Signs of ancient cells and proteins found in dinosaur fossils

first_imgThe cupboards of the Natural History Museum in London hold spectacular dinosaur fossils, from 10-centimeter, serrated Tyrannosaurus rex teeth to a 4-meter-long hadrosaur tail. Now, researchers are reporting another spectacular find, buried in eight nondescript fossils from the same collection: what appear to be ancient red blood cells and fibers of ancient protein.Using new methods to peer deep inside fossils, the study in this week’s issue of Nature Communications backs up previous, controversial reports of such structures in dinosaur bones. It also suggests that soft tissue preservation may be more common than anyone had guessed. “It’s encouraging,” especially because the proteins were found in what appear to be the most unremarkable, ordinary bones, says Matthew Collins, an archaeologist and biochemist at the University of York in the United Kingdom. But he and others caution that the team hasn’t proven beyond doubt that the structures do contain ancient proteins.As early as the 1970s, researchers captured images of what looked like cellular structures inside dinosaur fossils. But did the structures contain actual tissue? Proteins commonly decay hundreds to thousands of years after an organism dies, but in rare cases they have been known to survive up to 3 million years. In a series of studies beginning a decade ago, a team led by North Carolina State University paleontologist Mary Schweitzer reported that they had extracted what appeared to be collagen, the most abundant protein in bone, from a 68-million-year-old T. rex fossil. They sequenced fragments of the protein and concluded that it closely matched that of birds, dinosaurs’ living descendants (see here and here). But other teams haven’t been able to replicate the work, and others suggested that the collagen could be contamination.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The new study, led by materials scientist Sergio Bertazzo and paleontologist Susannah Maidment, both of Imperial College London, has a different strategy for hunting down ancient proteins. Bertazzo, an expert on how living bones incorporate minerals, uses a tool called a focused ion beam to slice through samples, leaving pristine surfaces that are ideal for high-resolution imaging studies. He teamed up with Maidment to apply the technique to eight chunks of dinosaur toe, rib, hip, leg, and claw.What they found shocked them. Imaging the fresh-cut surfaces with scanning and transmission electron microscopes, “we didn’t see bone crystallites” as expected, Maidment says. “What we saw instead was soft tissue. It was completely unexpected. My initial response was these results are not real.”The U.K. team tested more fossils and ran microscopic samples from what appear to be collagen fibers through a mass spectrometer to get the weight of the component molecules. The weights came back as identical to those of the three most common amino acids in collagen, the team reports.But outsiders, including Schweitzer, say that the weights aren’t conclusive proof that the molecules being analyzed are amino acids, or that they came from a dinosaur rather than a contaminant. A different type of mass spectrometer that can provide the sequence of the amino acids in a protein fragment would strongly suggest the existence of collagen and replicate the earlier work, Collins says. Maidment says the team hopes to do such studies soon. If they succeed, the work may spur additional efforts to isolate dinosaur proteins and understand how they differed from those of their modern relatives.last_img read more

Earth-like planet may be not so hospitable after all, thanks to blasts of radiation

first_imgEarlier this year, astronomers reported discovering a handful of Earth-like planets orbiting distant stars. One of them, a presumably rocky orb dubbed Kepler-438b, orbits a red dwarf star and may be just a bit warmer than Earth, those researchers suggested. Now, another team finds that the planet may be hostile to life because it has no atmosphere, thanks to supersized solar flares that blast the planet every few hundred days, the researchers report online before print in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The flares are about 10 times as powerful as those ever recorded on our sun, the team estimates. And because Kepler-438b orbits just 25 million kilometers from its star (about half the distance of Mercury’s closest approach to our sun), that’s a recipe for disaster for life as we know it, the researchers say: With little or no atmosphere, the planet’s surface would be exposed to harsh x-ray and ultraviolet radiation, not to mention floods of charged particles like those in our solar wind.last_img read more

Plasma transfusions can’t combat Ebola

first_imgDuring the darkest months of the West African Ebola epidemic in 2014, scientists were almost empty-handed. Hundreds of patients were dying every week; drugs and vaccines weren’t ready for testing. There was another strategy they could try, however: taking blood from people who had already survived Ebola and giving it to those who were sick. Blood from survivors is laden with antibodies against the virus that might just help new victims overcome Ebola as well. But a new study suggests the approach doesn’t work, and some scientists say it’s time to bury the idea and move on.Passive immunotherapy, as the strategy is called, has proven its merit with other diseases, including influenza and diphtheria, but whether it worked with Ebola was unknown. A study during the 1995 Ebola outbreak in Kikwit, in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, showed that seven out of eight patients who received blood from survivors survived, but a later analysis showed that most of them received the transfusions late in their disease, when they were unlikely to die anyway. A 2007 study in which monkeys received convalescent blood showed no benefit. “Given these discouraging results and the risks of transmitting infection, whole-blood transfusions, even under desperate epidemic conditions, seem unwarranted,” the authors of that paper warned.When Ebola exploded in West Africa in 2014, and patients were dying in large numbers, the World Health Organization said it was worth trying anyway—especially because candidate drugs were in short supply.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The new study, led by researchers at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium, and Guinea’s National Blood Transfusion Center, didn’t use blood but plasma—essentially blood minus the red blood cells. (The cells are given back to the donors.) The logistics were daunting: A huge blue bus chockful of equipment to obtain and process blood was shipped in from abroad. Survivors were mobilized and convinced to donate plasma—not an easy task in West Africa, where blood is a symbol of strength.The researchers hoped to recruit 130 patients; because the epidemic was already on the retreat when their study started, they managed to administer plasma to only 99 people, 15 of whom were excluded from the analysis for various reasons. (Guinea had its last Ebola case in October.) Because withholding a potential treatment was unacceptable to regulators and the local population, there was no placebo group, says lead author Johan van Griensven; instead, the control group was formed by 418 patients treated at the same center in the five previous months.Of the 84 patients eventually included in the plasma group, 31% died, compared with 38% in the control group—a difference of 7%. When the researchers adjusted the data to correct for patient age and virus levels in their blood, the difference shrunk to 3%, and it was no longer statistically significant, the team reports today in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).The researchers haven’t entirely given up on the idea that plasma might work, however. They didn’t determine the antibody levels in the plasma that they administered; those measurements are now being done at a high-level biosafety lab in France. It’s still possible that plasma from some donors with high levels of antibody—or particularly powerful antibodies—was effective, Van Griensven says. “This is not the end of the convalescent plasma story,” says Calum Semple, a clinical virologist at the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom and a co-author on the study. (The fact that administering plasma was possible in the midst of an outbreak, and that the treatment was safe and acceptable to donors and patients, is an important feat in itself, he says.)The trial’s disappointing outcome is “not very surprising,” says virologist Thomas Geisbert of the University of Texas Medical Center in Galveston, one of the authors of the 2007 monkey study. He says doing the study didn’t make much sense in the first place, and now it’s time to let go of the idea altogether.Geisbert’s hopes are on treatments that did do well in animal studies, including a lab-made cocktail of antibodies called ZMapp that protected monkeys from Ebola. A field trial of ZMapp that has enrolled around 70 patients in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and the United States is ongoing; whether that cohort is large enough to produce definitive results is still unclear.A second study published in NEJM today provides hints, but no solid evidence, about another strategy that might work against Ebola. The paper is based on a natural experiment: In August 2014, an Ebola treatment center in the Foya, in northern Liberia, ran out of the first-line malaria therapy, a combination called arthemeter-lumefantrin, that was given to all Ebola patients admitted to the center. For 12 days, until new supplies arrived, the center relied on another drug combo named artesunate-amodiaquine.As it happens, a screening published in 2013 showed that amodiaquine has anti-Ebola activity in the test tube. So researchers set out to see whether patients on the new malaria drugs had a higher chance of survival. They did: In the NEJM paper, the team shows that 51% of the patients died during the 12-day interval, compared to 64% of those in the periods before and after the stock-out.It’s not clear that amodiaquine saved patients from Ebola, however, the researchers write. One possibility is that the drug doesn’t do anything, but that arthemeter-lumefrantrine increases the risk of death instead. It’s also possible that the patients in the 12-day interval somehow differed from those who came earlier or later. Still, if malaria treatment is a standard component of Ebola care, artesenate-amodiaquine may be the better choice, the team writes. “It’s definitely an interesting finding,” says Robert Garry of Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana—but more work is needed on the anti-Ebola effects of amodiaquine, he says.last_img read more

