Month: July 2019

first_img This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Overhaul Foes Set Lobbying Strategy As Health Law Turns 3 Reuters reports that medical device makers, health insurers, retailers and restaurants are coordinating efforts to get Senate Democratic support for overturning major portions of the law. Meanwhile, other news outlets examine some of the challenges the administration faces to implement the law by the end of the year.Reuters: Opponents Mark Obamacare’s Third Anniversary With Lobbying Surge Eight months before President Barack Obama’s health care law goes prime time, a confederation of industry and business groups is ramping up its lobbying apparatus for an 11th-hour assault on the web of new taxes and regulations. Medical device makers, health insurers, retailers and restaurants are waging what lobbyists call a coordinated effort to gain Senate Democratic support for overturning $130 billion in taxes that will be used to fund the new law, and repealing a mandate requiring employers to provide insurance coverage for full-time workers or pay a fine (Morgan, 3/24). The New York Times: Tight Deadlines And Lagging Funds Bedevil Obama Health Care Law It was another turbulent week for President Obama’s health care law. Congress rejected a White House request for nearly $1 billion to carry out the law, even as federal responsibilities increased to include the supervision of insurance markets in more than half the states. Then, on Friday, Republican attacks on the law continued in the Senate, where Democrats beat back Republican proposals to repeal the law and many of its tax increases (Pear, 3/22). Politico: Will Americans Ever Love Obamacare? All through the Obama years, backers of the Affordable Care Act have lifted their spirits with a consistent refrain: Just you wait. Someday, the law’s backers insisted, Obamacare will make the transition from a divisive idea to a widely popular one, from a program that many people still find confusing and scary to a familiar and comforting part of American life. This weekend, which marks the third anniversary of the law’s passage, one thing remains clear: Someday has not yet arrived, and may not for a long time (Millman and Norman, 3/23). The Hill: Obama Health Law Faces Big Challenges On Third Anniversary Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius spent the past week touting the law’s benefits ahead of its third anniversary on Saturday. But HHS still faces a steep climb to fully implement the law — and sell it to a skeptical public. HHS officials say they absolutely will meet the biggest and most imposing deadline — having new insurance exchanges up and running in 27 states by Oct. 1, to begin enrolling people in coverage that will take effect Jan. 1. Building an exchange, even in one state, is an incredibly complicated task (Baker, 3/23). The Hill: On Third Anniversary, Obama Touts Health Law’s Benefits President Obama on Saturday touted his landmark healthcare reform law on its third anniversary, but cautioned that there was “more work to do to implement” its provisions. … But he acknowledged that he would need to work with Congress to continue to curb medical costs and extend coverage. … Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Saturday said the Democrats had “rammed” the bill through Congress three years ago and that its promises “”proving more empty by the day” (Mali, 3/23). NPR: At Age 3, Affordable Care Act Is No Less Controversial Sebelius said the department would have to make the best of the fact that it did not get the additional funding it sought in the recently passed budget bill that will fund the government — and HHS — for the remainder of the year. “It’s always a difficult situation when the resources are not there at the front end,” she said. “I think we are in the process of redoing budgets and looking at ways we can make this effort work. Because, as the president said, this is a top priority. We want everything to be up and running, so we will figure out a way to move forward.” But even as the administration and its partners work to ready the new health exchanges for an Oct. 1 rollout, opponents are not giving up, either (Rovner, 3/23). The Washington Post: Obamacare’s Five Biggest Challenges Obamacare still faces a slew of obstacles but, unlike those in the past year, these are ones where the Obama administration and its allies have significant sway over whether the law succeeds or fails. The next year will be a vexing one for the Obama administration, and one of the most important. This is when, after years of painstaking preparation, the Affordable Care Act is supposed to deliver on its main promise: expanding health coverage. This is when we’ll see whether a few million Americans gain insurance — or tens of millions do. Here are some of the bigger obstacles that the law will face in its fourth year (Kliff, 3/23). last_img read more

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first_imgMedicare: Judge Dismisses Observation Care Lawsuit; Medicare Penalizes Every D.C. Hospital, 5 In Va. Suburbs This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. A federal court judge dismissed a lawsuit Monday which was filed against the government by 14 Medicare beneficiaries who were denied nursing home coverage because they had been kept in the hospital under “observation status.” Meanwhile, an analysis shows that Medicare penalized every hospital in D.C. and five in the Virginia suburbs for readmission rates, and the California Health Report looks at efforts to reduce the costs of dual eligible patients. Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Federal Judge Throws Out Lawsuit Over Hospital Observation CareA federal court judge in Hartford, Conn., dismissed a lawsuit Monday which was filed against the government by 14 Medicare beneficiaries who were denied nursing home coverage (Jaffe, 9/23).Kaiser Health News/The Washington Post: Medicare Penalizes Hospitals In Effort To Reduce The Number Of Patients ReadmittedEvery hospital in the District and five in the Virginia suburbs will be penalized in the second round of Medicare’s campaign to reduce the number of patients readmitted to hospitals within a month, according to federal records. Nationwide, Medicare identified 2,225 hospitals that will have their reimbursements for patient care reduced starting Oct. 1 because readmissions at each occurred more frequently than Medicare believes they should have. Hospitals that treated large proportions of low-income patients were more likely to be penalized than those treating the fewest low-income patients (Rau, 9/23).California Health Report: Planning For The Most Expensive Patients Some of the costliest care in the nation goes to the nine million people who are enrolled in both Medicaid and Medicare. Dubbed dual-eligibles, these low-income seniors and younger people with disabilities qualify for the insurance program for seniors (Medicare) and the insurance program for the poor (Medicaid, called Medi-Cal in California). Dual-eligibles often have complicated illnesses. But that’s not the only reason why their care is so expensive, with yearly spending for their care exceeding $300 billion (Shanafelt, 9/24). last_img read more

