal, a motion that will likely never see the light of day.Just remember as Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell recently stated, “greater transparency benefits everyone.”  (See here for the prior post).Scrutiny AlertApproximately four years ago (see here for the prior post), Kraft Foods disclosed FCPA scrutiny resulting from its acquisition of Cadbury in connection with a manufacturing facility in India.  Kraft, now known as Mondelēz International, Inc., was recently the focus of this Wall Street Journal article which states:“[The SEC] preparing civil charges against snack-food maker Mondelez International Inc. in connection with a long-running investigation of payments its Cadbury unit made in India, said people familiar with the matter. […]  The company concluded in an internal report by its lawyers in 2011 that Cadbury had used a consultant to funnel bribes to Indian officials in return for factory approvals and permits, which ultimately allowed Cadbury to claim a tax exemption valued at more than $90 million, according to the report, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The report says Cadbury also paid fees to eight other consultants from May 2008 to October 2010 “for which the only reasonable explanation is that they have been used to mask payments to government officials.” […] Mondelez’s outside attorneys at Baker & McKenzie have told government investigators that they identified suspicious payments to consultants but couldn’t determine what ultimately became of the money, according to a person familiar with the matter. […]  The most serious allegations centered on a tax break available to companies that began production in new plants in the Northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh,where Cadbury’s Baddi plant is located, by March 31, 2010. Cadbury had planned to build a new standalone factory in Baddi, but instead it decided to add a second floor to its existing plant in 2008, with three new production lines for chocolate candies. The company gave the second floor its own entrance and claimed it as an independent unit on paper to qualify for the tax exemption, which would save the company more than $90 million over a decade, according to legal documents the company filed in India. But Cadbury’s lawyers determined in late 2009 that, in order to claim the exemption, the company needed to get separate licenses and approvals for the second-floor unit from Indian authorities, a process that typically takes more than six months, according to a timeline created as part of the internal investigation. With the sunset of the tax break just a few months off, Cadbury hired a consultant to “get all necessary approvals to start-up Unit 2 at Baddi…urgently,” the 2011 report said. Internal investigators concluded that the consultant’s fees—about $55,000—were passed on to Indian officials as bribes, according to their report. […]  In March, an Indian tax commissioner fined Cadbury more than $90 million, rejecting the company’s argument that the addition of a second floor was the legal equivalent, for tax purposes, of a new plant. [A Mondelez spokesman] said the company is appealing the commissioner’s order. “We continue to believe that the decision to claim the excise-tax benefit is valid.”Reading StackAn informative read from Morgan Lewis regarding the European Court of Justice opinion in Maximillian Schrems v. Data Protection Commissioner, in which the court struck down a US-EU agreement that allowed companies to move personal electronic data between the European Union and the United States.“This ruling, which is final and cannot be appealed, is likely to have far-reaching effects on how US corporations investigate allegations of wrongdoing by affiliates and subsidiaries based in Europe, including investigations of potential violations of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).”Among those critical of the DOJ’s recently released Yates Memo is James Koukios (previously the Senior Deputy Chief of the Fraud Section in the DOJ Criminal Division and an Assistant Chief in the Fraud Section’s FCPA Unit).  In this Corporate Crime Reporter interview, Koukios offers his perspectives on the Yates Memo and other issues relevant to FCPA enforcement.*****A good weekend to all.last_img read more

A Focus On SEC Individual Actions

first_img2015HitachiNo 2016Key EnergyNo After a wild week or so in 2017 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement, back to some 2016 FCPA enforcement statistics.This previous post highlighted various facts and figures from 2016 SEC FCPA enforcement actions against issuers.As highlighted in the prior post, of the 24 corporate SEC FCPA enforcement actions from 2016, 7 (29%) have involved, at present, related SEC charges or findings against company employees.In 2016, the SEC charged or found that 8 individuals violated the FCPA. 2010Eni/SnamprogettiNo This is an interesting figure given that between 1977 and 2004 61% of SEC corporate FCPA enforcement actions did indeed result in related charges against company employees.In other words, for most of the FCPA’s history the majority of corporate SEC FCPA enforcement resulted in related individual accountability, but in the SEC’s modern FCPA enforcement program, the vast majority of corporate SEC FCPA enforcement actions have not resulted in related individual accountability despite the SEC’s rhetoric.It is also interesting to analyze the 25 instances since 2006 where an SEC corporate FCPA enforcement action resulted in related charges against company employees.   With the exception of Baker Hughes, Siemens, KBR/Halliburton, Magyar Telekom, Och-Ziff, and General Cable the corporate SEC FCPA enforcement actions resulting in related charges against company employees occurred in what can only be described as relatively minor (at least from a settlement amount perspective) corporate enforcement actions.  These actions are:  Schnitzer Steel, Immucor, Electronic Data Systems, Faro Technologies, Willbros Group, Nature’s Sunshine Products, United Industrial Corp., Pride Int’l., Noble Corp., Alliance One, Innospec, Watts Water, PBSJ and FLIR Systems, SAP, PTC, Nordion, Analogic, and LAN Airlines,Set forth below is a complete list of SEC corporate FCPA enforcement actions since 2006 and whether the corporate enforcement action resulted in any related individual charges. Beginning in October 2014, I publicly invited the SEC to refute these numbers and support its individual accountability rhetoric after the SEC’s FCPA Unit chief publicly stated that my numbers were false, wrong, deeply flawed, etc. (see here). The SEC has not responded and the invitation still stands. 2006Schnitzer SteelYes 2015PBSJYes 2007YorkNo 2016General CableYes 2010TidewaterNo 2013TotalNo 2016Teva PharmaNo 2008AB VolvoNo 2006Oil States Int’lNo 2010TechnipNo 2007Bristow GroupNo 2011Johnson & JohnsonNo 2007TextronNo 2015Bristol-Myers SquibbNo 2008FaroYes 2013Parker DrillingNo 2007El PasoNo 2011RockwellNo 2008SiemensYes 2014BrukerNo 2009Avery DennisonNo 2008WillbrosYes 2016AnalogicYes 2007ChevronNo 2016SciCloneNo 2016Nu SkinNo 2008Con-WayNo 2012PfizerNo 2013Ralph LaurenNo 2007Lucent Tech.No 2010GlobalSantaFeNo 2011ComverseNo 2009United Industrial Corp.Yes 2016GlaxoSmithKlineNo 2010Royal Dutch ShellNo 2011Magyar TelekomYes 2016NordionYes 2008FiatNo 2008Westinghouse Air BrakeNo 2010InnospecYes 2009UTStarcomNo 2016QualcommNo 2010Alliance OneYes 2010ABBNo 2007Akzo NobelNo 2014Layne ChristensenNo 2016SAPYes 2007Baker HughesYes 2009Novo NordiskNo 2016PTCYes 2010DaimlerNo Ignacio Cueto Plaza (associated with LAN Airlines)Yu Kai Yuan (associated with PTC)Mikhail Gourevitch (associated with Nordion)Lars Frost (associated with BK Medical (Analogic)Jun Ping Zhang (associated with CareFx China / Harris Corp).Daniel Och and Joel Frank (associated with Och-Ziff)Karl Zimmer (associated with General Cable)This post focuses on SEC FCPA individual actions historically.Like the DOJ, the SEC frequently speaks in lofty rhetoric concerning its focus on holding individuals accountable under the FCPA.For instance, in November 2016 the SEC’s Director of enforcement stated that “pursuing individual accountability [in FCPA enforcement actions] is a critical part of deterrence.”Likewise in November 2015 the SEC’s Director of Enforcement stated:“Holding individuals accountable for their wrongdoing is critical to effective deterrence and, therefore, the Division considers individual liability in every case. […] The Commission is committed to holding individuals accountable and I expect you will continue to see more FCPA cases against individuals.”Similarly, in November 2014 the SEC’s Director of Enforcement stated:“I always have said that actions against individuals have the largest deterrent impact. Individual accountability is a powerful deterrent because people pay attention and alter their conduct when they personally face potential punishment. And so in the FCPA arena as well as all other areas of our enforcement efforts, we are very focused on attempting to bring cases against individuals.  […] [I]ndividual accountability is critical to FCPA enforcement — and imposing personal consequences on bad actors, including through bars and monetary sanctions, will continue to be a high priority for us.”Since 2000, the SEC has charged 71 individuals with FCPA civil offenses.  The breakdown is as follows.2000 – 0 individuals2001 – 3 individuals2002 – 3 individuals2003 – 4 individuals2004 – 0 individuals2005 – 1 individual2006 – 8 individuals2007 – 7 individuals2008 – 5 individuals2009 – 5 individuals2010 – 7 individuals2011 – 12 individuals2012 – 4 individuals2013 – 0 individuals2014 – 2 individuals2015 –  2 individuals2016 – 8 individualsAs highlighted by the above statistics, most of the individuals charged – 60 (or  85%) were charged since 2006.  Thus, on one level the SEC is correct when it states that individual prosecutions are a focus of its FCPA enforcement program at least as measured against the historical average given that between 1977 and 1999 the SEC charged 22 individuals with FCPA civil offenses.Yet on another level, a more meaningful level given that there was much less overall enforcement of the FCPA between 1977 and 1999, the SEC’s statements represent hollow rhetoric as demonstrated by the below figures.Of the 60 individuals charged with civil FCPA offenses by the SEC since 2006:7 individuals were in the Siemens case;4 individuals were in the ABB case;4 individuals were in the Willbros Group case;4 individuals were in the Alliance One case;3 individuals were in the Maygar Telekom case; and3 individuals were in the Noble Corp. case.In other words, 42% of the individuals charged by the SEC with FCPA civil offenses since 2006 have been in just six core actions.Considering that there has been 122 corporate SEC FCPA enforcement actions since 2006, this is a rather remarkable statistic.  Of the 122 corporate SEC FCPA enforcement actions, 97 (or 80%) have not (at least yet) resulted in any SEC charges against company employees. 2011IBMNo 2016NortekNo 2007Electronic Data SystemsYes 2011Maxwell Tech.No 2011DiageoNo 2006TycoNo 2011TenarisNo 2008FlowserveNo 2015FLIR SytemsYes 2014Bio-RadNo 2013ADMNo 2015BNY MellonNo 2013StrykerNo 2016BraskemNo 2010TransoceanNo 2010Veraz NetworksNo 2012TycoNo 2011AonNo 2007Dow ChemicalNo 2007Delta & PineNo FCPA Institute – Boston (Oct. 3-4) A unique two-day learning experience ideal for a diverse group of professionals seeking to elevate their FCPA knowledge and practical skills through active learning. Learn more, spend less. CLE credit is available. 2016NovartisNo 2013PhilipsNo 2015GoodyearNo 2012AllianzNo 2012Eli LillyNo 2013DieboldNo 2012OracleNo 2011Ball Corp.No 2010NatcoNo 2014AvonNo 2009Helmerich & PayneNo 2014Smith & WessonNo Learn More & Register 2010Alcate-LucentNo 2011Watts WaterYes 2014AlcoaNo 2009Nature’s SunshineYes 2012Smith & NephewNo 2009AGCONo 2006StatoilNo 2016AstraZenecaNo 2011Armor HoldingsNo 2010Pride Int’lYes 2015HyperdynamicsNo 2015BHP BillitonNo 2011TysonNo 2009KBR/HalliburtonYes 2016EmbraerNo 2016VimpelComNo 2010Noble Corp.Yes 2016Akamai TechnologiesNo 2007ImmucorYes 2007Ingersoll-RandNo 2010PanalpinaNo 2016Las Vegas SandsNo 2012OrthofixNo 2016LAN AirlinesYes 2016Johnson ControlsNo 2015Mead JohnsonNo 2009ITT Corp.No 2012BiometNo 2016AbInBevNo 2013Weatherford Int’lNo 2014HPNo 2010UniversalNo 2016JPMorganNo 2010GE/IonicsNo 2016Och-ZiffYes 2010RAE SystemsNolast_img read more

