Bearer-Share Regulations Valid; Passed Two-Step Chevron Test (Good Fortune Shipping SA, TC)

first_imgCCH Tax Day ReportThe “bearer-share regulations,” which preclude a foreign corporation with bearer shares from using those shares to establish the corporation eligibility to exempt certain income from U.S. taxation, were valid under the two-step Chevron analysis. Congress did not directly address how a foreign corporation seeking the benefits of Code Sec. 833(a)(1) could establish ownership by qualified individuals. The words “owned by individuals” do not explain or otherwise address how to establish ownership for purposes of Code Sec. 883(c)(1), let alone how to establish ownership when the foreign corporation’s shares are owned in bearer form. Thus, the Treasury Secretary was authorized to address the issue by promulgating regulations.Comment. Bearer shares are unregistered stock certificates that do not identify the owner, but that confer ownership on whoever possesses the stock certificates. Bearer shares make it virtually impossible to know who the actual shareholders or owners of a corporation are because the only proof of ownership is physical possession of the paper share certificate at a particular point in time. One of the reasons Code Sec. 883 was changed was because determining the ownership of foreign corporations was a big problem, especially in the shipping industry. After Code Sec. 883 was amended, a foreign corporation’s entitlement to exempt certain income from U.S. tax was no longer based solely upon the country in which the foreign corporation’s vessel was registered or documented. A second hurdle was added to curb abuse by individuals who were seeking the benefits of Code Sec. 883(a)(1) but whose countries did not provide an equivalent exemption to U.S. corporations.Moreover, the bearer-share regulations were not just a blanket denial of ownership or of attribution of ownership to owners of bearer shares. The regulations acknowledged that individuals holding bearer shares of a foreign corporation own, directly or indirectly, stock in that corporation. However, the bearer share regulations provide that such shares may not be taken into account when establishing ownership of the foreign corporation because it is too difficult to determine who actually owns bearer shares. Further, the bearer share regulations were a reasonable construction of Code Sec. 883(c)(1), which provide the IRS with the appropriate tools needed to enforce Code Sec. 883. The bearer share regulations provided certainty and resolved the difficult problems of proof associated with establishing ownership of bearer shares. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, SCt., 2011-1 ustc ¶50,143, followed.Good Fortune Shipping SA, 148 TC —, No. 10, Dec. 60,860Other References:Code Sec. 883CCH Reference – 2017FED ¶27,522.021CCH Reference – 2017FED ¶27,522.105Tax Research ConsultantCCH Reference – TRC INTL: 3,252last_img read more

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Missouri Lawmakers Approve Rate Cut, Apportionment Changes

first_imgThe Missouri corporate tax rate may decrease from 6.25% to 4.0% beginning in 2020. State lawmakers approved a bill containing the tax cut.The bill also mandates single-sales factor apportionment and market-based sourcing beginning in 2020. Many of the bill’s provisions are similar to provisions in S.B. 674, which the Senate previously approved.End Three-Factor Apportionment MethodThe bill removes the option to use the Multistate Tax Compact’s three-factor apportionment method. Under the single-sales factor apportionment method, Missouri taxable income is based only on the percentage of sales in Missouri. The location of property or employees do not factor into the formula.The bill also provides a five-year expiration period for elections to use separate accounting to show income attributable to Missouri.Market-Based Sourcing RulesUnder market-based sourcing, sales of services or intangibles are sourced to the state if the taxpayer’s market for the sales is in the state. Missouri currently uses cost-of-performance sourcing for those sales, but allows market-based elections. The bill requires market-based sourcing for all of those sales.Consolidated ReturnsThe bill removes the requirement that an affiliated group have 50% or more of its income from Missouri sources to file a Missouri consolidated return. It also eliminates transactions between affiliated group members from the Missouri consolidated return.Individual Income TaxesFinally, the bill provides instructions for when an income bracket is eliminated from the individual income tax table. The top remaining tax rate will apply to all income over the second highest remaining income bracket.S.B. 884, as passed by the Missouri General Assembly on May 18, 2018Login to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img read more

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Missouri threatens to not renew license for state’s only abortion clinic

first_imgThe only abortion clinic in Missouri could be closed by Friday after the state of Missouri threatened to not renew its license.Officials from Planned Parenthood said that the current license for the St. Louis facility expires on Friday. If not renewed, the organization would become the first state without a functioning abortion clinic since 1973.A lawsuit has been filed in response to the abortion allegations.last_img