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first_img For a small group of advanced cancer patients, using an online tool for learning about end-of-life medical decisions and developing an advance directive document did not lead to psychological distress, according to a new study. … For the study, the researchers divided 200 advanced-stage cancer patients with anticipated life expectancy of two years or less into two groups. One engaged in advanced care planning with the online tool, while the other used only a state-approved advance directive form and American Hospital Association educational materials. … Neither group had a decrease in hope or an increase in hopelessness after their advance care planning sessions, according to results in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. (Doyle, 1/2) In this research report, we assess the expected change in enrollment and premiums in the ACA compliant individual market in FFM [federally facilitated marketplace] states if the Supreme Court eliminates subsidies in those states …. Key findings of our analysis include the following: 1. Enrollment in the ACA-compliant individual market, including plans sold in the marketplacesand those sold outside of the marketplaces that comply with ACA regulations, would decline by 9.6 million, or 70 percent, in FFM states. 2. Unsubsidized premiums in the ACA-compliant individual market would increase 47 percent in FFM states. This corresponds to a $1,610 annualincrease for a 40-year-old nonsmoker purchasing a silver plan. (Saltzman and Eibner, 1/8) JAMA Internal Medicine: Effect Of Medicare’s Nonpayment For Hospital-Acquired Conditions California’s Hospital Fair Pricing Act, passed in 2006, aims to protect uninsured patients from paying hospital gross charges: the full, undiscounted prices based on each hospital’s chargemaster. … I examined how the law affects the net price actually paid by uninsured patients …. I found that from 2004 to 2012 the net price actually paid by uninsured patients shrank from 6 percent higher than Medicare prices to 68 percent lower than Medicare prices; the adjusted collection ratio, essentially the amount the hospital actually collected for every dollar in gross price charged, for uninsured patients dropped from 32 percent to 11 percent. (Bai, 1/5) Reuters: Health Problems Can Lead To Loss Of Home The Rand Corp.: The Effect Of Eliminating The Affordable Care Act’s Tax Credits In Federally Facilitated Marketplaces About 6 percent of the nation’s working-age population receives disability payments from Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and people who depend on those benefits live in every state, county, and congressional district. Nevertheless, there’s adistinct “geography of disability.” Some states, chiefly in the South and Appalachia, have much higher rates of receipt — nearly twice the national average. … In a nutshell, states with high rates of disability receipt tend to have populations that are less educated, older, and more blue-collar than other states; they also have fewer immigrants. … In fact, those four factors alone are associated with about 85 percent of the variation in disability receipt rates across states. (Ruffing, 1/8) Reuters: End Of Life Planning Does Not Make Cancer Patients Hopeless Or Anxious The percentage of Americans with high medical cost burdens—those who spend more than 10 percent of their family income on out-of-pocket expenses for health care—increased to 19.2 percent in 2011, after having stabilized at 18.2 percent during the Great Recession of 2007–09. The increase was driven primarily by growth in premium expenses in 2009–11 for people with employer-sponsored coverage. Out-of-pocket spending on health services, especially for prescription drugs, continued to decrease between 2007–09 and 2011. Medical cost burdens were highest for income groups most likely to benefit from the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansions, including people with private insurance coverage. (Cunningham, 1/5) The New England Journal of Medicine: The Proposed Rule For U.S. Clinical Trial Registration And Results Submission JAMA Dermatology: Trends In Indoor Tanning Among US High School Students, 2009-2013 This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. The Heritage Foundation: Reforming Graduate Medical Education In The U.S. Health Affairs: The Share Of People With High Medical Costs Increased Prior To Implementation Of The Affordable Care Act Reuters: Food And Medication Insecurity Tied To Poor Diabetes Control This Visualizing Health Policy infographic provides an overview of Medicare spending, including information on current federal spending relative to other government programs (e.g., Social Security) and percent-share of spending across Medicare services, as well as projected Medicare spending over the next decade and beyond. Recent federal spending on Medicare is about a third of Defense and Social Security spending combined. In the short term, Medicare spending per person is expected to be lower relative to previous projections and to grow more slowly than private health insurance. In the long term, Medicare spending as a share of the economy is projected to grow, and Medicare is projected to lack sufficient funds to pay all hospital bills beginning in 2030. (Cubanski, Neuman et al., 1/6) Broad access to information about clinical trials and their findings is critical for advancing medicine …. Traditional methods of information dissemination … may nevertheless leave … gaps in the knowledge base because the results of many trials are not published. Title VIII of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Amendments Act of 2007 (FDAAA) addressed some of these concerns …. (HHS) recently published for public comment a proposed rule (or “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking [NPRM] for Clinical Trials Registration and Results Submission”) to clarify and expand (as permitted) the FDAAA requirements and ultimately facilitate compliance with the law. … In this article, we provide information about the FDAAA and NPRM. (Zarin, Tse and Sheehan, 1/8) The Kaiser Family Foundation: Medical Debt Among Insured Consumers: The Role Of Cost Sharing, Transparency, And Consumer Assistance The Kaiser Family Foundation: Visualizing Health Policy: Medicare Spending: A Look At Present, Short-Term And Long-Term Trends Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Geographic Pattern Of Disability Receipt Largely Reflects Economic And Demographic Factors In 2008, Medicare implemented the Hospital-Acquired Conditions (HACs) Initiative, a policy denying incremental payment for 8 complications of hospital care, also known as never events. [This study measured] the association between Medicare’s nonpayment policy and 4 outcomes addressed by the HACs Initiative: central line–associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs), catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs), hospital-acquired pressure ulcers (HAPUs), and injurious inpatient falls. … The HACs Initiative was associated with improvements in CLABSI and CAUTI trends, conditions for which there is strong evidence that better hospital processes yield better outcomes. However, the HACs Initiative was not associated with improvements in HAPU or injurious fall trends. (Waters et al., 1/5) We conducted a randomized clinical trial to assess whether an enhanced medical home providing comprehensive care for high-risk children with chronic illness would reduce serious illnesses, medical costs, or both, from a health system perspective. … Access to care and parent satisfaction were substantially increased, the number of high-risk children with a serious illness was decreased by 55%, and total clinic and hospital costs (assessed from a health system perspective) were reduced by $10 258 per child-year. (Mosquera et al., 12/24) [T]here is increasing concern that the current system for training doctors following graduation from medical school falls short in terms of producing an adequate workforce to meet the nation’s changing health care needs. Reforming the graduate medical education system will require accurate data on the true costs of training physicians, greater oversight and accountability, and a transition from the current outdated financing system that is based mainly on federal support to a system that is more equitably distributed among stakeholders and where the funding is controlled by the states and follows the trainee. (O’Shea, 12/29) Here is a selection of news coverage of other recent research: Health Affairs: California’s Hospital Fair Pricing Act Reduced The Prices Actually Paid By Uninsured Patients In 2009, the World Health Organization classified indoor tanning devices as carcinogenic to humans …. Furthermore, 40 states implemented new laws or strengthened existing laws between 2009 and 2013; of those, 11 states prohibited indoor tanning among those younger than 18 years. Evidence suggests that such laws are associated with lower rates of indoor tanning. In addition, a 10% excise tax on indoor tanning services was implemented in 2010, the effects of which are largely unknown. Despite these reductions, indoor tanning remains common among youth. The 2013 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey data suggest that an estimated 1.5 million female and 0.4 million male high school students engage in indoor tanning. (Guy et al., 12/24) People who develop a debilitating or chronic illness could be at least twice as likely to default on their homes or risk foreclosure, a recent U.S. study suggests. Most research on links between financial troubles and illness has focused on poverty or declining income as a cause of poor health, rather than the other way around, the study team notes. That work is important, said Danya Keene, an author of the new report, but “it tends to miss that there can be huge social consequences of becoming sick, disabled, or more generally having poor health.” (Neumann, 1/7) Research Roundup: Health Cost Burdens; Calif.’s Fair Price Law; Possible Effect Of Court Ruling Each week, KHN compiles a selection of recently released health policy studies and briefs. JAMA: Effect Of An Enhanced Medical Home On Serious Illness And Cost Of Care Among High-Risk Children With Chronic Illness Americans are strongly underestimating their future needs for long-term care, a potentially costly oversight that could hurt them in their retirement years. About 60 percent of adults between 40 and 65 years old don’t think they’ll need need long-term care services, according to a new Health Affairs study. That’s much less than the 70 percent of people at least 65 years old who will need long-term care services at some point either in their home or at a facility, according to a widely cited earlier study from the Georgetown University Long-Term Care Financing Project. That includes 20 percent who will need between two to five years of long-term care and 20 percent who’ll need more than five years. (Millman, 1/6) People without reliable sources of food and medicine are more likely to have poor control over their diabetes, compared to those without such concerns, according to a new study. Researchers found the likelihood of a person having poorly controlled diabetes increased by about 39 percent for each of the so-called economic insecurities they reported [in JAMA Internal Medicine]. (Seamon, 12/29) The Washington Post’s Wonkblog: Why You Shouldn’t Count On Your Family Members To Take Care Of You When You’re Old Increasing deductibles and other cost sharing have helped to make insurance premiums more affordable, but the flip side has been to expose even people with insurance to risk of medical debt. When cost-sharing under health insurance exceeds the ability of consumers to pay their medical bills, cases of health-related bankruptcy and credit problems are inevitable. Greater transparency in the details of health insurance plans cannot eliminate medical debt, but they can help consumers distinguish plan differences to make more informed choices and to plan ahead financially. Greater transparency, as well as consumer assistance, can also help consumers use their coverage more effectively and resolve billing questions and disputes when they arise. (Pollitz, 1/8) last_img read more