Summer FCPA Reading List

first_imgSummer.A time for reflection, a time to think, a time to read.If you have some downtime in these dog days of summer, put it to good use.This post provides an overview of FCPA writings that can help you elevate your Foreign Corrupt Practices Act knowledge, sophistication, and practical skills.“The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in a New Era”This book is the most comprehensive and candid book written about the FCPA. The book dissects the FCPA’s new era and readers from the boardroom, to the courtroom, to the classroom will benefit from the nine chapters of the book which place the FCPA’s new era in context and provide a practical and provocative analysis of the FCPA, its enforcement, and related topics.To see what others are saying about the book see here, here, here and here.To order a hard copy of the book, see here and here; to order an e-copy of the book, see here and here.“The Story of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act”This article, published on the FCPA’s 35th anniversary, is the most extensive piece written about the history of the FCPA and it weaves together information and events scattered in the FCPA’s voluminous legislative record to tell the FCPA’s story through original voices of actual participants who shaped the law.  To download the article, click here.“Ten Seldom Discussed FCPA Facts That You Need To Know”Much is written about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. However, amid the clutter of enforcement agency rhetoric and resolution documents not subjected to any meaningful judicial scrutiny as well as the mountains of FCPA Inc. marketing material touting the next compliance risk, there are certain FCPA facts that are seldom discussed. Yet such facts, covering the entire span of the FCPA — from the statute’s enactment, to its statutory provisions, to FCPA enforcement, to FCPA reform, to the FCPA industry itself — occasionally bear repeating.  This article does that by highlighting ten seldom discussed FCPA facts that you need to know. To download the article, click here.“A Common Language to Remedy Distorted FCPA Enforcement Statistics”This article guides readers (using specific examples) through how various FCPA Inc. participants use creative and haphazard counting methods that infect the quality and reliability of FCPA enforcement and related statistics of interest to many in the legal and business communities. After exposing distorted FCPA enforcement statistics, the article proposes a FCPA common language that can improve the quality and reliability of FCPA statistics and thus allow a more cogent conversation to take place regarding FCPA issues. To download the article, click here.“Measuring the Impact of NPAs and DPAs on FCPA Enforcement”This article demonstrates that alternative resolution vehicles have become the dominant way the DOJ resolves corporate FCPA scrutiny and serve as an obvious reason for the general increase in FCPA enforcement over the past decade. To the many cheerleaders of increased FCPA enforcement, NPAs and DPAs are thus worthy of applause. Yet in a legal system based on the rule of law, quality of enforcement is more important than quantity of enforcement. Through empirical data and various case studies, this article measures the impact NPAs and DPAs have on the quality of FCPA enforcement and concludes that NPAs and DPAs — while resulting in higher quantity of FCPA enforcement — result in lower quality of FCPA enforcement. To download the article, click here.“Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Ripples”The most extensive article written about the negative business effects of FCPA scrutiny and enforcement beyond actual enforcement actions.  The Article shifts the FCPA conversation away from a purely legal issue to its more proper designation as a general business issue that needs to be on the radar screen of business managers operating in the global marketplace.   The article assists in-house counsel and compliance professionals stress the importance of FCPA compliance by highlighting issues that matter most to corporate leaders. To download the article, click here.“Revisiting a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Compliance Defense”This article asserts that the current FCPA enforcement environment does not adequately recognize a company’s good faith commitment to FCPA compliance and does not provide good corporate citizens a sufficient return on their compliance investments.  To download the article, click here.“The Facade of FCPA Enforcement”The 2010 article began a much-needed discussion of various aspects of FCPA enforcement, analyzes various pillars that contribute to the facade of FCPA enforcement, and highlights that the FCPA, in its so-called new era, is being enforced like no other law.  To download the article, click here.“The Uncomfortable Truths and Double Standards of Bribery Enforcement”This Article explores through various case studies and examples whether the United States’s crusade against bribery suffers from uncomfortable truths and double standards. Through these case studies and examples, readers can decide for themselves whether the U.S. government “practices what it preaches” when it comes to the enforcement of bribery laws and whether the United States is indeed “in a unique position to spread the gospel of anti-corruption.” To download the article, click here.“Grading the DOJ’s FCPA Pilot Program”In 2016, the DOJ issued a policy document titled “The Fraud Section’s FCPA Enforcement Plan and Guidance.” The document outlined various steps in the DOJ’s “enhanced FCPA enforcement strategy” including a “pilot program” intended to “encourage companies to disclose FCPA misconduct to permit the prosecution of individuals whose criminal wrongdoing might otherwise never be uncovered or disclosed to law enforcement.” This article grades the pilot program by addressing the following issues: the obvious logical gap in the pilot program; how the pilot program, both in terms of rhetoric and substance, is really nothing new; why the corporate community should take the pilot program with a grain of salt; and how the pilot program falls short of accomplishing the laudable goals articulated by the DOJ compared to other alternatives previously advanced. To download the article, click here.“Grading the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Guidance”This article analyzes the FCPA Guidance released by the DOJ and SEC in 2012.  Among other things, the following topics are discussed: (i) the enforcement agencies’ motivations in issuing the Guidance and the fact that it should have been issued years ago; (ii) the utility of the Guidance from an access-of-information perspective and how the Guidance can be used as a measuring stick for future enforcement agency activity; and (iii) how the Guidance is an advocacy piece and not a well-balanced portrayal of the FCPA as it is replete with selective information, half-truths, and, worse information that is demonstratively false. To download the article, click here.“Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Enforcement as Seen through Wal-Mart’s Potential Exposure”What does the most high-profile instance of FCPA scrutiny in history tells us about the current FCPA enforcement environment?  Quite a lot actually.  To download the article, click here.“JPMorgan – A Trifecta of Off-The-Rails FCPA Enforcement”The FCPA has specific elements that must be met in order for there to be a violation. However, with increasing frequency it appears that the Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission have transformed FCPA enforcement into a free-for-all corporate ethics statute in which any conduct the enforcement agencies find objectionable is fair game to extract a multi-million dollar settlement from a risk-averse corporation. An example is the $202.6 million FCPA enforcement action against JPMorgan Chase & Co. based on alleged improper hiring and internship practices in the Asia-Pacific region. After discussing the main features of the problematic enforcement action, the article highlights why the SEC’s enforcement action finding violations of the FCPA’s anti-bribery, books and records and internal controls provisions represents a trifecta of off-the-rails FCPA enforcement and why anyone who values the rule of law should be alarmed. To download the article, click here.“What Percentage of DOJ FCPA Losses is Acceptable?”Bringing criminal charges and marshalling the full resources of law enforcement against an individual is an awesome power that our government possess. Because that power alters the lives of real people and their families, sidetracks real careers, empties real bank accounts in mounting a defense, and causes often irreversible damage to real reputations, it ought to be exercised with real discipline and prudence. It is fact that during this new era of FCPA enforcement the DOJ has an overall losing record in FCPA enforcement actions when actually put to its ultimate burden of proof and this article poses the question:  what percentage of DOJ FCPA losses is acceptable?  To download the article, click here.In addition to the above articles, each year I publish an extensive FCPA year in review.  Put them all together and you will have an extensive collection of FCPA statistics, trends, and analysis over time.For 2016, see here.For 2015, see here.For 2014, see here.For 2013, see here.For 2012, see here.For 2011, see here.For 2010, see here.For 2009, see here.last_img read more