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Prosecutor files murder charge against Jefferson City caregiver

first_imgIt’s a new second degree murder charge for the Jefferson City woman who had a four-year-old boy die in her care.Prosecutors added that charge on Tuesday against Quatavia Givens. She was babysitting Darnell Gray when he went missing about a year ago. The boy’s body was found about a week later. Investigators say Givens later admitted she hit the boy.Givens got out of jail on a reduced bond in early October on the charge of felony child abuse resulting in death. Her trial is set for July 13, 2020.last_img read more

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KC survives errors, takes AFC West with 23-13 win over Pats

first_img(AP) Bashaud Breeland knocked away Tom Brady’s fourth-down pass to Julian Edelman in the end zone and the Kansas City Chiefs survived a series of mistakes and questionable calls by the officials to hold off the New England Patriots 23-16.Combined with Oakland’s loss to Tennessee the Chiefs clinched the AFC West title.The loss ends the Patriots’ 21-game home win streak in the regular season and playoffs, tied for the longest in team history. It was the third-longest string in NFL history.last_img read more

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Fortune Cookie Security Advice – November 2008

first_imgWhen it comes to employees and how securely they use their system, “trust, but verify”.We give them tools, harden their software, teach them good security practices, and reward them for safe behaviors. But end users may still cause great harm to their computers and more severely, the organizations data, systems, and operations. Trust must exist, but every security pro worth his salt, is paranoid with good reason. It is not practical to wall out our own users. Some level of trust must exist. I believe the right balance for most organizations which maintain mature foundational controls, is to “trust, but verify”. Made famous by former US President, Ronald Reagan, this quote was applied to situations where another party possesses the capability to do harm but agrees to refrain, for the greater good. Trust they will act appropriately, but maintain diligence to validate. In the information security world, we too can strike the balance of security and functionality by allowing end users access to do their work effectively, while maintaining verification controls to insure they are not causing themselves or others unacceptable harm. This is no substitute to good training, security awareness, security tools, etc. as part of preventing undesirable events. But detection capabilities are a key element to a good defense in depth security program, which can allow more of a tradeoff between risk and productivity. So am I contributing to the problem of over simplifying security? Or am I reaching out to those who might not take an inordinate amount of time necessary to understand the complexities and nuances of our industry? You decide and feel free to share your knowledge-nuggets. Everyone wants information security to be easy. Wouldn’t it be nice if it were simple enough to fit snugly inside a fortune cookie? Well, although I don’t try to promote such foolish nonsense, I do on occasion pass on readily digestible nuggets to reinforce security principles and get people thinking how security applies to their environment. Common SenseI think the key to fortune cookie advice is ‘common sense’ in the context of security. It must be simple, succinct, and make sense to everyone, while conveying important security aspects.Here is my Fortune Cookie advice for November: last_img read more

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Chip Chat: “Hey, you, get off of my cloud”

first_imgCloud.I haven’t seen as hyped a term in the data center arena since…um…virtualization.  Everyone is talking cloud, promising cloud, and believing cloud.  But what exactly is this thing called cloud? Is it outsourcing services to a provider, the next generation of virtualization, or something completely different?  There are a lot of definitions, and everyone has opinions…strongly held opinions that led me to my Rolling Stones inspired title to this post (yep, those lyrics…you can sing along now).  Chip Chat decided to get to the bottom of the cloud story, so we were excited to spend some time recently with Intel’s queen of the cloud, Raejeanne Skillern.  Check out my conversation with her here.last_img read more

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Information Security Metrics Can Be Dangerous

first_imgInformation security metrics can be very misleading when taken out of context.   Metrics are the distilled insights of data measurement and can provide valuable information to support good decisions.  Unfortunately this is not always the case, as metrics also have a dark past of being used to mislead, misdirect, distort facts, and distract audiences.  Mark Twain popularized the phrase: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”  The information security industry is in dire need of good metrics to support decision making, but also represents a very easy domain to argue almost any position with poor, questionable, or unsuitable metrics.   Given the current lack of standards, oversight, sources, and varying assumptions, security data is easily misrepresented or misunderstood.  This can cause problems both intentional as well as unintentionally.   Charlatans can wield numbers to sway opinion to their benefit, while good natured advocates may use available data in ways not applicable or relevant to the situation.  The result is the same.  Bad information results in poor decisions. The underlying details are important when looking at and incorporating metrics. In many cases, failure occurs when metrics are de-coupled from the original decision they were generated for and used for other purposes without clear consideration of the principal assumptions.  To keep reigns on the use of security metrics, it is important to understand how they are derived and what circumstances they were crafted to measure.  With the purpose of metrics being to support decisions, this information is imperative.  Some would argue that metrics without purpose is simply measurement data. My recommendation is to question everything!  Challenge the origins of security metrics.  Know the source and what they were intended to show.  Understand the applicability and limitations.  Only then can you truly understand if what is being presented is relevant, accurate, and supportive in making intelligent decisions.last_img read more