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first_img The Wall Street Journal: Federal Judge Blocks Medicaid Work Requirements Modern Healthcare: Judge Blocks Medicaid Work Requirements In Kentucky And Arkansas Bloomberg: Court Stops Trump From Making Arkansas Medicaid Recipients Work Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia Governor Signs Bill Aimed At Securing Health Care Waivers The administration has made state-by-state changes including work requirements a central pillar of its attempt to place a conservative imprimatur on the Medicaid program, after a wholesale revamp of the program sank in 2017 with Republicans’ failed attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The decision blocks Arkansas from continuing to enforce its work requirement, which has resulted in 18,000 residents there falling off Medicaid rolls since the state implemented the work mandates in June. It also prevents Kentucky’s work requirement from taking effect, which it was set to do on April 1. (Hackman, 3/27) Critics of the work policy hailed the latest ruling, which many expected since Boasberg last June stopped Kentucky from moving ahead with an earlier plan for work requirements. The judge then also blasted HHS Secretary Alex Azar for failing to adequately consider the effects the policy. “This is a historic decision and a major victory for Medicaid beneficiaries,” said Joan Alker, executive director for the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. “The message to other states considering work requirements is clear — they are not compatible with the objectives of the Medicaid program.” (Galewitz, 3/27) The New York Times: Judge Blocks Medicaid Work Requirements In Arkansas And Kentucky NH Times Union: $1B In Medicaid Contracts Signed Adding Third Managed Care Provider To NH Program  The court “cannot concur that the Medicaid Act leaves the secretary so unconstrained, nor that the states are so armed to refashion the program Congress designed in any way they choose,” he said, and remanded the program to the federal agency for further review. (Tozzi and Harris, 3/27) One waiver would involve adding people to the Medicaid rolls. The other would allow Georgia to revise the set-up of the state health insurance exchange, created by the ACA for people who don’t have coverage from employers or government programs. Each would require federal approval.But in a new court filing, the U.S. Justice Department has argued that the ACA, also known as Obamacare, should be invalidated in its entirety. (Miller, 3/27) But Judge Boasberg, an Obama administration nominee, expressed doubt about whether the agencies could remedy the problems in the Kentucky waiver approval. “Given a second failure to adequately consider one of Medicaid’s central objectives,” he wrote, “the court has some question about HHS’ ability to cure the defects in the approval.” (Meyer, 3/27) Politico: Judge Strikes Down Medicaid Work Rules In Arkansas, Kentucky Boasberg’s rulings will likely raise questions about the future of the administration’s efforts to change Medicaid back to a program that is reserved for very low-income families, the disabled and the elderly. ObamaCare allowed states the option to expand Medicaid to childless low-income adults, and 36 states and D.C. have done so. (Hellmann, 3/27) CMS Administrator Seema Verma suggested in a statement the rulings would not dissuade her efforts to approve employment rules in other states. “We will continue to defend our efforts to give states greater flexibility to help low income Americans rise out of poverty,” Verma said. “We believe, as have numerous past administrations, that states are the laboratories of democracy and we will vigorously support their innovative, state-driven efforts to develop and test reforms that will advance the objectives of the Medicaid program.” (Pradhan, 3/27) The Washington Post: Federal Judge Blocks Medicaid Work Requirements In Kentucky And Arkansas Georgia Health News: As Kemp Celebrates Waiver Win, White House Pivot May Complicate Things Kemp signed legislation Wednesday that allows his administration to pursue two separate waivers with the federal government that could ease health care access for poor and middle-class Georgians and set a path toward limited Medicaid expansion, or that could advance conservative goals of reining in Medicaid’s scope. (Hart and Bluestein, 3/27) The Executive Council on Wednesday approved contracts worth nearly $1 billion to manage Medicaid in New Hampshire, adding a third managed care company to the government-funded health care program for 180,000 low-income Granite Staters. The vote was 4-1, with Republican Councilor Ted Gatsas of Manchester opposed. Gatsas said he did not feel the state pressed hard enough for a better deal. (Solomon, 3/27) The Hill: Judge Blocks Trump Medicaid Work Requirements In Arkansas, Kentucky  Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia concluded that in letting Kentucky go forward with its requirements, HHS had been “arbitrary and capricious” — the same criticism he leveled once before. He wrote that he “cannot concur” that Medicaid law leaves the HHS secretary “so unconstrained, nor that the states are so armed to refashion the program Congress designed in any way they choose.” (Goldstein, 3/27) Reuters: U.S. Judge Blocks Medicaid Work Requirements In Kentucky, Arkansas A federal judge on Wednesday threw out Medicaid work requirements in two states, a blow to Republican efforts to profoundly reshape a program that has provided free health insurance to the poorest Americans for more than 50 years. In twin rulings, Judge James E. Boasberg of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia rejected for a second time Kentucky’s attempt to require recipients to work or volunteer as a condition of coverage and blocked a similar rule in Arkansas, which has resulted in more than 18,000 people there losing coverage since last summer. (Goodnough, 3/27) Federal Judge Rejects Kentucky, Arkansas Medicaid Work Requirements In Blow To Trump Administration U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled that HHS Secretary Alex Azar and the Trump administration failed to adequately consider the extent to which the added requirements would cause significant numbers of people to lose coverage. The decision was the second time that Boasberg blocked Kentucky’s efforts, and he said that the plan “has essentially the same features as it did before.” CMS Administrator Seema Verma reaffirmed her support of work requirements following the twin rulings: “We will continue to defend our efforts to give states greater flexibility to help low income Americans rise out of poverty.” In other Medicaid news — Kaiser Health News: Federal Judge Again Blocks Medicaid Work Requirements U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled that the Department of Health and Human Services had failed to adequately consider the extent to which the Republican-led states’ plans would cause significant numbers of people to lose coverage. The decisions came in separate lawsuits by Kentucky and Arkansas residents enrolled in Medicaid. It marked a setback for efforts by President Donald Trump’s administration to scale back the joint federal-and-state healthcare program. (Raymond, 3/27) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.last_img read more

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first_img Show More Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. We’ll always tell you what we find. We may get a commission if you buy via our price links.Tell us what you think – email the Editor Sign up for the Mobile NewsletterSign Up Please keep me up to date with special offers and news from Goodtoknow and other brands operated by TI Media Limited via email. You can unsubscribe at any time. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. We’d also like to send you special offers and news just by email from other carefully selected companies we think you might like. Your personal details will not be shared with those companies – we send the emails and you can unsubscribe at any time. Please tick here if you are happy to receive these messages.By submitting your information, you agree to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy. Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president, revealed an interesting tidbit in an interview with French site Numerama: Apple Music has passed the 60 million subscriber mark. That suggests an impressive rate of growth, given Tim Cook only announced the 50 million landmark in the first earnings call of the year.“In the Apple ecosystem, Apple Music is the number one streaming service,” Cue told the site. That isn’t surprising on one level – Apple Music just plays nicely with Apple hardware, especially the HomePod – but on another it’s still quite impressive, given that globally Spotify is still way out in front with 100 million subscribers. Related: Apple Music vs SpotifyOf course, it’s important not to necessarily take these figures as a direct comparison, with both companies not shying away from aggressive promotions in order to shift subscriptions. The four-month free subscriptions Apple gifted Shazam users back in February will just be coming to an end now, but Indian prices were also slashed to get a better footing outside of the United States, where it currently dominates.Related: Best iPhone appsThe same is true for Spotify, which has bundled itself with a bunch of other options including Hulu, Headspace, Vodafone and others. The seven-year head start Spotify had on Apple certainly helps maintain the convincing lead, but the company’s real advantage comes in its ad-supported tier which Apple Music lacks. Free accounts put the Swedish company convincingly ahead in terms of usage, with Spotify boasting that 217 million people listen to it every month. The two companies are comfortably the main players in paid streaming music by some distance, with the likes of Deezer (7 million or so), YouTube Music Premium (supposedly around 15 million) and Tidal (estimated at 3 million back in 2018) some way off the pace. Will Apple Music ever overtake Spotify? Let us know what you think on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.last_img read more

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Source: Porsche, Electrek Porsche has been ahead of the curve on fast charging, developing its own 800-volt charging system, while also participating in cross-brand infrastructure projects including Electrify America and Ionity. Earlier this year, the company announced plans to deploy a network of 500 charging stations in North America in time for the launch of its Taycan EV next year.Now Porsche has unveiled a plan for a new kind of modular fast charging system. The system consists of: the FlexBox, a transformer that provides up to 36 kilovolts; the PowerBox, an AC-DC converter; the CoolingBox, which provides liquid cooling for the charging poles and power electronics; and a compact and stylish charging pole.The FlexBoxes can be stacked up fairly far from the actual charging points, with a distance of “up to 200 meters between the transformer station and PowerBox and up to 100 meters between the PowerBox and the charging station.” The charging pole is intended to be the only part of the system visible to drivers.“The charging stations are the single customer touchpoint with the driver of an electric car,” says Porsche. “As the engineers removed everything from the charging station that wasn’t absolutely required at the customer touchpoint and packed it into FlexBoxes, a streamlined appearance could be achieved – and thus a typical Porsche design identity.”Porsche claims an efficiency of over 95 % for the complete system.Porsche has also created the more compact ComboBox, which combines the PowerBox and the CoolingBox into a single unit; and the ChargeBox, which incorporates a 70 kWh to 140 kWh battery pack for locations where the grid connection is insufficient for high-power charging. Source: Electric Vehicles Magazine read more

