False memories prime immune system for future attacks









































IN A police line-up, a falsely remembered face is a big problem. But for the body's police force – the immune system – false memories could be a crucial weapon.












When a new bacterium or virus invades the body, the immune system mounts an attack by sending in white blood cells called T-cells that are tailored to the molecular structure of that invader. Defeating the infection can take several weeks. However, once victorious, some T-cells stick around, turning into memory cells that remember the invader, reducing the time taken to kill it the next time it turns up.












Conventional thinking has it that memory cells for a particular microbe only form in response to an infection. "The dogma is that you need to be exposed," says Mark Davis of Stanford University in California, but now he and his colleagues have shown that this is not always the case.












The team took 26 samples from the Stanford Blood Center. All 26 people had been screened for diseases and had never been infected with HIV, herpes simplex virus or cytomegalovirus. Despite this, Davis's team found that all the samples contained T-cells tailored to these viruses, and an average of 50 per cent of these cells were memory cells.












The idea that T-cells don't need to be exposed to the pathogen "is paradigm shifting," says Philip Ashton-Rickardt of Imperial College London, who was not involved in the study. "Not only do they have capacity to remember, they seem to have seen a virus when they haven't."












So how are these false memories created? To a T-cell, each virus is "just a collection of peptides", says Davis. And so different microbes could have structures that are similar enough to confuse the T-cells.












To test this idea, the researchers vaccinated two people with an H1N1 strain of influenza and found that this also stimulated the T-cells to react to two bacteria with a similar peptide structure. Exposing the samples from the blood bank to peptide sequences from certain gut and soil bacteria and a species of ocean algae resulted in an immune response to HIV (Immunology, doi.org/kgg).












The finding could explain why vaccinating children against measles seems to improve mortality rates from other diseases. It also raises the possibility of creating a database of cross-reactive microbes to find new vaccination strategies. "We need to start exploring case by case," says Davis.












"You could find innocuous pathogens that are good at vaccinating against nasty ones," says Ashton-Rickardt. The idea of cross-reactivity is as old as immunology, he says. But he is excited about the potential for finding unexpected correlations. "Who could have predicted that HIV was related to an ocean algae?" he says. "No one's going to make that up!"












This article appeared in print under the headline "False memories prime our defences"




















































If you would like to reuse any content from New Scientist, either in print or online, please contact the syndication department first for permission. New Scientist does not own rights to photos, but there are a variety of licensing options available for use of articles and graphics we own the copyright to.









































































All comments should respect the New Scientist House Rules. If you think a particular comment breaks these rules then please use the "Report" link in that comment to report it to us.


If you are having a technical problem posting a comment, please contact technical support.








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Find balance between redevelopment & preserving heritage: Chan Chun Sing






SINGAPORE: Acting Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing says Singapore will need to find a balance between redevelopment and preserving its heritage as it progresses.

Mr Chan pointed out Singapore's first satellite town, Queenstown, is one example where such a balance has been struck .

He was speaking to reporters at the launch of the new My Queenstown Mobile Application, developed by civic society My Community and the Queenstown Citizens' Consultative Committee.

The free application provides information and historical facts on iconic landmarks in the Queenstown neighbourhood.

It also provides five recommended heritage trails for people to try, centred around places of worship, public housing and old shops.

Mr Chan said technology is one way that memories will be better preserved.

But while some places will be preserved, there will be other sites that have to be redeveloped to meet the emerging needs of the younger generation.

Mr Chan added this is not a mutually exclusive problem.

He said: "If you look at any rapidly developing country, you will always have both sets of emotions. Everyone of us, individually as a community and as a society, has to find that balance between preserving what we hold dear to us and yet at the same time giving up some of the things for development for the future generation, because if the previous generation has done what they have done - which is to give up some of their memories for us to be where we are today - then I think it is also incumbent upon us to pay it forward at the same time."

- CNA/ir



Read More..

Rev. Jesse Jackson: 'This has been a difficult, painful ordeal'









Members of Jesse Jackson Jr.'s family said this morning they are struggling in the aftermath of Jackson being charged with misusing $750,000 in campaign funds.


"We felt the impact of this court," said Jonathan Jackson today outside the Rainbow PUSH Coalition's Saturday Morning Forum at the group's Chicago headquarters. "The gravity has affected our family."


He said his brother is still following a medical regime from his illness. He said his brother, mother and father are in Washington D.C. and Jonathan Jackson said he planned to join them.








Jackson's sister Santita said, "We love our brother very much."


They said Sandi and Jesse Jackson Jr.'s children were aware of the developments involving their parents.


"They are part of the Jackson family. We will take care of them," said Santita Jackson.


The family said they were thankful for the public's prayers, and Jonathan Jackson said he hoped people would remember the good things his brother had done during his political career.


Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife Sandi intend to plead guilty to federal charges alleging the former congressman misused $750,000 in campaign funds while she understated their income on tax returns for six years, their lawyers say.


Jackson Jr., 47, a Democrat from Chicago, was charged in a criminal information Friday with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and false statements. He faces up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and other penalties.


Sandi Jackson was charged with one count of filing false tax returns. She faces up to three years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and other penalties.


Jackson Jr. is accused of diverting $750,000 in campaign funds for personal use.


Federal authorities allege that Jackson Jr. used campaign funds to purchase a $43,350 men's gold-plated Rolex watch, $5,150 worth of fur capes and parkas, and $9,588 in children's furniture. The purchases were made between 2007 and 2009, according to the criminal information, which authorities noted is not evidence of guilt.


Other expenditures listed by prosecutors include $10,105 on Bruce Lee memorabilia, $11,130 on Martin Luther King memorabilia and $22,700 on Michael Jackson items, including $4,600 for a "Michael Jackson fedora."


The government also alleged that Jackson Jr. made false statements to the House of Representatives because he did not report approximately $28,500 in loans and gifts he received.


"He has accepted responsibility for his actions and I can confirm that he intends to plead guilty to the charge in the information," Jackson Jr.'s attorney Brian Heberlig said.


Sandi Jackson is accused of filing incorrect joint tax returns with her husband for calendar years 2006 through 2011, reporting income "substantially less than the amount of income she and her husband received in each of the calendar years," with a substantial additional tax due.


Her attorneys released a statement saying she has "reached an agreement with the U.S. attorney' office to plead guilty to one count of tax fraud."


Jackson Jr. stepped down from the House of Representatives on Nov. 21, citing both his poor health and an ongoing federal probe of his activities. In a statement then, he said he was doing his best to cooperate with federal investigators and to accept responsibility for his "mistakes."


In a statement, Jackson Jr. said:


"Over the course of my life I have come to realize that none of us are immune from our share of shortcomings and human frailties. Still I offer no excuses for my conduct and I fully accept my responsibility for the improper decisions and mistakes I have made. To that end I want to offer my sincerest apologies to my family, my friends and all of my supporters for my errors in judgment and while my journey is not yet complete, it is my hope that I am remembered for the things that I did right."


Sandi Jackson's attorneys released a statement saying she "has accepted responsibility for her conduct, is deeply sorry for her actions, and looks forward to putting this matter behind her and her family. She is thankful for the support of her family and friends during this very difficult time."


Jackson's father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., said he wanted to attend President Barack Obama's speech Friday at Hyde Park Academy in Chicago but traveled to Washington, D.C., instead, to be with family members while they waited for the federal charges to come down.


