Why is a remote Colombian town a hot spot of an inherited

first_img Back in town, Patricia, who is Jair’s cousin, says all she wants is a good drug to control the seizures of her sister Julieta. For years, Julieta has taken phenobarbital to control her convulsions, but the drug is risky for premutation carriers like her, who may be particularly vulnerable to its neurotoxic effects. Scans that Saldarriaga-Gil took show that portions of Julieta’s brain have shrunk, and in the past few weeks, she has started to complain of headaches. Another of Patricia’s sisters, Esperanza, 60, who also was a premutation carrier and relied on phenobarbital for years, died in 2015 after several massive seizures. Julieta could take safer medications, such as valproate, but getting a prescription hasn’t been easy.In July, a new doctor who serves Ricaurte and three other towns arrives to make her rounds. Rubbing Julieta’s temples below her cropped black hair, the doctor explains that she doesn’t have the correct paperwork to prescribe valporate. She suggests Patricia take Julieta to a doctor in Bolívar, about 7 kilometers away. Patricia doesn’t own a car, and walking there would take her about an hour and a half.For months, Patricia has pleaded with a local health minister, Viviana Alvarez, to secure basic sanitary supplies and protein supplements for Julieta—but to no avail. Although the family is entitled to free care through the government, Alvarez says her hands are tied: “Health insurance takes its time; the problem is on the national level.” The Hospital Santa Ana in Bolívar can’t help much, either. With just eight doctors, it fielded 15,000 appointments and 5000 emergency room visits in 2017. The hospital director has hired a physical therapist to visit about 15 people here with fragile X every weekday but he says Ricaurte will probably never have its own physician.”I always want them to do more,” Saldarriaga-Gil says, although he understands the financial constraints. He tries to fill in the gaps during his visits and has enlisted a Colombian nonprofit to donate clothes and mattresses to many of the families.Given the harsh realities of life here with fragile X, some residents have made difficult decisions about the future of their families. Rosario Quintero’s daughter, Sara, has the full mutation but shows no signs of the syndrome. Before Sara learned that she carried the mutation, she had a son, who also seems unaffected. But afterward, she had her fallopian tubes cut so that she cannot have any more children. Another carrier, who chose to remain anonymous, also decided not to have children.Over the past decade here, only three children with fragile X have been born, and many with the condition are older than 50. Trapped in this valley by economic hardship and unyielding geography, the population with fragile X could slowly die out, Saldarriaga-Gil says. He is racing to understand the syndrome’s secrets before that happens.This story was produced in collaboration with Spectrum, where Hannah Furfaro is a staff reporter. Saldarriaga-Gil’s obsession with this town began in 1980. As a boy, he spent summers at a family home in Huasano, 10 kilometers away. When he attended church here, he couldn’t help noticing the lanky men and women with large, flat ears who spoke very little or not at all. “Everyone who knows Ricaurte had curiosity,” Saldarriaga-Gil says. “Why is it happening here?”Growing up, he heard many stories. According to one, nearby magnesium mines had poisoned Ricaurte’s groundwater, damaging the minds of people who drank it. Protestant missionaries to the region warned residents that God had sent “the foolishness” to punish them for worshiping “El Divino,” an image of Jesus in Ricaurte’s white A-frame church that draws Catholic pilgrims. “The other hypothesis was sorcery of some sort,” Saldarriaga-Gil says. In that version, women in the town prepared a love potion that sometimes went wrong, producing intellectual disability instead of undying devotion. Saldarriaga-Gil’s father warned him never to drink anything offered by a woman from Ricaurte.Saldarriaga-Gil eventually set out to discover the truth as a medical student in the late 1990s. His adviser suggested the people here might have Down syndrome. But when Saldarriaga-Gil paged through a 1000-page medical textbook, he saw photographs of people who looked eerily similar to a boy he knew in Ricaurte—Patricia Triviño’s nephew Ronald. The people in the textbook had fragile X syndrome.To confirm that the resemblance was more than coincidence, in 1997 Saldarriaga-Gil took blood samples from 28 people in town who he suspected were affected, Ronald included. He analyzed each person’s karyotype—the number and appearance of their chromosomes—by inspecting their blood cells under a microscope.In most people, FMR1 contains anywhere from six to 54 repeats of a specific set of three DNA “letters,” or bases: CGG. In people with fragile X syndrome, however, the gene has more than 200 repeats. The extra DNA disrupts the X chromosome; under the microscope, tiny islands appear to break away from the chromosome, making it look fragile. Of the 28 people whose karyotypes Saldarriaga-Gil analyzed, 19 showed those telltale islands.Premutation carriers, however, have between 55 and 200 CGG repeats—too few to be obvious under a microscope. In 2012, Saldarriaga-Gil decided to try to identify those carriers by building a pedigree chart to trace the condition’s inheritance through Ricaurte’s families. Premutation carriers often have affected children or grandchildren because in fragile X—as in other “triplet repeat” conditions such as Huntington disease—the number of repeats typically increases with successive generations. Working backward from affected individuals, Saldarriaga-Gil tried to guess at who had passed the mutation on. That approach took him only so far, however, because he had no definitive test for premutations.The next year, his karyotype research caught the attention of experts in fragile X, including Randi Hagerman, medical director of the Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute at the University of California, Davis. She and her colleagues offered to help spot the premutation carriers by using a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test—which Saldarriaga-Gil wasn’t equipped to do in his own lab. PCR would make it possible to amplify and sequence the residents’ DNA.Hagerman recalls being struck by Ricaurte’s promise for studying fragile X: “When I first visited this town, I was surrounded by individuals with fragile X syndrome, and I said, ‘Oh, my God, this is like ground zero for fragile X.’” The two lane road to Ricaurte from Cali traverses sugarcane fields between the cloud-shrouded Andes that enclose the town. Saldarriaga-Gil estimates he has driven the route dozens of times in the past 5 years. Before 2010, Colombia’s drug trade made the trip dangerous. The region is safer now, he says, but the mountains still teem with farmers secretly growing coca, the raw material of cocaine.Saldarriaga-Gil checks in on residents with fragile X every 2 months or so, offering routine checkups and monitoring them for complications. Over multiple visits between 2015 and 2016, he and his students also collected blood samples from 926 people, about 80% of the population. Genetic analysis of the samples led to his recent finding that about 5% of Ricaurte’s residents have either the full mutation or a premutation. He supplemented the genetic work by recording oral histories and digging up centuries-old land, marriage, and birth records with help from a local historian. Ultimately, Saldarriaga-Gil reconstructed much of the town’s history of the syndrome.An unwieldy pedigree chart now dominates one of his office walls, spanning nine generations and 420 names. Two big families—the Triviños and Gordillos—form its trunk. Saldarriaga-Gil slashes lines through the deceased and scrawls notes in looping handwriting where he is still guessing at kinship.One name is circled, with sunlike rays extending out in every direction: Manuel Triviño, who may be Mercedes’s greatgrandfather. Saldarriaga-Gil says he suspects Manuel was one of the town’s original settlers in the early 1880s and carried the premutation to Ricaurte. Everyone here with fragile X could be his direct descendant (although how the mutation spread to the Gordillos is still unclear). To confirm that “founder effect,” Saldarriaga-Gil’s team is conducting a haplotype analysis: The scientists are looking for other genetic variants shared by people with the condition, which would imply that they all share a common forebear.Saldarriaga-Gil and colleagues from Univalle