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first_imgSource: Electric Vehicle News Result confirms our suspicions.Consumers in the market for a crossover have a lot of different options. That includes just how heavily they want to lean on electricity as a fuel source. In this unique comparison, Autoexpress takes a look a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid, and an all-electric. Represented here by the Toyota C-HR, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, and the Hyundai Kona Electric, we imagine our regular readers would naturally prefer the latter. Still, it’s good to know the strengths and weaknesses of each.Moure about a couple of these competitors Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Sales Booming In Canada Hyundai Kona Electric Crossover Wins Award After Award Unfortunately, the Toyota C-HR hybrid is not coming to the U.S., but much of the findings are still relevant. It is the least expensive of the three in up-front costs at 26,665 British pounds ($33,688). It does offer the best handling of the group as well. However, the drivetrain doesn’t really have the gusto to go along with that verve. Here are their words describing it:The engine sounds coarse and feels wheezy, as its performance figures here show. The C-HR took 14.1 seconds to accelerate from 0-60mph, while its 14.6-second 30 to 70mph time was some way behind the 8.3 and 7.9 seconds we recorded in the Kona and Outlander respectively.The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is the largest of the trio. A strong seller in the UK, the publication is impressed with the improvement in its ride quality for 2019. Not perfect, by any means, but improved. Overall, though, they say it “didn’t feel especially good to drive.” It was sluggish compared to the Kona Electric. They did find it a practical vehicle, however, though price-wise it is handily the most expensive of the three at 35,900 British pounds ($49,889). It still managed to get a higher rating than the Toyota.The Hyundai Kona Electric tested here was the 39-kWh version that’s not coming to the U.S. These shores will only see the 64-kWh variant. Slower than its big-battery sibling, it still had enough gumption to beat out the other two vehicles here. It cruises from a standstill to 60 miles an hour in 8.6 seconds. It got off the line especially well and still had enough zip, they say, for passing at highway speeds. Handling wasn’t as crisp as in the Toyota, but they did found the ride to be quite comfortable and refined. As for price, it starts at 28,720 British pounds ($36,654), which isn’t far off from the Toyota C-HR hybrid.In its final verdict, AutoExpress rates the Hyundai Kona Electric as the best of the trio. The quiet provided by an electric motor, along with good road noise suppression made the ride more relaxing and enjoyable, they say. Also mentioned are fuel savings. Petrol prices in the UK are higher than the U.S., so that’s an important consideration. Chalk up one more win for all-electric.Source: AutoExpress Hyundai Kona Electric Thermal Management System Explained Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on December 22, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle Newslast_img read more

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first_imgWith all of those BEVs, the future of Audi looks electrifyingThe Audi Q4 e-tron Concept was not the only all-electric Audi in Geneva, as the German manufacturer is readying two more models for market launch in the near future. The two others were prototype versions of the Audi e-tron Sportback and Audi e-tron GT concept.The fifth Audi BEV scheduled for production – the Audi Q2 L e-tron – will be unveiled soon in China, for which it’s envisioned.The Audi e-tron Sportback is a direct derivative of the Audi e-tron (SUV) and is scheduled for production by the end of this year. The specs aren’t yet known, but we assume it will be the same as in case of e-tron, because both models are based on the same platform.Audi BEVs Source: Electric Vehicle News 5 photos Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on March 7, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }.embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }Audi e-tron GT conceptThe e-tron GT concept, unveiled at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, also attracted a lot of attention. This model could be a reasonable choice for those who can’t afford the Porsche Taycan, as both shares a lot of tech. Audi e-tron GT concept:more than 90 kWh batteryover 400 km (248.5 miles) of range (WLTP)dual motor (PMSM) all-wheel drive with torque vectoringsystem output: 434 kW (590 hp)0-100 km/h (62 mph) in about 3.5 seconds0-200 km/h (124 mph) in over 12 secondstop speed of 240 km/h (149 mph)800 V battery system voltagefast charging: 0-80% in 20-minuteswireless charging at 11 kW (on-board charger is at least 11 kW)450 liters of luggage capacity plus extra 100 liters under the hood4.96-meter length, 1.96-meter width and 1.38-meter height Audi e-tron GT Concept Test Drives In LA: Videos Let’s check out the photos and a walkthrough of the coupe SUV version: 14 photos More Audi E-Tron Sportback Electric Spy Photos Surface Audi Q4 E-Tron Electric CUV Sparkles In Geneva (Photos/Videos)last_img read more

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first_imgThe World Meteorological Organization released the 2018 edition of its annual State of the Global Climate report, which finds “accelerating” impacts of climate change, and confirms 2015 through 2018 are now the four warmest years on record. more…The post Climate report shows ‘accelerating’ impacts, past four years warmest on record appeared first on Electrek. Source: Charge Forwardlast_img

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first_imgSource: Charge Forward Elon Musk’s Boring Company received approval from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) Board of Directors to move forward with a ‘Loop’ system for passengers at the cost of almost $50 million. more…Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.https://youtu.be/WdPfw3XWyJQThe post Elon Musk’s Boring Company is moving forward with ~$50 million Las Vegas loop appeared first on Electrek.last_img

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first_imgIf your professional wish list includes elevating your Foreign Corrupt Practices Act knowledge and practical skills, you can start 2019 off right by attending the FCPA Institute – Phoenix on January 17-18th.Lawyers, in-house counsel, and compliance professionals from around the world have already registered for the FCPA Institute – Phoenix and you can too at this link.The FCPA Institute is different than a typical FCPA conference.At the FCPA Institute, information is presented in an integrated and cohesive manner by an expert instructor with FCPA practice and teaching experience. Moreover, the FCPA Institute promotes active learning by participants through issue-spotting videos, skills exercises, small-group discussions and the sharing of real-world practices and experiences.To best facilitate the unique learning experience that the FCPA Institute represents, attendance at each FCPA Institute is capped at 25 participants.In short, the FCPA Institute elevates the FCPA learning experience for a diverse group of professionals and is offered as a refreshing and cost-effective alternative to a typical FCPA conference. The goal of the FCPA Institute is simple: to develop and enhance fundamental skills relevant to the FCPA, FCPA enforcement, and FCPA compliance best practices in a stimulating and professional environment with a focus on learning.The FCPA Institute presents the FCPA not merely as a legal issue, but also as a business and accounting issue.  The FCPA Institute is thus ideal for a diverse group of professionals such as in-house and outside counsel; business executives; finance, accounting and auditing professionals; and other compliance professionals seeking sophisticated FCPA knowledge and practical skills.Set forth below is a sampling of what FCPA Institute “graduates” have said about their experience.“Unlike other FCPA conferences where one leaves with a spinning head and unanswered questions, I left the FCPA Institute with a firm understanding of the nuts and bolts of the FCPA, the ability to spot issues, and knowledge of where resources can be found that offer guidance in resolving an issue.  The limited class size of the FCPA Institute ensured that all questions were answered and the interactive discussion among other compliance professionals was fantastic.” (Rob Foster, In-House Counsel, Oil and Gas Company)“The FCPA Institute was one of the best professional development investments of time and money that I have made since law school. The combination of black letter law and practical insight was invaluable. I would highly recommend the FCPA Institute to any professional who has compliance, ethics, legal or international business responsibilities.” (Norm Keith, Partner, Fasken Martineau, Toronto).“The FCPA Institute is very different than other FCPA conferences I have attended.  It was interactive, engaging, thought-provoking and at the completion of the Institute I left feeling like I had really learned something new and useful for my job.  The FCPA Institute is a must-attend for all compliance folks (in-house or external).” (Robert Wieck, CPA, CIA, CFE, Forensic Audit Senior Manager, Oracle Corporation)The FCPA Institute is a top-flight conference that offers an insightful, comprehensive review of the FCPA enforcement landscape.  Professor Koehler’s focus on developing practical skills in an intimate setting really sets it apart from other FCPA conferences.  One of the best features of the FCPA Institute is its diversity of participants and the ability to learn alongside in-house counsel, company executives and finance professionals. (Blair Albom, Associate, Debevoise & Plimpton)“The FCPA Institute was a professionally enriching experience and substantially increased my understanding of the FCPA and its enforcement. Professor Koehler’s extensive insight and practical experience lends a unique view to analyzing enforcement actions and learning compliance best practices. I highly recommend the FCPA Institute to practitioners from all career stages.” (Sherbir Panag, MZM Legal, Mumbia, India)“The FCPA Institute provided an in-depth look into the various forces that have shaped, and that are shaping, FCPA enforcement.  The diverse group of participants provided unique insight into how, at a practical level, various professionals evaluate risk and deal with FCPA issues on a day-to-day basis.  The small group setting, the interactive nature of the event, and the skills assessment test all set the FCPA Institute apart from other FCPA conferences or panel-based events.” (John Turlais, Senior Counsel, Foley & Lardner)FCPA Institute participants not only gain knowledge, practical skills and peer insight, but can also elect to have their knowledge assessed and earn a certificate of completion upon passing a written assessment tool. In this way, successful completion of the FCPA Institute represents a value-added credential for professional development. Attorneys who complete the FCPA Institute may also be eligible to receive Continuing Legal Education (“CLE”) credits. In addition, previous FCPA Institute participants have successfully obtained continuing education units from the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics for attending the FCPA Institute.To learn more about the FCPA Institute and to register, click here.last_img read more