"This has been a difficult and painful ordeal for our family," the civil rights leader said.


The Rev. Jesse Jackson said he would "leave it up to the courts system" to determine his son's fate.


"We express our love for him as a family," he said.


nnix@tribune.com


Twitter: @nsnix87





Read More..

Picture Archive: Making Mount Rushmore, 1935-1941

Photograph from Rapid City Chamber of Commerce/National Geographic

There's no such thing as Presidents' Day.

According to United States federal government code, the holiday is named Washington's Birthday, and has been since it went nationwide in 1885.

But common practice is more inclusive. The holiday expanded to add in other U.S. presidents in the 1960s, and the moniker Presidents' Day became popular in the 1980s and stuck. It may be that George Washington (b. February 22, 1732) andAbraham Lincoln (b. February 12, 1809) still get the lion's share of attention—and appear in all the retail sale ads—on the third Monday in February, but the popular idea is that all 44 presidents get feted.

Mount Rushmore is a lot like that one day a year writ large—and in granite. It's carved 60 feet (18 meters) tall and 185 feet (56 meters) wide, from Washington's right ear to Lincoln's left.

The monument's sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, grew up in Idaho, a first-generation American born to Danish parents. He studied art in France and became good friends with Auguste Rodin. Borglum mostly worked in bronze, but in the early 1910s he was hired to carve the likenesses of Confederate leaders into Stone Mountain in Georgia.

He was about to be fired from that job for creative differences about the same time that a South Dakota historian named Doane Robinson had an idea. Robinson wanted to have a monument carved into the Black Hills of South Dakota, maybe Western historical figures like Chief Red Cloud and Lewis and Clark, each on their own granite spire. (Plan a road trip in the Black Hills.)

Robinson hired Borglum and gave him carte blanche. Borglum was looking for something with national appeal, so he chose to depict four presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

Borglum wanted to represent the first 150 years of the nation's history, choosing four presidents as symbols of their respective time periods. He took a tour of western South Dakota, searching for an ideal canvas.

The sculptor was looking for three things: a surface strong enough to sculpt, a mountain big enough to hold several figures, and a mountain face that received morning sunlight. Mount Rushmore fit the bill and was already part of a national forest, so it was easy to set aside as a national memorial.

Work started in 1927. Calvin Coolidge attended the dedication ceremony. It took 14 years to finish the carving, conducted mostly in summertime because of the area's harsh winters.

There were approximately 30 workers on the mountain at any give time. In total about 400 had worked on it by the time the monument was finished. Though the project involved thousands of pounds of dynamite and perilous climbs, not a single person died during the work.

Borglum himself died of natural causes in 1941, though, just six months before the project was declared "closed as is" by Congress that Halloween. His son Lincoln—named for his father's favorite president—took over.

In the photo above, a worker refines the details of Washington's left nostril.

About 90 percent of the mountain was carved using dynamite, which could get within 3 to 5 inches (8 to 13 centimeters) of the final facial features. For those last few inches, workers used what was known as the honeycomb method: Jackhammer workers pounded a series of three-inch-deep holes followed up by chiselers who knocked off the honeycomb pieces to get the final shape. Then carvers smoothed the "skin's" surface.

—Johnna Rizzo

February 16, 2013

Read More..

Meteor Blast Creates Rush to Cash In












The shattered glass and broken walls caused by the massive explosion of a monstrous meteor over this remote, industrial Russian city is not even cleaned up, and people are already trying to cash in.


Some residents want to turn this city known mostly for its tank factory into a tourist destination, while others from all around the world are determined to find fragments of the meteorite.


Meteor hunters say it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. A small piece of the space rock that exploded over Russia Friday could be worth thousands of dollars, and bigger chunks could fetch hundreds of thousands.


SEE PHOTOS: Meteorite Crashes in Russia


"I haven't been able to sleep for the last two days because of this," said Michael Farmer, who runs the website Meteor Hunter. "This is a once in a lifetime event. We've never seen anything like this in the last hundred years."


He said he started planning a trip to Chelyabinsk as soon as the meteorite exploded.


"The next morning I was on the phone working on visas. I'd like to get a visa and get over to Russia as quickly as possible," he said. "When this type of thing happens, you know hours count so we try to arrange that as fast as possible."


A day after a massive meteor exploded over this city in central Russia, a monumental cleanup effort is under way.


Authorities have deployed around 24,000 troops and emergencies responders to help in the effort.


Officials say more than a million square feet of windows -- the size of about 20 football fields -- were shattered by the shockwave from the meteor's blast. Around 4,000 buildings in the area were damaged.






Nasha gazeta, www.ng.kz/AP Photo













The injury toll climbed steadily on Friday. Authorities said today it now stands at more than 1,200. Most of those injuries were from broken glass, and only a few hundred required hospitalization.


According to NASA, this was the biggest meteor to hit Earth in more than a century. Preliminary figures suggest it was 50 feet wide and weighed more than the Eiffel Tower.


NASA scientists have also estimated the force of the blast that occurred when the meteor fractured upon entering Earth's atmosphere was approximately 470 kilotons -- the equivalent of about 30 Hiroshima bombs, but it did not cause major damage because it occurred so high in the atmosphere.


"This was caused by a small asteroid, about 15 meters in diameter, coming in at around 18 kilometers per second, that's in excess of 40-thousand miles per hour," NASA planetary scientist Paul Abell said. "As the asteroid comes in, it interacts with the atmosphere and effectively it converts all the energy, the kinetic energy of the asteroid, the mass of the asteroid and the velocity and it's actually that velocity, the asteroid just effectively explodes and that creates the pressure wave, the blast wave that comes down."


Treasure hunters hoping to cash in on the bits of space rock aren't the only ones eager to find pieces of the meteor, Abell said. Scientists say the material could offer valuable information.


"One of the things we'd like to learn is first of all, what was the composition of the asteroid, where did it come from," he said. "We know it came from the asteroid belt but can we link it to a bigger asteroid and also, get an idea of the dispersal pattern."


Residents said they still can't believe it happened here.


"It was something we only saw in the movies," one university student said. "We never thought we would see it ourselves."


Throughout the city, the streets are littered with broken glass. Local officials have announced an ambitious pledge to replace all the broken windows within a week. In the early morning hours, however, workers could still be heard drilling new windows into place.


Authorities have sent divers into a frozen lake outside the city, where a large chunk of the meteor is believed to have landed, creating a large hole in the ice. By the end of the day they had not found anything.



Read More..

False memories prime immune system for future attacks









































IN A police line-up, a falsely remembered face is a big problem. But for the body's police force – the immune system – false memories could be a crucial weapon.












When a new bacterium or virus invades the body, the immune system mounts an attack by sending in white blood cells called T-cells that are tailored to the molecular structure of that invader. Defeating the infection can take several weeks. However, once victorious, some T-cells stick around, turning into memory cells that remember the invader, reducing the time taken to kill it the next time it turns up.












Conventional thinking has it that memory cells for a particular microbe only form in response to an infection. "The dogma is that you need to be exposed," says Mark Davis of Stanford University in California, but now he and his colleagues have shown that this is not always the case.












The team took 26 samples from the Stanford Blood Center. All 26 people had been screened for diseases and had never been infected with HIV, herpes simplex virus or cytomegalovirus. Despite this, Davis's team found that all the samples contained T-cells tailored to these viruses, and an average of 50 per cent of these cells were memory cells.