Three experts from The Tinnitus Clinic contribute to major review on pulsatile

first_imgMark Williams conducts a Hearing Test at The Tinnitus Clinic Mark continued: Chief Audiologist, Mark Williams, Consultant ENT Surgeon, Nitesh Patel, and Arts Therapist Julianne Mullen from The Tinnitus Clinic worked alongside ENT and Radiology experts from Whipps Cross to review how best to diagnose and resolve pathology that is associated with pulsatile tinnitus.Related Stories’Traffic light’ food labels associated with reduction in calories purchased by hospital employeesTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CTOlympus Europe and Cytosurge join hands to accelerate drug development, single cell researchPulsatile tinnitus sounds like a ‘whooshing’ or ‘thumping’ in the ears, in synch with the heartbeat. It can be very troublesome and can worsen in daily activities like exercising or drinking coffee or alcohol.Those who also have regular tinnitus often consider pulsatile tinnitus the more bothersome of the two. It is more uncommon, with less than 10% of tinnitus patients suffering from pulsatile tinnitus.The Paper, ‘Pulsatile tinnitus: a review’ reports that the most common causes of pulsatile tinnitus are atherosclerosis of the carotid arteries, idiopathic intracranial Hypertension, and Glomus tumors.The review goes on to suggest that the first line imaging for pulsatile tinnitus should be a delayed Computed Tomography (CT) Angiographic protocol and that for the vast majority of pulsatile tinnitus with no identifiable cause, sound therapy is an effective management option.Chief Audiologist at The Tinnitus Clinic, Mark Williams, said: Source:http://www.thetinnitusclinic.co.uk/ We hope that our research can help to raise awareness and progress understanding around pulsatile tinnitus.” This paper reviews the main causes of pulsatile tinnitus, current diagnosis and practice.With this type of tinnitus in particular, the chances of finding a specific cause are more likely than in non-pulsatile form.Following our research, we believe it’s important to investigate patients with pulsatile tinnitus radiologically to rule out significant causes, and we recommend CT angiography as the first-line imaging modality.Where no cause is found, and patients have persistent bothersome symptoms, consideration should be given for treatment with sound therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy.” Jun 18 2018Three specialists from the leading provider of tinnitus treatments in the UK have joined experts from Whipps Cross University Hospital to deliver a paper on the causes, assessment, and management of a less common but more troublesome form of the condition.last_img read more

Birds raise false alarm to scare off predators

first_imgBirds are shameless eavesdroppers, listening and reacting to the calls of other species. If one bird spots danger and raises an alarm, other species will flee, too. Now, new research indicates that some birds exploit this tendency in order to protect their nests from would-be pillagers. Pied currawongs (Strepera graculina)—a species of large black bird found in Australia—regularly feast on nestlings of the brown thornbill (Acanthiza pusilla, pictured). At a fraction the size of a currawong, the diminutive songbird can’t rely on its might to spook the nest-raiding bandits. But if they can make the currawongs think a fearsome hawk is swooping in, that’s another story. Rather than impersonating the predator itself, the thornbill imitates a chorus of other bird species sending up an alarm that warns of an aerial predator, according to a new study published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The researchers studied brown thornbills near Canberra, testing their reaction to a dummy currawong near their nest, coupled with recorded sounds of nestlings in distress. In response, the thornbill parents imitated alarm calls from between one and four different species, some of which can be heard in this video. Next, the researchers played recordings of the thornbills’ alarm call imitations to currawongs. Those that heard the alarms were likely to scan the sky for predators or fly away, which would give threatened nestlings a chance to escape.last_img read more

Vanished people may live on in the US Southwest

first_img Donald M. Jones/Minden Pictures DNA from ancient turkeys is helping archaeologists unravel the mystery of where the Ancestral Puebloans went. These leg bones from an adult male turkey were discovered in an Ancestral Puebloan site in southwestern Colorado. They analyzed the mitochondrial DNA—the maternally inherited genetic material that lives in a cell’s energy producing machinery—of hundreds of samples of turkey bones, which are plentiful and well-preserved at the Ancestral Puebloans’ homeland near Mesa Verde in southwestern Colorado. The researchers compared the genetic material from Mesa Verde turkeys to turkeys found in the northern Rio Grande region before and after the Ancestral Puebloans disappeared.Before 1280, the two turkey populations were unrelated in the maternal line, the team found. But afterward, the northern Rio Grande turkeys carried Mesa Verde “haplogroups”—clusters of genes inherited together as a group—indicating they were descended at least in part from the Ancestral Puebloans’ stock.The most likely explanation, the researchers argue in PLOS ONE, is that the Ancestral Puebloans left Mesa Verde around 1280 and brought their turkeys with them. This transplanted line of turkeys then replaced those that lived in northern Rio Grande before their arrival.The implication is that many of the Ancestral Puebloans appear to have joined a smaller population already living in the northern Rio Grande region, says Ortman; their descendants form the Tewa Pueblo population that still lives there today. That conclusion fits previous research that found telling similarities between the face shapes of modern Tewa and Ancestral Puebloans, he says.“I think our study is a good illustration of the value of curation,” he says. “The people who collected these turkey bones had no idea that one day we would get DNA out of them and use them to answer questions about ancient human migration.”Matson doesn’t doubt the migration story, but he has concerns about the validity of the DNA evidence in the study. Some of the turkey DNA sequences are incomplete, because of deterioration, and the haplogroups varied depending on how complete the sequences were. “This bizarre difference … creates some doubt about the evidence,” he says.Bruce Bernstein, a tribal historic preservation officer in the Pueblo of Pojoaque, New Mexico, says the study adds some valuable insight into the lives of Pueblo people’s ancestors. “People don’t need their own history to be verified by archaeology, but they are interested in having science work alongside them, not in spite of them,” he says. “This is a good example of work that fills in some gaps in what Tewa people have talked about.” ‘Vanished’ people may live on in the U.S. Southwest Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Where they migrated to remains a mystery, however. One of the prevailing theories—backed by modern Puebloan peoples’ own narratives and history—is that most relocated to the northern Rio Grande region of northwestern New Mexico, but that has not been conclusively proven by science. “[It] has long been a question in Southwest archaeology,” says Scott Ortman, an anthropologist at the University of Colorado in Boulder and co-author of the new study. One reason is that scientists haven’t been able to tie the Ancestral Puebloans to other native populations because tribes in the region have been reluctant to give permission to analyze ancient human remains. So Ortman and a team of archaeologists and anthropologists led by molecular anthropologist Brian Kemp at the University of Oklahoma in Norman turned to the next best thing: the DNA of the animals these ancient people domesticated. 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Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) In the late 1200s, the Ancestral Puebloan people of what is today the Four Corners Region of the U.S. Southwest suddenly vanished. For centuries, the culture—also known as the Anasazi—had grown maize and built elaborate villages and sandstone castles. Then, it was gone. Now, using DNA extracted from ancient turkeys, researchers say they have new insights into where these mysterious people went, though some experts are skeptical of the findings.“While I think the concept behind the study is a terrific idea, and they present a really plausible case … the evidence is a little weak,” says R. G. Matson, an anthropologist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.Scientists think they know why the Ancestral Puebloans disappeared. The primary culprit, studies suggest, was a megadrought that would have made it impossible to grow enough food to feed the tens of thousands of people living in the region. That, combined with factors like deforestation and topsoil erosion, led the Ancestral Pueblos to leave their homes at Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde in search of a better life elsewhere. Robin Lyle last_img read more