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first_img Remember me Lost your password? Password Not a subscriber? Sign up for The Texas Lawbook.center_img A combination of high-profile bankruptcies, political conflicts and contentious business disputes dominated the Texas legal landscape during the past year . . .You must be a subscriber to The Texas Lawbook to access this content. Usernamelast_img

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first_imgDouglas County officials say the courts may have to be the final arbiter in an audit of sales tax revenues.The audit focuses on tax breaks extended to data centers and specifically targets a company near Pangborn Airport that failed to apply but now wants a refund.Commissioner Steve Jenkins says the State law that extends the sales tax exemption to rural data centers should be changed to require businesses to file for them in a more timely manner.The refund could total more than one million dollars,  which would strongly impact the Douglas County budget and all other junior taxing districts within the county.last_img

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first_imgMay 7 2018According to the WHO, around 700,000 people die every year as a result of antibiotic resistance. In Germany, around 6,000 people die every year because treatment with antibiotics is not effective. Scientists at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) and the University of Oxford have now discovered that there is a point in the production process of the proteins at which it can be regulated by bacteria. This could be used as a starting point for the development of new antibiotics and help overcome resistance to antibiotics.Antibiotics are used in the treatment of bacterial infections. They kill and inhibit the growth of bacteria, allowing the infection to subside and the patient to recover. However, during the last few years, increasing numbers of bacteria have developed so-called antibiotic resistance, which means they are resistant to the effects of antibiotics. Over time, these types of medication become ineffective and multi-resistant bacteria become even more widespread as a result.Investigation of early phase of RNA synthesisThe discovery made by scientists, which has now been published in the scientific journal Nature Communications, could be a completely new starting point in developing antibiotics. ‘New drugs could now be developed on the basis of our findings that kill the bacteria that cause illnesses’, hopes Dr. David Dulin from the Interdisciplinary Centre for Clinical Research at FAU. The FAU team led by Dr. David Dulin and the team led by Achillefs Kapanidis at the University of Oxford have discovered that the early phase of ribonucleic acid (RNA) production is the key to controlling the regulation of bacterial gene expression. Gene expression is the term used to describe how a gene product coded by a gene is is formed . These products are often proteins, or RNA molecules.Related StoriesPlant foods may transmit antibiotic-resistant superbugs to humansAntibiotic combination effective against drug-resistant PseudomonasAntibiotic susceptibility pattern of Enterobacteriaceae found in GhanaIn bacteria, the RNA is produced using a large protein complex called RNA polymerase (RNAP). The RNAP reads the DNA sequence and builds a copy of the RNA by joining nucleotides together – the fundamental building blocks of RNA – during a process called transcription. Since this production of RNA is fundamental for the survival of the bacteria, it has already been the subject of intensive research and used as the starting point for developing antibiotics, for example for the treatment of tuberculosis. However, it remained unclear how the production of RNA is also regulated at the stage of early transcription when RNAP has just begun to join together the first few RNA building blocks. This was the subject of the research carried out by the team of scientists.The researchers used high-end fluorescence microscopy, which allowed them to monitor individual RNAP molecules as they started to produce RNA. They discovered that the initial RNA synthesis is strongly regulated – a certain sequence of DNA forces the RNAP to pause for several seconds. It can only continue with RNA production after this pause.This discovery completely changes our previous understanding of initial RNA synthesis in bacteria. ‘The fact that the RNAP can be simultaneously bound to the DNA and the short piece of RNA for a longer period of time was very surprising, as it contradicts current knowledge,’ says Dr. Dulin. The discovery of this new checkpoint in gene expression could be used for the development of new antibiotics. ‘For example, it may be possible to develop medication that locks the RNAP in the paused state, thus killing the bacteria that cause illnesses,’ says Dr. Dulin. A glimmer of hope in the global struggle against antibiotic resistance. Source:https://www.fau.eu/2018/04/25/news/research/new-approach-in-the-fight-against-antibiotic-resistance/last_img read more

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first_imgJun 5 2018Scientists at Virginia Commonwealth University believe they have uncovered an “Achilles heel” of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common and deadly form of brain cancer. Their study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences details how a mechanism that protects glioma stem cells can potentially be exploited to develop new and more effective treatments for GBM.Autophagy is a process in which cells get rid of unnecessary or dysfunctional components. It can be toxic to the cells, or it can serve a protective role. The researchers demonstrated that protective autophagy allows glioma stem cells to resist anoikis, which is a form of programmed cell death (apoptosis) that occurs when cells detach from the extracellular matrix, or the collection of molecules that helps support and protect cells within the body. The study found that this protective mechanism is regulated by the gene MDA-9/Syntenin.”We discovered that when we blocked the expression of MDA-9/Syntenin, glioma stem cells lose their ability to induce protective autophagy and succumb to anoikis, resulting in cancer cell death,” says Paul B. Fisher, M.Ph., Ph.D., F.N.A.I., Thelma Newmeyer Corman Endowed Chair in Cancer Research and member of the Cancer Molecular Genetics research program at VCU Massey Cancer Center, chairman of the Department of Human and Molecular Genetics at VCU School of Medicine and director of the VCU Institute of Molecular Medicine. Fisher originally discovered the MDA-9/Syntenin gene, and he and others have shown it to be overexpressed in a majority of cancers.Fisher, in collaboration with Webster K. Cavenee, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, University of California San Diego (UCSD) and other colleagues, found that MDA-9/Syntenin maintains protective autophagy by activating BCL2, a gene that regulates cell death. Additionally, they showed that MDA-9/Syntenin suppresses high levels of autophagy that would be toxic to the cell through epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling. Excessive EGFR signaling has been shown to contribute to tumor growth in a wide variety of cancers.Related StoriesStudy provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with agingStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskLiving with advanced breast cancer”In the absence of MDA-9/Syntenin, EGFR can no longer maintain protective autophagy. Instead, highly elevated and sustained levels of toxic autophagy ensue that dramatically reduce cancer cell survival,” says Fisher. “This is the first study to define a direct link between MDA-9/Syntenin, protective autophagy and anoikis resistance. We’re hopeful we can exploit this process to develop new and more effective treatments for GBM and possibly other cancers.”Using GBM cells from patients who underwent surgical removal of their tumors, the scientists demonstrated the loss of these protective biological functions in the absence of MDA-9/Syntenin through laboratory experiments involving glioma stem cell cultures. These findings were then tested in mouse models of human stem cells, where an increase in survival occurred following MDA-9/Syntenin inhibition.This study builds on an extensive line of research by Fisher and his colleagues into the role of MDA-9/Syntenin in cancer development and progression. Moving forward, they hope to determine if the process they uncovered in this research applies to stem cells from other cancer types. They also plan to continue developing new ways to block the expression of MDA-9/Syntenin. Fisher described one such approach in a recent study demonstrating the effectiveness of an experimental inhibitory drug known as a PDZ1i in reducing MDA-9/Syntenin’s ability to promote invasion of GBM cells in vitro (outside of a living organism) and in vivo (in a living organism).Source: https://www.vcu.edu/last_img read more