The idea that T-cells don't need to be exposed to the pathogen "is paradigm shifting," says Philip Ashton-Rickardt of Imperial College London, who was not involved in the study. "Not only do they have capacity to remember, they seem to have seen a virus when they haven't."












So how are these false memories created? To a T-cell, each virus is "just a collection of peptides", says Davis. And so different microbes could have structures that are similar enough to confuse the T-cells.












To test this idea, the researchers vaccinated two people with an H1N1 strain of influenza and found that this also stimulated the T-cells to react to two bacteria with a similar peptide structure. Exposing the samples from the blood bank to peptide sequences from certain gut and soil bacteria and a species of ocean algae resulted in an immune response to HIV (Immunology, doi.org/kgg).












The finding could explain why vaccinating children against measles seems to improve mortality rates from other diseases. It also raises the possibility of creating a database of cross-reactive microbes to find new vaccination strategies. "We need to start exploring case by case," says Davis.












"You could find innocuous pathogens that are good at vaccinating against nasty ones," says Ashton-Rickardt. The idea of cross-reactivity is as old as immunology, he says. But he is excited about the potential for finding unexpected correlations. "Who could have predicted that HIV was related to an ocean algae?" he says. "No one's going to make that up!"












This article appeared in print under the headline "False memories prime our defences"




















































If you would like to reuse any content from New Scientist, either in print or online, please contact the syndication department first for permission. New Scientist does not own rights to photos, but there are a variety of licensing options available for use of articles and graphics we own the copyright to.




































All comments should respect the New Scientist House Rules. If you think a particular comment breaks these rules then please use the "Report" link in that comment to report it to us.


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Read More..

6.2 quake shakes Philippines' Mindanao






MANILA: A powerful 6.2-magnitude earthquake rocked the southern Philippine island of Mindanao on Saturday triggering panic, but there were no immediate reports of any damage or casualties.

The quake struck at 12:37 pm (0437 GMT), off the coast, about 30 kilometres (19 miles) northeast of the town of Sarangani, said the government seismology institute.

Residents said people rushed out of buildings in panic after the quake sent lighting fixtures swaying.

The government institute said it did not expect any damage or casualties and there was no risk of a tsunami.

The Philippines sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire -- a belt around the Pacific Ocean dotted by active volcanoes and tectonic trenches.

A 7.6-magnitude quake hit the country's east coast in August last year, triggering a tsunami alert that forced tens of thousands to flee their homes and causing a landslide that killed one person.

- AFP/ck



Read More..

1 dead, 3 wounded in 90 minutes Friday night








Chicago police were flagged down by a man on the street as they responded to a shots fired call Friday night and found a woman lying on the ground, bleeding from a gunshot wound to her upper body.


She and three others were wounded between about 5:55 p.m. and 7:20 p.m. on the South and West sides, according to Chicago police.

The woman, whose age wasn't available, was shot in the 1100 block of North Pulaski Road, just a bit south of Division Street in the West Humboldt Park neighborhood about 7:05 p.m. She was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition and was pronounced dead there.

About 7:20 p.m., two people were shot in the 7800 block of South Merrill Avenue in the South Shore neighborhood. One was shot in the knee and the other suffered a graze wound. Police didn't have any other details about that incident.

About 5:55 p.m., a man sitting in his car near his home was shot in the leg by one of three guys who approached him on foot, police said. The 29-year-old was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center, where his condition had stabilized.

Earlier Friday, a 17-year-old was shot in the hand in the 7800 block of South Morgan Street in the Gresham neighborhood.

Check back for more information.

pnickeas@tribune.com
Twitter: @peternickeas

lford@tribune.com
Twitter: @ltaford






Read More..

Severe Weather More Likely Thanks to Climate Change

Jane J. Lee


BOSTON—Wildfires. Droughts. Super storms.

As opposed to representing the unfortunate severe weather headlines of the last year, scientists said Friday that climate change has increased the likelihood of such events moving forward.

And though the misery is shared from one U.S. coast to another, scientists speaking at the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Boston said, the type of extreme event may vary significantly from region to region. (Related: "6 Ways Climate Change Will Affect You.")

Heat waves have become more frequent across the United States, with western regions setting records for the number of such events in the 2000s, said Donald Wuebbles, a geoscientist with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

But the Midwest and Northeast have experienced a 45 percent and 74 percent increase, respectively, in the heaviest rainfalls those regions have seen since 1950.

The extreme drought that plagued Texas in 2011 has spread to New Mexico, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and northern Mexico, said John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas State's climatologist at Texas A&M University in College Station.

"The science is clear and convincing that climate change is happening and it's happening rapidly. There's no debate within the science community ... about the changes occurring in the Earth's climate and the fact that these changes are occurring in response to human activities," said Wuebbles.

In 2011 and 2012, major droughts, heat waves, severe storms, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, and wildfires caused about $60 billion in damages each year, for a total of about $120 billion.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climactic Data Center, these were some of the costliest weather events in the country's history, said Wuebbles.

President Obama argued in his State of the Union address this week that the time is ripe to address climate change, saying he would skirt Congress to make such changes, if necessary.

His proposals included a system similar to the cap-and-trade proposal killed in Congress during his first term, new regulations for coal-burning power plants, and a promise to promote energy efficiency and R&D efforts into cleaner technologies. (Related: "Obama Pledges U.S. Action on Climate, With or Without Congress.")

The researchers said they are glad to see that addressing climate change is on the President's agenda. But they stressed that they wanted the public to have access to accurate, scientifically sound information, not just simplified talking points.


Read More..

Carnival Cruise Ship Hit With First Lawsuit












The first lawsuit against Carnival Cruise Lines has been filed and it is expected to be the beginning of a wave of lawsuits against the ship's owners.


Cassie Terry, 25, of Brazoria County, Texas, filed a lawsuit today in Miami federal court, calling the disabled Triumph cruise ship "a floating hell."


"Plaintiff was forced to endure unbearable and horrendous odors on the filthy and disabled vessel, and wade through human feces in order to reach food lines where the wait was counted in hours, only to receive rations of spoiled food," according to the lawsuit, obtained by ABCNews.com. "Plaintiff was forced to subsist for days in a floating toilet, a floating Petri dish, a floating hell."


Click Here for Photos of the Stranded Ship at Sea


The filing also said that during the "horrifying and excruciating tow back to the United States," the ship tilted several times "causing human waste to spill out of non-functioning toilets, flood across the vessel's floors and halls, and drip down the vessel's walls."


Terry's attorney Brent Allison told ABCNews.com that Terry knew she wanted to sue before she even got off the boat. When she was able to reach her husband, she told her husband and he contacted the attorneys.


Allison said Terry is thankful to be home with her husband, but is not feeling well and is going to a doctor.








Carnival's Triumph Passengers: 'We Were Homeless' Watch Video









Girl Disembarks Cruise Ship, Kisses the Ground Watch Video









Carnival Cruise Ship Passengers Line Up for Food Watch Video





"She's nauseated and actually has a fever," Allison said.


Terry is suing for breach of maritime contract, negligence, negligent misrepresentation and fraud as a result of the "unseaworthy, unsafe, unsanitary, and generally despicable conditions" on the crippled cruise ship.