are also sequencing the exomes—the protein-coding portions of the genome—of the people from whom they took blood samples in 2015 and 2016. They hope to learn how genetic variability outside the FMR1 gene influences how fragile X mutations manifest themselves—and why people with the same FMR1 mutations can have such different outcomes. Juan Cristóbal Cobo Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Among women, “mosaicism”—in which a person’s cells aren’t all genetically identical—explains part of it. Because women have two X chromosomes, each cell turns off one of them at random. If most of a woman’s cells turn off the mutated copy, she might show few outward signs of the mutation; if the normal copy is shut down more often, she might be more severely affected. Mosaicism emerges differently in men, who have a single X chromosome: Some of their cells may have the full FMR1 mutation—200-plus CGG repeats—whereas others end up with the shorter premutation or with a complete deletion of FMR1.The array of symptoms resulting from a mutation might also depend on how FMRP interacts with other proteins. FMRP is missing in people with the full mutation, which silences FMR1. Because FMRP controls the activity of nearly 1000 other proteins, many of which are crucial to the interactions between neurons, its loss can have far-reaching effects—particularly during brain development. But in people with the premutation, the impact of the reduced protein might be more or less severe depending on other genetic variations.Saldarriaga-Gil and his colleagues predict that genetic analyses will reveal that people whose fragile X symptoms are similar have overlapping patterns of gene expression and protein interaction. “This type of population is ideal for this study because these people have a similar genetic background,” says Univalle geneticist Julián Andrés Ramírez Cheyne, who leads the exome study.The ultimate goal for fragile X researchers is to develop treatments. Because of its connection to intellectual disability and autism, fragile X has been the focus of an extensive—and so far, unsuccessful—drug development program. Several candidates that showed promise in early clinical trials fizzled out in larger trials. Researchers are seeking new proteins or pathways to target—and some of those may emerge from the work done here. “Most geneticists would say there are genetic modifiers in some of these families,” says Eric Klann, director of the Center for Neural Science at New York University in New York City—clues, he says, to possible treatments.Understanding the molecular underpinnings of fragile X might also explain why general anesthesia and some seizure medications are more toxic to premutation carriers than to typical people. Hagerman says she was struck by the number of premutation carriers here whose symptoms are unusually severe. Patricia Triviño’s sister Rosaura, 60, for example, is deaf and mute; her sister Julieta, 58, has seizures and uses a wheelchair. Hagerman says pesticides, sprayed heavily in the nearby fields, might be to blame. “Looking at the environmental contaminants could tell us a lot about vulnerability” in people with the mutations, she says.No one here is waiting for radical new treatments. Even if the residents can help researchers develop drugs, they know they are likely to be among the last to receive them.Mercedes Triviño’s son Jair is one of the oldest workers in the papaya fields, but he has no complaints. Even though his work is arduous, living among others with similar symptoms has given him a degree of freedom he’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. At the end of his shift on a hot July day, Jair fills the back of a pickup truck with fruit. He swings the heavy crates one by one, his wiry arms flexing until he has stacked nearly 100. He stops to wipe sweat from his brow and secures the truck’s door with an iron bolt. The driver starts the engine as Jair hops in the back. Jair says he looks forward to being back the next day “if it’s God’s wish.” In the Quinteros family in Ricaurte, Colombia, Soledad (center) and Yeison (far right) have fragile X syndrome. Rosario (second from right), her daughter Sara (second from left), and Sara’s son Juan Pablo (far left) are unaffected, but Sara had her fallopian tubes cut after learning she is a carrier of the full mutation causing the syndrome. In fragile X syndrome, pieces of the X chromosome appear to be falling off. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country RICAURTE, COLOMBIA—It’s late afternoon in this tiny town tucked into the Colombian Andes, when Mercedes Triviño, 82, lights the wood stove to start to prepare dinner. Smoke fills the two-bedroom home she shares with six of her adult children.Francia, 38, one of the youngest, is the family’s primary breadwinner. She brings home 28,000 Colombian pesos (roughly $10) a day harvesting papayas in the fields just outside town. “Really, what I earn is just enough for eating and nothing else,” she says. Four of her siblings have fragile X syndrome, a genetic condition that causes intellectual disability, physical abnormalities, and often autism. Jair, 57, works alongside Francia when he can. Hector, 45, is also somewhat able to care for himself. Victor, 55, and Joanna, 35—who has both fragile X and Down syndrome—are less independent.As Mercedes serves coffee on this July afternoon, sweetening it with a hefty dose of sugar and offering her best cups to her guests, she talks about the condition that dominates the lives of her family and many others here. Her niece, Patricia, 48, who lives a few blocks away, cares for two adult sons and a nephew with fragile X. More distant kin in town, the Quinteros, also have grown children with the condition. Other neighbors are adults with fragile X who have no caretaker and look after one another. Juan Cristóbal Cobo By Hannah Furfaro, SpectrumOct. 10, 2018 , 7:00 AM Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Why is a remote Colombian town a hot spot of an inherited intellectual disability? MONICA SCHROEDER/SCIENCE SOURCE Juan Cristóbal Cobo Mercedes Triviño, 82, who cares for several of her children and other relatives with fragile X syndrome, cooks dinner at her family’s home in Ricaurte, Colombia. Wilmar Saldarriaga-Gil (right) comforts Julieta Triviño (left), who has fragile X syndrome. In Colombia, this town has long been known as the home of los bobos, “the foolish ones”—thanks in part to a 1980s novel and a later TV series that depicted families like the Triviños. More recently, scientists have caught on that it is home to the world’s largest known cluster of people with fragile X. One researcher, medical geneticist Wilmar Saldarriaga-Gil of the University of Valle (Univalle) in Cali, Colombia, has made Ricaurte the focal point of his scientific inquiry. Saldarriaga-Gil, who vacationed nearby as a child, says he has visited about a hundred times since the mid-1990s to trace how fragile X affected the town and its inhabitants—and to try to understand details of the syndrome’s biology. “This is a history of scientific research, a history of my community, a history of my life,” he says.The payoff from research in this town could have global impacts. Caused by mutations in a gene called FMR1 on the X chromosome, fragile X syndrome is the leading cause of inherited intellectual disability worldwide; it affects as many as one in 2000 men and one in 4000 women. And as a single-gene cause of autism—a recalcitrantly complex condition—fragile X has been the focus of efforts to develop drugs for autism. The proteins disrupted in people with the syndrome are also key players in brain development.In March, Saldarriaga-Gil and his colleagues reported that at least 5% of residents here carry either the full-blown fragile X mutation or less severe “premutations” that can trigger the condition in future generations. Premutation carriers usually escape cognitive problems, but some develop physical symptoms, including tremors and fertility problems. The research here might explain such variability, which could reflect how the protein FMR1 encodes, FMRP, interacts with other proteins and pathways.The scale of Saldarriaga-Gil’s investigations is small—Ricaurte only has 58 full mutation and premutation carriers, by his count—but the research benefits because the town’s residents share the same environment and a similar genetic background, offering a natural control for some variables. “What you have [here] is something that certainly warrants a lot more intensive investigation,” says Jim Grigsby, a clinical health psychologist at the University of Colorado in Denver. Read more…last_img read more