NIH director’s possible exit plan: Back to the lab

first_imgFrancis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the past 7 years, expects to go back to full-time research for a while if he’s not asked to stay on by President-elect Donald Trump, the physician-geneticist said this week. And he expressed unhappiness with Congress’s plan to freeze NIH spending at current levels well into next year, dubbing it “crap.”Like other presidential appointees, Collins must submit by 7 December a letter of resignation that says he will resign as of 20 January, Collins told Scientific American earlier this week. After that, “I have no idea … my mind is pretty open. … It’s not really up to me.” But he said he expects to continue to run the lab he has had at NIH for 23 years “come what may.” Collins declined to comment to reporters yesterday on whether he has been talking to the Trump transition team, but said that if he were asked to stay on, “I guess I’d have to see if that actually happened and what the conditions were.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) He told ScienceInsider that if he doesn’t remain NIH director, it’s “absolutely possible” that he would go back to full-time research “at least for a while. It’s sort of like a sabbatical.” He said that he has had “no ability to do any negotiation about possible future roles” in the public or private sectors because of federal conflict of interest rules. “So when people say, ‘You must have a plan on what you’re going to do next,’ and I say ‘I don’t,’ they should believe it because I don’t.”Collins’s NIH lab, which studies the genetics of diabetes and aging, now has about 10 members, including four postdocs. Collins says he could conceivably stay on permanently at NIH: “It is a wonderful place and my lab is very well situated.” He added, however, that in anticipation of a possible move, he has not taken any new trainees into his lab for the past couple years.  Collins, 66, previously took a break after stepping down in 2008 as director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, where he led the Human Genome Project. After writing a book about personalized medicine, he became NIH director in August 2009.His predecessor, Elias Zerhouni, also took some time off after resigning shortly before the 2008 presidential election. But Harold Varmus, NIH director in the late 1990s, moved directly from that position to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in 1999.Collins has been sending a message of reassurance to NIH staff and the research community since Trump’s upset victory on 8 November. He said yesterday that he’s “not really concerned” about the fate of President Obama’s initiatives in precision medicine and brain research. “Congress has been continually positive about medical research, it’s one of their highest priorities, and its not a partisan issue. … That kind of support which has already led to the launch of the Precision Medicine Initiative and the BRAIN [Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies] initiative … gives me great confidence that despite various transitions, this kind of effort is going to continue to be a priority for the United States.”Collins did express concern, however, about the news yesterday that Congress intends to pass a stopgap funding measure keeping NIH’s current budget at the 2016 level until 31 March. The Senate and House of Representatives had been considering 2017 spending bills that would give the $32 billion agency between a $1.25 billion and $2 billion increase next year. A continuing resolution (CR), as it’s called, would be “an extremely unfortunate and painful outcome for biomedical research” because it would force NIH to spend its final 2017 budget in just 6 months. That could make it difficult to spend the money “in the most innovative way,” he told an audience at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank in Washington, D.C.“There’s an acronym here which is: A CR Attenuates Progress. That would be C-R-A-P in case you haven’t figured that out,” Collins said to laughter.last_img read more

Norway plans to exterminate a large reindeer herd to stop a fatal infectious brain disease

first_img Hot zone Reindeer will be slaughtered in Nordfjella, Norway; no culling is recommended for the area near Trondheim where two moose with chronic wasting disease have been found. By Erik StokstadApr. 3, 2017 , 5:30 PM CWD, discovered in 1967, has been found in 24 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces, and it has been spread in part by shipments of infected animals. Many species of cervids are susceptible, including elk, moose, and several kinds of deer. Infected animals typically begin showing symptoms such as weight loss, lethargy, and drooling 2 to 3 years after infection and then die within months. In Wyoming, where CWD has been endemic for decades, up to 40% of some herds are infected, and white-tailed deer populations are declining by 10% a year.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)CWD is very contagious: Prions spread easily through saliva, urine, and feces, and can linger in the environment for years, which suggests that feeding stations and salt licks are hot spots of infection. Once the disease has become firmly established, environmental contamination makes eradication very hard, says Christina Sigurdson, a prion researcher at the University of California, San Diego. “It hasn’t been shown so far to be possible,” she says. There’s no evidence that humans can get sick from eating infected deer, but it is not recommended. (Mad cow disease, also caused by prions, can infect people who eat contaminated meat and has caused more than 200 deaths so far.)Norway’s first CWD case was detected by chance after wildlife biologists working in the rugged mountains of Nordfjella found a sick young reindeer on 15 March 2016. After its death, tests at the Norwegian Veterinary Institute (NVI) in Oslo pointed to CWD. “I couldn’t believe it,” says NVI prion researcher Sylvie Benestad. But international reference labs confirmed her diagnosis. The prions resemble those found in North American deer, Benestad and her colleagues have found. How the disease got to Norway is a mystery. Prions may have arrived in deer urine, which is bottled in the United States and sold as a lure, or perhaps they hitched a ride on hiking boots or hunting gear. But prion diseases can also start spontaneously, after proteins begin to misfold in a single individual, and Benestad’s hunch is that this is a more likely scenario. After the initial discovery, Norwegian officials began looking for other cases. A local hunter found two moose with CWD near the town of Selbu, 40 kilometers southeast of Trondheim (see map), in May 2016. During last fall’s hunting season, thousands of hunters and other volunteers collected about 8000 brain samples from all over the country, turning up two more cases of infected reindeer near Nordfjella. The cases in Nordfjella and Selbu are likely not linked, says Benestad, as the reindeer and moose have different types of prions.  Norwegian Institute for Nature Research A year after a deadly and highly contagious wildlife disease surfaced in Norway, the country is taking action. Chronic wasting disease (CWD), caused by misfolded proteins called prions, has already ravaged deer and elk in North America, costing rural economies millions in lost revenue from hunting. Its presence in Norway’s reindeer and moose—the first cases in Europe—is “a very serious situation for the environment and for our culture and traditions,” says Bjørnar Ytrehus, a veterinary researcher at the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research in Trondheim.Last week, Norway’s minister of agriculture and food gave the green light for hunters to kill off the entire herd in which three infected individuals were found, about 2000 reindeer, or nearly 6% of the country’s wild population. “We have to take action now,” says Karen Johanne Baalsrud, director of plant and animal health at the Norwegian Food Safety Authority in Oslo. The deer’s habitat will be quarantined for at least 5 years to prevent reinfection. The odds of a successful eradication, experts say, will depend largely on how long CWD has been present in Norway. CREDITS: (GRAPHIC) G. GRULLÓN/SCIENCE; (DATA) NORWEGIAN VETERINARY INSTITUTE/NORWEGIAN ENVIRONMENT AGENCY Norway plans to exterminate a large reindeer herd to stop a fatal infectious brain disease This reindeer is one of three confirmed to have had chronic wasting disease, the first cases known in the wild outside North America. An advisory panel convened by the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety last week suggested different approaches for the two locations. Around Selbu, it recommended increased surveillance, but no culling of moose yet. The two infected moose were older animals, suggesting that these were cases of spontaneous disease, which are less likely to be infectious. (The reason why: In spontaneous cases of prion disease, such as in sheep, prions are only found in the brain.) And even even if the unusual prions in moose are contagious, the solitary nature of these animals lowers the chances of transmission.Reindeer, however, are the most gregarious of cervids, and the three sick individuals in Nordfjella could easily have spread prions. Culling the entire herd would be “drastic,” the panel acknowledged, but should be attempted as soon as possible. The slaughter, to start in August, will be carried out by amateur hunters, who can eat the meat if prion tests come back negative. Professional sharpshooters will be used to find any elusive survivors. “We will do whatever it takes,” says Erik Lund, a senior wildlife adviser at the Norwegian Environment Agency in Trondheim. Until the operation begins, wildlife rangers are patrolling to prevent animals from leaving or entering the herd’s 2000-square-kilometer habitat. The area is ringed by paved roads, which reindeer don’t like to cross, but if any do, the rangers have orders to track down and kill them. Repopulation won’t begin until at least 2022. Benestad says testing old feces may be a way to check whether prions lingering in the environment have degraded.Based on the prevalence in Nordfjella—estimated at 1%—Lund guesses that CWD may have been present for only 5 to 7 years, which could mean contamination is minimal. “There’s a good chance they can solve the problem,” says wildlife ecologist Michael Samuel of the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Quick response has been shown to work before: In 2005, routine testing revealed CWD on two deer farms in central New York. Strict regulations prevented the disease from spreading. The state has seen no cases since.But it’s also possible that CWD is lurking elsewhere in Norway, the panel noted. The agencies will collect another 20,000 samples in the coming hunting season, and they plan to continue monitoring for years to come. The specter of CWD has also alarmed the European Food Safety Authority, which released a report in January recommending that seven nearby countries all begin 3-year sampling programs.Clarification, 4 April, 4.20 p.m.: The paragraph explaining why no culling is planned around Selbu has been edited to make it clearer.last_img read more