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first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Sep 18 2018Test results are denoted by a color change and could be further analyzed by a smartphone app, making it attractive as a point-of-care diagnostic device A multidisciplinary team of researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) has developed a portable, easy-to-use device for quick and accurate screening of diseases. This versatile technology platform called enVision (enzyme-assisted nanocomplexes for visual identification of nucleic acids) can be designed to detect a wide range of diseases – from emerging infectious diseases (e.g. Zika and Ebola) and high-prevalence infections (e.g. hepatitis, dengue, and malaria) to various types of cancers and genetic diseases.enVision takes between 30 minutes to one hour to detect the presence of diseases, which is two to four times faster than existing infection diagnostics methods. In addition, each test kit costs under S$1 – 100 times lower than the current cost of conducting similar tests.”The enVision platform is extremely sensitive, accurate, fast, and low-cost. It works at room temperature and does not require heaters or special pumps, making it very portable. With this invention, tests can be done at the point-of-care, for instance in community clinics or hospital wards, so that disease monitoring or treatment can be administered in a timely manner to achieve better health outcomes,” said team leader Assistant Professor Shao Huilin from the Biomedical Institute for Global Health Research and Technology (BIGHEART) and Department of Biomedical Engineering at NUS. Asst Prof Shao is also an investigator with the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).Superior sensitivity and specificity compared to clinical gold standardThe research team used the human papillomavirus (HPV), the key cause of cervical cancer, as a clinical model to validate the performance of enVision. In comparison to clinical gold standard, this novel technology has demonstrated superior sensitivity and specificity.”enVision is not only able to accurately detect different subtypes of the same disease, it is also able to spot differences within a specific subtype of a given disease to identify previously undetectable infections,” Asst Prof Shao added.Bringing the lab to the patientIn addition, test results are easily visible – the assay turns from colorless to brown if a disease is present – and could also be further analyzed using a smartphone for quantitative assessment of the amount of pathogen present. This makes enVision an ideal solution for personal healthcare and telemedicine.”Conventional technologies – such as tests that rely on polymerase chain reaction to amplify and detect specific DNA molecules – require bulky and expensive equipment, as well as trained personnel to operate these machines. With enVision, we are essentially bringing the clinical laboratory to the patient. Minimal training is needed to administer the ,test and interpret the results, so more patients can have access to effective, lab-quality diagnostics that will substantially improve the quality of care and treatment,” said Dr Nicholas Ho, a researcher from NUS BIGHEART and A*STAR’s IMCB, and co-first author of the study.Related StoriesHIV DNA persists in spinal fluid despite treatment, linked to cognitive impairmentMolecular switches may control lifespan and healthspan separately, genetic discovery suggestsNew study identifies eight genetic variants associated with anorexia nervosaVersatile point-of-care diagnostic deviceIn this study, Asst Prof Shao and her team developed patented DNA molecular machines that can recognize genetic material of different diseases and perform different functions. These molecular machines form the backbone of the enVision platform.The novel platform adopts a ‘plug-and-play’ modular design and uses microfluidic technology to reduce the amount of samples and biochemical reagents required as well as to optimize the technology’s sensitivity for visual readouts.”The enVision platform has three key steps – target recognition, target-independent signal enhancement, and visual detection. It employs a unique set of molecular switches, composed of enzyme-DNA nanostructures, to accurately detect, as well as convert and amplify molecular information into visible signals for disease diagnosis,” explained Dr Lim Geok Soon, a researcher from NUS BIGHEART and A*STAR’s IMCB, and co-first author of the study.Each test is housed in a tiny plastic chip that is preloaded with a DNA molecular machine that is designed to recognize disease-specific molecules. The chip is then placed in a common signal cartridge that contains another DNA molecular machine responsible for producing visual signals when disease-specific molecules are detected.Multiple units of the same test chip – to test different patient samples for the same disease – or a collection of test chips to detect different diseases could be mounted onto the common cartridge.”Having a target-independent signal enhancement step frees up the design possibilities for the recognition element. This allows enVision to be programed as a biochemical computer with varying signals for different combinations of target pathogens. This can be very useful to monitor populations for multiple diseases like dengue and malaria simultaneously, or testing for highly mutable pathogens like the flu with high sensitivity and specificity,” said Dr Ho.Future workAsst Prof Shao and her team took about a year and a half to develop the enVision platform. Building on the current work, the research team is developing a sample preparation module – for extraction and treatment of DNA material – to be integrated with the enVision platform to enhance point-of-care application. In addition, the research team foresees that the smartphone app could include more advanced image correction and analysis algorithms to further improve its performance for real-world application.This research work was published in prestigious scientific journal Nature Communications in August 2018, and featured as an Editors’ Highlight by the journal. Source:http://news.nus.edu.sg/press-releases/envision-device-for-disease-screeninglast_img read more