Are preprints the future of biology A survival guide for scientists

first_img Why are biology preprints taking off now? Will preprints replace journals? Science’s preprint guide ▾ 1TitleReport of Partial findings from the National Toxicology Program Carcinogenesis Studies of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Radiation in Hsd: Sprague Dawley® SD ratsPDF Downloads**169,253First AuthorMichael WydePublished?No 2TitleCould a neuroscientist understand a microprocessor?PDF Downloads**95,270First AuthorEric JonasPublished?PLOS Computational Biology 3TitleTen simple rules for structuring papersPDF Downloads**56,054First AuthorKonrad P KordingPublished?No 4TitleMassive migration from the steppe is a source for Indo-European languages in EuropePDF Downloads**32,884First AuthorWolfgang Haak Published?Nature 5TitleEight thousand years of natural selection in EuropePDF Downloads**28,556First AuthorIain MathiesonPublished?Nature 6TitleRevised estimates for the number of human and bacteria cells in the bodyPDF Downloads**26,367First AuthorRon SenderPublished?PLOS Biology Can you talk to reporters about your preprint? *As of 17 September (TABLE) TED ROEDER/CSHL What will you get out of it? The answer is “no” for some high-impact journals that promote papers to the media. These journals discourage authors who have papers in press, and even those who simply plan to submit, from discussing the preprint version with the media. (Science warns authors that “the editors may also take into account comprehensive media coverage while on preprint when considering the novelty of the paper,” a journal spokesperson says.) Many journalists will report on a preprint regardless of whether its authors are free to talk, however. The result is news stories that quote other scientists about the work, but not the authors. The rules seem fluid, however. The Rockefeller University’s Daniel Kronauer says he felt that talking to journalists about his February preprint on genetically modified ants “wasn’t an issue” because he had not yet submitted it to Cell. Some journals also make an exception for preprints that are presented at a public meeting, providing the news coverage doesn’t include more detail than the presentation itself. One downside to talking to reporters about a preprint, however, is that early news coverage can mean that the study gets less attention from the media when it is published. Because of the uncertainty about press interactions, Harvard evolutionary biologist Hopi Hoekstra, a bioRxiv advocate, holds back some papers that she plans to submit to a top journal. But, she says, “My guess is over the next couple years we’ll just post everything as people become more comfortable with the process.” CARD ILLUSTRATIONS: G. GRULLÓN/SCIENCE Can you talk to reporters about your preprint? One day in May 2014, while visiting his parents in Bulgaria, biologist Nikolai Slavov sat at his laptop and called up a free online archive of scientific papers called bioRxiv. Then, with a click of an “upload” button, he submitted the draft of a paper he’d written about his postdoctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge on the unexpectedly diverse structure of ribosomes, the cell’s protein-making factories. “I was mostly excited, but a little bit nervous” about sharing findings that hadn’t been scrutinized by peer reviewers, he says.He didn’t worry for long. In a few hours, the manuscript appeared online for all the world to see. Within weeks, it had drawn hundreds of downloads, two dozen tweets, and a trickle of online comments. It also brought job offers. And in July 2015, months before a final peer-reviewed version of his paper appeared in the journal Cell Reports, Slavov accepted a tenure-track position at Northeastern University in Boston.Posting that first-draft manuscript, or preprint, “clearly expedited and helped with my job search,” Slavov says. And he thinks the half-dozen preprints he’s posted since have helped turbocharge his career. Science journalists have covered his work, colleagues have proposed collaborations, and journal editors have invited him to submit papers.Slavov represents the promise of a movement that is sweeping across the life sciences. Although physicists have been posting preprints for nearly 3 decades, many biologists have only just begun to widely share their unreviewed papers. The shift has been catalyzed, in part, by endorsements of preprint publishing from high-profile scientists, as well as the 2013 launch of the nonprofit bioRxiv by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) in New York; bioRxiv now holds more than 15,000 papers. But in contrast to physics, where preprints took off without much fanfare or controversy, the leap into preprints is stirring strong passions in the hyper-competitive world of the life sciences.Proponents of biology preprints argue they will accelerate the pace of science—and improve its quality—by publicizing findings long before they reach journals, helping researchers get rapid feedback on their work, and giving a leg up to young researchers who don’t yet have many publications. Some see little difference between posting a preprint and presenting unpublished findings at a meeting, except that the preprint audience can be far larger.Many biologists remain wary, however. Some worry that competitors will steal their data or ideas, or rush to publish similar work. Others predict that preprint servers will become a time sink, as scientists spend hours trying to sift through an immense mishmash of papers of various quality. And some researchers fear that easy, rapid publication could foster preprint wars—in which the findings in one preprint are quickly attacked in another, sometimes within hours. Such online squabbles could leave the public bewildered and erode trust in scientists.Like it or not, however, the rough and tumble new world of biology preprints has arrived. For those debating whether to take the plunge, Science offers this guide. Are preprints the future of biology? A survival guide for scientists One advantage, preprint advocates say, is that you will be able to share your paper with colleagues months or years before it wends its way into a peer-reviewed journal. And that rapidity can help a researcher maintain enthusiasm, says cell biologist Stephen Royle of the University of Warwick in Coventry, U.K. “Publishing can be such a long process that all the excitement is usually sucked out of your work by the time it appears,” he says. “Getting the paper out when you are still excited about it is an amazing feeling.” The early attention to a finding can pay off later: Preprints that do end up in journals appear to be cited more quickly, according to a study of arXiv submissions. Getting a time stamp for a new finding is also part of the appeal. Servers such as bioRxiv and PeerJ Preprints give submissions a posting date and digital object identifier, in essence planting a flag that establishes priority. At the same time, “there is some confusion about this because we don’t really have standards for deciding who should get priority for a discovery,” plant pathologist Sophien Kamoun says. “Some people hang on to the notion that publishing first in a peer-reviewed journal is what matters.” Because preprints can be cited, they can help young scientists quickly build a scholarly track record. That can benefit people who are seeking funding or a job. Preprint authors may hear from journal editors who become intrigued by their preprint: Some editors are browsing bioRxiv for papers. Sometimes, preprints can promote healthy competition. Neuroscientist Leslie Vosshall cites a group that posted a preprint on the first genetically modified ants; another group doing similar work saw the paper and soon posted its own preprint. The two teams submitted their papers to Cell, which published them together last month. Preprints can also catalyze collaboration. Three groups studying the same cellular protein agreed to time their preprints so they all appeared on bioRxiv within a day or two of one another. The groups had learned about one another at a meeting, says biochemist Adam Frost of UC San Francisco, and decided simultaneous posting “would be fair. … It was really positive because it kept us on very good terms and communicating freely.” A long time coming Physicists have posted unreviewed preprints of their work for decades, but the practice is only just taking off among biologists. Many reckon that the 2013 launch of bioRxiv marked the tipping point. But even now, just 1.3% of biology papers first appear as preprints. Who is posting biology preprints? 1Corresponding AuthorYaniv ErlichInstitutionWhitehead InstitutePrimary fieldBioinformaticsPapers14 2Corresponding AuthorThierry MoraInstitutionÉcole Normale SuperieurePrimary fieldComputational biologyPapers14 3Corresponding AuthorSuresh NeethirajanInstitutionUniversity of GuelphPrimary fieldBioengineeringPapers13 4Corresponding AuthorSutirth DeyInstitutionIndian Institute of Science Education and Research PunePrimary fieldEvolutionary biologyPapers12 5Corresponding AuthorAntonio Benitez-BurracoInstitutionUniversity of HuelvaPrimary fieldBiolinguisticsPapers12 6Corresponding AuthorSophien KamounInstitutionThe Sainsbury LaboratoryPrimary fieldPlant biologyPapers12 Today’s boom was long in the making. In the 1960s, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, mailed photocopies of draft manuscripts to groups of biologists; the short-lived project was followed in 1991 by arXiv, a nonprofit preprint server for physics now at Cornell University. In 1999, Nobel laureate Harold Varmus, then-director of NIH, proposed a similar server for biology, but journal publishers saw it as a threat. In 2003, however, arXiv opened a quantitative biology section. And in 2007, Nature Publishing launched a server called Nature Precedings, which collated more than 2000 manuscripts, mostly in biology, before folding in 2012. The concept really gained traction in November 2013, when CSHL launched bioRxiv as a way to promote scientific communication. It had the weight of CSHL behind it, along with commitments from scores of volunteers to post their own preprints and help screen submissions. Recently, bioRxiv has drawn support from a deep-pocketed source, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) funded by Facebook Co-Founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, pediatrician Priscilla Chan. CSHL isn’t alone in promoting preprints. Other servers have sprung up, and early last year, a nonprofit called ASAPbio, incorporated in San Francisco, California, began deploying preprint “ambassadors,” enthusiasts who evangelize to their colleagues, and holding meetings on such topics as how funders and journals view preprints. Major research funders have also moved to legitimize preprints. The U.K. Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust in London, as well as NIH and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Chevy Chase, Maryland, now encourage grantees to cite preprints—not just peer-reviewed papers—in grant proposals. CZI has even made posting a preprint (at the same time as the paper is submitted to a journal) a requirement for its grantees. Preprints have also gotten some indirect, but highly placed, endorsements. “I’ve yet to see any instance where somebody was harmed by that early reveal of the work that they’re doing,” NIH Director Francis Collins says. Quick studies Some areas of biology have embraced preprints faster than others. Fields that do time-intensive experiments have been hesitant Corresponding AuthorInstitutionPrimary fieldPapers A wide array of scientists. BioRxiv counts more than 11,000 corresponding authors and 63,000 unique authors in total, 56% from outside the United States. Hundreds of life scientists have posted on other free nonprofit and commercial servers, such as PeerJ Preprints. Researchers in computational fields such as bioinformatics and genomics were early adopters of bioRxiv. Neuroscientists were slower to embrace the service, but the field is now one of bioRxiv’s largest categories, making up 15% of all papers. By Jocelyn KaiserSep. 29, 2017 , 9:00 AM *As of 24 August (TABLE) TED ROEDER/CSHL CREDITS: (GRAPHIC) J. YOU/SCIENCE; (DATA) TED ROEDER/CSHL In a ‘forgotten experiment,’ biologists almost launched the preprint revolution—5 decades ago Other scientists, however, say part of their motivation for posting is to get feedback, and they are comfortable posting a rough draft that they update with revisions. Scott says he sometimes posts two or three versions. Feedback rarely comes directly through bioRxiv: Just 10% of articles draw comments. Instead, reaction tends to arrive through Twitter or email. To stimulate more feedback, ASAPbio is encouraging labs to form journal clubs to discuss only preprints. But because scientists are already “saturated” with formally reviewing papers for journals, it may take a cultural change for them to devote the same attention to preprints, says plant pathologist Sophien Kamoun of The Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, U.K. One incentive for journal peer reviewers—a chance to see an early draft of a paper before anyone else—”doesn’t apply to preprints,” he says. Some proponents predict that preprint servers will become the favored venue for publishing and critiquing findings, and will eventually replace peer-reviewed journals altogether. For the moment, that appears to be a minority view. Even PLOS, which has shaken up scientific publishing with its pioneering open-access journals, has stood up for traditional journals. “Preprints do not diminish the need for reputable peer-reviewed journals,” Sheryl Denker, communications editor at PLOS in San Francisco, wrote last year. She argued that preprint servers can’t provide the ethics and quality checks carried out by journals. And more than 2 decades after arXiv was founded, most physicists still send their preprints to journals, even though that final step often amounts to a formality. Whatever the future holds for traditional journals, biology preprints are likely to be more than a fad. “Preprints will percolate slower in some communities,” biologist Nikolai Slavov says, “but I am confident that they will continue to spread fast and eventually will be adopted by all.”*Correction 2 November, 2 p.m.: The original article incorrectly suggested that the NIH Information Exchange Groups helped inspire the creation of arXiv. How polished should your preprint be? What could go wrong? Email Jocelyn Jocelyn is a staff writer for Science magazine. Arctic science at risk as University of Alaska braces for draconian budget cuts The most downloaded papers on bioRxiv TitlePDF Downloads**First AuthorPublished? How polished should your preprint be? Why are biology preprints taking off now? The vast majority of biologists. Although bioRxiv has grown rapidly, the more than 1200 preprints deposited in it in August still represented just 1.3% of the 93,000 papers added to PubMed, the NIH-run database of biomedical abstracts, during that month. “It’s not obvious to me yet that there is any advantage” to preprints, says stem cell researcher Sean Morrison of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, who shares his latest work at meetings. For others, the reluctance reflects concern that journals will reject a study that was already posted as a preprint. Until recently, many banned releasing papers to the public before formal publication. Now, most basic science journals (including Science) say they will accept papers posted as preprints, and many will even accept submissions directly through an interface on bioRxiv. But some major medical journals, including The New England Journal of Medicine, still discourage preprint posting. Ant biologist Terry McGlynn of California State University in Dominguez Hills prefers waiting a few months so that the public can see a polished paper in a journal, not a draft that could have errors. And he thinks that rushing to post preprints adds to the pressures on researchers. “Preprint advocates might think that they are a prescription to fix the rat race, but I think it just puts the rats in a more convoluted maze,” he wrote in July on the blog Small Pond Science. Some researchers avoid posting to preprint archives because they believe that the screening and sorting performed by traditional journals serves readers well. “For the nonexpert, such archives are very difficult to navigate, and the filter of peer review is essential,” says cancer geneticist Bert Vogelstein of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, who has posted only a few preprints. Researchers who conduct complex lab experiments also appear to be more reluctant to post. Within some bioRxiv categories that have begun to take off, such as plant science and cancer biology, papers still skew toward computational and theoretical work. That may reflect the fact that lab experiments can “take a long time—there’s a whole lot invested in creating some of those data,” says cancer modeler Jacob Scott of the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, a bioRxiv enthusiast. And they may involve novel compounds and therapies that have commercial potential, discouraging authors from early publication. How biologists pioneered preprints—with paper and postage A historian recounts the National Institutes of Health’s 1960s pilot test of exchanging unreviewed manuscripts, and how publishers killed it What will you get out of it? Scooping is the No. 1 worry. A competing team could see your preprint and rush a similar study into a journal. Editors might then reject your final paper. “I get that fear,” cancer modeler Jacob Scott says. “But I look at it in the opposite [way]. Preprints are my defense … really a flag in the sand and proof that it’s mine.” Still, this year EMBO Press’s four journals announced “scooping protection”: If an author submits a manuscript within 4 months of posting a preprint, EMBO will consider the work novel even if a competitor publishes similar work during that time. Another concern is that a competing group could grab your data or ideas from a preprint before you can publish in a journal. Developmental biologist Alberto Stolfi of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta recently recounted on Twitter that another lab, without warning, published a paper that included preprint data from his postdoctoral research on using CRISPR to modify a sea squirt. He was surprised, but decided the preprint data were “fair game.” And it ended well: “We knew the author, liked him,” and they ended up collaborating on a final, published version of that first preprint. Some say such borrowing is no different from the cross-pollination that comes from seeing another group’s talk or poster at a meeting. For the broader scientific community, a common fear is that substandard work, which would not have survived peer review, will become widely available. “The danger for bioRxiv is being hijacked by pseudoscience chasing a veneer of respectability,” geneticist Barry Thompson of The Francis Crick Institute in London tweeted recently. Although bioRxiv staff do a plagiarism check and the project’s volunteers check for scientific validity, bioRxiv accepts 95% of submissions. John Inglis defends bioRxiv’s process and notes that about 60% of preprints end up in journals, indicating they are scientifically worthy. And preprint advocates like to note that even peer-reviewed journals publish flawed work. “Junk is already out there,” neuroscientist Leslie Vosshall says. “BioRxiv isn’t going to have any impact on that.” For preprint fans, one nightmare would be a faulty preprint with health implications. To guard against the possibility, bioRxiv does not currently accept any clinical research except epidemiology and certain trial results. Yale University researchers this month announced plans for a new server, MedArXiv, for clinical research preprints; it might be built with bioRxiv’s infrastructure but would have separate, tighter standards for screening papers, Inglis says. Yale cardiologist Harlan Krumholz says he hopes the project will win over medical journals that now reject preprints: “It’s our job to show that [preprints are] not as scary as they think,” he says. Another worrisome scenario is that authors will post incomplete papers simply to stake a claim, without sharing details of their work. This past July, a Twitter storm erupted over two papers on a technique for sequencing RNA that were posted without methods sections. Both teams apologized (one co-author said her group was in a rush) and posted full manuscripts. The episode has fueled calls for stricter common standards for preprints—covering issues such as screening submissions and retracting those that turn out to be seriously flawed or fraudulent. That’s a task ASAPbio expects to take on. Posting a preprint is “so easy and quick, it is very attractive,” says Johanna McEntyre of the European Bioinformatics Institute in Hinxton, U.K. “But if key elements of rigor are missed, it could potentially damage uptake. So it is a balancing act of ease versus rigor—which is not easy.” CREDITS: (GRAPHIC) J. YOU/SCIENCE; (DATA) JORDAN ANAYA, PREPUBMED What could go wrong? Will preprints replace journals? More from News #MeTooSTEM founder out at Vanderbilt Posted in: Scientific Community doi:10.1126/science.aaq0747 Who is posting biology preprints? Who is not on board? Who is not on board? Preprint poster children Preprint enthusiasts include established scientists and junior researchers accustomed to online sharing. Here are the six most prolific corresponding authors on bioRxiv. Jocelyn Kaiser Some scientists say the preprints they post are almost identical to what ends up in a journal. Neuroscientist Leslie Vosshall says that the papers she sees on bioRxiv are of “significantly higher quality” than the typical journal submission, because the authors can’t lean on editors to fix typos, clarify prose, and ask for more experiments. “I have seen very few, but not zero, examples of poorly put together preprints,” cancer modeler Jacob Scott says. “Sometimes someone’s afraid that they’re about to be scooped or needs something for a grant application,” leading them to rush out a sloppy preprint. “But in general, people take their preprints seriously.” California’s stem cell research fund dries up Some preprint authors are prominent researchers with large followings, including genomicist Eric Lander of the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as well as synthetic biologist George Church and ancient DNA researcher David Reich, both of Harvard University. Also preprint fans: two leaders of research into the CRISPR gene-editing tool, Feng Zhang of the Broad Institute and Jennifer Doudna of the University of California (UC), Berkeley. But plenty are less known, including many from institutions in China. One prolific bioRxiv author—with seven preprints—is a self-described independent bioinformatics researcher in India and (according to one paper) a Buddhist monk. Neuroscientist Leslie Vosshall of The Rockefeller University in New York City, who describes herself as a “Fidel Castro” spreading the preprint revolution, sees two main groups embracing preprints: midcareer, established scientists who “can afford to take the risk” and millennials, “who share everything. They get it right away.” Preprint servers have also become a go-to outlet for researchers seeking to air critiques of controversial findings. Journals may not be interested in publishing such contrarian studies, which bioRxiv users can label as “contradictory results,” says bioRxiv co-founder John Inglis of CSHL. And the online world can enable very rapid responses: After genomics pioneer J. Craig Venter’s Human Longevity Institute in San Diego, California, published a paper last month claiming it could predict faces from DNA, critics responded within a day with a bioRxiv preprint slamming the study. Venter soon parried—with another bioRxiv preprint.last_img read more