Science candidates: High-tech smarts aren’t enough for defeated Obama aide

first_imgBrian Forde brought a background in technology to his run for Congress. Q: You’ve said Zuckerberg’s testimony was an embarrassing example of how poorly Congress understands tech. What will it take to close that gap?A: I think that we are going to need more congressional hearings that look like the Zuckerberg hearing, in which Congress makes a fool of itself with regard to science and technology. Once we have more of these examples, it becomes part of a greater national narrative of what we need in Congress.Q: How can scientists help?A: The thing about technology is that before the ink is dry on a piece of legislation, the technology has already changed. So you need people who understand where it’s going and can see around corners. The problem is that if the only thing a member of Congress has heard about technology are 4-minute attacks from people who don’t know what they are talking about, it’s going to be very hard to have a productive conversation with that member in a way that helps Americans.But here’s a thought: How many scientists have sent their member of Congress a one-pager, a blog post, or a research paper with a note that says, “Here’s a quick way to help you get up to speed on this issue, because I heard you say something that wasn’t quite accurate? Or would you like me to host a roundtable, bringing together people with expertise on this issue?”Those types of efforts can massively impact the perspective of an elected official—or even a candidate. Of course, there’s still the question of whether the member or the candidate is willing to listen.Q: What’s next for you?A: It’s too soon to say. I haven’t even talked about it with my wife [Alison Grigonis, a lawyer who also worked in the Obama White House as a liaison between the president and his Cabinet]. But I’m effusively supportive of Katie [Porter] and have told every one of my supporters that I would appreciate if they would consider doing so, both in terms of financial support and in volunteer hours. And I’ll do anything she asks of me, because the most important thing is to flip this seat. Forde for Congress By Jeffrey MervisJun. 28, 2018 , 8:30 AM For many first-time congressional candidates with science and technology backgrounds, fundraising can be a major obstacle. Not to Brian Forde, who was once a  senior technology adviser to former-President Barack Obama. Forde managed to outpace his Democrat rivals by raising some $1.5 million for his southern California House race, including more than $300,000 in contributions via cryptocurrencies.But on 5 June Forde received only 6% of the vote, leaving him a distant fourth in the open, top-two primary to represent California’s 45th congressional district in Orange County. Democrat Katie Porter, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), edged out fellow UCI law professor Dave Min for the right to challenge incumbent Republican Mimi Walters in the November general election.The 38-year-old Democrat stands by his message that Congress needs more technologists to do its job. Exhibit A, he says, are all the legislators who struggled to keep up with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg when he testified this spring. But the knowledge gained from a tech career that gave him the chance to brief Obama on the emerging world of cryptocurrencies—and then to create a digital currency initiative within the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge—wasn’t nearly enough to win a seat in Congress. Political smarts are even more important, he acknowledges.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Forde spoke with ScienceInsider both before and after his defeat, offering some advice to scientists weighing their own bids for elective office and reflecting on his own campaign. Science candidates: High-tech smarts aren’t enough for defeated Obama aide Q: Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?A: I would have started running earlier. [Porter and Min declared in April 2017, and Forde jumped in last summer.] As a first-time candidate, it’s like when you’re a child, and every month of growth is massive. Being naturally cautious, a scientist or technologist might be inclined to wait and not jump in until you have everything lined up. But you need to let go of that idea and realize that you’re going to learn a lot once you start running.Q: How did you go about attracting support from a community that has traditionally stayed away from politics?A: You have to give them a compelling reason why something they care about is under attack. And if it’s not, then what are you fighting for that they care about?For example, I was running against a candidate who fundamentally doesn’t understand, or care to understand, cryptocurrency. [Min ran an ad that accused Forde of taking crypto donations from “Bitcoin speculators that oppose cracking down on drug deals and human trafficking.”] And while most people in that space haven’t been active politically, they were more than happy to contribute to my campaign because the alternative was having someone who clearly did not understand this emerging technology and who perpetuated lies about the technology. Follow our rolling coverage of 2018’s science candidates. Meet the scientists running to transform Congress in 2018 The science vote The science candidates: races to watch in 2018last_img read more

U.S. judge tosses climate lawsuits by California cities, but says science is sound

first_imgCities in the United States had taken oil companies to court, arguing that they should pay for climate-related problems caused by the burning of fossil fuels. U.S. judge tosses climate lawsuits by California cities, but says science is sound Read more… Originally published by E&E NewsA federal court judge yesterday threw out lawsuits from two California cities seeking to make oil companies pay for worsening sea-level rise and other climate change impacts.Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted the request from five oil companies seeking dismissal of the cases brought by San Francisco and Oakland. They were suing Chevron Corp., BP PLC, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC, arguing that the companies make and sell products that when combusted create a public nuisance. The cities also contended that the companies knew the global dangers for decades and hid that information while protecting their assets.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Alsup, a Clinton appointee who in March held a high-profile “tutorial” on climate science, said evaluating blame for warming impacts is a political issue and not one for the courts to decide.”This order accepts the science behind global warming,” Alsup said in his ruling. “So do both sides. The dangers raised in the complaints are very real. But those dangers are worldwide. Their causes are worldwide. The benefits of fossil fuels are worldwide. The problem deserves a solution on a more vast scale than can be supplied by a district judge or jury in a public nuisance case.”The decision marks a huge blow for climate change activists and other cities pursuing similar lawsuits. It’s a win, meanwhile, for the oil companies and other industry groups that opposed the lawsuit.John Coté, communications director for San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, said in an email that “this is obviously not the ruling we wanted, but this doesn’t mean the case is over.””We’re reviewing the order and will decide on our next steps shortly,” he added. “We’re pleased that the court recognized that the science of global warming is no longer in dispute. Our litigation forced a public court proceeding on climate science, and now these companies can no longer deny it is real and valid. Our belief remains that these companies are liable for the harm they’ve caused.”Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker said that “we are carefully reviewing the order and considering all options, including an appeal.””We believe our lawsuit presents valid claims and these defendants must be held accountable for misleading the American people about the catastrophic risks to human beings and all forms of life on this planet caused by fossil fuel-driven global warming and sea-level rise,” she said.Alsup said the cities’ theory—that the combustion of fossil fuels created a nuisance—had a scope that was “breathtaking.””It would reach the sale of fossil fuels anywhere in the world, including all past and otherwise lawful sales, where the seller knew that the combustion of fossil fuels contributed to the phenomenon of global warming,” Alsup said in his order. “While these actions are brought against the first, second, fourth, sixth and ninth largest producers of fossil fuels, anyone who supplied fossil fuels with knowledge of the problem would be liable.”The cities originally filed the suits in state court. The oil companies moved the cases to federal court, and Alsup ruled that they belonged in his court because it was a federal issue. In that ruling, he appeared to indicate he did not believe that federal law and federal court precedents precluded the cities from seeking action. In his ruling yesterday, Alsup said there was no conflict between that decision and this one.”It remains proper for the scope of plaintiffs’ claims to be decided under federal law, given the international reach of the alleged wrong,” Alsup said. “Although the scope of plaintiffs’ claims is determined by federal law, there are sound reasons why regulation of the worldwide problem of global warming should be determined by our political branches, not by our judiciary.”The lawsuits by San Francisco and Oakland were the first to go forward among a growing group of similar cases. Also in California, Imperial Beach, San Mateo, Marin County, Richmond, Santa Cruz and Santa Cruz County are suing two dozen or more fossil fuel companies and trade associations in separate cases. A decision in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is pending on whether to uphold an order by federal Judge Vince Chhabria that moved those suits from federal to state court.The city of Boulder and the counties of San Miguel and Boulder in Colorado are suing Suncor Energy Inc. and Exxon Mobil, demanding “past and future damages” for climate impacts. King County, Wash., sued the same five companies named in the San Francisco and Oakland suits. New York City also filed a claim against the same oil companies named in those suits.National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons in a statement said this ruling could foreshadow what those cities are up against.”Other municipalities around the country who have filed similar lawsuits should take note as those complaints are likely to end the same way,” he said. “New York City, Boulder, and the other California municipalities should withdraw their complaints and follow the lead of others that are focused on meaningful solutions.”Related:In a San Francisco courtroom, climate science gets its day on the docketReprinted from Climatewire with permission from E&E News. Copyright 2018. E&E provides essential news for energy and environment professionals at www.eenews.net P. A. Lawrence, LLC/Alamy Stock Photo By Anne C. Mulkern, E&E NewsJun. 26, 2018 , 9:10 AMlast_img read more