"Plaintiff feared for her life and safety, under constant threat of contracting serious illness by the raw sewage filling the vessel, and suffering actual or some bodily injury," the lawsuit says.


Despite having their feet back on solid ground and making their way home, many passengers from the cruise ship are still fuming over their five days of squalor on the stricken ship and the cruise ship company is likely to be hit with a wave of lawsuits.


"I think people are going to file suits and rightly so," maritime trial attorney John Hickey told ABCNews.com. "I think, frankly, that the conduct of Carnival has been outrageous from the get-go."


Hickey, a Miami-based attorney, said his firm has already received "quite a few" inquiries from passengers who just got off the ship early this morning.


"What you have here is a) negligence on the part of Carnival and b) you have them, the passengers, being exposed to the risk of actual physical injury," Hickey said.


The attorney said that whether passengers can recover monetary compensation will depend on maritime law and the 15-pages of legal "gobbledygook," as Hickey described it, that passengers signed before boarding, but "nobody really agrees to."


One of the ticket conditions is that class action lawsuits are not allowed, but Hickey said there is a possibility that could be voided when all the conditions of the situation are taken into account.


One of the passengers already thinking about legal action is Tammy Hilley, a mother of two, who was on a girl's getaway with her two friends when a fire in the ship's engine room disabled the vessel's propulsion system and knocked out most of its power.


"I think that's a direction that our families will talk about, consider and see what's right for us," Hilley told "Good Morning America" when asked if she would be seeking legal action.






Read More..

Sand-grain-sized drum extends reach of quantum theory


































The banging of a tiny drum heralds the intrusion of the weird world of quantum mechanics into our everyday experience. Though no bigger than a grain of sand, the drum is the largest object ever to have been caught obeying the uncertainty principle, a central idea in quantum theory.












As well as extending the observed reach of quantum theory, the finding could complicate the hunt for elusive gravitational waves : it suggests that the infinitesimal motion caused by these still-hypothetical ripples in spacetime could be overwhelmed by quantum effects.













The uncertainty principle says that you cannot simultaneously determine both a particle's exact position and momentum. For example, bouncing a photon off an electron will tell you where it is, but it will also change the electron's motion, creating fresh uncertainty in its speed.












This idea limits our ability to measure the properties of very small objects, such as electrons and atoms. The principle should also apply to everyday, macroscopic objects, but this has not been tested – for larger objects, the principle's effects tend to be swamped by other uncertainties in measurement, due to random noise, say.











Quantum drum













To extend the known reach of the uncertainty principle, Tom Purdy and colleagues of the University of Colorado, Boulder, created a drum by tightly stretching a 40-nanometre-thick sheet of silicon nitride over a square frame with sides of half a millimetre – about the width of a grain of sand. They placed the drum inside a vacuum chamber cooled to a few degrees above absolute zero, minimising any interference by random noise.












By continuously firing a stream of photons at the drum they were able to get increasingly precise measurements of the position of the skin at any moment. However, this also caused the skin to vibrate at an unknown speed. When they attempted to determine its momentum, the error in their measurement had increased – just as the uncertainty principle predicts.












"You don't usually have to think about quantum mechanics for objects you can hold in your hand," says Purdy.












That the uncertainty principle holds sway at such a large scale could affect the hunt for gravitational waves, which are predicted by Einstein's theory of general relativity but have never been detected.











Mitigation strategy












Gravitational wave detectors look for very slight changes in the distance between two test masses caused by passing spacetime ripples. Purdy says his team's experiment confirms long-held suspicions that quantum uncertainty could overwhelm these very small changes.













Now he and others can use the drum to explore more advanced measurement techniques to mitigate the effects. For example, uncertainty in an object's momentum could lead to future uncertainty in its position and there should be ways to minimise such knock-on effects. "You can't avoid the uncertainty principle, but you can in some clever ways make it [such that] increasing the momentum doesn't add back to the uncertainty in position at a later time," says Purdy.











His experiment is a neat demonstration of the breakdown of the traditional notion that the atomic world is quantum while the macroscopic world is classic, says Gerard Milburn of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, who was not involved in the work. Previous, attempts to blur the quantum-classical divide have involved entangling diamonds and demonstrating quantum superposition in a strip of metal.













Despite these feats, Milburn doesn't rule out the prospect of a breakdown on really large scales. "Of course maybe one day we will see quantum mechanics fail at some scale. Testing it to destruction is a good motivation for going down this path," he says.












Journal reference: Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1231282


















































If you would like to reuse any content from New Scientist, either in print or online, please contact the syndication department first for permission. New Scientist does not own rights to photos, but there are a variety of licensing options available for use of articles and graphics we own the copyright to.









































































All comments should respect the New Scientist House Rules. If you think a particular comment breaks these rules then please use the "Report" link in that comment to report it to us.


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Read More..

Experts tell flatulent flyers: let it rip






WELLINGTON: A group of medical specialists has provided an answer to a dilemma that has faced flyers since the Wright brothers took to the air in 1903 -- is it okay to fart mid-flight?

The experts' recommendation is an emphatic yes to airline passengers -- but a warning to cockpit crews that breaking wind could distract the pilot and pose a safety risk.

The study concluded that anecdotal evidence that flying increases flatulence is not hot air, finding that changes in air pressure at altitude result in the gut producing more gas.

When Danish gastroenterologist Jacob Rosenberg encountered the malodorous problem first-hand on a flight from Copenhagen to Tokyo, he enlisted some of the finest minds in his field to address the issue.

The result was an in-depth review of scientific literature on flatulence, looking at issues such as whether women's farts smell worse than men's (yes), what causes the odour (sulphur) and how often the average person passes wind every day (10 times).

The bottom line, according to the 3,000-word study published in the New Zealand Medical Journal on Friday, is that airline passengers should ignore the social embarrassment of breaking wind and "just let it go".

"(Holding back) holds significant drawbacks for the individual, such as discomfort and even pain, bloating, dyspepsia (indigestion), pyrosis (heartburn) just to name but a few resulting abdominal symptoms," the study found.

"Moreover, problems resulting from the required concentration to maintain such control may even result in subsequent stress symptoms."

The authors -- five gastroenterologists from Denmark and Britain -- said that while passengers may experience poor service from the cabin crew as a result of their decision, the health benefits outweighed any negative impacts.

However, they said the cockpit crew faced a lose-lose situation.

"On the one hand, if the pilot restrains a fart, all the drawbacks previously mentioned, including impaired concentration, may affect his abilities to control the plane," the researchers said.

"On the other hand, if he lets go of the fart, his co-pilot may be affected by its odour, which again reduces safety onboard the flight."

The authors canvassed a number of solutions to the issue of flight-induced flatulence, including using methane breath tests to screen wind-prone passengers from flights, but rejected them as impractical.

They did, however, note that the textile covers used on seats in economy class absorbed up to 50 percent of odours because they are gas permeable, unlike the leather seats in first class.

They suggested airlines could improve the odour-eating properties of the seats and issue special blankets and trousers to passengers to minimise mid-air flatulence.

"We humbly propose that active charcoal should be embedded in the seat cushion, since this material is able to neutralise the odour," they said.

"Moreover active charcoal may be used in trousers and blankets to emphasise this effect."

Air New Zealand declined to comment when asked if it would adopt such measures.