How minority viewpoints become majority ones

first_imgAfter 10 to 20 rounds—each of which was played with a new partner—people appeared to formulate a “library” of the previously suggested names and started to pick the same ones. Once that happened, the norm quickly caught on in the rest of the group, and strangers who met for the first time would often use the same name. Within 25 rounds in one game, for example, everyone had named their face “Simone.”Then, the researchers threw in a monkey wrench. They added a new group of people who all had the same agenda: They wanted to name the face “Mary.” In one test, the Mary clique constituted 17% of the total participants. In another test, they made up to 31%. After experimenting with different numbers of people who held this “minority” viewpoint, the researchers discovered their tipping point: When the minority viewpoint made up at least 25% of the population, it was likely to rapidly become the majority viewpoint, the team reports today in Science.The study suggests personal preference is “not just about what individuals want,” says Emily Erikson, a sociologist at Yale University who was not involved in the work. “There’s this huge social dynamic that changes people’s actions.”But that doesn’t mean such dynamics will tip any social convention, Centola says. Political orientation, religious beliefs, and opinions about issues like abortion are notoriously intractable. Figuring out how those might tip would take far more—and far more difficult—research, Erikson says. That’s particularly true when the participants don’t have a strong incentive to cooperate.Arnout van de Rijt, a sociologist at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, agrees. He says the online game in the new study is akin to conducting an experiment in a Petri dish version of the world. He wants to know what would happen if a small or equally sized minority group wanted to protect the status quo. How big would the opposing group need to be to tip the whole shebang? Likewise, Erikson wonders what happens when more than one committed minority is fighting for change. “The outcome very clearly wouldn’t be the same,” she says.Finally, the real world contains some groups that are far more powerful than others. In the game, all players participated as equals, similar to the way anonymous individuals interact online on message boards and in chat forums. “This is not a story about a small elite with extraordinary resources being able to sway public opinion,” Van de Rijt says. But for him, that’s what makes the findings so powerful. It’s about what a small minority can do with pure, unwavering commitment to an idea, he says. By Roni DenglerJun. 7, 2018 , 2:55 PM Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Tipping points for social change—such as the acceptance of gay marriage in Australia—have been hard to methodically test. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)center_img How minority viewpoints become majority ones AP Photo/Rick Rycroft Want to start a trend? The key is to get a committed minority of folks to follow your lead. But how many is enough? A new study suggests marshaling at least a quarter of people in a given population can “tip” the scales of public opinion in your favor. Once your group reaches that threshold, most everyone else will quickly get on board.The mysterious “tipping point” at which viewpoints rapidly move from minority to majority status—think, the rise of the Nazis in 1930s Germany or the rapid acceptance of gay marriage in the United States—has long fascinated social scientists. Even a trend as benign as fist-bumping has to reach a critical threshold before it is widely accepted. But although past studies have put that number anywhere from 10% to 40%, none of them methodically tested how large groups react to the introduction of new ideas.Damon Centola, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania, set out to do just that. He and his team recruited nearly 200 subjects to participate in an online naming game. In the game, players were shown a picture of a face, for which they were asked to come up with a name. To win, they had to write in the same name for the face as a randomly assigned, anonymous partner. Partners could see the suggested names only after the round ended. Emaillast_img read more