Kathleen Williams wants Montana voters to help her restore civility and science

first_img Williams for Montana (GRAPHIC) N. DESAI/SCIENCE; (DATA) CAMPAIGN WEBSITES/314 ACTION/COOK POLITICAL REPORT Making it a raceWilliams was a late entrant in the congressional race, which began shortly after Gianforte won a special election in June 2017 to replace Representative Ryan Zinke, the Republican incumbent whom Trump chose to lead the Department of the Interior. But she proved to be an effective fundraiser and campaigner, beating out two formidable opponents in the June Democratic primary.Her challenge has been to carry that momentum into the general election. One national tipsheet lists the race as “leans” Republican, although another puts it in the “likely” GOP column. (A June poll by a nonpartisan organization showed her in the lead, whereas a September poll by the same organization put Gianforte on top.) The national Democratic Party recently put her on its list of 73 districts it hopes will flip from red to blue in November. But a victory will require a lot of resources.Although Williams raised $3 million by the end of September, her total pales next to the $8.2 million Gianforte reported. The Democratic Party’s backing will help with fundraising, she says, but it won’t change her strategy. “It acknowledges what we’ve known all along—that nationally, this is seen as a competitive race.”The lack of deep roots in the state can be a liability for a candidate in Montana. But the fact that Gianforte also moved to the state in the mid-1990s, after growing up on the East Coast and selling a software company he founded, may have taken geography off the table as an issue. (Gianforte started a second software company in Bozeman that he sold to Oracle in 2011 for $1.5 billion. He is one of the wealthiest members of the House.)Williams knows she will need Republicans and independents, as well as her own party’s stalwarts to win next month. That electoral calculus has shaped her priorities.“I have talked about being a true representative, to be grounded in the hopes, struggles, and dreams of the people in my district,” she explains. “And what I mean is that, although I have degrees in the sciences, it is health care that is my priority. Because that’s the top issue on the minds of voters.”Like many other Democratic candidates, Williams has stressed the importance of preserving coverage for preexisting conditions while faulting her opponent for backing Republicans bills that would weaken that provision of the Affordable Care Act. Williams also wants to give those aged 55 to 64 a chance to buy into Medicare, something that Gianforte has likened to a more costly version of expanding coverage known as Medicare-for-all.Williams knows the outcome of a House race in Montana won’t resolve the ongoing national debate over health care. But she does think that her scientific training has something to offer voters.“I’m sort of a mix of applying social science to biological and physical science,” she says. “That is a critical skill and art, to take scientific information and be able to communicate it and translate it into helpful policy points.” Bachelor’s Kathleen Williams wants Montana voters to help her restore civility and science Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Female Email D.M.D. The science candidates: races to watch in 2018 Toss-up on 6 November J.D. which helps scientists running for office Ph.D. An affinity for natureThe 57-year-old Williams wasn’t raised as a Democrat. Growing up in California, she absorbed the conservatism of her father, an engineer who oversaw the U.S. Army’s mapmaking efforts across the European theatre during World War II. (Her mother suffered from early onset dementia and died when she was a teenager.) She recalls casting her first presidential vote for Ronald Reagan. But she says it wasn’t long before she realized her political views aligned more often with Democratic candidates.She stayed close to home for college, enrolling at the University of California, Berkeley. On the advice of her father, she started out in accounting. But, she says she “fell in love with natural resources” after taking a forestry course and soon switched majors. She earned a bachelor’s degree in resource economics.That interest carried her into graduate school at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Her intent was to become a park designer.“I started taking design and recreation research classes, and it was a really heavy load,” she recalls. “So, I asked my adviser if there was anyone I could talk to who had done it. And he said nobody had done it, it was too hard. I also realized that I didn’t have design skills; I can’t draw.”Instead, she focused on recreation resources, and worked with the U.S. Forest Service on a project to quantify the flow needed to sustain the recreational uses of the Cache la Poudre River, Colorado’s only national wild and scenic river. Armed with her master’s degree, she worked for the state and federal government in Colorado and Oregon before settling in Montana in 1995.Williams says she never considered earning a doctorate and going into academia. “I’m just a real problem solver by nature,” she says. “I thought a master’s was the way to go for me, to get out in the world and help solve thorny natural resource issues.”Williams came to Big Sky country to work for a nonpartisan environmental committee of the state legislature, and then for the state’s department of fish, wildlife, and recreation. She spent a lot of time working on water issues—and she was frustrated by the lack of progress by state officials. Taking matters into her own hands, she decided to run for office. She won a seat in 2010 in Bozeman, Montana, her hometown, and was twice reelected.Her ability to understand technical material, she says, has helped her grapple with tax policy and resource issues as a legislator. However, it wasn’t always easy to turn those insights into legislation. Part of the problem, she feels, is a 1992 law setting term limits for elected state officials.Term limits are meant to prevent career politicians. But Williams and other critics of the policy say it also sends a message that voters can’t be trusted to choose their representatives wisely. “That’s what voting is for,” she says. “If you don’t like someone, you vote ’em out.”Term limits are especially pernicious in the current era of divided government, she adds. They not only make it harder for legislators to build the relationships needed to craft legislation, she says, but they also force legislators to leave office just as they’ve finally learned the ropes.“When you have inexperienced people who don’t know their way around government and don’t know how to build a coalition and find common ground, then you just get more partisanship,” she says. “And I think we’ve gone too far in that direction.” Not backed by 314 Action Favored By gender Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) “People very much know my specialty is in water,” she says. “They respect my ability to say, ‘Here’s what the science says, and here’s what it means, policywise, about what we should do.’”That dispassionate approach doesn’t fit with today’s political climate, she says. And the result is gridlock. During a recent televised debate with Gianforte and libertarian candidate Elinor Swanson, Williams scolded Congress for its “failure to provide leadership” on issues ranging from tariffs and taxes to health care and energy.The charge was aimed at Gianforte, as Williams counted on her audience to know that Republicans control both chambers of Congress. At the same time, Williams was almost deferential to the Republican Party’s standard bearer.“I’m looking forward to working with the president on any common interest we can find,” she said when asked where she disagrees with Trump. “I object somewhat to the tone going on in Washington, [D.C.,]” she explained, but said she “would chalk it up to the hyperpartisanship and tribalism” in Congress. Only after being pushed to be more specific did Williams cite her unhappiness with the president’s “approach to tariffs” and its potentially deleterious impact on Montana’s wheat farmers.In contrast, Gianforte’s game plan has been to tie Williams to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D–CA), a hated figure among conservatives. He has continued to do it even after Williams said she won’t vote for Pelosi for speaker if the Democrats regain control of the House.“I stand with the president, and we have delivered results,” Gianforte told the audience. This election, he asserted, is between “working with Trump or with the resistance—with Nancy Pelosi and the failed policies of the [former President Barack] Obama administration.” Endorsed by 314 Action, The science vote Follow our rolling coverage of 2018’s science candidates Kathleen Williams Long odds Chances of winning ScienceInsider’s coverage of the 2018 U.S. elections has featured profiles of several candidates with scientific backgrounds running for the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as stories about the challenges those candidates have faced on the campaign trail. Today’s story looks at Kathleen Williams, the Democratic nominee for Montana’s at-large seat in Congress.Kathleen Williams went back to school to gain more control over her budding career in water resources management. A quarter-century later, she’s putting her career plans in the hands of Montana voters.A former state legislator, Williams is trying to defeat first-term Republican Greg Gianforte and claim his at-large seat in the House. But unlike many Democratic candidates for Congress, her campaign is not rooted in attacks on President Donald Trump, who won the state by 20 points in 2016. Instead, Williams, who has a master’s degree in recreation resources with a focus on water, offers herself as someone who uses facts to make decisions and who can reach across the political aisle to strike a deal. Backed by 314 Action Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Master’s Competitive Male Midterm reality check Seventeen candidates with scientific training will be on the 6 November ballot in hopes of winning a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Here’s a demographic profile of the group. M.D. By Jeffrey MervisOct. 22, 2018 , 10:00 AMlast_img read more