- AFP/fl



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Stricken cruise ship docks








MOBILE, Alabama—





A crippled cruise ship that lost power for more than four days in the Gulf of Mexico was pulled into a port in Mobile, Alabama, late on Thursday as passengers cheered the end of a "hellish" voyage marked by overflowing toilets and stinking cabins.

Tugboats pulled the Carnival Triumph into port in a drama that played out live on U.S. cable news stations, creating another public relations nightmare for cruise giant Carnival Corp. Last year, its Costa Concordia luxury ship grounded off the coast of Italy, killing 32 people.


Exhausted passengers lined the ship's decks, waving towels and flashlights and cheering as it pulled into dock, while hundreds of people watched from the shore.

Carnival officials said it could take up to five hours for the more than 4,200 people on board to disembark the ship, which has only one working elevator.

Once on solid ground, many passengers still had a lengthy journey ahead. More than 100 buses were lined up waiting to carry passengers on a seven-hour bus ride to Galveston, Texas, while others had elected to stay overnight in hotels in Mobile before flying home, Carnival said.

An engine fire on Sunday knocked out power and plumbing across most of the 893-foot vessel and left it adrift in the Gulf of Mexico. The ship, which went into service in 1999, was on a four-day cruise and on its way back from a stop in Cozumel, Mexico.

Over the last four days, passengers described an overpowering stench on parts of the ship and complained to relatives and media by cellphone that toilets and drainpipes overflowed, soaking many cabins and interior passages in sewage and turning the vessel into what some have described as a giant Petri dish.

"The thing I'm looking forward to most is having a working toilet and not having to breathe in the smell of fecal matter," said Jacob Combs, an Austin, Texas-based sales executive with a healthcare and hospice company.

Combs, 30, who said he had been traveling with friends and family on the Triumph, had nothing but praise for its crew members, saying they had gone through "hell" cleaning up after some of the passengers on the sea cruise.

"Just imagine the filth," Combs told Reuters. "People were doing crazy things and going to the bathroom in sinks and showers. It was inhuman. The stewards would go in and clean it all up. They were constantly cleaning," he said.

Officials greeted passengers with warm food and blankets and cell phones. Carnival Cruise Lines Chief Executive Gerry Cahill told reporters he planned to board the ship and personally apologize to passengers for their ordeal.

"I know the conditions on board were very poor," he said. "I know it was difficult. I want to apologize for subjecting our guests to that," he said.

"We pride ourselves with providing our guests with a great vacation experience and clearly we failed in this particular case."

Operated by Carnival Cruise Lines, the flagship brand of Carnival Corp, the ship left Galveston a week ago carrying 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew. It was supposed to return there on Monday.

A Coast Guard cutter escorted the Triumph on its long voyage into port since Monday, and a Coast Guard helicopter ferried about 3,000 lbs of equipment including a generator to the stricken ship late on Wednesday.

Earlier in the week, some passengers reported on the poor conditions on the Triumph. They said people were getting sick and passengers had been told to use plastic "biohazard" bags as makeshift toilets.

Smoke from the engine fire was so thick that passengers on the lower decks in the rear of the ship had to be permanently evacuated and slept the rest of the voyage on the decks under sheets, passengers said.

'VERY CHALLENGING CIRCUMSTANCES'

Cahill has issued several apologies and Carnival, the world's largest cruise company, says passengers will receive a full credit for the cruise plus transportation expenses, a future cruise credit equal to the amount paid for this voyage, plus a payment of $500 a person to help compensate for the "very challenging circumstances" aboard the ship.

Mary Poret, who spoke to her 12-year-old daughter aboard the Triumph on Monday, rejected Cahill's apology in comments to CNN on Thursday, as she waited anxiously in Mobile with a friend for the Triumph's arrival.

"Seeing urine and feces sloshing in the halls, sleeping on the floor, nothing to eat, people fighting over food, $500? What's the emotional cost? You can't put money on that," Poret said.

Some passengers said conditions onboard improved on Thursday after the generator was delivered to the ship, providing power for a grill to cook hot food.

Carnival Corp Chairman and CEO Micky Arison faced criticism in January 2012 for failing to travel to Italy and take personal charge of the Costa Concordia crisis after the luxury cruise ship operated by Carnival's Costa Cruises brand grounded on rocks off the Tuscan island of Giglio. The tragedy unleashed numerous lawsuits against his company.

The cruise ship mogul has taken a low-key approach to the Triumph situation as well, even as it grabbed a growing share of the U.S. media spotlight. His only known public appearance since Sunday was courtside on Tuesday at a game played by his Miami Heat championship professional basketball team.

"I think they really are trying to do the right thing, but I don't think they have been able to communicate it effectively," said Marcia Horowitz, an executive who handles crisis management at Rubenstein Associates, a New York-based public relations firm.

"Most of all, you really need a face for Carnival," she added. "You can do all the right things. But unless you communicate it effectively, it will not see the light of day."

Carnival Corp shares closed down 11 cents at $37.35 in trading on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares closed down 4 percent at $37.46 on Wednesday after the company said voyage disruptions and repair costs related to Carnival Triumph could shave up to 10 cents a share off its second-half earnings.

The Triumph is a Bahamian-flagged vessel and the Bahamas Maritime Authority will be the primary agency investigating the cause of its engine room fire.

Earlier this month, Carnival repaired an electrical issue on one of the Triumph's alternators. The company said there was no evidence of any connection between the repair and the fire.

For all the passengers' grievances, they will likely find it difficult to sue the cruise operator for any damages, legal sources said. Over the years, the cruise industry has put in place a legal structure that shields operators from big-money lawsuits.

(Additional reporting by David Adams and Kevin Gray in Miami, Writing by Tom Brown; Editing by Peter Cooney and Lisa Shumaker)






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Why We Walk … and Run … And Walk Again to Get Where We're Going


You have to get to a bus stop to catch the once-an-hour express ... or to a restaurant to meet a friend ... or to a doctor's office. You've got maybe a half a mile to cover and you're worried you'll be late. You run, then you stop and walk, then run some more.

But wait. Wouldn't it be better to run the whole way?

Not necessarily.

A new study by an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Ohio State University tests the theory that people subconsciously mix walking and running so they get where they need to. The idea is that "people move in a manner that minimizes energy consumption," said the professor, Manoj Srinivasan.

Srinivasan asked 36 subjects to cover 400 feet (122 meters), a bit more than the length of a football field. He gave them a time to arrive at the finish line and a stopwatch. If the deadline was supertight, they ran. If they had two minutes, they walked. And if the deadline was neither too short nor too far off, they toggled between walking and running.

The takeaway: Humans successfully make the walk-run adjustment as they go along, based on their sense of how far they have to go. "It's not like they decide beforehand," Srinivasan said. (Get tips, gear recommendations, and more in our Running Guide.)

The Best Technique for "the Twilight Zone"

"The mixture of walking and running is good when you have an intermediate amount of time," he explained. "I like to call it 'the Twilight Zone,' where you have neither infinite time nor do you have to be there now."

That ability to shift modes served ancient humans well. "It's basically an evolutionary argument," Srinivasan said. A prehistoric human seeking food would want to move in a way that conserves some energy so that if food is hard to find, the hunter won't run out of gas—and will still be able to rev it up to escape predators.

The study, published on January 30 in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, doesn't answer that question of how we make such adjustments.