Skyscrapers could soon generate their own power thanks to seethrough solar cells

first_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe RICHARD LUNT/MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country By Robert F. ServiceJun. 28, 2018 , 11:00 AM Skyscrapers could soon generate their own power, thanks to see-through solar cellscenter_img Lance Wheeler looks at glassy skyscrapers and sees untapped potential. Houses and office buildings, he says, account for 75% of electricity use in the United States, and 40% of its energy use overall. Windows, because they leak energy, are a big part of the problem. “Anything we can do to mitigate that is going to have a very large impact,” says Wheeler, a solar power expert at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado.A series of recent results points to a solution, he says: Turn the windows into solar panels. In the past, materials scientists have embedded light-absorbing films in window glass. But such solar windows tend to have a reddish or brown tint that architects find unappealing. The new solar window technologies, however, absorb almost exclusively invisible ultraviolet (UV) or infrared light. That leaves the glass clear while blocking the UV and infrared radiation that normally leak through it, sometimes delivering unwanted heat. By cutting heat gain while generating power, the windows “have huge prospects,” Wheeler says, including the possibility that a large office building could power itself.Most solar cells, like the standard crystalline silicon cells that dominate the industry, sacrifice transparency to maximize their efficiency, the percentage of the energy in sunlight converted to electricity. The best silicon cells have an efficiency of 25%. Meanwhile, a new class of opaque solar cell materials, called perovskites, are closing in on silicon with top efficiencies of 22%. Not only are the perovskites cheaper than silicon, they can also be tuned to absorb specific frequencies of light by tweaking their chemical recipe. A solar window created by scientists at Michigan State University in East Lansing reached an efficiency of 5% using organic photovoltaics. Email This week in Joule, a team led by Richard Lunt, a chemical engineer from Michigan State University in East Lansing, reports that it tuned the materials to develop a UV-absorbing perovskite solar window with an efficiency of 0.5%. Although that’s fathoms below the efficiency of the best perovskite cells, Lunt says it’s high enough to power another window technology: on-demand darkening glass that halts intense light in the heat of the day, thereby reducing a building’s need for air conditioning. Lunt believes his team has a clear path to get to efficiencies of 4% in the next few years. At that rate, the cells could power some of the building’s lighting and air conditioning.At the other end of the spectrum is infrared light, which strikes Earth’s surface more intensely than UV light and can therefore generate more electricity. Last year, in Nature Energy, Lunt’s team reported it had made transparent, UV- and infrared-absorbing cells with efficiencies of 5%, using “organic” photovoltaics—thin film sandwiches of organic semiconductors and metals. Lunt says future systems that yoke UV-capturing perovskites to infrared-capturing organics could reach efficiencies of 20%, while still being nearly entirely transparent.A third approach to clear solar windows relies on so-called luminescent solar concentrators. In these windows, quantum dots, which are tiny semiconductor particles, absorb light at UV and infrared frequencies and re-emit it at the wavelengths that traditional solar cells capture. The re-emitted light is concentrated and shunted sideways, through the glass, to solar cell strips embedded in the window frame. Because quantum dots are cheap to make and only a small amount of solar cell material is needed to capture the re-emitted light, these solar windows promise to be inexpensive. Moreover, solar cells work better under intense, concentrated light. Already these windows have reached efficiencies of 3.1%, Victor Klimov, a chemist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, and his colleagues reported in Nature Photonics in January.Don’t count out the semitransparent windows yet, says Michael McGehee, a solar windows and perovskites expert at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. Last year, for example, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded $2.5 million to Next Energy Technologies in Santa Barbara, California, to perfect its semitransparent organic solar cell windows. The company has reached efficiencies of 7% with windows that absorb half of the incident sunlight that hits them, visible light included. That darkens them compared with clear glass, but because they absorb light from across the spectrum rather than at specific frequencies, they don’t take on the unsightly reddish or brownish hue. “It turns out that a window that absorbs about half the light across all of the visible spectrum looks great,” says McGehee, who also serves as an adviser to the company.Wheeler isn’t sure which technology will end up on top. One factor will be toxicity: Glass breaks, and many solar window technologies contain a small amount of toxic materials. The technologies also have to be durable enough to last decades, as demanded by the building industry. But he says it’s a safe bet to expect that future buildings won’t draw all their power from the grid. They will generate it, too. “Builders have to put in windows anyway,” Wheeler says. “Why not piggyback on those windows?”last_img read more

New species of ancient human unearthed in the Philippines

first_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe In 2007, a team led by Armand Mijares, a paleoanthropologist at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City, found a metatarsal—one of the bones that runs along the top of the foot—in Callao Cave on Luzon. The shape of the bone clearly marked its owner as a member of our genus, the team reported in 2010. The ratio of uranium to its decay products in the bone revealed its probable age range, between 50,000 and 80,000 years old, with a likely minimum age of about 67,000 years. Intrigued, Mijares’s team went back in 2011 and 2015—and excavated what he calls a fossil “bonanza.”In the same layer as the metatarsal, the team discovered five teeth from the right upper jaw of the same individual, two isolated teeth, two finger bones, two toe bones, and a broken femur. The bones represent at least three individuals, the team says, all presumably from the same species. © CALLAO CAVE ARCHAEOLOGY PROJECT By Lizzie WadeApr. 10, 2019 , 1:00 PM Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) A strange new species may have joined the human family. Human fossils found in a cave on Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines, include tiny molars suggesting their owners were small; curved finger and toe bones hint that they climbed trees. Homo luzonensis, as the species has been christened, lived some 50,000 to 80,000 years ago, when the world hosted multiple archaic humans, including Neanderthals and Denisovans, and when H. sapiens may have been making its first forays into Southeast Asia.“This is a truly sensational finding,” says Adam Brumm, an archaeologist at Griffith University in Nathan, Australia. The paper, published this week in Nature, “sent shivers down my spine.”The discovery echoes that of another unusual ancient hominin—the diminutive H. floresiensis, or “hobbit,” found on the island of Flores in Indonesia. “One is interesting. Two is a pattern,” says Jeremy DeSilva, an expert on Homo foot bones at Dartmouth College. He and others suspect the islands of Southeast Asia may have been a cradle of diversity for ancient humans, and that H. luzonensis, like H. floresiensis, may have evolved small body size in isolation on an island. Teeth show a new find is Homo. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Email About 67,000 years ago, Callao Cave on Luzon in the Philippines was home to an unusual human. The teeth show a unique mosaic of traits found separately in other Homo species. The premolars are about the size of ours, but instead of a single root they have two or three—a primitive feature. The molars are much more modern, with single roots, but “incredibly small” at only 10 millimeters long and 8 millimeters across, says Florent Détroit, a paleoanthropologist at the Museum of Man in Paris who worked with Mijares. That’s even smaller than those of H. floresiensis. Tooth size tends to correlate with body size, so it’s possible that H. luzonensis itself was tiny, Détroit says. But only a complete arm or leg bone will say for sure.The long, curved fingers and toes resemble those of australopithecines like Lucy, an early human ancestor thought to have both walked upright and swung through the trees. “This is a very strong indication of climbing,” says paleoanthropologist Tracy Kivell, who studies hand bones at the University of Kent in Canterbury, U.K.Not everyone is ready to embrace these teeth and skeletal fragments as a separate species, rather than a locally adapted population of, say, H. erectus, an older hominin that lived in Asia for millennia.“I see what they’re saying, but at the same time, I want more,” says Susan Antón, a paleoanthropologist at New York University in New York City. A skull bone could clinch the case for a new species, as could ancient DNA. But DNA breaks down fast in hot, humid conditions like those at the cave, and the fossils have not yielded genetic material.Regardless of whether H. luzonensis was its own species, it may have evolved in isolation for hundreds of thousands of years. Butchered rhino bones on Luzon date to 700,000 years ago, though researchers don’t yet know which human species was responsible.Mijares is already back in the field. Many more pieces of the human story could be hidden on Southeast Asia’s islands. When it comes to human evolution, Antón says, “We know a lot less than we thought we did.” New species of ancient human unearthed in the Philippines © CALLAO CAVE ARCHAEOLOGY PROJECT last_img read more