Microsoft Unveils PowerPacked Surface Book 2

first_imgSurface Book returns hit about 17 percent during the device’s launch period in 2015, and remained above 10 percent for six months, according to a leaked Microsoft memo, as reported by The Verge.Consumer Reports this summer announced it would no longer recommend Microsoft Surface products because their breakage rates were higher than for most other brands.That said, “I don’t know that the Surface Book was ever destined to be a smash hit,” said Eric Smith, a research director at Strategy Analytics.”It’s clearly meant for people who need a lot of power with a minimalist design,” he told TechNewsWorld, such as graphic artists, C-Suite executives, “and perhaps even some gamers uninterested in flashy design.”With a flagship like the Surface Book 2, Smith suggested, Microsoft “provides guidance to its OEM partners on how to approach the premium market.” Touch Is the Differentiator The Surface Book 2 comes in a 13-inch and a 15-inch version.The 13-inch Surface Book 2 is powered by either a 7th-Gen Intel Core i5 or an 8th-Gen Intel Core i7 processor; the 15-inch is only offered with the 8th-Gen processor.The Surface Book 2 uses either an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 or 1060 discrete graphics processing unit that provides up to 17 hours of video playback.The device has a 10-point multitouch PixelSense Display with a 3:2 aspect ratio, and up to 3240 x 2160 pixel resolution. It supports E Ink, Surface Pen, and Surface Dial.”Apple’s reluctance to add touch to its laptops gives Microsoft a differentiator on the high end,” noted Holger Mueller, principal analyst at Constellation Research.The 13-inch Surface Book 2 weighs 3.38 pounds and up, and the 15-inch starts at 4.2 pounds.The Surface Book 2 has two full-size USB 3.1 Gen-1 ports, one USB-C port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, two Surface Connect ports — one in the base, and a full-sized SD card reader.”The combination of the new Surface features and the tremendous battery life, if true, have the potential to change the way people work with their devices,” Mueller told TechNewsWorld.The 13-inch Book 2 will be available for pre-order starting Nov. 9. The 15-inch Book 2 will be available Nov. 9 at Microsoft stores in the U.S. and on Microsoft.com. Delivery will begin Nov. 16.Pricing starts at about US$1,500. Gamers will get a performance boost, thanks to Windows 10 Fall Creators Update’s Game Mode, and access to faster streaming through Mixer.The Update can handle the most popular PC games at 1080p and 60 FPS. In some cases, it lets the Surface Book 2 match the graphics performance of game consoles like Xbox One.The 15-inch Surface Book 2 has built-in Xbox One wireless support, so users can pair their Xbox One controllers and compatible headsets for cordless gaming.Surface Book 2 is ready for Windows Mixed Reality Ultra with the addition of a compatible headset and controller. For the Gamer Microsoft on Tuesday launched the Surface Book 2, positioning it as the laptop of the future.The device is powerful enough for the next wave of computing, characterized by mixed reality, artificial intelligence, machine learning and immersive gaming, said Microsoft Devices Corporate Vice President Panos Panay.Integration between the Surface Book 2 and the Adobe Creative Cloud has been improved, and Microsoft’s Surface Dial functionality is coming to Photoshop, the company noted.An HP TWP 2.0 chip offers enterprise-grade protection with Windows Hello facial sign-in. Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. Email Richard. Surface Popularity The Surface Book 2 “is a high-ticket computing behemoth designed to demonstrate what Microsoft can do in a vertically aligned package when it flexes its muscles,” said Linn Huang, a research director at IDC.”Consequently, their story continues to revolve around creatives and gamers,” he told TechNewsWorld.last_img read more

People infer personality traits by looking at body shape

first_img Source:https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/people-link-body-shapes-with-personality-traits.html Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 1 2018When we meet new people, our first impressions of their personality may depend, at least in part, on their body shape, according to research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.”Our research shows that people infer a wide range of personality traits just by looking at the physical features of a particular body,” says psychological scientist Ying Hu of the University of Texas at Dallas, first author on the research. “Stereotypes based on body shape can contribute to how we judge and interact with new acquaintances and strangers. Understanding these biases is important for considering how we form first impressions.”Previous research has shown that we infer a considerable amount of social information by looking at other people’s faces, but relatively little research has explored whether body shapes also contribute to these judgments.”We wanted to know whether we could link personality descriptor words to body shape in predictable ways,” explains Hu. “That is, do people look at a person’s body and make snap judgments about whether the person is lazy, enthusiastic, or irritable?”Hu and colleagues created 140 realistic body models, of which 70 were female and 70 male. The three-dimensional renderings were generated from random values along 10 different body dimensions, using data from laser scans of actual human bodies. Using these models allowed the researchers to know the precise physical measurements of each body shown in the study.A total of 76 undergraduate participants viewed a set of models — they saw each body from two angles and indicated whether 30 trait words shown on screen applied to that body. The trait words reflected dimensions of the Big Five personality traits (a common measure of personality used in psychology research) typically seen as positive (e.g., enthusiastic, extraverted, dominant) or negative (e.g., quiet, reserved, shy).Related StoriesTrump administration cracks down on fetal tissue researchSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds researchTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CTThe researchers analyzed whether participants consistently associated specific traits with certain types of bodies.Generally, participants judged heavier bodies as being associated with more negative traits, such as being lazy and careless; they judged lighter bodies as having more positive traits, such as being self-confident and enthusiastic.Furthermore, the participants perceived classically feminine (e.g., pear-shaped) and classically masculine (e.g., broad-shouldered) bodies as being associated with “active” traits, such as being quarrelsome, extraverted, and irritable. Male and female bodies that were more rectangular, on the other hand, were associated with relatively passive traits, such as being trustworthy, shy, dependable, and warm.In additional analyses, the researchers found that they could reliably predict personality trait judgments from specific combinations of different body shape features.”To our knowledge, this is the first study to consider the role of more nuanced aspects of body shape–beyond height and weight–in personality judgments about people,” says Alice O’Toole, coauthor and professor of the University of Texas at Dallas.The tendency to infer personality traits from body shape is likely universal, the authors argue, but they note that the exact inferences people make will vary according to their culture, ethnicity, and even age. And it remains to be seen how other characteristics, such as attractiveness or gender, interact with body shape to influence the inferences that people make.These findings add a new layer to the science behind first impressions, revealing “the complicated and value-based judgments that people make about strangers based only on their bodies,” Hu concludes.last_img read more

CAR T therapy can lead to longlasting remissions in patients with rr

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 3 2018In an update to a global clinical trial stretching from Philadelphia to four continents, the chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy Kymriah® (tisagenlecleucel, formerly CTL019) led to long-lasting remissions in patients with relapsed/refractory (r/r) diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). The most recent results from the trial will be presented today at the 60th American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Diego (Abstract #1684). Stephen J. Schuster, MD, director of the Lymphoma Program at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, was the principal investigator on the trial, which is known as JULIET and has already led to approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as well as by the European Commission, Health Canada, and Swissmedic. Another data set from the JULIET trial with an earlier cut-off date will also be published simultaneously in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).JULIET included 27 sites in 10 countries across North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. According to the data presented at ASH, 115 patients with r/r DLBCL received an infusion of CAR T cells. The overall response rate of evaluable patients was 54 percent, with 40 percent achieving a complete response. The median duration of those responses was not reached at a median follow-up of 19 months.”These findings are consistent with what we’ve shown in our single-site studies here at Penn, which is that the majority of patients who go into remission stay in remission,” said Schuster, who is the senior author on the ASH abstract and is the lead author on the NEJM study. The data will be presented at ASH by Richard T. Maziarz, MD, a professor of Medicine at the Oregon Health and Science Knight Cancer Institute.Two-thirds of DLBCL cases are successfully treated with frontline chemotherapy. When that fails, a high-dose chemotherapy combined with an autologous stem cell transplant can potentially lead to long-term disease-free survival. However, only half of r/r patients are candidates for this approach, and for those who are, the expected three-year event-free survival rate is just 20 percent.Related StoriesNanoparticles used to deliver CRISPR gene editing tools into the cellNew gene-editing protocol allows perfect mutation-effect matchingBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancer”CAR T therapy represents a potentially life-saving alternative for these patients, who now have a therapy that can help them achieve durable remissions even after other therapies, including transplant, have failed,” Schuster said.The treatment modifies patients’ own immune T cells, which are collected and reprogrammed to potentially seek and destroy the patients’ cancer cells. After being infused back into patients’ bodies, these CAR-expressing T cells both multiply and attack, targeting cells that express a protein called CD19. Tests reveal that this army of hunter cells can grow to more than 10,000 new cells for each single engineered cell patients receive, producing high remission rates. They can also survive in the body for years.Grade 3/4 cytokine-release syndrome (CRS), a toxicity associated with CAR T therapy, which includes varying degrees of flu-like symptoms, with high fevers, nausea, and muscle pain, and can require ICU-level care, was reported in 23 percent of patients, 16 percent of whom required treatment with tocilizumab, which is the standard therapy for the toxicity. All patients recovered from their CRS. Other Grade 3/4 toxicities included infections (19 percent of patients), fever resulting from low blood count (15 percent), neurological events (11 percent), and a metabolic abnormality called tumor lysis syndrome (two percent). There were no treatment-related deaths.In May 2018, Kymriah® was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of adult patients with r/r large B-cell lymphoma after two or more lines of systemic therapy, including DLCBL, high grade B-cell lymphoma, and DLBCL arising from follicular lymphoma. In August 2018, it was approved by the European Commission, making it the first cellular therapy approved for two different cancer indications. The original FDA approval came in August 2017 for the treatment of patients up to 25 years of age with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) that is refractory or in second or later relapse. Penn and Novartis formed a global research and development collaboration in 2012. Source:https://www.pennmedicine.org/news/news-releases/2018/november/global-trial-shows-car-t-therapy-can-lead-to-durable-remissions-in-nonhodgkins-lymphomalast_img read more