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MKB Bank Tightens the Vaults with Intel® vPro™ Technology

first_imgFor Europe’s MKB Bank, fail-safe disaster recovery systems are essential to protect its own and its customers’ valuable data. The bank implemented Intel® vPro™ technology to provide remote management of its disaster recovery clients, and then decided to roll the technology out across its entire desktop PC and laptop fleet in its Hungarian operations.The bank uses Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT) to optimize remote management, maintenance, repair, and hardware and software inventory. Intel vPro technology and Intel AMT provide comprehensive security for both desktop PCs and laptops including quarantine functions that protect the network by filtering data traffic.“If systems are breached or customers can’t contact the bank, the damage can only be calculated in the aftermath,” explained Istvan Elek, head of IT operations for MKB Bank. “But now we can ensure this does not happen thanks to Intel vPro technology.”To learn more, read our new MKB Bank business success story. As always, you can find this one, and many more, in the Intel.com Reference Room and IT Center.last_img read more

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Precision Medicine: Options for Capturing Consent

first_imgIn the last few decades, our understanding of the human genome has advanced at a great pace. When first sequenced in 2003 as part of the Human Genome Project,[1] the effort cost between ~$500 million and $1 billion worldwide and took more than ten years.[2] Today it is possible to produce a whole-exome sequence generally below ~$1000[3] in around a day. This is an astonishing achievement, but great challenges lay ahead.A human genome is approximately composed of 3 billion base pairs, ~99.5 percent of which is common across all humans. We know that many rare diseases have genetic components,[4] and we suspect that many common diseases have at least predispositions to be found at a genome level.[5] Cancer has also been described as a “disease of the genome”.[6] Behavioural and environmental factors, however, also influence our health in very complex ways. Scientists all over the world are sequencing people as part of various research projects and clinical programmes to understand these interactions. Because of the genome’s size and the variety of factors to be investigated, scientists require large amount of data to be able to identify and subsequently test possible candidates for explaining aspects of human health. This is why it is vital that they are able to access data produced by other scientists around the world.Genomic and health data are private, personal and often sensitive. These characteristics make them understandably subject to strict regulations and scrutiny at legal, ethical and societal levels, which in turn make them difficult to be shared across scientific programmes, researchers, institutions and countries.[7] Of the many different aspects that need to be addressed for such sharing to occur, one is related to consent.[8] Informed consent is a standard practice across worldwide scientific and clinical communities to ensure that participants understand and are giving their permission to be part of research programmes. There are governance principles and guidelines for conducting research and consenting, generally applied at local institutional level. However, there is great variety to what people can be consenting. For example, for international data sharing to occur participants need to be asked if their data can be used by different researchers, for different purposes, in different countries.Large Precision Medicine Initiatives that leverage work across different sites, such as the “All of Us” research programme (formerly known as PMI),[9] have the great challenge to coordinate and ensure that consent allows for work to occur across different institutions and States seamlessly. This is a difficult task and one that Intel Health and Life Sciences and P3G have explored in this white paperOpens in a new window. The paper Opens in a new windowbegins by identifying legal and ethical aspects of consent related to the PMI, continues by providing an overview of options for capturing consent (including electronic consent), it then looks at examples of consent for similar biobanking initiatives across the world, and concludes by giving several recommendations as to next steps.[1] https://www.genome.gov/11006943/human-genome-project-completion-frequently-asked-questions/Opens in a new window[2] https://www.genome.gov/sequencingcosts/Opens in a new window. Note that it is difficult to estimate the costs associated with the creation of first ‘reference’ human genome sequence.[3] https://www.genome.gov/sequencingcosts/Opens in a new window. Note that this figure refers to the cost of analysing a sample and producing an initial file; it does not include other steps necessary to be able to use the information (e.g. quality control, alignment, variant calling, annotation).[4] https://www.genomicsengland.co.uk/the-100000-genomes-project/understanding-genomics/rare-disease-genomics/Opens in a new window[5] http://www.who.int/genomics/public/geneticdiseases/en/index3.htmlOpens in a new window[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3020694/Opens in a new window[7] For a discussion on privacy risk and a suggested “tiered protection” approach see http://www.nature.com/articles/npjgenmed201624[8] See this link for the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) policy and guide documents to enable international health and genomic data sharing: https://genomicsandhealth.org/working-groups/regulatory-and-ethics-working-groupOpens in a new window[9] https://www.nih.gov/research-training/allofus-research-programOpens in a new windowlast_img read more