Three Chinese teams join race to build the world’s fastest supercomputer

first_img TIANJIN, CHINA—In a cavernous room just off the marble floored lobby of China’s National Supercomputer Center of Tianjin stand more than 100 wardrobe-size black and gray metal cabinets, arranged in ranks like a marching army. They contain the Tianhe-1A supercomputer, which 8 years ago became the first Chinese machine to reign, briefly, as the world’s fastest computer, running at 2.57 petaflops (or quadrillion floating point operations per second). But just upstairs from Tianhe-1A—and off-limits to visitors—is a small prototype machine that, if successfully scaled up, could push China to the top of the rankings again. The goal is a supercomputer capable of 1 exaflop—1000 petaflops, five times faster than the current champion, the Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.China is vying with the United States, Europe, and Japan to plant its flag in this rarefied realm, which will boost climate and weather modeling, human genetics studies, drug development, artificial intelligence, and other scientific uses. But its strategy is unique. Three teams are competing to build China’s machine; the Tianjin prototype has rivals at the National Supercomputing Center in Jinan and at Dawning Information Industry Co., a supercomputer manufacturer in Beijing. The Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) will probably select two for expansion to exascale by the end of the year. The approach is a chance to spur innovation, says Bob Sorensen, a high-performance computing analyst at Hyperion Research in St. Paul. It “encourages vendors to experiment with a wide range of designs to distinguish themselves from their competitors,” he says.China may not be first to reach this computing milestone. Japan’s Post-K exascale computer could be running in 2020. The United States is aiming to deploy its first exascale system at Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois, in 2021. The European Union is ramping up its own program. China is aiming for 2020, but the date may slip.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Being first is not China’s only goal, however. Having three competing teams will ensure broad-based technological advancement in computer chips, operating software, networking, and data storage technologies, says Meng Xiangfei, a physicist leading exascale application R&D for the center here. Building domestic capacity is particularly important for central processing units (CPUs) and specialized chips called accelerators, which boost a computer’s performance. China relied on U.S.-made Intel CPUs for several generations of supercomputers, says Jack Dongarra, a computer scientist at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, but in 2015, the U.S. government barred the export of certain chips for security reasons. That move “provoked the Chinese government to make a heavy investment” in processors, he says. All three exascale prototypes use chips made in China.The three-team strategy also allowed MOST to share costs with regional governments, which hope that a leading edge supercomputer will spur technological development and lure institutes and businesses. Qian Depei, a computer scientist at Beihang University in Beijing who serves on MOST’s exascale evaluation team, says the prototypes cost about $9 million each; MOST put up half and the rest came from local sources.The prototypes have faced a battery of tests for speed, stability, and energy consumption plus trial runs of software from different application areas, but the results are “very secret,” Meng says. The final budget is also unclear, though at the outset a governmental advisory committee estimated one exascale computer would cost 2 billion to 3 billion yuan ($288 million to $432 million).Even after the two winners are announced, Qian says the third team will probably remain involved so the expertise they’ve acquired is not wasted. Scaling up the prototypes, which operate in the range of 3 petaflops, will mean interconnecting enough CPUs and accelerators to reach an exaflop, refining the liquid cooling systems needed to remove heat and improve efficiency, and perfecting the operating software needed for the massively parallel arrangement of processors to work together.China once lagged in developing application software needed to do interesting science with supercomputers, but it has been catching up, Meng says. For the past 2 years, Chinese groups have won the Gordon Bell Prize presented annually by the Association for Computing Machinery for innovations in applying high-performance computing to science, engineering, and large-scale data analytics. Chinese scientists are now working on new applications, says Yang Meihong, director of the Jinan center. For example, going to exascale will allow a dramatic improvement in the spatial resolution of global atmospheric models, “which will be greatly significant for a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of climate change,” she says.The United States still dominates among the truly powerful supercomputers used for research, with 21 systems in the top 50 to China’s two. But scientists play down the ranking’s importance. “Having the top 500 No. 1 supercomputer—that’s pretty good, but that’s not the goal,” Qian says. “The real measure should be what kind of new science we have as a result of these computers,” Dongarra says. VCG/GETTY IMAGES By Dennis NormileOct. 24, 2018 , 1:45 PM Tianhe-1A was the world’s fastest computer in 2010. Its successor is being developed in the same building. Three Chinese teams join race to build the world’s fastest supercomputer last_img read more

Dinosaur eggs came in many colors—just like birds’

first_img By John PickrellOct. 31, 2018 , 2:00 PM Can you pick out the dinosaur egg? It’s the textured gray fossil on the far right, surrounded by (clockwise from bottom right) a green cassowary egg, a blue-gray emu egg, and a white alligator egg. Small corvid eggs surround the larger eggs. Dinosaur eggs came in many colors—just like birds’ Jasmina Wiemann Bird eggs have been admired since ancient times for their many hues and patterns, from the vivid blue of American robin eggs to the deep green-black of emu eggs. Now, a study shows these colors and markings are even older than we thought—they may have graced dinosaur eggs some 150 million years ago or more.“[This] is a true discovery,” says Mark Hauber, an ornithologist who studies the evolution of bird eggs and brooding behaviors at the University of Illinois in Urbana and was not involved in the research. Until now, most experts thought colored eggs evolved more recently, in various groups of modern birds, and that the earliest birds laid pure white eggs like crocodiles, he says.Research in the past few decades has shown many traits once thought to define modern birds, including feathers, wishbones, brooding behaviors, avian-style lungs, and hollow skeletons, evolved first in their dinosaur forebears. And last year, molecular paleobiologist Jasmina Wiemann of Yale University published the first evidence of dinosaur egg coloration, using chemical analysis to detect two pigments—blue-green biliverdin and red-brown protoporphyrin—in the eggs of a 70-million-year-old parrot-beaked oviraptorosaur called Heyuannia from China.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)To find out whether colored dinosaur eggs shared an evolutionary origin with those of birds, Wiemann and her colleagues amassed well-preserved fragments of fossil eggshell from 15 Cretaceous era dinosaurs and extinct birds, as well as eggshell from living chickens, terns, emus, and alligators. Instead of using the chemical analysis they developed for the 2017 study, which required grinding up fossil specimens, they turned to an innovative technique for studying fossils: something called Raman microspectroscopy. The method requires no destruction of fossils, instead bouncing a laser off the surface of the eggshells to betray their molecular makeup, including whether they carried traces of the two pigments known to color modern eggshells.The team found fossil eggs of many colors and speckling patterns. A relative of Velociraptor called Deinonychus laid eggs with blue-green color; the lightly built carnivorous troodontids had eggshells of blue-green, beige, or white; and the eggs of the Chinese oviraptorosaur Heyuannia previously tested were deep blue-green. Maps of protoporphyrin accumulation across the surface of many of the eggs, including Deinonychus and some troodontids revealed darker speckling patterns on top of the background color.As the researchers write today in Nature, the fact that they found colored eggs in so many carnivorous theropod dinosaurs that are closely related to birds—and exactly the same method of eggshell pigmentation—means colored eggs evolved “deep within the dinosaur tree and long before the spectacular radiation of modern birds,” likely more than 150 million years ago.Tinted shells probably camouflaged dinosaur eggs from predators, as do the shells of today’s birds, whereas distinctive speckling patterns may have helped parents distinguish their own eggs from those of cuckoolike dinosaurian nest parasites, Wiemann says. Birds with white eggs today, such as ostriches, parrots, and some domestic chickens, must have later lost the trait of coloring their eggs through evolution, she says.Traditionally, dinosaurs were thought of as reptilian-style breeders that dumped their eggs and left. But because egg color in birds is associated with complex nesting behaviors, this—along with existing fossil evidence—signals such advanced parental care may have also taken place among dinosaurs. Egg coloration as camouflage likely evolved soon after dinosaurs switched from burying their eggs to building open nests, Weimann adds, because from that point on, they needed to hide them from predators.No hint of pigment was detected in the eggs of several herbivorous long-necked sauropods or a duck-billed dinosaur Maiasaura, suggesting these species—which are on more distant branches of the dinosaur family tree—had white eggs that they buried in the ground like modern-day turtles.David Varricchio, who studies dinosaur reproduction and brooding at Montana State University in Bozeman, says that because the authors used a novel technique, others will want to test its veracity. But, he says, the fact that we are even beginning to discuss the color of eggs more than 66 million years old is “pretty dang amazing.”Wiemann plans to increase the dinosaur sample size to see whether she can pin down exactly where and when within the carnivorous theropod group of dinosaurs (which also includes birds) colored eggshells first evolved, and what color came first. Given the analytical methods from other scientific disciplines now available for work on fossils, “It’s an amazing time to be a paleontologist,” she says.last_img read more