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first_imgVACCINESClinton: A year ago, she tweeted that “#VaccinesWork,” attacking some Republicans for raising doubts about vaccines’ safety, likening their distrust to denying that Earth is round. But during her 2008 presidential run, in response to an autism advocacy group’s questions, she cited vaccines as one possible environmental cause of autism, despite widespread scientific agreement that vaccines don’t cause autism.O’Malley said last year that he “believes it is critically important for every family to vaccinate their children.”Sanders said last year that he was “sensitive to the fact that there are some families who disagree” on the safety of vaccines, but he noted the public health implications of leaving children unvaccinated. “If I have a kid who is suffering from an illness who is subjected to a kid who walks into a room without vaccines that could kill that child, and that’s wrong.”Bush: “Parents ought to make sure their children are vaccinated,” he said last year.Carson: Last year he suggested that vaccine schedules should be spread out because “we are probably giving way too many in too short a period of time.” Previously had backed mandatory vaccinations, without exceptions for philosophical or religious objection.Christie said last year that parents should have a “measure of choice,” as “not every vaccine is created equal and not every disease type is as great a public health threat as others.”Cruz said last year that “of course” children should be vaccinated, but suggested that religious or philosophical exceptions to mandates are “an appropriate judgment” for states to make.Fiorina said last year that parents should have the right to choose, citing religious liberty concerns. She said she supports schools being able to deny entry to students who are unvaccinated for certain illnesses, but not for lacking other, “esoteric” immunizations.Huckabee has backed mandatory vaccinations.Kasich has backed mandatory vaccinations. “This is not a choice. Are you kidding me?” he said when asked by a reporter about it.Paul said last year that he’s not antivaccine but that most vaccines ought to be voluntary. He also said he supports lettings parents space out vaccine schedules even if science says bunching them is safe.Rubio has backed mandatory vaccinations, with exceptions for children with health problems affecting the immune system.Santorum said last year he supports vaccines but didn’t specify whether they should be mandatory.Trump said last year he believes vaccines could cause autism.BIOTECH CROPSClinton has expressed support for genetically modified organisms (GMOs). “There is a big gap between what the facts are and what the perceptions are,” she said. But has opposed congressional efforts to block states from require GMO labeling.Sanders has backed mandatory labeling for GMOs.Bush has expressed support for GMOs, opposition to mandatory labeling. “We should not try to make it harder for that kind of innovation to exist. We should celebrate it … I think that’s a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist,” Bush said.Christie: On whether GMOs should be labeled,  he said last year, “no.”Cruz has expressed support for GMOs. “People who decide that’s what they want, they can pay for it already. But, we shouldn’t let antiscience zealotry shut down the ability to produce low cost, quality food for billions across the globe,” Cruz said. Voted against letting states require labels on GMOs.Paul voted against letting states require labels on GMOs on constitutional grounds, but raised questions about GMOs safety.Rubio voted against letting states require labels on GMOs.Trump sent out but then quickly deleted a tweet that suggested that Ben Carson was leading in Iowa because Monsanto’s corn “creates issues in the brain?” RESEARCH FUNDING, POLICY, AND EDUCATION Where virtually all Republican candidates agree, however, is on their opposition to Obama’s climate policy agenda and their concerns about the economic impacts of government action. Here, the differences lie more in rhetoric than in policy proposals. Here are some of the more noteworthy remarks certain candidates have said: Clinton has praised the economic benefits and lower carbon emissions of natural gas while calling for “smart” regulations on fossil fuels. O’Malley has called for further promoting biofuels. Sanders has indicated that he would go even further than Clinton and O’Malley, by calling for a carbon tax to incentivize a transition to cleaner energy sources that would be  paired with measures to discourage or limit fossil fuel use. 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 Bush has said that humans contribute to climate change. Governor Chris Christie (R–NJ) said last fall that we “cannot say that our activity doesn’t contribute to changing the climate.” But he added, “I don’t see evidence that it’s a crisis.” Carly Fiorina has acknowledged that humanmade climate change is real but added that the solutions are unlikely to make a difference. Kasich has said on multiple occasions that he believes humans contribute to climate change to an unknown extent. On one occasion, however, he expressed doubt about it before walking it back. Paul said last year that humans “may” contribute to climate change. Voted yes on Senate measure affirming that humans contribute to climate change. Carson has called climate change “irrelevant” on one occasion, and said he doubts it’s happening on another occasion. Cruz has used his position as head of a Senate subcommittee that oversees climate research to question recent temperature trends. Last fall Cruz called climate change a “religion.” Voted no on a measure affirming that humans contribute to climate change. Former Governor Jim Gilmore (R–VA) has expressed openness to the idea that humans are causing climate change. But he penned an op-ed in 2010 expressing doubt about the science. Former Governor Mike Huckabee (R–AR) said last year that the “science is as not settled” on climate change as on other topics, and expressed doubt about whether man has any meaningful role in the climate. Rubio has said that the climate “is always changing” while dodging what role humans might play. Voted no on a Senate measure affirming that humans contribute to climate change. As a Florida lawmaker he had previously supported efforts to ask his state to develop a plan for cutting carbon emissions in order to be ready for “inevitable” federal policies. Santorum has called climate change a “hoax” and “junk” and suggested that the idea of human carbon emissions influencing the climate is “patently absurd.” Trump has called climate change a “hoax” and a “money-making industry.” He has said he believes in “weather,” as well as “clean … immaculate air,” but not climate change. Many of the Republican candidates reject or doubt that climate change is occurring or that humans are contributing. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country The 2016 presidential election season gets underway in earnest today as voters cast their first ballots at the Iowa caucuses. As usual, science-related issues aren’t getting much attention from the candidates, as the debate has been dominated by national security, immigration policy, and the economy. But science does sometimes creep into the conversation, and ScienceInsider has been keeping its ears perked.Here’s an overview of where the candidates stand on some select science-related issues (keeping in mind that the candidates have yet to sound off on many topics of interest to researchers). Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Other Republicans have suggested that climate change is real and/or that humans contribute to it, but some have waffled the severity of the problem. Bush said last fall that he wasn’t sure whether he would have gone to Paris in December 2015 for the climate negotiations as president. Christie has said, “We shouldn’t be destroying our economy in order to chase some wild left-wing idea that somehow us by ourselves [are] going to fix the climate.” Fiorina said last year that Obama has spent too much time on climate change, and not enough on fighting terrorism. Called the Paris climate deal “baloney.” Kasich said last year if he was president, he would have attended the Paris negotiations but would have preferred to spend his time building a coalition for fighting terrorist groups. On a separate occasion, he said of climate change that he didn’t want to “overreact to it.” Paul said last fall that he would roll back Obama’s climate regulations for power plants on day one of his presidency in favor of an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy. Rubio has also called for rolling back Obama’s “illegal” climate rules. Said he would have turned COP21 into a summit on defeating the Islamic State group. Santorum said last year he opposes Obama’s climate initiatives, which he worries will kill jobs. Trump said on Instagram last year, “While the world is in turmoil and falling apart in so many different ways, especially with ISIS [the IS group], our President is worried about global warming. What a ridiculous situation.” DemocratsFormer Senator (D–NY) and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said she “would increase funding for scientific research at agencies like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation.” Has called for “rapidly” ramping up NIH spending on Alzheimer’s disease to $2 billion per year (from about $600 million now), with the goal of making a “cure possible by 2025.” Would support greater funding for research into autism, and launch a “first-ever adult autism prevalence study” in order to provide better services to adults on the autism spectrum.Former Governor Martin O’Malley (D–MD) has supported stem-cell research involving human embryos (although he is a devout member of the Catholic Church, which has opposed many forms of embryonic stem cell research).Senator Bernie Sanders (I–VT) has said he believes stem-cell research “represents an exciting and promising line of research that could provide treatments and cures for many debilitating diseases.” Bernie has voted in the past to approve further stem cell research.RepublicansFormer Governor Jeb Bush (R–FL) has called for boosting biomedical research funding. “As we’ve cut back with NIH funding and other types of research funding, we lose the initiative to cure diseases,” Bush has said. “And I think this is an appropriate role for government.”Dr. Ben Carson, when asked whether he would support continued biomedical research funding, said: “Having been in science and research my whole life, I’m struggling to try to remember anybody I’ve ever known who thought they had enough funding.” Expressed opposition last year to national standards for education, but said he supports efforts to emphasize STEM education, saying, “These technical skills are the infrastructure of innovation. We are falling behind and it is shameful.”Governor John Kasich (R–OH) has called for doubling NIH’s budget. Has said he will “initiate a comprehensive review of federal policies to identify and eliminate barriers to research, innovation, commercialization of new breakthroughs and start-up business success.”Senator Rand Paul (R–KY) has not said much about research funding this year, but in 2012, called for reducing NIH funding to 2008 levels, explaining that the private sector already does billions of dollars’ worth in research and development.Former Senator Rick Santorum (R–PA) is a strong backer of adult stem-cell research, and opposed to embryonic stem-cell research because he views destruction of embryos as destruction of human life.NASAClinton has said she is a strong backer of the space program, though specifics are lacking.Sanders acknowledges that he has voted to cut funding for NASA on multiple occasions, but has said: “In general, I do support increasing funding for NASA.”Bush has said that he sees himself as a “space guy.”Carson: NASA is “becoming even more crucial,” he said, and believes the country needs “a new focus” on space. “The technology spin-off is astounding,” he said.Senator Ted Cruz (R–TX) said last year that NASA should focus on space, not on earth science, which he views as not qualifying as a hard science. “We need to get back to the hard sciences, to manned space exploration, and to the innovation that has been integral to NASA,” he said. Served as key author on bill to promote commercial space flight and asteroid mining.Senator Marco Rubio (R–FL) co-sponsored bill for promoting commercial space flight and asteroid mining.Donald Trump said last year that space is “terrific” but that filling potholes may be more important, because “you know, we don’t exactly have a lot of money.” He expressed enthusiasm for private sector–led space flight.CLIMATE CHANGEThe Democratic candidates all accept the idea that humans contribute to climate change, and they all agree that the government should take action to address it. They differ in some respects on solutions, including on how to boost or incentivize renewable energy production.last_img read more

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first_imgTo figure out when this divide occurred, the Newgrange specimen was critical. Researchers used it, in conjunction with the complete genomes of several modern dogs and wolves, to calculate a genetic mutation rate for canines. This rate suggests that the East-West split happened sometime between 6400 and 14,000 years ago. The analysis also revealed a “genetic bottleneck” in Western dogs—a reduction in genetic diversity typically tied to a sharp decline in a population’s numbers, as can occur when a small band of individuals splits off from the main group. (A similar pattern is seen with the original human migration out of Africa.)Taken together, the data suggest that humans domesticated dogs in Asia more than 14,000 years ago, and that a small subset of these animals eventually migrated west through Eurasia, probably with people. This implies that all modern dogs, as well as the Newgrange canine, can trace their ancestry back to Asia. Video of Dogs may have been domesticated more than once Email For years, scientists have debated where dogs came from. Did wolves first forge their special relationship with humans in Europe, or in Asia? The answer, according to a new study, is yes. This week in Science, researchers report that genetic analysis of hundreds of canines reveals that dogs may have been domesticated twice, once in Asia and once in Europe or the Near East, although European ancestry has mostly vanished from today’s dogs. The findings could resolve a rift that has roiled the canine origins community—but the case isn’t 
closed yet.“These are fantastic data that are going to be extremely valuable for the field,” says Peter Savolainen, a geneticist at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and the leading proponent of Asian dog origins. But 
Robert Wayne, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, whose work has shown that dogs arose in Europe, says the results—although plausible—are too preliminary to settle the question. “The story is still a bit of a muddle.”The study includes a unique specimen: the inner ear bone of a nearly 5000-year-old dog unearthed from Newgrange, a football field–sized mound of dirt and stone on the east coast of Ireland, built around the time of Stonehenge. Researchers led by Laurent Frantz, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, sequenced this specimen’s entire nuclear genome—the first complete genome from an ancient dog to be published—and compared it to the nuclear DNA of 605 modern dogs from around the world. The team then created a family tree for the animals, which revealed a deep divide between European dogs (like the Newgrange canine and the golden retriever) and Asian dogs (like the shar pei and free-ranging village dogs from Tibet and Vietnam). “I was like, ‘Holy shit!’” says project leader Greger Larson, an evolutionary biologist at Oxford. “We never saw this split before because we didn’t have enough samples.” Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country But here’s the twist: Archaeologists previously had found the remains of dogs in Germany that may be more than 16,000 years old, suggesting that dogs had already been domesticated in Europe by the time the Asian canines got there. Some of today’s dogs may carry genetic traces of that early domestication—but it’s hard to find, in part because scientists are still trying to recover DNA from those ancient German dogs. “We don’t know if the dogs that evolved [early] in Europe were an evolutionary dead end,” Frantz says, “but we can safely say that their genetic legacy has mostly been erased from 
today’s dogs.”To Savolainen, the story makes sense. “If people in one place got these fantastic dogs, of course everyone wanted to have them,” he says. “Over the course of a few hundred or a thousand years, you could have dogs spread throughout all of Eurasia.” Still, he’s not completely sold on the idea of two domestications, arguing that if the team’s mutation rate is just a bit off, it could allow for all dogs, even those ancient European ones, to have Asian roots. Wayne adds that interbreeding between dogs and wolves could have muddied the picture. Both say that many more samples, especially of ancient dogs and wolves, are needed.That could happen soon. Although neither Wayne nor Savolainen were involved in the current study, both joined Larson in 2013 as part of an international collaboration to solve the mystery of dog domestication once and for all. Dozens of scientists have been pooling resources and gathering thousands of new samples from around the globe. “The new model is provocative and exciting, but the full collaboration is going to be essential to untangling this complicated story,” says John Novembre, a population geneticist at the University of Chicago in Illinois who is not involved with the collaboration or the new work.For now, a dual origin for dogs remains an intriguing possibility, especially because research has also suggested multiple domestications for cats and pigs. Does that mean these animals were bound to be domesticated? “If it only happened in one place, it was probably a very hard thing to do,” Savolainen says. “But if it happened twice, maybe it wasn’t as hard as we thought.” Science last_img read more