Runners: Take a Break if You Need It

The mix of walking and running is also something that nonelite marathoners are familiar with. Covering 26.2 miles might take less of a toll if the runner stops running from time to time, walks a bit, then resumes a jogging pace. "You use less energy overall and also give yourself a bit of a break," Srinivasan noted. (Watch: An elite marathoner on her passion for running.)

One take-home lesson is: Runners, don't push it all the time. A walk-run mix will minimize the energy you expend.

Lesson two: If you're a parent walking with your kid, and the kid lags behind, then runs to catch up, then lags again, the child isn't necessarily trying to annoy you. Rather, the child is perhaps exhibiting an innate ability to do the walk-run transition.

Potential lesson three: The knowledge that humans naturally move in a manner that minimizes energy consumption might be helpful in designing artificial limbs that feel more natural and will help the user reduce energy consumption.

The big question for Manoj Srinivasan: Now that he has his walk-run theory, does he consciously switch between running and walking when he's trying to get somewhere? "I must admit, no," he said. "When I want to get somewhere, I just let the body do its thing." But if he's in a rush, he'll make a mad dash.

"Talk to you tomorrow," he signed off in an email to National Geographic News. "Running to get to teaching now!"


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Nightmare Ends: Passengers Leave Disabled Ship












The ordeal of the disabled Carnival Triumph cruise ship carrying 4,000 passengers and crew appeared to be almost over, with people starting to disembark in Mobile, Ala., after days at sea without power in often squalid conditions.


After the ship arrived at port around 9:30 p.m. local time (10:30 p.m. ET), Carnival president and CEO Gerry Cahill praised the ship's crew and told reporters that he was headed on board to apologize directly to its passengers.


Passengers appeared to begin disembarking around 10:15 p.m. CT (11:15 p.m. ET).


The Carnival Triumph departed Galveston, Texas, Thursday and lost power Sunday after a fire in the engine room disabled the vessel's propulsion system and knocked out most of its power.


After power went out, passengers texted ABC News that sewage was seeping down the walls from burst plumbing pipes, carpets were wet with urine, and food was in short supply. Reports surfaced of elderly passengers running out of critical heart medicine and others on board squabbling over scarce food.


"I know the conditions on board were very poor," Cahill said. "I know it was very difficult, and I want to apologize again for subjecting our guests for that. ... Clearly, we failed in this particular case."


It could take up to five hours to get everybody off the huge ship.


"Inside the terminal, there's also warm food available," said Terry Thornton, Carnival's senior vice president of marketing. "There are blankets, there are cell phones and refreshments available for the guests that need that or want that assistance.


Passengers will have the options of boarding buses to Houston or Galveston, Texas, about seven hours away, or New Orleans, about two hours away, officials said.


"We have gotten our guests back to land," Cahill said. "Now, we need to get them home. ... The full resources of Carnival are working from here to get them home as quickly as we possibly can."








Stranded Carnival Cruise Ship On Its Way to Port Watch Video









Carnival Cancels All Scheduled Voyages Aboard the Triumph Watch Video









Carnival Cruise Ship Making Its Way to Port Watch Video





At an earlier news conference this afternoon, Thornton said that anyone with special needs and children will be the first to get off the boat. He said the company's No. 1 priority is to make the process as "quick, efficient and comfortable" for guests as possible.


"There are some limitations. We know that up front," Thornton said. "The ship still does not have power. We only have one functioning elevator aboard."


Click here for photos of the stranded ship at sea.


The passengers were achingly close to port about noon today as the ship began to enter the channel and proceed to the cruise terminal. At 1 p.m., the lead tow boat had a tow gear break, so a spare tug boat that was on standby had to be sent in to replace it.


But once the second tug was in position and the lines were re-set, the towing resumed only briefly before the tow line snapped.


"We had to replace that tow line, so the ship did not begin progressing back into the cruise terminal until 2 p.m.," Thornton said


Passengers desperate to get off the vessel waved at media helicopters that flew out to film the ship and passenger Rob Mowlam told ABCNews.com by phone today that most of the passengers on board were "really upbeat and positive."


Nevertheless, when he gets off Mowlam said, "I will probably flush the toilet 10 times just because I can."


Mowlam, 37, got married on board the Triumph Friday and said he and his wife, Stephanie Stevenson, 27, haven't yet thought of redoing the honeymoon other than to say, "It won't be a cruise."


Alabama State Port Authority Director Jimmy Lyons said that with powerless "dead ships" like the Triumph, it is usually safer to bring them in during daylight hours, but, "Once they make the initial effort to come into the channel, there's no turning back."


"There are issues regarding coming into the ship channel and docking at night because the ship has no power and there's safety issues there," Richard Tillman of the Mobile Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau told ABCNews.com.


When asked if the ship could be disembarked in the dark of night, Tillman said, "It is not advised. It would be very unusual."


Thornton denied the rumors that there was a fatality on the ship. He said that there was one illness early on, a dialysis patient, but that passenger was removed from the vessel and transferred to a medical facility.


The U.S. Coast Guard was assisting and there were multiple generators on board. Customs officials were to board the ship while it was being piloted to port to accelerate the embarkation, officials said.






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Water wars loom as the US runs dry


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Singapore debaters 3rd in world championship






SINGAPORE: A team of Singapore debaters came in third at the 25th World School Debating Championship (WSDC) in Antalya, Turkey.

A total of 50 countries participated in this year's competition between 27 January and 6 February.

Darion Jin Hotan from Hwa Chong Institution was ranked fourth for overall performance while Tan Teck Wei from Raffles Institution was ranked 13th.

The other members of the team are Rabin Kok from Anglo-Chinese Junior College, and Lee Chin Wee and Tan Kuan Hian from Raffles Institution.

The Singapore delegation was led by its coach, Mrs Geetha Creffield of Anglo-Chinese Junior College, and Mdm Evelyn Woels of the Ministry of Education.

The WSDC is a global competition for debaters between the ages of 14 and 19.

The team from Australia was crowned champion after it beat Swaziland in the final.

- CNA/ck



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Anxiety grows as Chicago Public Schools narrows closing list









After trimming the number of schools that could be closed to 129, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's school administration on Wednesday entered the latest and what is likely to be the most intense phase so far in trying to determine which schools should be shut.


Chicago Public Schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett is expected to pare the preliminary list before unveiling a final one at the end of March. She said administrators will determine which schools are saved in the coming weeks amid a final round of community meetings to hear arguments from parents, teachers and community groups about why their schools should stay open.


If a hearing Wednesday night in North Lawndale was any indication, CPS still has a long way to go to gain the public's trust.





"Our schools don't need to close," Dwayne Truss, vice chairman of CPS' Austin Community Action Council, said in front of hundreds of people packed inside a church auditorium in the West Side neighborhood. "CPS is perpetrating a myth that there's a budget crisis."


CPS initially said 330 of its schools are underenrolled, the chief criterion for closing. Members of a commission assembled to gather public input on the issue told CPS officials earlier this year that closing a large number of schools would create too much upheaval. The Tribune, citing sources, said the commission indicated a far smaller number should be closed than initially feared, possibly as few as 15.


CPS then started holding its own hearings and on Wednesday, while following many of the formal recommendations made by the Commission on School Utilization, said 129 schools still fit the criteria for closing.


The new number and the latest round of hearings sets the stage for the administration to counter questions about the district's abilities to close a large number of schools and the need to do so.


For many who have already turned up to school closing meetings, this final round of hearings will be even more critical. School supporters must show how they plan to turn around academic performance and build enrollment, and also make the case for any security problems that would be created by closing their school.