Physicists create a quantum refrigerator that cools with an absence of light

first_imgThis new device shows that an LED can cool other tiny objects. Physicists create a quantum refrigerator that cools with an absence of light For decades, atomic physicists have used laser light to slow atoms zinging around in a gas, cooling them to just above absolute zero to study their weird quantum properties. Now, a team of scientists has managed to similarly cool an object—but with the absence of light rather than its presence. The technique, which has never before been experimentally shown, might someday be used to chill the components in microelectronics.In an ordinary laser cooling experiment, physicists shine laser light from opposite directions—up, down, left, right, front, back—on a puff of gas such as rubidium. They tune the lasers precisely, so that if an atom moves toward one of them, it absorbs a photon and gets a gentle push back toward the center. Set it up just right and the light saps away the atoms’ kinetic energy, cooling the gas to a very low temperature.But Pramod Reddy, an applied physicist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, wanted to try cooling without the special properties of laser light. He and colleagues started with a widget made of semiconducting material commonly found in video screens—a light-emitting diode (LED). An LED exploits a quantum mechanical effect to turn electrical energy into light. Roughly speaking, the LED acts like a little ramp for electrons. Apply a voltage in the right direction and it pushes electrons up and over the ramp, like kids on skateboards. As electrons fall over the ramp to a lower energy state, they emit photons.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Crucially for the experiment, the LED emits no light when the voltage is reversed, as the electrons cannot go over the ramp in the opposite direction. In fact, reversing the voltage also suppresses the device’s infrared radiation—the broad spectrum of light (including heat) that you see when you look at a hot object through night vision goggles.That effectively makes the device colder—and it means the little thing can work like a microscopic refrigerator, Reddy says. All that’s necessary is to put it close enough to another tiny object, he says. “If you take a hot object and a cold object … you can have a radiative exchange of heat,” Reddy says. To prove that they could use an LED to cool, the scientists placed one just tens of nanometers—the width of a couple hundred atoms—away from a heat-measuring device called a calorimeter. That was close enough to increase the transfer of photons between the two objects, due to a process called quantum tunneling. Essentially, the gap was so small that photons could sometimes hop over it.The cooler LED absorbed more photons from the calorimeter than it gave back to it, wicking heat away from the calorimeter and lowering its temperature by a ten-thousandth of a degree Celsius, Reddy and colleagues report this week in Nature. That’s a small change, but given the tiny size of the LED, it equals an energy flux of 6 watts per square meter. For comparison, the sun provides about 1000 watts per square meter. Reddy and his colleagues believe they could someday increase the cooling flux up to that strength by reducing the gap size and siphoning away the heat that builds up in the LED.The technique probably won’t replace traditional refrigeration techniques or be able to cool materials below temperatures of about 60 K. But it has the potential to someday be used for cooling microelectronics, according to Shanhui Fan, a theoretical physicist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, who was not involved with the work. In earlier work, Fan used computer modeling to predict that an LED could have a sizeable cooling effect if placed nanometers from another object. Now, he said, Reddy and his team have realized that idea experimentally. Joseph Xu/Michigan Engineering, Communications & Marketing By Daniel GaristoFeb. 14, 2019 , 3:50 PMlast_img read more

Vieira: ‘Balotelli can’t understand teamwork’

first_imgNice coach Patrick Vieira was “disappointed” with Mario Balotelli. “It’s really difficult for him to understand that football is about teamwork.” The Italy international has never hit the heights his potential warranted and is now also struggling at hometown club Brescia. “It was a real pleasure to work with Mario,” the Nice coach told beIN Sports at an event. “It was I think at a time where it was really difficult for him to understand that football is about teamwork, the team effort, and it’s something that is difficult for Mario to understand. “It has nothing to do with talent of the player, because he is a really special talent, but it’s disappointing that I was unable to get the best out of him, but he needs to understand as well that for him to play at this level, he needs to be part of the team. “I hope he understands that really soon, because there is still time for him to do so and he can go back to scoring goals. He’s got the talent to be the leader of the team, but the leader of the team has to put his talent at the service of the team.” Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/last_img read more

Vishwanathan Anand declines doctorate over nationality controversy

first_imgA move to confer an honorary doctorate on world chess champion Vishwanathan Anand was on Tuesday embroiled in a raging controversy over his citizenship, forcing him to decline the honour at least for now.After the Union Human Resource Development Ministry raised doubts over the nationality of Anand, who holds an Indian passport but lives in Spain, the University of Hyderabad had to delay the function to confer the honour on him.With his ministry’s name figuring in the controversy, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal spoke to Anand and is understood to have urged him to accept the award.But after media reported the delay, the University of Hyderabad decided to confer the doctorate to Anand at a function on Tuesday night.”We are ready to award the honorary doctorate to Anand. The doctorate has only been delayed and not denied as the HRD Ministry has raised doubts over the chess champion’s nationality,” Head of Mathematics Department in the University Rajat Tandon told PTI.”We learnt somewhere in July this year that the HRD Ministry is suspecting Anand’s nationality. We sent several clarifications to them but still they have not cleared the file related to the award of honorary doctorate,” he said.Coinciding with the International Conference on Maths currently on here, the University was planning to honour Anand along with Harvard University mathematician David Mumford.In the wake of the controversy, Tandon said the university planned to hold a function tonight to honour Anand but the champion declined to accept it in view of the controversy.advertisementStating that they were left “extremely embarrassed” over the entire issue, Tandon, also the organizing secretary of the ongoing International Congress of Mathematicians, apologised to Anand over this.last_img read more

Greed, ego, complacency turn Team India into ‘losers’