Financial incentives fail to increase completion rates of colorectal cancer screening tests

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 25 2019Bottom Line: Financial incentives didn’t increase completion rates of colorectal cancer screening tests mailed to patients. In a randomized clinical trial of almost 900 patients, none of the incentives (an unconditional $10, a promised $10 upon completion of the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) kit to test for blood in a stool sample or chance at a lottery with a 1-in-10 chance of winning $100) was statistically better than no financial incentive to entice patients to complete the FIT. The overall FIT completion rate at six months was nearly 29 percent but the incentives used in this study may have been too small to improve response rates.Authors: Shivan J. Mehta, M.D., M.B.A., M.S.H.P., Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and co-authors. Source:https://jamanetwork.com/last_img read more

UK MPs ask Facebooks Zuckerberg to testify on data row

Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: UK MPs ask Facebook’s Zuckerberg to testify on data row (2018, March 20) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-uk-mps-facebook-zuckerberg-testify.html Damian Collins, chairman of the House of Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee, wrote to Zuckerberg asking for his own account of “this catastrophic failure of process”.The request was made as part of the committee’s ongoing investigation into fake news, which saw its members last month visit Washington for hearings with officials from Facebook and Twitter.But it follows allegations that data from up to 50 million Facebook users was harvested by a British company, Cambridge Analytica, for use in the election campaign of US President Donald Trump in 2016.”Following material published in the UK Guardian and The New York Times over the past few days, the committee would like to request that you appear before us to give oral evidence,” Collins wrote.”The committee has repeatedly asked Facebook about how companies acquire and hold on to user data from their site, and in particular about whether data had been taken without their consent.”Your officials’ answers have consistently understated this risk, and have been misleading to the committee. “It is now time to hear from a senior Facebook executive with the sufficient authority to give an accurate account of this catastrophic failure of process.”He added: “Given your commitment at the start of the New Year to ‘fixing’ Facebook, I hope that this representative will be you.”Collins set Zuckerberg a deadline of March 26 to reply. © 2018 AFP A British parliamentary committee on Tuesday asked Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg to appear before it to explain in person claims that millions of users’ data was harvested for political campaigns. UK lawmaker: Facebook misled Parliament over data leak risk read more

Amazon takes on pharmacy sector with new acquisition Update

first_img Amazon set its sights on the pharmacy market Thursday with the acquisition of tech-focused retailer PillPack, sending shock waves through the sector over prospects of disruption by the US online colossus. Amazon had long been rumored to be interested in the pharmacy business ‘Hacking medicine’PillPack was launched by two members of the “hacking medicine” initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and helps people manage multiple medications with a software platform that offers reminders, dose-specific packaging and delivery. Citation: Amazon takes on pharmacy sector with new acquisition (Update) (2018, June 28) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-06-amazon-pillpack-pharmacy.html Amazon has long been rumored to be interested in the pharmacy business, and the entry by a powerful new player could unsettle a business dominated by large American chains including CVS and Walgreens.Terms were not disclosed on the deal for PillPack, an online pharmacy which operates in all 50 US states and offers pre-sorted dose packaging and home delivery. Some media reports said Amazon paid $1 billion and outbid rival retail giant Walmart.”PillPack’s visionary team has a combination of deep pharmacy experience and a focus on technology,” said Jeff Wilke, head of Amazon Worldwide Consumer, in a statement.”We want to help them continue making it easy for people to save time, simplify their lives, and feel healthier.”CVS shares slid 6.1 percent in closing trading on the news, while Walgreens Boots Alliance slumped 9.9 percent.Neil Saunders of the research firm GlobalData Retail called the Amazon acquisition “a warning shot” for the pharmacy sector.”Not only has Amazon finally made a solid move into pharmacy, it has done so via an innovative supplier which helps patients manage and organize their prescription drugs,” Saunders said in a research note.He added this “is only the first play in an increasingly aggressive strategy” by Amazon in the sector.”This is incredibly bad news for traditional players, like Walgreens and CVS, who stand to lose the most from Amazon’s determination to grow its share,” Saunders said.Saunders added that “Amazon’s entry into any market will put downward pressure on prices and upward pressure on costs as others try to match its service,” and that CVS and Walgreens could be vulnerable.Walgreens CEO Stefano Pessina told a conference call on its quarterly results Thursday that “we are not particularly worried” about Amazon but added that “we know that we have to change the level of our services to the customers and we are working quite hard on that.” This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further Amazon threatens to disrupt the prescription drug delivery business, analysts say © 2018 AFP The Boston-based company has said it has raised $118 million from investors and venture funds since its launch in 2013.”Together with Amazon, we are eager to continue working with partners across the healthcare industry to help people throughout the US who can benefit from a better pharmacy experience,” PillPack co-founder and CEO TJ Parker said in a statement.Amazon and PillPack said they expected to close the deal by the end of the year, subject to regulatory approval.Seattle-based Amazon, which began two decades ago as an online bookseller, has mushroomed into one of the world’s largest companies.It has retail operations across the globe, a large cloud computing business, a video service that competes with Netflix and a hardware division that makes devices powered by its digital assistant Alexa, which is available to makers of appliances, cars and other products.Last year, Amazon closed a deal to acquire the Whole Foods grocery chain and has begun offering discounts to consumers who are members of its Prime subscription service.Separately Thursday, Amazon announced plans to expand its own delivery fleet to reduce its dependence on services like Fedex and the US Postal Service.Amazon said it has committed $1 million to a fund to help individuals and entrepreneurs set up a contractual delivery service with Amazon.”Individual owners can build their business knowing they will have delivery volume from Amazon, access to the company’s sophisticated delivery technology, hands-on training, and discounts on a suite of assets and services, including vehicle leases and comprehensive insurance,” an Amazon statement said.”Over time, Amazon will empower hundreds of new, small business owners to hire tens of thousands of delivery drivers across the US.” Amazon began two decades ago as an online bookseller but has mushroomed into one of the world’s largest companies whose assets also include groceries and a hardware divisionlast_img read more