"We are prepared now to move to the next level of conversation with our community and discuss a list of approximately 129 schools that still require further vetting and further conversation," Bryd-Bennett said. "We are going to take these 129 and continue to sift through these schools."


In the past, political clout has played a role in the district's final decisions. Already this year, several aldermen have spoken out on behalf of schools in their wards.


On the Near Northwest Side, for instance, the initial list of 330 underused schools included about six in the 1st Ward. Ald. Proco "Joe" Moreno helped organize local school council members, school administrators and parents to fight any closing. He also took that fight to leaders in City Hall and within CPS' bureaucracy. Nearly all of the schools in the ward were excluded from the list of 129.


"It is effort and it's organizing and not just showing up at meetings and yelling. Anybody can do that," Moreno said. "Those schools that proactively work before those meetings and explain what they are doing, what they need and that they are willing to accept new students, that's when politics works.


"My responsibility in this juncture was to focus on these schools," he said. "I had to work on the inside, with CPS and with City Hall, and with my schools on the outside."


Most of the schools on the list of 129 are on the West, South and Southwest sides, many in impoverished neighborhoods that saw significant population loss over the last decade. Largely spared were the North and Northwest sides.


In all, more than 43,000 students attend those 129 schools on the preliminary list, according to CPS records.


The area with the most schools on the list is a CPS network (the district groups its schools in 14 networks) that runs roughly from Madison Street south to 71st Street and from the lake to State Street. The preliminary list includes 24 schools in that area.


The Englewood-Gresham network has the second-largest number, 19, while the Austin-North Lawndale network where Wednesday night's meeting was held still has 16 schools on the list.


CPS critics said the preliminary list is still too large to be meaningful and that the district's promise to trim it before March 31 is only a tactic to make the final number seem reasonable.


"They started out with such a far-fetched, exaggerated list of schools, many of which are nowhere near underutilized," said Wendy Katten, co-founder of the parent group Raise Your Hand. "They might appear to be looking like they're listening, but they're not. They have not done a thorough and substantive assessment of these schools."


Following the commission's recommendations, CPS last month removed high schools and schools performing at a high level academically from consideration. On Wednesday, the district said schools with more than 600 students or utilization rates of at least 70 percent have also been taken out of consideration for closing.





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Are Honeybees Losing Their Way?



A single honeybee visits hundreds, sometimes thousands, of flowers a day in search of nectar and pollen. Then it must find its way back to the hive, navigating distances up to five miles (eight kilometers), and perform a "waggle dance" to tell the other bees where the flowers are.


A new study shows that long-term exposure to a combination of certain pesticides might impair the bee's ability to carry out its pollen mission.


"Any impairment in their ability to do this could have a strong effect on their survival," said Geraldine Wright, a neuroscientist at Newcastle University in England and co-author of a new study posted online February 7, 2013, in the Journal of Experimental Biology.


Wright's study adds to the growing body of research that shows that the honeybee's ability to thrive is being threatened. Scientists are still researching how pesticides may be contributing to colony collapse disorder (CCD), a rapid die-off seen in millions of honeybees throughout the world since 2006.


"Pesticides are very likely to be involved in CCD and also in the loss of other types of pollinators," Wright said. (See the diversity of pollinating creatures in a photo gallery from National Geographic magazine.)


Bees depend on what's called "scent memory" to find flowers teeming with nectar and pollen. Their ability to rapidly learn, remember, and communicate with each other has made them highly efficient foragers, using the waggle dance to educate others about the site of the food source.



Watch as National Geographic explains the waggle dance.


Their pollination of plants is responsible for the existence of nearly a third of the food we eat and has a similar impact on wildlife food supplies.


Previous studies have shown certain types of pesticides affect a bee's learning and memory. Wright's team wanted to investigate if the combination of different pesticides had an even greater effect on the learning and memory of honeybees.


"Honeybees learn to associate floral colors and scents with the quality of food rewards," Wright explained. "The pesticides affect the neurons involved in these behaviors. These [affected] bees are likely to have difficulty communicating with other members of the colony."


The experiment used a classic procedure with a daunting name: olfactory conditioning of the proboscis extension reflex. In layman's terms, the bee sticks out its tongue in response to odor and food rewards.


For the experiment, bees were collected from the colony entrance, placed in glass vials, and then transferred into plastic sandwich boxes. For three days the bees were fed a sucrose solution laced with sublethal doses of pesticides. The team measured short-term and long-term memory at 10-minute and 24-hour intervals respectively. (Watch of a video of a similar type of bee experiment.)


This study is the first to show that when pesticides are combined, the impact on bees is far worse than exposure to just one pesticide. "This is particularly important because one of the pesticides we used, coumaphos, is a 'medicine' used to treat Varroa mites [pests that have been implicated in CCD] in honeybee colonies throughout the world," Wright said.


The pesticide, in addition to killing the mites, might also be making honeybees more vulnerable to poisoning and effects from other pesticides.


Stephen Buchmann of the Pollinator Partnership, who was not part of Wright's study, underscored how critical pollinators are for the world. "The main threat to pollinators is habitat destruction and alteration. We're rapidly losing pollinator habitats, natural areas, and food—producing agricultural lands that are essential for our survival and well being. Along with habitat destruction, insecticides weaken pollinators and other beneficial insects."


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Dorner Not IDed, But Manhunt Considered Over













Though they have not yet identified burned remains found at the scene of Tuesday's fiery, armed standoff, San Bernardino, Calif., officials consider the manhunt over for Christopher Dorner, the fugitive ex-cop accused of going on a killing spree.


"The events that occurred yesterday in the Big Bear area brought to close an extensive manhunt," San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon told reporters this evening.


"I cannot absolutely, positively confirm it was him," he added.


However, he noted the physical description of the suspect authorities pursued to a cabin at the standoff scene, as well as the suspect's behavior during the chase and standoff, matched Dorner, 33.


The charred remains of the body believed to be Dorner were removed from the cabin high in the San Bernardino Mountains near Big Bear, Calif., the apparent site of Dorner's last stand. Cornered inside the mountain cabin Tuesday, the suspect shot at cops, killing one deputy and wounding another, before the building was consumed by flames.


"We did not intentionally burn down that cabin to get Mr. Dorner out," McMahon said tonight, though he noted pyrotechnic canisters known as "burners" were fired into the cabin during a tear gas assault in an effort to flush out Dorner. The canisters generate high temperatures, he added.


The deputies wounded in the firefight were airlifted to a nearby hospital, where one died, police said.








Christopher Dorner Believed Dead After Shootout with Police Watch Video









Carjacking Victim Says Christopher Dorner Was Dressed for Damage Watch Video









Christopher Dorner Manhunt: Inside the Shootout Watch Video





The deceased deputy was identified tonight as Det. Jeremiah MacKay, 35, a 15-year veteran and the father of two children -- a daughter, 7, and son, 4 months old.


"Our department is grieving from this event," McMahon said. "It is a terrible deal for all of us."


The Associated Press quoted MacKay on the Dorner dragnet Tuesday, noting that he had been on patrol since 5 a.m. Saturday.


"This one you just never know if the guy's going to pop out, or where he's going to pop out," MacKay said. "We're hoping this comes to a close without more casualties. The best thing would be for him to give up."