first_imgOn the third day of the third cricket Test in Perth, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni , 30, kept the door of his $200-a-day Hyatt Regency hotel room open for more than two hours. It was Team India ‘s third straight loss in the four-Test series. Two teammates stepped in,On the third day of the third cricket Test in Perth, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni , 30, kept the door of his $200-a-day Hyatt Regency hotel room open for more than two hours. It was Team India ‘s third straight loss in the four-Test series. Two teammates stepped in to ask if he was expecting any visitors. “I am expecting all of you. May we discuss why we are in this mess?” he said. No one dropped in.Perhaps the cricketers, having already lost the Test series 0-3, were thinking of the auction for the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), scheduled in Bangalore on February 4. In the T20 capital of the world, ipl earnings have become critical for top players since the cash-rich league started in 2008. What began as a frivolity has become the primary interest of cricketers tempted by wealth rather than motivated by national pride. The brand value of ipl in 2011 was $3.67 billion (Rs 18,350 crore), according to a Brand Finance report. The sideshow appears to be taking over the main event.In 2011, Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar, 38, earned Rs 9 crore each from playing the fourth edition of IPL for Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians respectively, while Gautam Gambhir, 30, who captained Kolkata Knight Riders, earned the highest last year, Rs 11 crore. This was almost five times the amount they would have earned from playing Tests, one-day internationals (ODI) and T20s in 2011. Top Indian players in Grade A get an annual retainership of Rs 1 crore and earn Rs 7 lakh per Test, Rs 4 lakh per odi and Rs 2 lakh per T20 match. In 2011, some cricketers played, on an average, 15 Tests and 30 odis, earning a maximum of Rs 2.25 crore in match fees.advertisementMahendra Singh DhoniIn this new commercial culture of the game, there is little incentive for good players to raise their game and become members of the elite club, Team India. Take Yusuf Pathan, 29, who is yet to play a Test but earned Rs 10 crore by playing ipl for Kolkata Knight Riders in 2011. Or Robin Uthappa, 26, uncapped in Tests and who played his last odi game in 2008. He earned Rs 10 crore from Pune Warriors. Contrast ipl earnings with what cricket boards hand out to their players. Cricket Australia’s highest paid player gets around Rs 7 crore. The maximum annual contract fee paid by the England and Wales Cricket Board is Rs 3 crore. Fast bowler Umesh Yadav, 24, is a classic example of divided loyalties bred by divided royalties. He is a Grade C player in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) contract system and gets Rs 25 lakh a year. In 2011, he earned Rs 3 crore by playing for Delhi Daredevils. His ipl value in 2012 will multiply after his impressive showing in Australia. At its best, IPL can be a force multiplier for a young cricketer with promise. At its worst, it can be a deterrent to performance for a player who is avaricious and lazy.Cricketers alone are not attracted to IPL lucre. So is their governing board, the BCCI. In 2010-11, BCCI earned Rs 1,667 crore in revenue-Rs 973 crore came from ipl. Sixty per cent of BCCI revenues come from TV and TV loves the Indian Paisa League. IPL-4 had an average TRP of 3.91, the lowest for any season. Even that was better than the depressing TRP figures for the first three Tests between India and Australia-0.89, 0.7 and 0.6. Set Max earned Rs 900 crore from IPL-4 from about 60 days of the intense cricket circus, with ad rates of Rs 1.5 lakh for 10 seconds. The India-England series, billed as a fiery face-off, earned Rs 100 crore for the broadcaster ESPN Star Sports, over 24 days of cricket at Rs 80,000 for every 10-second ad spot.”Even selectors know that the players want to earn the maximum as quickly as possible. No one is worried about Test losses,” says former Indian coach Aunshuman Gaekwad. “Everyone wants a slice of IPL,” adds former Indian bowler Manoj Prabhakar. “IPL brings loads of money, Tests only get you the contract money and match fee.”A sullen Team India after losing the last Test against Australia in Adelaide.IPL often breeds greed and it has led to angry debates when players appeared to have chosen club over country. Take Gambhir, who sustained a shoulder injury during the World Cup. He went on to play all 15 matches in IPL-4 despite knowing he was not fit. He then dropped out of the West Indies tour where he was to captain the ODI side and eventually had to return home after two Tests in England when the injury flared up.As if that was not enough in the deadly mix that is killing the soul of Indian cricket, there is ego. And it begins at the top, with the man who scripted India’s success at the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007, icc World Cup in 2011 and helped India become the No. 1 Test team in the world. After eight successive defeats in Tests (India lost 0-4 in England in 2011 immediately after the World Cup win and 0-4 in Australia), he is looking like a loser, and a sore one at that. Minutes after Australia pulverised India by an innings and 37 runs to wrap up the series in Perth, Dhoni refused to lead the team to the ground for the prize distribution ceremony. He had to be persuaded by coach Duncan Fletcher.advertisementClick here to EnlargeDefeat has turned the A-team of Alpha Males into a B-team of Bored Passengers. There is little camaraderie on the field, at the nets, or in the hotel. It hasn’t helped that some in Team India have openly aligned with vice-captain Virender Sehwag, 33, thinking he will soon be made skipper of the Test side. There have been several rumours to this effect but Dhoni has made no effort to tell bcci President N. Srinivasan that he is troubled by them. His attitude during defeats has also been distant. Once known for his morale-boosting SMSs to players, he has remained confined to his hotel room with wife Sakshi. Srinivasan is aware of the heightened talk about a rift. “I have heard of some ego issues in the dressing room. These two (Dhoni and Sehwag) are competent enough to iron out their differences, if any,” Srinivasan told India Today.But Dhoni’s unhappiness runs deeper. In private conversations with friends, the India captain has repeatedly expressed his frustration with the selectors led by former skipper K. Srikkanth. “I have often told him he should voice his concerns but doubt he will talk,” says Arun Pandey, Dhoni’s partner in Rhiti Sports Management, which handles his endorsements. “I wonder whether he can put things across bluntly. No one speaks his mind in the Indian cricket team,” argues Santosh Lal, longtime friend and member of the Jharkhand Ranji team.Dhoni has dropped broad hints. On the first day of the first Test against England in June last year, he unstrapped the wicket-keeping pads and started bowling after Zaheer Khan, 33, picked up a hamstring strain. Khan’s injury had left India with three specialist bowlers for the rest of the match. “It was risky to have an injury-prone Zaheer in a team that has four specialist bowlers,” says former India captain Kapil Dev. “Why can’t he speak to the selectors?”Click here to EnlargePerhaps because they don’t listen. Consider the England fiasco in August-September 2011. Despite his warnings not to include injury-prone cricketers, the selectors name Khan, Gambhir, Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, 31, and Harbhajan Singh, 31, in the squad. They were declared fit when their names were included. But trouble started almost immediately. Khan was the first to go after the hamstring injury, followed by Gambhir two Tests later. Sehwag, who batted with buds in his ears, was eventually diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss. More exits followed-Yuvraj, out with a fractured thumb, and Harbhajan, who picked up a hamstring injury. “Selectors must be answerable to the board,” says Gaekwad.In England, the Indian cricketers, having won the World Cup and having played the fourth edition of IPL, seemed complacent. Suddenly, Test cricket was not important for the cricketers. “England was one big party, it was not cricket,” says ESPN commentator Harsha Bhogle. The Indian team for the four-Test series Down Under was chosen on November 26 in Mumbai. Dhoni tried hard to push Tamil Nadu batsman Abhinav Mukund, 22, and Harbhajan, but both requests were turned down, as also his demand for a vote in the selection process. The five selectors-Mohinder Amarnath, Raja Venkat, Narendra Hirwani, Surendra Bhave and chief selector Srikkanth-were reluctant to remove “creaking gladiators” V.V.S. Laxman, 37, and Rahul Dravid, 39, from the side. Tendulkar was considered an automatic inclusion. Retaining all three is not mere sentiment. bcci knows television viewers tune in to watch familiar faces.advertisementDhoni’s leadership has suffered. Gone is the game-changer who, as former Australian skipper Ian Chappell puts it, “took bold decisions”. In its place is tentative experimentation. Dhoni went with an all-pace attack in the Perth Test, dropping off-spinner R. Ashwin, 25, to include debutant pacer Vinay Kumar, 27, who was pasted all over the ground. “Dhoni was definitely not in command in Australia,” former Indian coach Gary Kirsten told India Today from Cape Town.A frontline spinner, if included in the side, could have saved the day for the team at Perth. Much of the blame should be shared by the new bowling coach, South African Eric Simons. Head coach Fletcher has not helped with his stoic silence. Paddy Upton, the team’s motivational speaker, left with Kirsten. The fielding has been dodgy but no one questioned the role of fitness trainer Ramji Srinivasan. The team skipped practice as many as four times during the Test series. Pictures of them relaxing on the beachfront in Melbourne instead of sweating it out in training solidified the sense of drift.The message to the cricket fan is clear: wealth breeds indifference. Ironically, money may well be the imperative that wakes BCCI and persuades it to act before the slide becomes a swamp. The BCCI cannot make money out of a defeat-prone team. The BCCI working committee is meeting on February 12 and at the top of the agenda should be a list of fix-its. Sourav Ganguly, chairman of the BCCI technical committee and a commentator, has been asked to attend the meeting for a larger role in shaping national selection.Perhaps Dhoni sees in adversity an opportunity to ensure that BCCI splits the captaincy so that he can focus on the shorter versions of the game. That appears to be his plan, as evident from his comment on January 31: “Captaincy is just a position I hold. If there’s a better replacement, he can come in.” He had earlier hinted at retiring from Tests on January 12 to focus on the 2015 World Cup. There may be pressure from family. His father, Paan Singh, says in Ranchi that “my son will not cling to anything. I will ask him to quit. We have enough”. Also, as his first coach in Ranchi, Keshav Ranjan Banerjee, says, Dhoni has told him he has little patience for Test cricket. He certainly doesn’t want to keep wickets in Tests, says long-time friend in Ranchi, Shabbir Hussain. In fact, the BCCI annual general meeting in Kolkata on October 26, 2011, discussed the issue of split captaincy but did not come to any conclusion. There is talk though that Dhoni’s no-Test agenda has Srinivasan’s complete backing.So, will IPL kill Test cricket in India? It will definitely tire the players. Since the World Cup campaign ended on April 2, 2011, India have played 10 Tests, 20 ODIs, and three T20s. Australia, in contrast, have played seven Tests, 11 ODIs and two T20s. Don’t forget many of them have not had the distraction of attractive cheerleaders who are “walking porn”, glamorous after-parties and team owners determined to milk their investments. No wonder the champions of 2011 are looking like the hapless losers of 2012.-With Kaushik Dekalast_img read more

German globetrotter starts hand-made adventure vehicles workshop in Maharashtra

first_imgMan and the machine: Guido Bothe with the HammerWhat does the Hindi word “chinkara” have in common with German’s “schnell”? Everything, to 47-year-old German expatriate Guido Bothe.Resident of Alibag and the mastermind of Chinkara Motors, run in partnership with wife Shama, Bothe produces hand-made adventure vehicles. His most famous is,Man and the machine: Guido Bothe with the HammerWhat does the Hindi word “chinkara” have in common with German’s “schnell”? Everything, to 47-year-old German expatriate Guido Bothe.Resident of Alibag and the mastermind of Chinkara Motors, run in partnership with wife Shama, Bothe produces hand-made adventure vehicles. His most famous is modelled after the smallest Asiatic gazelle, “sleek, graceful, nimble and very quick”.The Chinkara 1.8 S Roadster – the S stands for schnell, or “fast” in German – made its debut at the Mumbai Auto Show 2003, receiving much acclaim as India’s first indigenous sports car. The vehicle comes customised and takes three-and-a-half months to complete.Bothe’s most recent creation is the Hammer, which made its first appearance at Delhi’s DefExpo ’06 in February. The vehicle looks like a 1960s Corvette Stingray, with a machine-gun mount on the back and armoured in hand-fitted layers of Kevlar and ceramic. It weighs 1,100 kg and is equipped with a 130 hp engine.Bothe predicts that the Hammer has a “huge” potential market among border patrols, special task forces, forest departments and antipoaching squads. “Like a hammer, you get in, hit your target fast, then get out fast,” he explains.It is not a high turnover business. Bothe and his 11-man team of welders, moulders, mechanics and fitters have custom-built 11 of the Chinkara Roadsters since 2003; it will take at least 50 of them to be sold for the company to even break even on its investment.Each Chinkara Roadster costs between Rs 6 lakh and Rs 7 lakh and Bothe admits his consumer base isn’t large. But he isn’t worried. “Success in numbers is minuscule,” he says, insisting that Chinkara is in business for the long haul to “look at the fun-factor of vehicles”, especially since a growing number of people consider cars as “not just a means of transport”.advertisementShama handles the administrative responsibilities-besides, being an Indian she technically owns the company- while Bothe attends to the workshop, re-engineering and finishing auto parts into the works of his imagination. Since the company’s inception, Chinkara has expanded its product line to include all terrain vehicles (ATVs) and speedboats.In his youth, Bothe had travelled the world, experimenting with extreme sports and at 36, he took a holiday in Maharashtra where he met Shama while sailing with her cousin. “When I went back (to Germany), it was like being in the wrong movie,” he says.”People were white and grey. I had such a good time in India, I decided to move here and stay with the good times.”last_img read more