Air taxis – why theyre no longer pie in the sky

first_img Citation: Air taxis – why they’re no longer pie in the sky (2018, November 16) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-air-taxis-theyre-longer-pie.html Provided by The Conversation Companies like Rolls Royce are teaming up with industry and academia to provide workable, practical solutions. And although many of the 120 or so concept vehicles exist only on computers for the time being, a select few have built scale and full-size prototype “proof of concept” vehicles. Some are simply “learning by doing” – the very same approach adopted by Orville and Wilbur Wright in the pioneering days of flight.Reach for the skiesAs a service provider, Uber clearly sees air taxis as an extension of mobility options. Customers might expect to use a smart phone app similar to the ones currently in operation, but with the option to choose whether to be driven or flown to their destination. But no matter how high these companies aim to travel, there are still barriers left to overcome. Air taxis would mean busier skies and higher air traffic concentration. Regulators will want to see stringent target levels for safety and security. Simplicity of design will also be key. Battery technologies are improving but have some way to go to meet range requirements for even short urban trips. Automation is seen as a way to make operations safer but it is likely that early vehicles would need human pilots before moving to driverless air taxis in the future. Customer comfort and safety issues will have to be addressed, as will consumer confidence in using this kind of travel technology. On top of all this, noise and emissions within an urban area must be minimised and vehicles will need to be able to operate in adverse weather. The cost of these vehicles will need to be affordable and this can only be achieved through large scale production. There is already a shortage of commercial pilots, so new thinking will be required as to who will operate these machines. Seamless transport integration will require conveniently located “Skyports” and these will place increased demand on electricity supplies. Without integrated air traffic management for air taxis, safety may be compromised. The technology on its own is not the answer, and the concept is unlikely to succeed without a wider view of the business model and operating environment. Joined up thinking will be needed. These future vehicles will not only need to overcome technological but also societal challenges.Despite all that, unmanned and tethered flights for selected concept vehicles have already taken place, and it is likely that in the next two to five years we will see piloted demonstrations. Within the next five to ten years, we could see limited commercial operations in niche market sectors – but collaboration and joined up thinking will be paramount. Drone technology and lessons learned from autonomous vehicles – like Lidar, short for “light detection and ranging” – can also be adopted, while the internet of things may finally mean that connected, seamless travel is indeed possible. Credit: Dean Mangurenje, Author provided Imagine a taxi service that picked you up (into the sky) and then dropped you off after an exciting journey, completely free of road works and traffic lights. It has been claimed that air taxis could be flying us through the air in just a few years’ time – and it’s true that some big companies are speeding ahead with the idea. Uber shows off its vision for future ‘flying taxi’ Why? Well, to start with, we simply need to find better ways of moving around. By the year 2050, it is estimated that around 68% of the world’s population will live in cities (compared with today’s proportion of 55%). This increase, combined with population growth, could add another 2.5 billion people to urban populations in the next few decades – leading to ever increasing urban traffic congestion across the globe. In London (currently the most congested city in Europe), drivers spend on average over 72 hours – three whole days – in traffic congestion per year. The need for energy and transport solutions with minimal environmental cost is only going to increase. Commuters will want ever more choice and more flexibility in their modes of transport – hence the interest in using the third dimension of airspace.There are now over 120 concept Electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (EVTOL) vehicles and prototypes being tested across the globe. They range from scaled up drones, to electric and hybrid multi-rotor machines with or without wings. Companies such as Uber (with expected gross revenues in the region of US$50 billion) are investing heavily in the sector. Boeing has acquired technology firm Aurora Flight Sciences to accelerate entry into the market. Airbus has three different projects on the go.Flight of fancyPrevious attempts at building the flying cars of science fiction have failed to live up to expectations. So what’s changed? In short, the electrification of cars has led to the creation of very high energy density batteries and much improved electric motor efficiency. The availability of new lightweight and robust materials (such as carbon fibre) mean higher power to weight ratios. And the use of 3-D printing means that complex parts can now be printed in plastics and metals. Explore further This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

NY Times swings to profit on subscriber advertising gains

first_img The number of New York Times online subscribers has jumped to 4.3 million © 2019 AFP The major US daily said Wednesday its profit in the final three months of the year amounted to $55.1 million compared with a loss of $56.8 million in the same period a year earlier.Revenues rose 3.8 percent to $502 million, with digital advertising up 23 percent year-over-year.The Times said it now has 4.3 million online subscribers, and aims to boost that figure to 10 million by 2025 as part of its strategy of shifting to digital.The Times has pledged to continue investing in its newsroom even amid a slump in the industry that has led to thousands of layoffs at both traditional and digital news organizations.”Our appeal to subscribers—and to the world’s leading advertisers—depends more than anything on the quality of our journalism,” said Mark Thompson, president and chief executive of The New York Times Co.”That is why we have increased, rather than cut back, our investment in our newsroom and opinion departments. We want to accelerate our digital growth further, so in 2019, we will direct fresh investment into journalism, product and marketing.” This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: NY Times swings to profit on subscriber, advertising gains (2019, February 6) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-02-ny-profit-subscriber-advertising-gains.html Explore furthercenter_img The New York Times has pledged to continue investing in its newsroom even amid a slump in the industry The New York Times moved into the profit column in the fourth quarter, helped by gains in digital advertising and the biggest increase in online subscribers since the months after the 2016 US election. Over the past quarter, the newspaper added 265,000 digital subscribers, the largest since the first quarter of 2017 when Donald Trump assumed the US presidency.Even as Trump has assailed the newspaper and many other media organizations, the Times—which devotes resources to in-depth investigations of Trump’s administration—has doubled the number of digital subscribers under his presidency.Thompson said total digital revenue for 2018 amounted to $709 million, closer to the newspaper’s goal of $800 million by 2020.”As a result we are setting ourselves a new goal—to grow our subscription business to more than 10 million subscriptions by 2025,” he said in a statement.The latest update showed overall ad revenues grew five percent in the quarter as strong gains from digital offset declines in print advertising.A 2.2 percent dip in subscription revenues was attributed to a calendar quirk in which there were 13 weeks in 2018 compared with 14 weeks in 2017. Excluding that impact, subscription revenues would have risen on a comparable basis.For the year, the newspaper turned a profit of $127 million, up from $6 million in 2017, as revenues rose 3.4 percent to $1.04 billion. NY Times reports more subscribers, posts Q4 losslast_img read more

Vajpayee to be accorded state funeral 7day mourning declared

first_img COMMENT Published on Govt declares half-day holiday to all central government offices, central PSUs across the country A seven-day state mourning was announced by the government as a mark of respect to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who passed away today.In a circular, the Home Ministry said the national flag would fly at half-mast from today for seven days across India and a state funeral would be accorded to Vajpayee.The government also said the state funeral of Vajpayee will be held at Delhi’s Smriti Sthal tomorrow and declared a half-day holiday in all central government offices, central public sector undertakings across the country and the Delhi government offices of NCT of Delhi. “As a mark of respect to the departed dignitary, it has been decided that seven days of state mourning will be observed throughout India from August 16-22, both days inclusive. “During this period, the national flag will be flown at half mast throughout India where it is regularly flown and there will be no official entertainment during the period of the state mourning,” the Home Ministry said.The national flag would also fly half mast tomorrow in all Indian missions abroad.The 93-year-old leader passed away at AIIMS here following prolonged illness. SHARE SHARE EMAIL celebrity death August 16, 2018 COMMENTS politics SHARE Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee addressing the nation for the first time after assuming office in New Delhi on May 19, 1996.   –  PTIlast_img read more

AIADMK keeps western belt seats for itself

first_imgPublished on COMMENT The AIADMK-led alliance on Sunday released the list of Lok Sabha constituencies that various parties in the alliance will contest from. The State goes to polls on April 18.While the AIAMDK will contest in 20 constituencies, the PMK will contest in seven, the BJP in five and the DMDK in four. The Tamil Maanila Congress, Puthia Tamizagam, Puthia Needhi Katchi and NR Congress, which are part of the AIADMK alliance, will contest in one seat each. Going by the list, only eight constituencies will see a direct fight between the AIADMK and its arch rival DMK. AIADMK coordinator O Paneersevelvam released the constituency list in the presence of Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami and BJP State President Tamilisai Soundararajan.The AIADMK will contest in: Salem, Namakkal, Krishnagiri, Erode, Karur, Tiruppur, Pollachi, Arni, Tiruvannamalai, Chidambaram (Reserved), Perambalur, Theni, Madurai, the Nilgiris, Tirunelveli, Nagapattinam, Myladuthurai, Tiruvallur, Kanchiupuram and Chennai (South). The PMK will contest in Dharmapuri, Villupuram, Arakonam, Cuddalore, Chennai (Central), Dindigul and Sriperumpudur.The BJP will contest in Kanyakumari, Sivagangai, Coimbatore, Ramanathapuram and Thoothukudi.The DMDK has been allotted Kallakuruchi, Tiruchirapalli, Chennai (North) and Virudunagar.The Tamil Maanila Congress will fight in Thanjavur; Puthiaa Tamizagam in Tenkasi; Puthia Needhi Katchi in Vellore; and the NR Congress in the lone Puducherry constituency.Speaking to newspersons, Paneerselvam said the party is holding an interview for the 18 Assembly constituencies, and that the list of candidates will be released after that.Dhinakaran’s listMeanwhile, TTV Dhinakaran’s Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam announced the first list of candidates for 24 Lok Sabha seats, and for nine Assembly seats.The party’s prominent contestants include Sarubala Thondaiman from Tiruchirapalli and David Annadurai from Madurai. P Vetrivel will contest from the Perumbavoor Assembly seat, says a party statement. March 17, 2019 SHARE SHARE SHARE EMAILcenter_img elections COMMENTS parties and movements Tamil Nadulast_img read more