The wounded deputy, identified as Alex Collins, was undergoing multiple surgeries for his wounds at a hospital, McMahon said, but was expected to make a full recovery.


Before the final standoff, Dorner was apparently holed up in a snow-covered cabin in the California mountains just steps from where police had set up a command post and held press conferences during a five-day manhunt.


The manhunt for Dorner, one of the biggest in recent memory, led police to follow clues across the West and into Mexico, but it ended just miles from where Dorner's trail went cold last week.


Residents of the area were relieved today that after a week of heightened police presence and fear that Dorner was likely dead.


"I'm glad no one else can get hurt and they caught him. I'm happy they caught the bad guy," said Ashley King, a waitress in the nearby town of Angelus Oaks, Calif.


Hundreds of cops scoured the mountains near Big Bear, a resort area in Southern California, since last Thursday using bloodhounds and thermal-imaging technology mounted to helicopters, in the search for Dorner. The former police officer and Navy marksman was suspected to be the person who killed a cop and cop's daughter and issued a "manifesto" declaring he was bent on revenge and pledging to kill dozens of LAPD cops and their family members.


But it now appears that Dorner never left the area, and may have hid out in an unoccupied cabin just steps from where cops had set up a command center.






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Obama keeps faith in science and warns of cyber threats



Peter Aldhous, San Francisco bureau chief
"IT IS our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country - the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead."

In adopting the phrase "unfinished task" as a signature motif for his 2013 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama signalled a return to familiar themes. For those who care about investment in science, that was a reassuring message. 
The fight against global warming and the importance of technology to protect national security also got high billing. On the latter, Obama signaled that hacking skills, rather than kilotons, are increasingly a crucial currency, promising a new focus on combating cyberattacks - paralleled by negotiated cuts to the US nuclear arsenal. 




In a combative speech designed to counter Republican opponents who want to cut the budget deficit by curbing spending on Obama's priorities - including education and research - the President made the case for continued investment in innovation.
"Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy. Today, our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer's; developing drugs to regenerate damaged organs; devising new material to make batteries ten times more powerful. Now is not the time to gut these job-creating investments in science and innovation. Now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race."
The estimate of a 140:1 return on investment in genomics comes from a 2011 study by the Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio. While the precise numbers from that analysis have been questioned, the importance of continued innovation to America's future economic competitiveness has been stressed in multiple reports, notably from the US National Academies. 
"Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, and our air traffic control systems. We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy."
Obama called on Congress to pass new legislation to counter threats from hackers backed by hostile governments. That won't be easy: last year, a bill that would have demanded that companies meet minimum standards for cybersecurity, and report if they are attacked, foundered amid complaints that it would impose large costs on US businesses. 



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Man charged with causing death of colleague through negligence






SINGAPORE: A man has been charged with causing the death of his 62-year-old colleague through negligence.

T Magesvaran A/L Tambisamy, 39, is accused of causing fellow production worker, Fan Chow Lin's death on 10 October 2012 at Idemitsu Lube Singapore in Pandan Road.

The alleged incident took place when the accused was operating the forklift to lift a tote tank designed to hold up to 2000 litres of liquids.

While doing so, Magesvaran is said to have mistakenly stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake, therefore causing the forklift to move forward and knocking into the tank.

Mr Fan was crushed between two tanks.

For causing a man's death due to negligence, the accused faces the maximum penalty of a jail term of up to two years and a fine.

- CNA/ck



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Dorner manhunt: Confusion over whether body was found

Raw footage of Christopher Dorner's cabin engulfed in flames. It is unclear who set it. There are also reports of ammo exploding inside.









There were conflicting reports tonight about whether a body was located inside the burned-out cabin Tuesday night where Christopher Jordan Dorner was believed to have kept law enforcement authorities at bay.


Several sources told The Times and many other news organizations that a body was located in the rubble. But LAPD officials just said that the cabin is still too hot to search and no body has been found.


Another update is expected within the next hour from law enforcement officers near the scene, and officials said they might have an update clarifying the confusion.








San Bernardino County Sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Bachman said officials have not confirmed what is inside the cabin. She said police believed a suspect was inside the cabin at the time of the fire but that officials have not gone in yet to look for the body.


As authorities moved into the cabin earlier Tuesday, they heard a single gunshot.


According to a law enforcement source, police had broken down windows, fired tear gas into the cabin and blasted over a loud speaker urging Dorner to surrender. When they got no response, police deployed a vehicle to rip down the walls of the cabin "one by one, like peeling an onion," a law enforcement official said.


By the time they got to the last wall, authorities heard a single gunshot, the source said. Then flames began to spread through the structure, and gunshots, probably set off by the fire, were heard. 


As darkness descended on the mountainside, Dorner's body had not been found, authorities said. Police were planning to focus their search in the basement area, the source said.


Earlier Tuesday, a tall plume of smoke was rising as flames consumed the wood-paneled cabin. Hundreds of law enforcement personnel had swooped down on the site near Big Bear after the gun battles between Dorner and officers that broke out in the snow-covered mountains where the fugitive had been eluding a massive manhunt since his truck was found burning in the area late last week.


Law enforcement personnel in military-style gear and armed with high-powered weapons took up positions in the heavily forested area as the tense standoff progressed. 


One San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy died of his wounds after he and another deputy were wounded in an exchange of gunfire outside the cabin in which hundreds of rounds were fired, sources told The Times. The deputy was airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where he died of his wounds.


The afternoon gun battle was part of a quickly changing situation that began after Dorner allegedly broke into a home, tied up a couple and held them hostage. He then stole a silver pickup truck, sources said.


Then Dorner was allegedly spotted by a state Fish and Wildlife officer in the pickup truck, sources said. A vehicle-to-vehicle shootout ensued. The officer's vehicle was peppered with multiple rounds, according to authorities.


Dorner crashed his vehicle and took refuge in a nearby cabin, sources said. One deputy was hit as Dorner fired out of the cabin and a second deputy was injured when Dorner exited the back of the cabin, deployed a smoke bomb and opened fire again in an apparent attempt to flee. Dorner was driven back inside the cabin, the sources said.


During the unprecedented manhunt, officers had crisscrossed California for days pursuing the more than 1,000 tips that poured in about Dorner's possible whereabouts -- including efforts in Tijuana, San Diego County and Big Bear -- and serving warrants at homes in Las Vegas and the Point Loma area of San Diego.


Statewide alerts were issued in California and Nevada, and border authorities were alerted. The Transportation Security Administration also had issued an alert urging pilots and other aircraft operators to keep an eye out for Dorner.


The search turned to Big Bear last week after Dorner's burning truck was found on a local forest road.


At the search's height, more than 200 officers scoured the mountain, conducting cabin-by-cabin checks. It was scaled back Sunday -- about 30 officers were out in the field Tuesday, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said.


Dorner allegedly threatened "unconventional and asymmetrical warfare" against police in a lengthy manifesto that authorities say he posted on Facebook. The posting named dozens of potential targets, including police officers, whom Dorner allegedly threatened to attack, according to authorities.


Records state that the manifesto was discovered by authorities last Wednesday, three days after the slaying of an Irvine couple: Monica Quan, a Cal State Fullerton assistant basketball coach, and her fiance, Keith Lawrence, a USC public safety officer.


Quan was the daughter of a retired LAPD captain whom Dorner allegedly blamed in part for his firing from the force in 2009.


 






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