NHS to get a long term overhaul with a 10 year plan

first_imgWith the future plans in place, the hospitals could be facing a cut in funds while preventive health is the main focus. According to senior doctors however, this was a “near-on impossible task.” They explain that the three wait time targets are for Accident and Emergency care, cancer care and routine operations. They explain that at present most trusts are unable to meet these wait time targets. It is still a long way off to reach what is currently being planned, they explain.The 10-year plan is to be soon released by the NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens and Prime Minister Theresa May. The NHS says that one third of the extra £20bn given to the NHS in 2023 would be diverted to the GPs, mental health care and community care. At present the amounts spent on these sectors is less than a quarter of the whole budget. Hospitals at present take up more than half of the £114bn NHS budget. Mr Stevens said that this would be a “practical, costed and phased route map” for the next 10 years.The plan is that mental health care would receive £2.3 billion extra of the £20bn of the NHS budget while the community care and GP services would be receiving £4.5 billion. Mental health care would focus on mental health care support in schools as well as 24-hour access to mental health crisis care via NHS 111. Community care would include support in the communities for patients to ensure early discharge from hospitals. GP services would be improved by digitalizing access to health services and online GP booking. Preventive health care would focus on healthy living programmes and therapies. The focus would also be on genetic testing for children suffering from cancers and rare genetic diseases so that appropriate treatment can be provided for them.Related StoriesStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskCancer killing capability of lesser-known immune cells identifiedResearchers identify gene mutations linked to leukemia in children with Down’s syndromeOnce in place, this new policy could prevent heart disease, strokes, cancers and other health problems by early detection and also help save 500000 lives. Speaking about the 10 year plan, yesterday (6th January 2019), Mrs May called it a “historic” moment for the NHS and said that it would go on to provide “world class” treatments to the population.Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth was not too sure about the plan though. He said that there was a lack of staffing and funding and said that there was “mismanagement” in health services. He said, “The NHS needs a credible fully-funded plan for the future, not a wish list to help Theresa May get through the coming months.”Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers said that this plan would take off some pressure from the hospitals. He added however, “If we are serious about helping people to stay well and live independently for as long as possible it is vital that we also see appropriate investment and support for social care and public health.”“This investment is a significant part of our ambition to deliver true parity between physical and mental health,” said Mrs May. “We have already done a lot to end the stigma people with mental ill-health face and make sure they can reach out for help, and this expansion part of our Long Term Plan for the NHS will make a real difference and make the UK a world leader when it comes to both the money it spends on mental health services and the support and treatment it offers those who need it,” she said. Image Credit: BasPhoto / Shutterstock By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDJan 6 2019As part of the plans for a long term development of the NHS, large funding strategies are being devised that would focus on General Practitioners as well as community care and mental health services.As these services get the much needed boost, the health officials hope that the reliance on hospitals would go down. The NHS with this strategy could be preventing ill health and saving lives of up to 500,000 individuals.last_img read more

New immune response regulators discovered

first_img Source:https://www.utu.fi/en/news/press-release/researchers-discovered-new-immune-response-regulators Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 16 2019The discovery was published in the new iScience journal for interdisciplinary research by Cell Press.The newly discovered regulatory proteins differ significantly from the regulators in mouse immune cells which have been reported earlier. Some of the proteins, such as SATB1 regulating the transcription of several genes, function in the opposite way in human compared to mouse. The findings open new, previously unknown possibilities into the treatment of immune-mediated diseases, such as multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis.Related StoriesResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairNew study reveals ‘clutch’ proteins responsible for putting T cell activation ‘into gear’An injection of nanoparticles for spinal cord injuries- The differences in the immune system cell regulators in mouse and human revealed by protein-level analyses are in line with our earlier findings. To understand the special characteristics of the human T cell regulation, studies on human cells are necessary to advance translational research, stresses Professor Riitta Lahesmaa.T cells are critical in regulating the immune response. They can also cause inflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis or type 1 diabetes.Researchers from Turku Centre for Biotechnology of the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University in Finland used a proteomic approach they have optimized to discover how protein levels in T cells change over time so that they start causing inflammation.The team identified new cell regulators and gained information on the cell differentiation process, which can be a starting point for planning new ways of preventing cells from becoming inflammatory.last_img read more

Lifestyle and health factors that are good for the heart can also

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 16 2019Lifestyle and health factors that are good for your heart can also prevent diabetes, according to a new study by researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine that published today in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.Diabetes is a growing problem in the United States, with nearly a third of the population living with diabetes or prediabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Dr. Joshua J. Joseph, an endocrinologist and assistant professor at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, wants to bring those numbers down. He studies various ways to prevent diabetes, and his latest work looked at how cardiovascular health can impact diabetes risk.”This research adds to our collective understanding about how physicians can help their patients prevent a number of serious diseases, including heart disease, cancer and now diabetes,” said Dr. K. Craig Kent, dean of the College of Medicine.Related StoriesStudy explores role of iron in over 900 diseasesHeart disease is still the number 1 killer in Australia, according to latest figuresObese patients with Type 1 diabetes could safely receive robotic pancreas transplantThe team led by Joseph assessed diabetes among 7,758 participants in the REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) Study and used the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7 as a guide for measuring heart health among the group.The Life’s Simple 7 health factors and lifestyle behaviors that are associated with cardiovascular health are physical activity, diet, weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, blood glucose and tobacco use.Overall, the study participants who were in the recommended, ideal ranges for at least four of the seven factors had a 70 percent lower risk of developing diabetes over the next 10 years.”What’s interesting is when we compared people who had normal blood glucose and those who already had impaired blood glucose,” Joseph said. “Those in normal levels who attained four or more guideline factors had an 80 percent lower risk of developing diabetes. Those who were already diabetic or prediabetic and met four of the factors had no change in lowering their risk for diabetes.”Joseph said this research proves using prevention strategies from the very beginning is key to helping Americans avoid diabetes.”Healthy people need to work to stay healthy. Follow the guidelines. Don’t proceed to high blood sugar and then worry about stopping diabetes. By that point, people need high-intensity interventions that focus on physical activity and diet to promote weight loss and, possibly, medications to lower the risk of diabetes,” Joseph said.Community outreach is one way Joseph and his team put their research to practical use. They attend wellness walks, community days and other gatherings around central Ohio to help educate people about diabetes prevention and starting healthy habits.”We don’t wait for people to come to us as patients. We’re very engaged in taking our work from the lab and applying it to our populations so we can help keep our communities healthy,” Joseph said. Source:http://diabetologia-journal.org/last_img read more

Gerontologists highlight new research regarding aging and technology

first_img Source:https://www.geron.org/press-room/press-releases/2019-press-releases/986-where-technology-and-aging-intersect-gerontologists-chart-path-forward Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 5 2019The latest issue of the journal The Gerontologist from The Gerontological Society of America contains 21 articles highlighting the state-of-the-art research regarding aging and technology, and offering guidance for the future.Among the findings are that older adults in certain demographic groups are less likely to use technology for health-related purposes; using the Internet to connect with family and friends can indirectly affect well-being by decreasing loneliness and increasing social engagement; and there exists a potential for social robots to promote the health of older people. The development of this special issue was led by past Editor-in-Chief Rachel Pruchno, PhD, FGSA.Related StoriesTrump administration cracks down on fetal tissue researchSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds researchResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repair”Technology has the potential to improve the lives of older people,” Pruchno wrote in an opening editorial. “However, for technology to be useful, gerontologists must be engaged in every step of its development.”The articles fall under several categories: technology and the digital divide, strategies for bridging the digital divide, Internet use and well-being, robotics, technology in the community, and technology in nursing homes.”Gerontologists understand the aging process and can facilitate the experiences of older users. Engineers and marketing managers usually do not have this expertise,” Pruchno said, adding that when technology and marketing proceed without gerontologists, a great deal of money is invested in useless technology.”On the other hand, gerontologists do not have the skills to develop or design new technologies. Success will depend on evolving partnerships that include gerontologists, engineers, marketing experts, and older people working together and listening to one another,” she said.GSA has been active in promoting research on technology and aging, most notable through the work of a member interest group and a dedicated track of sessions at the Society’s Annual Scientific Meeting in November 2018.The Gerontologist is a peer-reviewed publication of The Gerontological Society of America (GSA), the nation’s oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society — and its 5,500+ members — is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA’s structure also includes a policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society, and an educational branch, the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education.last_img read more

Novel drug shows potential to prevent sepsis progression

first_img Source:https://www.rcsi.com/dublin/news-and-events/news/news-article/2019/03/promising-new-drug-shows-potential-to-stop-progression-of-sepsis Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 8 2019Research into a new breakthrough therapy in the fight against sepsis has shown that the drug has potential to stop all sepsis-causing bacteria from triggering organ damage in the early stages of the condition.The pre-clinical trial of InnovoSep, carried out by researchers at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland), has demonstrated that the drug also has the potential to stop progression of sepsis to multiple organ failure in the later stages.The study is being presented today at RCSI Research Day 2019 by Dr Sinéad Hurley, a Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Pharmacy and Irish Centre for Vascular Biology, RCSI.Principal Investigator on the research, Professor Steve Kerrigan, Associate Professor in Pharmacology at RCSI and inventor of InnovoSep said: “Sepsis occurs when an infection gets into the bloodstream and our own body’s defence system spins out of control trying to fight the infection, which results in multiple organ failure if untreated.”There is only a short window of opportunity for treatment of sepsis with the early administration of antibiotics and fluid. However, in many cases antibiotics are not effective due to drug resistance or delays in identifying the type of bacteria that has caused the infection. Therefore, there is a need for a non-antibiotic therapy that can be used at all stages of infection against all bacterial causes of sepsis”.Identification of a new therapy such as the InnovoSep drug candidate is critical as current research from the World Sepsis Alliance suggests that the incidence of sepsis is growing annually by 8%.Professor Kerrigan continued “Our research has shown the InnovoSep candidate drug can prevent sepsis progression early or indeed treat advanced sepsis. The drug appears to act by preventing the bacteria from getting into the bloodstream from the site of infection by stabilising the blood vessels so that they cannot leak bacteria and infect the major organs.”Related StoriesStudy explains why several clinical trials of treatments for sepsis have been failedDoctors urge hospitals to reconsider the type of fluids used to treat children with sepsisFirst state-mandated sepsis regulation in the U.S. linked to lower mortality rates”The promising results of the InnovoSep pre-clinical trial gives hope for a new non-antibiotic treatment of this condition that could be effective in both the early and more advanced stages of sepsis which results in almost 3000 deaths in Ireland each year,” Professor Kerrigan said.Sepsis, otherwise known as blood poisoning, is a silent killer because it is unpredictable, rapid and can go undiagnosed due to its non-specific signs and symptoms. It is critical that the public are empowered with the knowledge of spotting signs and symptoms of sepsis so that rapid treatment can be initiated. The signs and symptoms of sepsis mimic those of the flu – high temperature, rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, pain, pale or mottled skin, and feeling generally very sick. The main difference between sepsis symptoms and flu is that sepsis will come on very quickly whereas flu comes on over days.Any type of infection can cause sepsis ranging from seemingly minor infections on the skin, urinary tract infections, pneumonia or appendicitis – even a simple cut, scrape, or break in the skin can allow bacteria to enter the body and potentially lead to sepsis.Currently there are almost 15,000 cases of sepsis each year in Ireland with almost 3000 deaths. In Ireland sepsis kills more people than either heart attack, lung cancer, colon cancer or breast cancer. A staggering 60% of all hospital deaths has a sepsis or infection diagnosis.last_img read more