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Manage & Monetize Exponential Data Growth with Intel’s Data Management Platform

first_imgAbstractThe exponential growth of data is creating scaling and cost challenges. Not being able to scale storage and compute resources independently results in suboptimal resource utilization of data center infrastructure investments. Customers need to solve for this while controlling their licensing costs. They also need to perform real-time analytics on their ever-growing data sets. With Intel’s Data Management Platform (DMP), you can build an infrastructure that allows you to operate on petabyte-scale data and harness the power of that data. Solving the big data performance-at-scale problem makes it more practical to run data intensive applications and use-cases such as AI-based services. DMP allows enterprise and cloud developers to have a solid turnkey database that enables the creation of revenue-generating solutions that put their organizations and customers ahead of competition.The Problem and MotivationAs Intel’s cloud and enterprise data center customers increase their adoption of  several types of data-intensive applications and tools such as AI inferencing and analytics, they generate and consume an exploding amount of data and telemetry that needs to be moved, stored and processed in a more secure, faster, and scalable way. In a hyper-scaled datacenter, this is typically done through the purchase of additional servers. Unfortunately, depending on the workloads being run on these systems, one type of component in these servers may be over-subscribed, while another maybe underutilized, which means customers and service providers are not optimizing the use of their investment. The majority of enterprise data centers today do not have the capacity to effectively manage and handle petabytes of data at scale and at performance.During Intel’s Data-Centric Innovation day on April 2, 2019, Navin Shenoy, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Data Center Group at Intel Corporation, shared that over half of the world’s data was created in the last two years, and less than 2% of that data has been analyzed [1]. In addition, analysts forecast that by 2025, data will grow exponentially by 10x and reach 163 ZB [2]. Your solutions generate data, and this data needs to be acquired, aggregated, analyzed and acted upon in a smart and efficient way. AI helps make sense of all this data. In addition, neural nets and machine learning are dependent on storage performance at scale. AI is one of the fastest growing data center workloads. According to IDC, worldwide spending on AI systems is forecast to reach $35.8 billion in 2019, which is 44% higher than what was spent in 2018 [3]. IDC also expects that spending on AI systems will more than double to $79.2 billion in 2022 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38% over the 2018-2022 forecast period [3].Many data scientists, solution developers, IT professionals and business decision makers are actively looking for a turnkey solution to help them solve real-world problems that require the processing of a massive amount of data in real-time, and that enable them to harness the power of all this data. If you are like them, then imagine how much more value you can bring to your customers, and how competitive you would be if you were able to build a database infrastructure that effectively leverages this data at scale. You can now do that with Intel DMP.The SolutionYour customers are smart. They require application-driven intelligent infrastructure. They also want to scale their operations in the most cost-effective way while maximizing utilization of their resources. Many enterprises have tried various software and services solutions (such as Hadoop*, AWS*, and Oracle Exadata*) but a common challenge they faced has been the lack of a turn-key solution that is intuitive, and provides NVMeoF functionality with extremely high data throughput and resiliency.This is where DMP comes in. DMP provides an on-premise solution for enterprises as an alternative to public cloud providers. An on-premise or hybrid deployment may be desired by some enterprises for reasons such as information security, regulatory, or performance. With DMP, you get a cost-effective and flexible infrastructure that is built on disaggregated storage. By separating compute and storage into two distinct tiers, you can scale them independently. Storage is optimized for high-throughput sequential read and write access, while compute is optimized for memory locality and random accesses.DMP is a multi-rack appliance that comes in two flavors, both based on Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processors:Compute nodes use two Intel® Xeon® Gold 6254 CPUs, while Storage nodes use two Intel® Xeon® Gold 6240 CPUs. With DMP, it becomes easy to build storage-scalable solutions where data is shared between databases through advanced management functionality without significantly impacting performance. Customers can perform real-time analytics on petabytes of data without the high licensing costs or performance implications of other solutions, all the while using Intel® silicon and related hardware and software. A proof of concept configuration with six compute nodes, three storage nodes, and a 100GbE switch is available for initial evaluation.Which workloads can be targeted?The DMP Appliance targeted workloads include:Database as a Service: Initially MySQL* distributions that support the MyRocks* storage engine.Bucket as a Service: Provides an S3-compliant API for object storage.Analytics as a Service: Targets Apache Spark*.Partition as a Service: Targets Apache Kafka* for this service.What are the benefits of DMP?With Intel® DMP, you can improve resource management through rack-centric scalability.  Intel® DMP is a fully integrated turnkey solution that is supported through a healthy partner ecosystem, and provides the following key benefits: Delivers performance at scale by utilizing Intel® Optane™ DC persistent memory [5] at the compute.Optimizes resource usage and reduces costs by enabling independent scaling of compute and storage resources, with pooling and disaggregation of NVMe-oF storage.Limits high licensing costs through the use of fully vetted open-source software.ConclusionOur vision is a Data Center that solves the big data management problem through disaggregated storage.  DMP does just that. It allows application developers to bring that vision to life for Cloud Service Providers and Enterprise customers and their developers. Through the disaggregation of storage from compute, each can scale separately and independently, without negatively impacting performance.  Customers are now better prepared to manage their ever-growing appetite for data. One of the significant contributors to the recent rise in data consumption is the growing use of AI-based workloads which rely on a significant amount of telemetry data that must be transferred, stored and processed properly as the data scales. Our goal is to help you deliver the best customer experience through fully software-defined application-driven close-looped autonomic service delivery. Intel is committed to making it easy to run AI and other data-intensive workloads, and harness the power of all that data. Stay tuned for more from Intel. The possibilities are endless!Call to actionIf the problems listed in this blog resonate with you, then we recommend that you reach Intel’s sales representative for a technical deep dive of DMP. We also encourage you to review the DMP Technical details [4], which includes information about what’s included in DMP and how DMP manages resource disaggregation. For more information or to schedule a demonstration, contact your Intel representative, or the program leads:  Prasad Alluri (prasad.alluri@intel.com) and David E. Cohen (David.e.cohen@intel.com).____________AcknowledgementsMany thanks to Peggy Irelan, Joe Carvalho, Prasad Alluri, David E Cohen, for reviewing and co-authoring this blog with me.References1. Data Centric Innovation day2. The value of data: forecast to grow 10-fold by 20253. https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS449114194. DMP technical details5. Intel® Optane DC Persistent memory*Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.last_img read more