IPL 2012 Live: KKR vs RCB cricket scores and commentary

first_imgIt has been a thoroughly deserving win for the Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Score | PhotosKKR were menacing with the bat, clobbered the Royal Challengers to all corners. They were led by Gambhir who scored a brilliant 93. Kohli, Dilshan and AB de Villiers failed with the bat and 191 looked taller than Mount Everest. Gayle gave some entertainment to the packed crowd towards the end, he now holds the Orange Cap. Kolkata move to the 2nd spot in the points table with 11 points. Stay tuned for the presentation.IPL 2012: KKR vs RCB Live: KKR win by 47 runsMan of the Match: Gautam GambhirChris Gayle: We are disappointed. 191 was tough and we didn’t start well. We have a long way to go, hopefully we shall pick ourselves up. The new ball was coming onto the bat nicely but in the middle overs the ball was stopping and coming. Their spinners were brilliant. I wanted to hit Billy (says jokingly), no offence but glad it didn’t hit the umpire. We have two home games now, hopefully we can win both.KKR 190/4 in 20 overs beat RCB 143/6 in 20 overs (Gayle 86)11:26 pm | 19.6 overs: Shukla to Vinay Kumar, no run, that completes a big win! Good slower bouncer, Vinay Kumar drops his wrists and lets it go, Kolkata win by 47 runs! And it’s all over for RCB and they go down by a massive 47-run margin.11:25 pm | 19.5 overs: WICKET! Lone wager Gayle departs and that’s the end for RCB…just one ball left. Shukla to Gayle, out Caught by Brendon McCullum!! That’s the end of Gayle, he was the lone warrior for the Royal Challengers, sucker ball from Shukla, Gayle went after it, gets an outside edge, McCullum dives to his left and takes a good catch. Gayle c Brendon McCullum b Shukla 86(58) [4s-7 6s-6] (RCB 143/6 in 19.5 overs)advertisement11:20 pm | 19 overs: Good over there for RCB. 23 runs off that over.18.6 overs: Bhatia to Gayle, SIX, poor bowling again! Full toss outside the off stump, Gayle smacks it over long off, sheer power from Gayle, moves into the eighties, monstrous hitting this, Gayle has scored 332 runs now, he is the holder of the Orange Cap now 18.5 overs: Bhatia to Gayle, SIX, MASSIVE! Gayle clears his front leg and swings through the line, the ball goes miles up in the air and clears long on with ease, don’t tell me he is eyeing for a hundred! 18.4 overs: Bhatia to Gayle, FOUR, low full toss, Gayle leans and drives it to sweeper cover, in the gap and he collects a boundary 18.3 overs: Bhatia to Gayle, SIX, is that the biggest one handed six ever? My word! It was a short ball, Gayle goes full monty, the bottom hand came off the bat as he heaved it over deep mid wicket, lands 15-20 rows behind in the stands, top shot! Daniel Vettori, left handed bat, comes to the crease 11:15 pm | 17.2 overs: Narine to Agarwal, out Bowled!! Castled! This little man has certainly been a terrific find for Kolkata. Superb delivery that, off cutter, Agarwal was looking to whip it across, but Narine bowled it a lot quicker, cleaned up. A well deserved wicket that, he has been superb today with the ball. Agarwal b Narine 10(13) [4s-1] (RCB 112/5 in 17.2 overs) Mayank Agarwal, right handed bat, comes to the crease 10:50 pm | 12.5 overs: WICKET! Now what an over that. After being hit for two big sixes by both batsmen, Bhatia gets rid of Tiwary. Bhatia to Saurabh Tiwary, out Caught by Gambhir!! Ok, the six was just a flash in the pan. Saurabh Tiwary looks to go over long off again, gets a thick outside edge as the ball turns away, the fielder at backward point goes backwards and takes a shoulder height catch. FYI, 1.6 million dollars was what the Royal Challengers paid for Saurabh Tiwary. Saurabh Tiwary c Gambhir b Bhatia 19(22) [4s-1 6s-1] (RCB 77/4 in 12.5 overs)12.4 Bhatia to Saurabh Tiwary, SIX, Saurabh Tiwary joins the party, it was overpitched, Saurabh Tiwary lofts it handsomely over long off, for a moment it looked like he might get holed out, but he’s hit that cleanly 12.3 Bhatia to Gayle, 1 run, width on offer, Gayle slaps it to sweeper cover 12.2 Bhatia to Gayle, SIX, Gayle breaks loose! Short ball, stand and deliver stuff from Gayle, goes back and muscles it over the long on boundary, even the cameraman missed it, proper hit, long on was just a spectatorAyaz Memon tweets: law of averages caught up with de Villiers…can Gayle defy it?advertisement10:30 pm | 7.3 overs: Kallis to Saurabh Tiwary, leg byes, 2 runs, loud appeal for LBW, not given! That one pitched outside leg and jagged across, trapped on the pad, the ball goes towards third man as Kallis continues to appeal, they take two runs.Saurabh Tiwary, left handed bat, comes to the crease10:22 pm | 5.3 overs: WICKET! De Villiers falls and RCB in deep trouble. Kallis to de Villiers, out Caught by Shukla!! The crowd erupt and Kolkata are all over Bangalore here. Not the shot you would expect from someone like de Villiers. First ball he faces, goes for a pull as Kallis bangs it hard, gets a top edge and the ball goes high up in the air, Shukla has got his judgement right this time around, settles right under it and takes it close to his chest, Kallis is having a great outing today. de Villiers c Shukla b Kallis 0(1) (RCB 34/3 in 5.3 overs)AB de Villiers, right handed bat, comes to the crease 10:20 pm | 5.2 oves: WICKET! Kohli goes down. Kallis to Virat Kohli, out Lbw!! Virat Kohli wasn’t looking too comfortable out there, the ball jags back in and traps Virat Kohli on the pad as he was looking to whip it across, he bent down suggesting that the ball stayed a tad low, that was convincing enough for the umpire to lift the finger, he was struck just above the knee roll. Virat Kohli lbw b Kallis 18(19) [4s-3] (RCB 34/2 in 5.2 overs)Shane Warne tweets on Yuvraj: Hey buddy how are you? What’s your thoughts on the IPL? Missing your big 6’s for sure!!!! What team do you fancy? Royals?Ayaz Memon tweets: kkr have thrown the gauntlet at RCB. Response of in form Gayle, de Villiers coukd make for a heady contestLalit Modi tweets: That drop might cost you big time kkr!!Brett Lee, right-arm fast, comes into the attack 10:05 pm | 0.6 overs: WICKET! Early dismissal and KKR’s on top already. Yusuf Pathan to Dilshan, out Caught by Bhatia!! Yusuf Pathan is over the moon, it is as if he has won the World Cup for his team. Well, to be fair to him, that’s a big wicket. Dilshan has been in good form, came down the wicket looking to go over the top, the face of the bat turned as he played at it, didn’t get enough power, mid off back pedals and takes it with fingers pointing up, big blow first up for the Challengers. Dilshan c Bhatia b Yusuf Pathan 1(3) (RCB 2/1 in 0.6 overs)10:00 pm | Dilshan and Gayle are at the crease. Dilshan is on strike. Yusuf Pathan will open the attackROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE: Target 191 in 20 overs KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS: 190/4 in 20 overs (Gambhir 93, McCullum 43, Kallis 41)Gambhir’s 93 came off just 51 balls and was puntuated with 9 fours and 5 sixes.9:40 pm | 19.6 overs: WICKET! Vinay Kumar to Yusuf Pathan, out Caught by Dilshan!! High full toss by Vinay, just below the waists though, Yusuf Pathan mistimes a shovel towards mid-wicket and finds Dilshan in the deep. Two wickets for Vinay in the final over but KKR end up with a massive 190 on the board. Yusuf Pathan c Dilshan b Vinay Kumar 7(4) [6s-1] And KKR post a massive 190/4 against RCB. It will be tought for RCB despite the presence of RCBadvertisementManoj Tiwary, right handed bat, comes to the crease 9:35 pm | 19.2 overs: WICKET! With Gambhir gone, Kallis too falls, but KKR are in complete control here. Vinay Kumar to Kallis, out Caught by Harshal Patel!! Good catch from Harshal. This was a low full toss on the middle, Kallis gets across his stumps as he looks to paddle, does not get enough bat on that, Patel runs back from short fine and completes a fine catch. Kallis c Harshal Patel b Vinay Kumar 41(27) [4s-1 6s-3] (KKR 182/3 in 19.2 overs)Yusuf Pathan, right handed bat, comes to the crease 9:30 pm | 18.4 overs: WICKET! And captain Gambhir falls agonisingly short of his ton. Zaheer to Gambhir, out Caught by Appanna!! Wonderful innings from Gambhir comes to an end. This was full and outside off, Gambhir looks to go inside out over cover and ends up hitting it straight to Appanna at long off, the end of a majestic innings, his best in the IPL. Gambhir c Appanna b Zaheer 93(51) [4s-9 6s-5] (KKR 175/2 in 18.4 overs)9:17 pm | 16 overs: Kolkata are 144/1 at the stage with skipper Gautam Gambhir batting on 82 and Jacques Kallis on 16. The current run rate is 9 runs an over – solid.9:00 pm | 12.4 overs: Dilshan to Gambhir, FOUR, another life for Gambhir , this was tossed up outside off, Gambhir looks to play the slog swipe, top-edges it wide of Vinay at long on. He dives but can’t get to the ball, bounces away past the ropes8:55 pm | 11.2 overs: FIFTY up for Gambhir. Appanna to Gambhir, 2 runs, FIFTY for Gambhir, dabs a well flighted delivery to the left of Kohli at mid-wicket. He lets rip a wild throw back at AB, a better throw would have had Kallis struggling, instead they get an overthrowJacques Kallis, right handed bat, comes to the crease 8:50 pm | 10.3 overs: WICKET! Finally a wicket for RCB. And it’s skipper Vettori who does the job. Vettori to Brendon McCullum, out Bowled!! Vettori finally has a say over his countryman. This was short and skidded on quickly, Brendon McCullum was making room outside leg as he looked to cut, misses it completely and has his stumps castled. Ends a super partnership. Brendon McCullum b Vettori 43(37) [4s-8] (RCB 95/1 in 10.3 overs)8:24 pm | 5 overs: Kolkata are 20/0 at the stage with skipper Gautam Gambhir (27) and Brendon McCullum (10) in the middle. The CRR is a good 8 an over.8:05 pm | 0.6 over: Zaheer to Gambhir, FOUR, Zaheer shortens his length outside off, Gambhir stays back and cuts it hard behind point for a boundary, top shot that from Gambhir. KKR 11/0 post the first over. Great start for them at home.8:00 pm | Brendon McCullum and Gambhir are at the crease. Brendon McCullum is on strike. Zaheer will open the attackTeams Kolkata Knight Riders (Playing XI): Brendon McCullum(w), Gautam Gambhir(c), Jacques Kallis, Manoj Tiwary, Yusuf Pathan, Debabrata Das, Rajat Bhatia, Laxmi Shukla, Sunil Narine, Brett Lee, Iqbal Abdulla Royal Challengers Bangalore (Playing XI): Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers(w), Saurabh Tiwary, Mayank Agarwal, Daniel Vettori(c), Zaheer Khan, Vinay Kumar, Harshal Patel, KP Appanna7:40 pm | Toss – Kolkata Knight Riders win toss and elect to batlast_img read more