Lifethreatening Tropical Storm Barry grinds towards Louisiana

first_img Golf 26 Apr 2019 Golf – Stallings and Mullinax take early lead in rainy New Orleans Golf 27 Apr 2019 Golf – Malnati and Hurley take second round clubhouse lead in New Orleans Related News U.S. President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency for Louisiana, and the region’s oil production was scaled back by nearly 60 percent as energy companies evacuated offshore drilling facilities. A performance scheduled for Sunday by the Rolling Stones at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, which served as an emergency shelter during the Hurricane Katrina flood catastrophe of 2005, was postponed until Monday.The impending storm was widely seen as a key test of the fortified flood defences put in place following Katrina, which inundated much of the city and killed some 1,800 people. Barry is expected to cross the coastline southwest of New Orleans on Saturday morning. It is forecast to reach Category-1 hurricane strength by then, with winds of at least 74 mph (119 kph), the National Weather Service said.GRAPHIC – New Orleans and its levees: https://tmsnrt.rs/2jEdGotDANGEROUS AND LIFE-THREATENINGThe storm’s flood potential, rather than its high winds, posed the greatest danger to the low-lying metropolitan landscape of New Orleans, a city virtually surrounded on all sides by rising waters.”Tropical Storm Barry is a dangerous and life-threatening storm,” Weather Service meteorologist Benjamin Schott said at a news conference. “Major to … record flooding will be possible.” Authorities were keeping a particularly watchful eye on the levee system built to contain the lower Mississippi River, which winds through the heart of New Orleans and was already well above flood stage from months of heavy upstream rainfall over the Midwest.A coastal storm surge into the mouth of the Mississippi is expected to push its crest to 19 feet (5.79 m) in New Orleans on Saturday, the highest level since 1950 and dangerously close to the top of the city’s levees. The brunt of Barry was expected to skirt the western edge of New Orleans, avoiding a direct hit. But Mayor LaToya Cantrell said 48 hours of heavy downpours could overwhelm pumps designed to purge streets and storm drains of excess water.”There is no system in the world that can handle that amount of rainfall in such a short period,” Cantrell said on Twitter.New Orleans was already saturated after thunderstorms drenched the city with a foot of rain on Wednesday.”If it’s worse than the other day, it’d be the worst week since Katrina,” said musician Robert Harris, 61, polishing his trombone while sitting in a folding chair on a sidewalk.FLOODGATES AND LEVEESWhile street flooding seemed probable, officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers insisted that significant breaching of the 20-foot-tall levees in New Orleans was unlikely. All levee floodgates were being closed, along with a giant surge barrier erected after Katrina.The chance of overtopping levees seemed greater farther downstream, where the levee walls are lower. The level of Lake Pontchartrain, an estuary on the city’s northern flank, rose by 3 feet on Friday, triggering the closure of a flood gate on a canal that breached during Katrina, said Derrick Boese, chief administrator for the local flood control agency. Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for areas of Plaquemines Parish beyond the levees southeast of the city and for low-lying communities in Jefferson Parish, to the southwest.New Orleans residents planning to ride out the storm flocked to supermarkets for bottled water, ice, snacks and beer, thronging grocery stores in such numbers that some ran out of shopping carts. Throughout the city, motorists left cars parked on the raised median strips of roadways hoping the extra elevation would protect them from flood damage.City residents were asked to remain indoors after 8 p.m. on Friday.Larry Gumpert, the 74-year-old owner of a pest-control company, said he planned to hunker down at home, cooking and catching up on household chores.”If all the predictions come true, we’re going to see major street flooding,” Gumpert said. “The Army Corps has spent time, money and energy trying to fortify the city. This is a good test of what they have accomplished since Katrina. We’ll see.” (Reporting by Collin Eaton and Kathy Finn; Additional reporting by Gabriella Borter in New York and Rich McKay in Atlanta; Writing by Scott Malone and Steve Gorman; Editing by David Gregorio, Cynthia Osterman and Daniel Wallis) Related Newscenter_img Golf 28 Apr 2019 Rahm, Palmer shoot 65 for halfway lead in New Orleans NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) – City officials warned New Orleans residents on Friday to secure their homes, stock up on supplies and prepare to huddle indoors with Tropical Storm Barry poised to make landfall as the first Atlantic hurricane of 2019.Barry’s maximum sustained winds were clocked at 65 miles per hour (100 kph) as it churned through the northern Gulf of Mexico towards Louisiana. Meteorologists warned that torrential rains – as much as 2 feet (60 cm) in some places – are likely to unleash severe flooding.While New Orleans authorities refrained from ordering evacuations and advised residents to shelter in place instead, tourism officials reported an exodus of hotel guests checking out early on Friday. Some airlines, including British Airways, have cancelled outbound flights from the city through Saturday.Mandatory evacuations were imposed in flood-prone coastal areas of two neighbouring parishes south of the city. {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}last_img read more

Pastor takes in the destitute

first_img Nation 11 Jul 2019 Father and son among 14 drug addicts arrested at Masjid Kapitan Keling Today, PKK has grown into a huge non-governmental organisation with 25 homes spread around the city, helping some 600 inmates comprising children, old folk, teenagers, gamblers, alcoholics, single mothers and drug addicts.Pastor Rajan, 65, said there were now about 400 drug addicts living in the homes.He said PKK had employed about 40 staff, many of them former inmates who had been rehabilitated and wanted to be useful to society.“During these 30 years, we have had many success stories. It is a joy to see them getting accepted and reunited with their families. Some of them got married, others got jobs. Some even started their own business,” he said.Many of them who first came in were suicidal and depressed, he said.PKK, he said, was one way for the church to contribute to society, he said, adding that the core values were to provide food, shelter and spiritual fulfilment.Asked about funding, Pastor Rajan said that besides donations, PKK has also been developing a 5ha site, which was donated by a Singaporean couple in Pasir Gudang eight years ago.That site, he said, was once a jungle but it now featured among others, a durian orchard, vegetable plots, birds’ nests and a solar farm, which generates power and sold to Tenaga Nasional.“We even have a 4,000sq ft mangrove which we hope to rehabilitate and preserve due to its biodiversity, including migratory birds and monkeys,” he said, adding that all money earned was channelled to PKK.PKK, he said, had an expenditure budget of more than RM3mil annually. Those who come to the centres need not pay any money.Asked about their plans, Pastor Rajan hoped that PKK would continue to grow and help address the social ills in the city, especially drug abuse.Those interested in helping PKK can contact it via www.pkk.com.my. {{category}} {{time}} {{title}} Related News Volume 90%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9 facebook twitter Email Linkhttps://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/07/13/pastor-takes-in-the-destitute/?jwsource=clCopied EmbedCopiedLive00:0002:0702:07  Nation 08 Jul 2019 Two-week crackdown nets 27 suspected drug addicts in Tuaran Related News JOHOR BARU: Three decades ago, a young mother gave birth to a pair of twins but later abandoned one of them who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as she could not afford to care for the girl.Pastor Benedict Rajan took in the child, known as Sarah.That was in 1989. Pastor Rajan, who was then with the Johor Calvary City Church, went on to set up Pusat Kebajikan Kalvari (PKK) to help the poor and needy.“Sarah died two years later but she inspired the creation of PKK which has touched the lives of many,” he said. World 10 Jul 2019 Australia’s Morrison calls for more prayer and religious freedomlast_img read more