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Climate Scientists See Daunting Future in Poll

first_imgThe Guardian today releases a poll it sent to all 1756 participants of a recent climate change conference in Copenhagen, and the sobering headline result is “Almost nine out of 10 climate scientists do not believe political efforts to restrict global warming to 2C will succeed. … An average rise of 4-5C by the end of this century is more likely, they say, given soaring carbon emissions and political constraints.” 261 participants responded to the poll. (More details here.)last_img

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Much Ado About Spoofing; Climate Economist Has E-mail Hijacked

first_imgEvery climate scientist in the world must be begging their information technology experts for the latest antivirus, spam, and firewall software. In the latest e-mail fracas, Nicholas Stern, who in 2006 led an influential review on the economics of climate change, apparently had his e-mail account hijacked into sending fake e-mails, along with a virus, to colleagues at the London School of Economic’s Grantham Institute for Climate Change, which Stern heads.Yet there’s no evidence so far that this was a deliberate attempt to read or copy e-mails from researchers, as happened recently to climate scientists at University of East Anglia. Bob Ward, policy and communications director at Grantham Institute, says this type of e-mail “spoofing” happens regularly at all universities. “It’s nothing like the UEA incident,” he says.Ward also released this statement:Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)We can confirm that an e-mail spoofing incident occurred on 27 January 2010. This was a ‘spoofing’ e-mail attack from an unknown sender using the e-mail address of Nicholas Stern, who is IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government and Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. The attacker did not gain access to any e-mail messages. The attack was identified very quickly by members of the School’s IT security team who took steps to prevent it from causing any damage. Information about this attack was passed on to the Police Central eCrime Unit.last_img read more

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Mystery of the Lionfish: Don’t Blame Hurricane Andrew

first_img Scientists are scrambling to fight the voracious lionfish (Pterois volitans) that have invaded the Atlantic Ocean from Florida to Rhode Island to the Caribbean. But questions persist about how the fish-which are natives of the Pacific Ocean-ended up in Atlantic waters. Some have fingered Hurricane Andrew in 1992 as a possible culprit. But Walter Courtenay, a fisheries biologist and professor emeritus at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, says he would like to “put this idea to rest.” Courtenay was the one who suggested a link between Andrew and the lionfish in 1995 in the Newsletter of the Introduced Fish Section, a publication of the American Fisheries Society. “It was second-hand information,” says Courtenay, “which unfortunately” continues to spread, so that Andrew is often mentioned as the reason for the catastrophic lionfish invasion. Several days after the 1992 hurricane, Courtenay’s informant told him about “six to eight lionfish” had been spotted alive in Florida’s Biscayne Bay. They were thought to have escaped after Andrew smashed their large aquarium, which sat on a seawall at the edge of the bay. Courtenay published the report because he wanted people to keep an eye out for the lionfish and to track their spread if they successfully established a breeding population. But he never received a report about any additional sightings. He now thinks it unlikely that this event (if it happened) led to the current invasion. Further, James Morris Jr., an ecologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research is in Beaufort, North Carolina, has recently discovered that a lionfish was caught as long ago as 1985 in Dania, Florida, north of Miami, “the first record of a lionfish being caught ” off the Atlantic coast, he says. The “most likely vector” for all the invading lionfish, he says, was someone (or even several people) in the aquarium trade, releasing the fish and possibly eggs, into the wild. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Wikimedia Commons last_img read more