IPL giants Mumbai Indians unveil Ricky Ponting as head coach

first_imgFormer Australian captain Ricky Ponting replaces John Wright as the new head coach of MumbaiMumbai Indians Wednesdayannounced the appointment of former Australia captain Ricky Ponting astheir head coach ahead of the eighth season of the Indian Premier League (IPL).Ponting was earlier the captain of the team in IPL 6. Hereplaces former India coach John Wright who moved to a new role ofevaluating and establishing a youth development organisation and will be working closely with the management on talent scouting for the team.”We are delighted to have Ricky back with us and look forward to hiscontribution based on his experience and expertise,” former Indiacaptain, Anil Kumble, part of the Mumbai Indians think-tank said.”John Wright will continue his association with MI and will look after talent scouting and youth development, which is one of the areas that we would like to build a stronger base in years to come”.last_img read more

REVEALED! Batsmen favour personal milestones over team’s objective

first_imgOver 2,000 Test matches from 1880-2014 were analysed for the studyBatsmen who were close to reaching personal milestones were likely to alter their strategy in a way which, at first sight, seems detrimental to the team, new research suggests.”We found clear evidence that the behaviour of batsmen is affected by their personal rewards in the game,” said Professor Lionel Page from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) who collected data on more than 3,500 one-day matches between 1971 and 2014.Professor Page and researcher Romain Gauriot from QUT business school examined the behaviour of batsmen reaching landmark scores in ODI matches.The research found that players were likely to bat more conservatively as they approached a half-century or century to maximise their chances of reaching it.”We found players react to individual-specific incentives in ways which can be detrimental to the team as a whole. For example, if a batsman is close to making 50 or 100, he will play more conservatively and hence score at a slower rate,” Page added.This increases his chances of reaching the landmark score, but at the cost of the team’s winning chances.”That is because in ODIs, batsmen should adopt a relatively high strike rate, taking the risk of losing their wicket to score more quickly,” Page pointed out.Contrary to the belief when batsmen reach the “nervous nineties” – the idea they are more likely to be dismissed as they approach a century – the researchers found adopting a conservative style at that stage reduced their chances of dismissal.advertisement”We observed that while batsmen are conservative on their way to a milestone, they switch to a more aggressive strategy straight after reaching it, possibly to catch up with lost time,” the authors noted.The data showed the batsmen’s strike rate jumped more than 40 percent after reaching a century compared to the period leading up to it.”This leads to a sharp increase in the rate of dismissals,” they wrote.Analysing more than 2,000 Test matches from 1880-2014, professor Page found captains were far more likely to declare an innings when a batsman had reached a landmark rather than when he was just below one.”One of the most interesting finding from this study shows that team captains also react to individual-specific incentives by accommodating them,” he said.The evidence suggests that team captains are willing to trade a cost to the team in favour of a substantial reward to a particular player – for example eating up valuable time and delaying a declaration so a batsman can reach his individual milestone.The research is forthcoming in the journal American Economic Review.last_img read more

Panasonic launches HC-WX970 and HC-VX870 4K camcorders with Twin Camera function

first_imgPanasonic has just launched a range of camcorders in the Indian market. The devices, which are part of its 4K Ultra HD lineup, are the HC-WX970 and the HC-VX870. The camcorders were first announced during CES in the month of January. While the HC-WX970 is priced at Rs 84,990, the HC-VX870 is priced at Rs 74,990. One of the only difference among the two gadgets is the integrated camera attached to the flip screen on the HC-WX970. Using this, one can shoot picture-in-picture recording of footage. Although both variants will feature Twin Camera functions, the feature can be used on the HC-VX870 on connecting a smartphone to it using Wi-Fi. The devices also include a rotatable sub camera, which can be used to take two different shots at different angles.The cameras run on a Crystal Engine 4K processor and hybrid 5-axis OIS system. Also the mic on the devices are capable of recording 5.1 channel surround sound. Both devices also sport 3-inch LCD screens and are powered by a 3.6V battery. The cameras also support 4K and high speed HD images. Both cameras support AVCHD and also come with an MOS image sensor, with more pixels for HD images and High-speed readout as well as reduced Rolling Shutter distortion. Other features on the camcorders include wind shield zoom microphone, night mode, Wi-Fi with NFC and narration mode to name a few.last_img read more

FIFA’s Chuck Blazer admitted taking bribes for World Cup votes

first_imgA former executive committee member of football’s global governing body FIFA told a US judge in November 2013 that he and other officials took bribes in connection with the 1998 and 2010 World Cups, among other major tournaments.Chuck Blazer, a US citizen, secretly pleaded guilty to 10 criminal counts in New York as part of an agreement with US prosecutors, according to a partially blacked out transcript of the hearing released on Wednesday.According to US officials, Blazer’s cooperation helped build a sprawling corruption case that has led to charges against top FIFA figures and prompted the resignation on Tuesday of longtime president Sepp Blatter.Blazer served as an executive committee member of FIFA from 1997 to 2013 and was the general secretary of CONCACAF, soccer’s governing body in North and Central America and the Caribbean, from 1990 to 2011.”Among other things, I agreed with other persons in or around 1992 to facilitate the acceptance of a bribe in conjunction with the selection of the host nation for the 1998 World Cup,” Blazer told US District Judge Raymond Dearie during a closed-door proceeding in Brooklyn federal court on the morning of November 25, 2013, according to the transcript.Though France won the bidding to host the tournament, separate court documents claim Morocco paid the bribe in connection with the 1998 World Cup.Blazer added that from 2004 to 2011, “I and others on the FIFA executive committee agreed to accept bribes in conjunction with the selection of South Africa as the host nation for the 2010 World Cup.”U.S. authorities have said South Africa paid a $10 million bribe while bidding to be the 2010 World Cup host. The country has confirmed the payment but said it was a donation to support soccer development in the Caribbean, not a bribe.advertisementBlazer also admitted to taking kickbacks related to five different editions of CONCACAF’s premier event, the Gold Cup, between 1996 and 2003.”I knew my actions were wrong at the time,” he said.A lawyer for Blazer declined to comment.Many of the details were revealed in documents released by US authorities last week, when they announced indictments for 14 people, including nine FIFA officials.Blazer, 70, is one of four defendants in the case who pleaded guilty in secret and agreed to assist US investigators.During his plea, he said he suffered from health problems. Friends of Blazer say he is currently hospitalized and unable to speak due to a breathing tube.last_img read more