SC allows Meghalaya plea to call off rescue operation of trapped miners

first_img Press Trust of India New DelhiJuly 13, 2019UPDATED: July 13, 2019 00:03 IST Rescue operations at the Meghalaya mining site.Seven months after 15 people were trapped in an illegal coal mine in Meghalaya, the Supreme Court Friday allowed the state government’s plea seeking its permission to call off the ongoing operation to retrieve the bodies.The illegal mine is located at Ksan in East Jaintia Hills district, about 3.7 km deep inside a forest and can be accessed after crossing three streams.It was flooded in December last year trapping 15 miners when water from the nearby Letein river gushed into it.A bench of Justices S A Bobde and B R Gavai passed the order while hearing a petition which had sought urgent steps for rescuing the miners trapped in the rat-hole mine since December 13 last year.Rat-hole mining involves digging of narrow tunnels, usually three-four feet deep, for workers to enter and extract coal. The horizontal tunnels are often termed “rat holes” as each just about fits one person.During the hearing on Friday, senior advocate Anand Grover, appearing for the petitioner, told the court that the state has filed an application seeking permission to call off the operation.”We are not opposing it (application filed by state),” Grover told the court, adding, “Now we are no longer on the issue of (rescue) operation”.The petitioner told the court that there should be a standard operating procedure (SoP) which could be followed in case of such eventuality as had happened in Meghalaya.The bench said that it would hear the issue relating to the SoP after four weeks.The apex court had in March this year directed the petitioner to “ascertain from the relatives of the deceased if they wish to have the bodies recovered having regard to the fact that they may be already in a completely decomposed condition.”The court was earlier told that remotely operated underwater vehicles (RoVs) had detected three bodies in the mine.Earlier, the Centre had told the court that it has to “believe in miracles” for the 15 miners to come out alive.Also Read | Rain batters Meghalaya, throws life out of gearAlso Read | SC asks trapped miners kin if they wish to get decomposed bodies recoveredAlso Watch | Operation rat-hole mining in Meghalaya; Poaching politics in KarnatakaFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted bySanchari Chatterjee SC allows Meghalaya plea to call off rescue operation of trapped miners’ bodiesThe Supreme Court has allowed a plea filed by Meghalaya asking to call off the rescue mission that is still looking for the bodies of the miners who went missing in a rat hole.advertisement Nextlast_img read more

First prototype of BrahmosNG to be ready by 2024

first_img Sandeep Unnithan New DelhiJuly 13, 2019UPDATED: July 13, 2019 18:39 IST The first prototype of the Brahmos-NG will be fielded in 2024. (File Photo)HIGHLIGHTSThe first prototype of the Brahmos-NG will be fielded in 2024It is five-metre-long, 50-centimetre-thick and 1.5 tonThe Indo-Russian Brahmos joint venture was formed in 1998The first prototype of the Brahmos-NG, a lighter sleeker variant of the Indo-Russian cruise missile, will be fielded in 2024.A top official of the Brahmos Aerospace, the Indo-Russian joint venture company which manufactures the missile, told India Today TV that the missile was currently under development between NPO Mashinostroyeniya and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).The NG or next generation will mark a quantum jump in the offensive abilities of the Indian armed forces.The five-metre-long, 50-centimetre-thick, and 1.5 ton Brahmod-NG is half the dimensions of the Brahmos missiles currently in service today with the Indian Air Force (IAF), Army, and the Navy.The Brahmos-NG’s significant weight and size reductions mean that it can be carried by many more platforms including the conventional submarines and the fighter aircraft.It will, however, have the same speed, range and lethality of the first generation Brahmos which flies at three times the speed of sound.The Su-30MKI which carries one Brahmos presently, carries one Brahmos-NG, will be able to carry five Brahmos-NGs. We can put it on the MiG-29 and on the indigenous LCA Tejas, Praveen Pathak, Chief General Manager (Marketing Promotions and Export) Brahmos Aerospace International Maritime at the Defence Show (IMDS), said.The Indo-Russian Brahmos joint venture was formed in 1998 and is the oldest military joint venture between India and Russia.ALSO READ | Chandrayaan-1 confirmed presence of water on Moon, who knows Chandrayaan-2 might find alien lifeALSO WATCH | Chandrayaan 2 to be launched on July 15: ISROFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byPrakriti Sharma Next First prototype of Brahmos-NG to be ready by 2024The five-metre-long, 50-centimetre-thick, and 1.5 ton Brahmod-NG is half the dimensions of the Brahmos missiles currently in service today with the Indian Air Force (IAF), Army, and the Navy.advertisementlast_img read more

BJP took different direction after fathers death Manohar Parrikars son on Goa

first_img Next Press Trust of India PanajiJuly 11, 2019UPDATED: July 11, 2019 19:12 IST “Words like commitment and trust were over in the BJP on March 17,” Utpal said (Utpal Parrikar/Twitter)The move to induct 10 Congress MLAs in Goa in the BJP has been panned by some within the ruling party, including late Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s son Utpal.Taking a dim view of the developments, Utpal said what has happened is “definitely a different path” from the one his father had taken.”I knew on March 17 this year, when my father passed away, that it was the end of that path. But Goans learnt about it yesterday,” Utpal Parikar said here Thursday.”Words like commitment and trust were over in the BJP on March 17,” Utpal Parikar said, reacting to the induction of 10 Congress MLAs in Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP).Utpal Parikar was a contender for BJP ticket for Assembly bypoll after Manohar Parrikar’s death, but the BJP did not field him from the seat represented by his father for over two decades.Utpal Parikar said the Goa in Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) has moved in a “new direction” after the demise of his father, who was a towering figure in politics of the coastal state.On Wednesday, 10 of the 15 Congress MLAs in Goa, led by Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Chandrakant Kavlekar, split and merged with the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), increasing the ruling party’s strength to 27 in the 40-member House.The Congress, which had emerged as the single largest party after the 2017 Assembly polls with 17 seats, now has just five legislators in the House after the dramatic development.Utpal Parikar said the commitment given by the BJP to the coalition partners while forming the government in 2017 under his father’s leadership should be honoured.”Words like trust and commitment which were core of the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) during Manohar Parrikar’s time ceased to exist on March 17 (when the then chief minister died),” Utpal Parikar told PTI.The Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) has taken a “new direction” after March 17 and only time will tell whether it is on the right path, Utpal Parikar said.Utpal Parikar said he would continue to be in the BJP and support party workers.Former Goa BJP chief Rajendra Arlekar also said he was disturbed by the recent political developments in the state.”Countless Janta Party (BJP) workers from the state are calling me to know the rationale behind such a decision. The local party unit is heading on a totally incorrect path.”We cannot endorse expansion of the party in such a manner,” Rajendra Arlekar, a former minister, said.The induction of Atanasio Monserratte, who defeated BJP candidate Siddharth Kunkolienkar in the Panaji bypoll, has angered some party leaders and sympathisers given his past.During the bypoll campaign, Atanasio Monserratte, a former minister, was targeted over being charge-sheeted in a case of alleged rape of a minor girl in 2016.The controversial politician claimed he was innocent and the rape case against him was “politically motivated”.Shefali Vaidya, a rightwing columnist and blogger who is followed by 3.89 lakh people on Twitter, said people were asking why was she so angry about BJP accepting “filth like accused rapist Monserrate” into the party in Goa.”My dad gave a full decade of his life fighting the Portuguese. Did he do it so that Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant could induct perverts into the party that claims to be different?,” Shefali Vaidya said.Giriraj Pai Vernekar, a former aide of Manohar Parrikar, also took to social media to express his concern.”After Parrikar’s demise, we were already feeling lost. This development has made it clear that the BJP we supported because of Parrikar has become a replica of the Congress, within months of his demise,” Giriraj Pai Vernekarsaid.”I have repeatedly said that Goa BJP needs new leadership at the organisation level and today, I stand vindicated. It is time we identify traitors within the party and hunt them down,” Vernekar added.ALSO READ | Manohar Parrikar’s style of politics is over: Goa BJP allyALSO READ | Manohar Parrikar: From RSS pracharak to defence minister, the man who redefined Goan politicsALSO WATCH | We want to ensure political stability in Goa, says Goa MinisterFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byShahrukh Tags :Follow BJPFollow congressFollow GoaFollow Manohar ParrikarFollow Chandrakant Kavlekar BJP took different direction after father’s death: Manohar Parrikar’s son on Goa crisisUtpal Parrikar was a contender for BJP ticket for assembly by-election here following his father’s death, but the BJP did not field him. Eventually, it was Congress’ Atanasio Monserratte who won the election in May.advertisementlast_img read more

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which commissioners said would be included among correspondence to be filed at the next commission meeting. read more