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Closely Watched Vaccine Injury Claim Reaches Supreme Court

first_imgThe U.S. Supreme Court today hears a pivotal case on how families who say their children were injured by vaccines should be compensated. The current system was established by the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act in 1986, when vaccine manufacturers were facing a flood of lawsuits and threatening to pull out of the vaccine-making business. The act set up a “vaccine court” and a tax-funded compensation pot that doles out money for injuries linked to various childhood vaccines. But the family of 18-year-old Hannah Bruesewitz says that she hasn’t been served well by this system. They argue that she suffered seizures and developmental delays following a DTP (diptheria, tetanus, pertussis) vaccine manufactured by Wyeth, which she got as a 6-month-old back in 1992. Wyeth eventually withdrew this vaccine from the market. However, the vaccine court didn’t recognize Bruesewitz’s claim because, 1 month before her case was filed, the type of complications she experienced were removed from a list of those entitled to compensation, based on epidemiological evidence that vaccines weren’t the cause. The Bruesewitzes argue that they are entitled to sue Wyeth (now part of the drug company Pfizer): The Vaccine Act, they say, doesn’t shield companies from “design-defect claims.” In this case, they contend the DTP vaccine their daughter got had a “scientifically outmoded design” and that “Wyeth declined to change its DTP vaccine’s design because it viewed the economic costs as outweighing any potential gain in market share.” Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Wyeth disputes this. It says it is protected from liability in this case by the 1986 Vaccine Act. An appeals court sided with Wyeth, and the Bruesewitzes took their case to the Supreme Court.The case highlights both flaws in the vaccine court system and fears about what will happen if lawsuits like the Bruesewitzes’ can go forward. Today, many parents fear that autism can be caused by vaccines, even though the link has been disproven by a number of studies. About 5000 cases alleging autism caused by vaccines are awaiting judgment from the vaccine court. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the Bruesewitzes, this could bring “a crushing wave” of lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers, Wyeth argued in its court filing. In the case being heard today, most scientists are siding with Wyeth: 22 professional and scientific groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and the Infectious Diseases Society of America argue in an amicus brief that “the Vaccine Act provides adequate compensation to children injured by vaccines.” They say that opening companies up to lawsuits “could drive vaccine manufacturers from the market and halt the future production and development of childhood vaccines in this country.” Another amicus brief on behalf of 11 prominent scientists, including DNA discoverer James Watson, makes similar points. On the flip side, the Bruesewitz family and its supporters, including advocacy groups like Public Citizen, say that the status quo has serious flaws. Unlike other medical treatments for which companies are driven to keep their products safe because of liability threats, their brief says “the Vaccine Program itself provides no incentive to vaccine manufacturers to make their vaccines safer.” These and other briefs in the case can be seen here.last_img read more

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Vulture Saudis Nabbed Was Third Israeli Bird Held Since 1975

first_img The Middle East seethes with suspicion and conspiracy theories on all sides. So it’s not surprising that getting busted by Arab authorities is an occupational hazard for birds tracked by Israeli ornithologists. Last week, Saudi authorities examined a Griffon vulture caught by an amateur, which local media had surmised was sent by the Israeli Mossad by virtue of its satellite tracking device, commonly used in research. (Here is an English-language article in the Saudi Arab News that claims the device raises “many questions.”) Now, after much online mockery, officials have decided to release the bird. Israeli ornithologist Yossi Leshem says the incident is the third such arrest (so to speak) of a bird tracked by Israeli scientists in 3 decades. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) In the late 1970s, Leshem says, Sudanese authorities detained an Egyptian Vulture tracked by Israeli scientists, and in the early 1980s, a tracked White Pelican was caught in the same country. “It’s not a huge problem, but it happens. This is the Middle East,” says Leshem, of Tel Aviv University in Israel. A team of scientists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem led by Ran Nathan put the device on the bird. Leshem says more than 60,000 birds are tagged by amateur bird watchers and professionals in Israel every year, but only a few hundred are fitted with radio receivers, which can be tracked by satellite. Bird scientists often get additional information from amateur bird watchers who capture birds. The amateurs record info from bands, along with coloring and nesting behavior and other data. Then they release the birds and send their notes to national birdwatching institutions (a la Audubon in the United States). “There is a lot of information you can collect as a scientist from a big network of amateurs,” says the ornithologist, who estimates that researchers in Israel receive about 40 such reports each year. In the case of the suspect vulture, a few weeks ago Leshem received word of the bird’s capture by an amateur bird watcher in Saudi Arabia, who turned it over to local Saudi authorities. After word spread on Arab newspapers and blogs of the bird’s alleged role in espionage, he said, it was unclear whether authorities would release the bird. Thousands of news articles later, however, Prince Bandar bin Saud al-Saud dismissed yesterday the idea that the device was a spying device, and authorities plan to release the vulture and mail the device back to Israel, Leshem says. But not putting the device back on the bird, he says, is a “shame” because the data from the tracked birds is valuable. Only 300 griffon vultures are thought to reside in Israel, down from an estimated 1000 a generation ago. But birds need not be a source of acrimony in the Middle East, says Leshem. He notes a number of collaborative bird studies by Israeli, Palestinian, and Jordanian scientists and a recent project to use barn owls to catch rodents on Israeli and Palestinian farm.*This item has been corrected, 18 January. The original item said the bird was tagged and tracked by Yossi Leshem; Ran Nathan at Hebrew University of Jersusalem led the team that tracked it. Also, the word transmitter, while accurate, was confusing and replaced with device. Courtesy of the Nature and Park Authority last_img read more