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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 an unusual paper, a leading theoretical physicist says that the citation for the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics is wrong. The two winners, who led enormous experiments that studied particles called neutrinos, deserved the prize, says Alexei Smirnov of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy. But the Nobel committee’s pithy 12-word description of their findings misstates what one of the experiments did.”Certainly, he is right that the citation is essentially wrong,” says Giorgio Gratta, a neutrino physicist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, who was not involved in either of the prize-winning experiments. However, Olga Botner, a neutrino physicist at Uppsala University in Sweden and a member of the Nobel committee, says that “[t]he citation for the Nobel Prize is by necessity short and cannot reflect all details of the discoveries being recognized.”Born in certain nuclear interactions and nearly massless, neutrinos barely flirt with ordinary matter. They come in three types or “flavors”—electron, muon, and tau—and, weirdly, can change from one type into another, so that an electron neutrino can change into a muon neutrino and back again. Such back-and-forth “neutrino oscillations” prove that neutrinos have mass. Were neutrinos massless, they would have to move at light speed, at least in a vacuum, according to Einstein’s theory of relativity. If that were the case, time for them would stand still, and change would be impossible. Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)center_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country The 2015 physics Nobel honored leaders of two experiments “for the discovery of neutrino oscillations, which shows that neutrinos have mass.” Takaaki Kajita, a particle physicist at the University of Tokyo, and his colleagues used a gargantuan subterranean particle detector in Japan called Super-Kamiokande (SuperK) to study high-energy muon neutrinos generated as cosmic rays strike the atmosphere. In 1998, they reported that those raining down from above outnumbered those coming up through Earth, suggesting that some of those making the longer journey through the planet were oscillating along the way into electron and tau neutrinos, which SuperK couldn’t detect.Arthur McDonald of Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, and colleagues used a detector in a mine called the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) to study lower-energy neutrinos coming from the sun, where they are born in nuclear interactions as electron neutrinos. The team employed two techniques: one that could count only electron neutrinos and another that was sensitive to all types. In 2001 and 2002, the SNO reported that electron neutrinos accounted for just 34% of all the neutrinos emanating from the sun, suggesting that some were changing flavors along the way. Together, the SuperK and SNO results prove that neutrinos oscillate, according to the Nobel committee.Except that the SNO results show no such thing, argues Smirnov in a paper posted 8 September to the arXiv preprint server. The SNO results proved that electron neutrinos from the sun change their type, but they do so through a different bit of physics that is essentially independent of neutrino oscillations, Smirnov says. The Nobel committee got that wrong not only in the short prize citation, but also in its longer technical explanation of the prize, he says. “No question the experiment deserves to be awarded a Nobel Prize,” Smirnov says. “It’s just a question of what they actually saw.”Neutrino oscillations occur because, bizarrely, a neutrino with a definite flavor—such as an electron neutrino—doesn’t have a well-defined mass. That is, physicists cannot say the electron neutrino has one mass, the muon neutrino has another mass, and the tau neutrino a third. Instead, thanks to quantum weirdness, each is a different combination of three different “mass states,” which are themselves made of different combinations of the three flavors. Mathematically, the mass states mesh together in one way to make an electron neutrino, another to make a muon neutrino, and a third way to make a tau neutrino—like puzzle pieces that can be assembled in different ways to make three different objects.Crucially, thanks to their different masses, the three mass states evolve differently in time, so how they mesh also changes. For example, for a muon neutrino the mass states’ muon components reinforce each other while their electron and tau components cancel one another out. After a while, the mass states’ tau parts will reinforce each other while the other parts cancel out, transforming the muon neutrino into a tau neutrino. Wait longer, and the mass states’ muon parts will reinforce again, turning the tau neutrino back into a muon neutrino. This mechanism requires multiple mass states whirring at different rates, and it explains the SuperK results.In contrast, the SNO results involve the subtle influence of matter on neutrinos. Electron neutrinos emerge from nuclear interactions deep within the sun into an environment rich with electrons. Interactions with those electrons change the neutrinos’ mass states and their flavor makeup, much as interactions with matter can slow a photon to a crawl. As a result of that “matter effect,” electron neutrinos in the heart of the sun consist of only one mass state, and that mass state consists of only one flavor: electron.As the neutrino makes its way out of the sun, however, the electron density falls and its effects on the mass state wane. So the state’s usual flavor combination of electron, muon, and tau emerges. Thus, the electron neutrinos from the sun change flavor in a way that doesn’t involve back-and-forth neutrino oscillations, but simply reflects the changing electron density, Smirnov says. Such “adiabatic flavor conversion” doesn’t even require that the neutrinos have mass, he says, as the one mass state involved could have zero mass once the neutrinos escape the distorting environment of the sun. SNO researchers described their results correctly and did not claim an observation of neutrino oscillations, Smirnov says.Some physicists say Smirnov is sticking to a particularly precise definition of neutrino oscillations. “He’s right about the physics,” says Kate Scholberg, a neutrino physicist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. “But I personally think it’s okay to have the citation for neutrino oscillations because that was the common usage” at the time of the SNO results.However, Smirnov says that even after the SNO results, “five or six” explanations of how neutrinos work remained viable, including the possibility that neutrinos decay or that they undergo exotic new interactions. The picture of neutrinos with three flavors and three mass states came into tight focus only after another experiment, the Kamioka Liquid Scintillator Antineutrino Detector (KamLAND) in Toyama, Japan, observed oscillations of electron antineutrinos from nuclear reactors in 2002, Smirnov says. For that reason, he says, KamLAND might have shared in the Nobel Prize.Regardless, the committee might have given McDonald and the SNO a simpler citation, some physicists says. Researchers first detected electron neutrinos from the sun in the late 1960s, but measured less than half the amount predicted by solar models, a controversial discrepancy known as the solar neutrino problem. SNO showed that, contrary to the expectations of many physicists, the solar models were correct, but that the neutrinos were changing flavor on their way to Earth. “It’s really clear that SNO deserved the Nobel Prize because they solved the solar neutrino problem,” says Patrick Huber, a theoretical physicist at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg.Why bring up the citation if everybody agrees that the SNO and McDonald deserve the Nobel Prize? Many younger physicists don’t understand that the SNO results and the solution of the solar neutrino problem do not involve neutrino oscillations, he says. That’s plausible, Scholberg says, given that most neutrino physicists work on experiments designed to study neutrino oscillations: “Probably a lot of [younger physicists] don’t know about solar neutrinos because it’s not what they work on every day.”last_img read more

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