Taking vitamin D and E during pregnancy may reduce likelihood of asthma

first_imgThe study included 2000 pregnant women and the 1924 single children born to them. Overall, the study lasted 15 years. The researchers gathered data through questionnaires, clinical assessments, and routine healthcare data carried out at 1, 2, 5, 10 and 15 years of age.The amount of vitamin D and vitamin E consumed by the mother’s during pregnancy was compared to the reported wheezing and asthma outcomes.When the children turned 15, they were asked to fill out a questionnaire containing questions such as “have you had wheezing or whistling in the chest in the past 12 months?” and other questions that enquired whether they had “ever wheezed”, “wheezed in the absence of a cold”, and whether they had eczema and hayfever.Information on whether the children used asthma medications and whether a doctor had confirmed their asthma diagnosis was also collected.Vitamin D and E linked to a ‘reduced likelihood’ of wheezingAlthough only 39 percent of the 1924 original children returned the questionnaires and some participants had withdrawn from the study, results were found to be “consistent with the findings of several systematic reviews” that previously reported that higher maternal vitamin D and E intake during pregnancy was associated with a “reduced likelihood” of childhood wheezing.This new cohort study found that “lower maternal vitamin D intake during pregnancy was associated with an increase in childhood wheezing between 2 and 5 years” as well as an increase in wheeze and asthma incidence at the age of 10.Additionally, in the last year of the study, 12.8 percent of the participants reported using asthma medication.An increased incidence of childhood wheezing at the ages of two and five and an increase in asthma at the age of nine was associated with lower levels of maternal vitamin E during pregnancy.The study states although its longitudinal analyses showed links between maternal intake of vitamin E and vitamin D and wheeze and asthma outcomes in the children’s first 15 years of life, at the age of 15 the data “demonstrates no associations between maternal vitamin D or E and current wheeze or asthma outcomes.”Environmental and dietary factors further influence asthma developmentIt hypothesizes that a mother’s intake of vitamin D and E during pregnancy may influence the incidence of childhood wheeze and asthma up to the age of 10, but outside exposures and influences, perhaps environmental or dietary, are more likely to be the cause of asthma in children as they progress through puberty and into adulthood.The results also suggest that maternal diet is more important in influencing a child’s risk of developing wheeze or asthma than the child’s diet. The benefits of this particular study lie in its larger size when compared with previous studies, and the fact that it studied maternal intakes of both vitamin D and E over blood concentrations of the vitamins.However, the study was not immune to limitations. Participation in the study was “associated with significant biases”, but the authors were confident that these biases would not produce errors “masking the findings”. Additionally, the researchers were not able to gather data on what age the children were when they were diagnosed with asthma.The study states clearly that is has “confirmed” that there is indeed an association between childhood asthma and low intake of vitamins D and E during pregnancy. However, despite the significant and worrying increase in asthma incidence in 1990, there is now evidence that asthma incidence in the UK is decreasing.Source:Devereux, G., et al. (2018). Maternal vitamin D and E intakes in pregnancy and asthma to age 15 years: A cohort study. Pediatric Pulmonology. doi.org/10.1002/ppul.24184. The main implication of the finding is that while optimizing maternal diet during pregnancy may lesson the high burden of respiratory symptoms in young children, it is likely that any benefit to offspring would diminish and then disappear with the passage of time.” By Lois Zoppi, BAMay 7 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)At present, approximately 300 million people are living with asthma worldwide. It is estimated that by 2025, another 100 million people will be diagnosed with asthma and that urban lifestyles will play a significant role in this. Among other causes, changes in diets, climate change, and air pollution have all been associated with an increase in cases of asthma.The Study of Eczema and Asthma To Observe Effects of Nutrition (SEATON) birth cohort was recruited to investigate how a mother’s diet during pregnancy could affect her child’s risk of developing asthma and atopic diseases. The researchers found that high levels of vitamin D and E during pregnancy was associated with a lower risk of the child developing asthma.gpointstudio | ShutterstockThe study began after there was a sharp increase in the amount of children being diagnosed with asthma in developed countries in 1990. At this time, t increase in cases in the UK correlated with a reduction in the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables. We hypothesized that such a change would increase population airway susceptibility to allergens and irritants and thus contribute to the rise in prevalence.Our early studies pointed to vitamins E and D having a role in airway disease and, since the rise in prevalence had occurred in young children, we proposed that the mother’s diet during pregnancy would influence the child’s risk of developing asthma.”last_img read more

Newly identified internal regulator helps control bodys response to fight infection

first_imgWe want to put a brake on the body’s own immune system to stop it turning on itself. Our discovery has the potential to help us find a new drug to target this regulator, to suppress the immune system and stop the body destroying its own cells, even when there is no infection present. We’re a long way off being able to find a new effective treatment for autoimmune disease, but we’re excited because this discovery could open the door to a new class of drugs.”Dr Elton Zeqiraj, University of Leeds. Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)May 30 2019Scientists have identified a new internal regulator which helps control the body’s response to fight infection.The discovery could be a target for new drugs to tackle autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and scleroderma, where healthy tissues are attacked by the body’s own immune system. Sources:University of LeedsJournal reference:Walden, M. et al. (2019) Metabolic control of BRISC–SHMT2 assembly regulates immune signalling. Nature. doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1232-1.center_img Autoimmune diseases include a wide range of difficult-to-treat conditions, including Type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.The scientists used powerful cryo-electron microscopes at the University of Leeds’ Astbury Centre to reveal the structure of the regulator, comprised of two proteins in the body called BRISC and SHMT2, to understand for the first time how they work together in a cell.The protein complex acts to increase the immune response of cells, which occurs when they detect an invading pathogen.Dr Elton Zeqiraj continued: “The microscopes have allowed us to understand the structure of this protein complex in superb detail, and by building an accurate 3D model, we discovered that it plays a completely unexpected role in regulating our immune response.”The next step is to find a way of targeting this protein to inhibit the process, to prevent our immune system from attacking healthy cells.”Once the structure had been revealed, it was possible to design genetically engineered versions of the proteins and map out the functions of this complex in cells.The scientists also discovered, rather unexpectedly, that the BRISC-SHMT2 protein complex can be regulated by the active form of vitamin B6.Although vitamin B6 was shown to be important in the function of this regulator, the scientists caution that further research is needed to fully understand the role that it plays.The findings have been published in the scientific journalNature, and the team have created the world’s first visual of the protein complex.The research was carried out by an international team of researchers and clinicians, led by the University of Leeds and the University of Pennsylvania.Co-lead author Dr Roger Greenberg at the University of Pennsylvania, said: “We now have an unprecedented understanding of how this protein complex functions at atomic resolution. It reveals the molecular basis underlying communication between metabolism and immune responses, while also pointing to new ways to prevent the action of this complex in diseases stemming from overactive inflammatory signals.”Related StoriesUMD researchers connect a protein to antibody immunity for the first timeNanoparticles used to deliver CRISPR gene editing tools into the cellObese patients with Type 1 diabetes could safely receive robotic pancreas transplantCo-author Dr Francesco Del Galdo, from the University of Leeds, said: “Targeted therapies have revolutionised the way we manipulate the immune system and this discovery is giving us crucial insights on the role of metabolism in regulating innate immunity.”The SHMT2 protein is one of a small, but growing number of molecules that are involved in both cell metabolism and immune responses, so the team were very surprised by their findings.Dr Elton Zeqiraj first began researching the structure of this protein complex in 2010, at the Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Canada, before moving in 2016 to Leeds to work in the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology.Dr Zeqiraj said: “The Astbury Centre in Leeds has one of the best structural biology facilities in the world, and having access to such a facility and expertise was essential. This breakthrough would not have been possible without the University’s state-of-the-art microscopes, which have allowed us to understand this protein’s structure for the first time.”The international collaboration of scientists and clinicians included co-first authors Dr Miriam Walden from Leeds and Dr Lei Tian from Pennsylvania, as well as researchers from the University of Liverpool, The Wistar Institute (Philadelphia), UbiQ Bio BV (Amsterdam), Warsaw University of Life Sciences and Lund University.The research was primarily funded by the Wellcome Trust, The Royal Society, the National Cancer Institute, the Lupus Research Alliance, and Scleroderma and Raynaud’s UK.Sumi Subramaniam, Infection and Immunobiology Portfolio Manager at Wellcome, said: “This study uses cutting-edge technology to unravel the fundamental biological function of two proteins and how they interact to control the body’s immune response to an infection.”Disrupting these proteins could be an exciting new avenue to explore in tackling autoimmune diseases, where the immune system attacks healthy cells. We have very few effective treatments for autoimmunity, and these findings could help researchers to find new ways to control the immune response.”Additional quotes:Sue Farrington, Chief Executive of Scleroderma and Raynaud’s UK, said: “Thousands of people in the UK are suffering from autoimmune diseases like scleroderma, which can cause serious skin problems that can greatly reduce quality of life.”We are very proud to have helped fund this important scientific breakthrough, and we hope this can open up a new avenue for drug discovery so that we can create more effective treatments for autoimmune conditions.”last_img read more