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Robbing Rodents Save Tropical Plant

first_imgCall it the Robin Hood of rodents. When the cat-sized agouti comes across seeds buried by its comrades, it digs them up and hides them in a new place. The robberies are selfish, to be sure, but a new study reveals that they may be saving a tropical tree from extinction. The seeds of Panama’s black palm tree (Astrocaryum standleyanum) are a mouthful. They are about the size of a cherry and are located in fleshy fruit at the top of the plant, where only an animal the size of an elephant should be able to reach them. In the past, that wasn’t a problem. More than 10,000 years ago, elephant-like animals known as gomphotheres roamed the region, swallowing the fruit whole and then pooping out the seeds, which sprouted into new palms. When hunting killed off the creatures thousands of years ago, the black palm should have gone with them. And yet the plant thrives. Scientists had suspected that the agouti (Dasyprocta punctata) might be playing a role. When the black palm’s fruit falls to the ground, these large rodents grab the seeds and bury them as a backup food source. If the animals eventually eat the seeds, they don’t grow into new trees. But if they forget about them, a black palm may sprout. Still, it was unclear whether the agoutis were distributing the seeds widely enough to keep the trees flourishing. To find out, biologists attached radio trackers to 589 seeds and placed them at 52 different sites on Panama’s Barro Colorado Island. The agoutis were quick to take the bait. The furry bandits removed almost all of the seeds, hiding them in new locations right away. “The first thing that is really unique about this study is that we were actually able to track the seeds at all,” says team member Ben Hirsch of Ohio State University, Columbus. When it comes to following seed dispersal, he says, researchers “always lose some of their seeds.” Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) The trackers sent a signal every time a seed was dug up and reburied (see video). One seed was relocated 36 times, traveling 280 meters from its original spot before it was finally eaten by an agouti 209 days later, setting a new record in seed movements by the rodents. The team also found that after just 1 week, most of the seeds had been repositioned at least once, and some were moved twice in 1 day. Intent on catching agoutis in the act, the researchers set up cameras and tagged some of the agoutis so that they could tell who was stealing from whom. By robbing each other and hiding their loot, agoutis took seeds farther and farther away from their starting point, each time replanting the seed in a new but equally nutrient-rich spot for tree growth, the researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “I think this is the best example of how scatter-hoarding rodents like the agouti move seeds to places where they can become trees,” says Stephen Vander Wall, an ecologist at the University of Nevada, Reno. “A few other studies have done this, but not so dramatically.” The findings may provide hope for other plants that rely on large animals to distribute their seeds, says Hirsch. “In some areas where the big mammals are being poached or somehow getting removed from the system, there may be other species that can come and fill their role.” Travelin’. The movements of 224 radio-tagged palm seeds over a year. Credit: Patrick Jansen et al. More Science News Videoslast_img read more

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Fiscal Cliff Deal Delays Major Budget Cuts, but Includes Reductions That Could Affect Science

first_imgAlthough few people are talking about it, the legislation passed yesterday by Congress to avert the fiscal cliff by revising tax policies also contains $4 billion in cuts this year to discretionary spending, including research. But it delays for 2 months the automatic, across-the-board reductions that science lobbyists have said would be a disaster for U.S. researchers. Last night, the House of Representatives approved a bill adopted earlier in the day by the Senate. It was based on a deal struck during negotiations between Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Although the country as a whole is rightly focused on the changes in various tax provisions, the new budget agreement also requires slicing $12 billion from discretionary spending over the next 2 years. The cuts would be divided equally between defense and civilian programs, with $4 billion made in the current fiscal year that expires on 30 September and $8 billion made in fiscal year 2014. Specifically, the 2011 Budget Control Act imposed a cap of $361 billion this year on “nonsecurity” expenditures, including all civilian research spending. The new law lowers that to $359 billion. Civilian research takes up roughly one-seventh of that amount. The Obama administration has repeatedly said that it wants to protect research, but the decision on which programs to cut is left up to Congress. There is likely to be fierce fighting over how to allocate the reductions, and Republicans in the House of Representatives are also likely to push for additional spending cuts. At the same time, President Barack Obama will also have the opportunity to shape the debate by exercising his veto threat. Last night, for example, he marked House passage of the legislation with a warning to Republicans that “we can’t keep cutting things like basic research and new technology and still expect to succeed in a 21st century economy.” However, science lobbyists note that many other discretionary programs have already gone under the knife. And they predict that it will be an uphill battle to stave off cuts to research agencies like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Even so, the research community is relieved to have dodged the larger, automatic, and across-the-board cuts called for under the 2011 law. That mechanism, known as sequestration, would have required cutting $109 billion this year from both civilian and defense budgets as part of a 10-year, $1.2 trillion drop in federal spending. Agency officials had calculated that sequestration would have resulted in the loss of 2500 NIH grants and 1500 NSF grants in 2013 alone. The new legislation pushes back the start of sequestration until 1 March. As before, it also allows Congress to avoid sequestration entirely if it can find another way to shrink spending by that amount. (The new sequestration figure is actually $1.176 trillion, with yesterday’s legislation hacking $24 billion from the total after Congress found $12 billion in additional revenues to go with the $12 billion in promised savings.)last_img read more

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How Does Your Skeleton Grow?

first_imgThe foot bones of the jerboa are hard to miss. Longer than the animal’s arm, they help the bipedal desert rodent hop quickly away from predators. Now, they have also helped scientists better understand how bones grow to the right length. The finding helps explain some of the factors that affect the shape of skeletons, and they could eventually help to treat bone growth defects. A growing bone lengthens when cells in its so-called growth plate, a region at the ends of growing bones, multiply and expand. The cells, called chondrocytes, form the cartilage that provides a scaffold for the mature calcified bone that later grows on top of them. Scientists knew that the size of the chondrocytes—not only their number—helped fix how much and how quickly a bone grows. But exactly what drives that cell size growth is a mystery. To observe the changes that mouse chondrocytes undergo in the growth plate, developmental geneticist Kimberly Cooper and physicist Seungeun Oh of Harvard Medical School in Boston and their colleagues used diffraction phase microscopy, a technique that allowed them to quantify the size and density of living cells. In a paper published online today in Nature, they report that the cells in a growing mouse hind leg seem to go through three distinct phases. First, the cells roughly triple their volume while keeping their density relatively constant. In the second phase, cells swell dramatically, quadrupling their volume while their contents become much more dilute. In the third phase, the cells double their size again, but their density stays about the same. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) When they compared fast- and slow-growing bones in the same animal, the researchers found that in slower-growing bones of the foreleg, cells went through phase one but stopped growing partway through phase two. Curious if they could observe similar patterns in a related species with a very different skeleton, the scientists studied the growth plates of the lesser Egyptian jerboa (Jaculus jaculus). They found that the chondrocytes in the tibia (a leg bone) grew in a similar pattern as in the mouse. But in the metatarsal—a bone in the foot—the difference was dramatic. Whereas mouse metatarsal chondrocytes grew only a small amount in phase three, the chondrocytes from jerboa feet kept growing dramatically during that last phase, ending up at almost 40 times their original volume. The jerboa metatarsal is, relative to the animals’ size, about two-and-a-half times longer than the mouse bone. Further studies showed that when the gene that codes for insulin-like growth factor 1 (a hormone known to influence growth and metabolism) is disabled specifically in mouse hind legs, chondrocyte growth stops after phase two. That result suggests, Cooper says, that the gene might play a key role in determining how long different bones grow—and might provide clues to drugs that could help treat bone growth defects. “It’s a very interesting new twist to a very old question” of how bones grow, says Cornelia Farnum, an anatomist and professor emeritus at Cornell University. Identifying the three phases of chondrocyte growth will make it easier for scientists to figure out exactly what drives the changes that happen during each phase, she says. That, in turn, could help explain how genetic changes have driven the different shapes that skeletons have evolved.last_img read more

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