Stop Mourning the Loss of a Client

first_imgYou are going to lose clients.Sometimes it’s going to be your fault. You’re going to fail to deliver. You’re going to get complacent and your competitors are going to catch you sleeping. Your going to lose the key operational person that owns the relationship.Sometimes you’ll lose clients through no fault of your own. You’ll lose adversarial, nightmare clients. You’ll lose clients that move to another country. Some clients will shutter their doors. Some won’t do what they need to do to help you to help them.The “how” and “why” of losing them only matters as it pertains to you learning from the experience. Mourning the loss of clients doesn’t do anything to help you recover from the loss.Pick Up the Pieces and Move OnWhen you lose a client, you need to do some introspection. If it was your fault and you failed to deliver, get together with your team and determine what you have to change to prevent losing another client—and to ensure you succeed for your new clients. If you were complacent, decide how you are going to be proactive with the rest of the clients you serve now. If you lost a key relationship holder on your side, think about how to build more—and deeper—relationships.If it wasn’t your fault, it still might be your fault. If you lost a client because they were adversarial, did you really discover that after the fact, or could you have seen it earlier? If you lost them because you couldn’t get your clients to help you make the changes they needed to make, how will you do better next time?Fight to the finish to keep your clients. But when it’s over, figure out what you might change in the future. Pick up the pieces and move on. You aren’t going to improve your results by rehashing and reliving the loss. You aren’t going to win new business by blaming others, or by recounting the “coulda, shoulda, wouldas.”The faster you get back to selling, the faster you recover from the loss of a client. Unless it was a big client.One of the reasons you can never take your foot off the accelerator is because you are going to lose clients. I’ve seen some sales organizations go backwards because they lost a key account and didn’t have enough in the pipeline to replace it. Bigger clients usually mean a longer sales cycle. When you lose a key account, it’s too late to start working on replacing them. You better already have something in the pipeline.No amount of mourning is going to make you feel better or replace your lost client. Only selling can do that.QuestionsWhat do you do when you lose a key account?How do you recover from the loss?Think back to the last key account you lost. Why did you lose them and what did you learn?Would your sales number survive the loss of a major client? Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

Practice, Forms, Kata, and Relationships

first_imgThe martial artist practices their form, their kata, thousands of times. They rehearse each movement, perfecting it, combining it with the next movement until it flows perfectly. When they’re not practicing their kata, they practice each of the individual movements over and over again until it becomes second nature. The martial artist also spars and practices their art under scenarios that closely match the conditions they’ll face if they’re ever called upon to use their skills to defend themselves or others.The reason for so much repetition, so much deliberate practice, is that the right response no longer requires thought; it’s build into their reflexes. The martial artist no longer needs to think about what to do because the response is built into their nervous system. This saves time and reduces the likelihood that they are injured. They don’t overreact or under-react. They respond appropriately.Business As an ArtIn business, we generally don’t spend much time practicing. We don’t practice dealing with the every day scenarios where business is won and lost, where clients hearts and minds are won—or lost. We don’t develop the language choices that demonstrate how much we care about people, opting instead for transactional approaches that save time and money at the cost of relationships.You think you need to win wallets, but you really need to win hearts and minds. At its core, business is about hearts and souls. It’s about caring, and it’s about human relationships.As a leader, you need to take your team off the field to rehearse, to practice. You need to help your team develop a set of responses that start by demonstrating that you care deeply about the people you have the pleasure to serve. You need to abandon the transactional for a more appropriate set of responses, and you need your team to rehearse those responses. In the moment of truth, when people are under stress and challenged, you want the default response to generate the right outcome.QuestionsHow much time do you spend rehearsing for the most important interactions you have with your clients?Are you more confident when you have an idea about how to achieve the right outcome from difficult interactions?As a leader, do you take your team off the field for deliberate practice and rehearsal?As an individual contributor, do you practice or rehearse for important conversations? Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

Choose Excuses or Reasons

first_imgOne of the ways that the human ego protects itself is by rationalizing, by making excuses that absolve you of responsibility for your poor performance.You didn’t reach your sales goal? Your brain provides the excuse. It was the economy, the government, your territory, or your competitor’s price.You mishandled an important conversation by being unduly harsh or obstinate? Your brain rationalizes away your bad behavior by reminding you that nothing you said was untrue, and the person you were speaking with really needed to hear what you said.You skipped your morning workout? Well, you were really tired, it’s just one workout, and you can make it up tomorrow.The one force that overcomes excuses is reasons. With strong enough reasons, your excuses weaken and lose their hold.The people who reach their goals are resourceful and determined enough to find a way because their reasons are stronger than their excuses. For some of them, the reason might be their very survival. For others, the reason might have been their identity; they can’t imagine not being a person who achieves their goals. The reason and motivation may be their own, but it is there, and it propels them ever forward.The people who handle difficult conversations well do so because their reasons for honoring the relationship and the individual are stronger than their need to vent their anger. It may not be easy, but they don’t make excuses or rationalize their bad behavior.The people who are at the gym or on the asphalt have powerful reasons for being there, like their health, their energy, and their vitality. They know that their excuses won’t provide for them what their reasons provide.Your mind will let you find excuses or it will let you find reasons. Which you choose is 100% in your control, and the choice you make rules your results, for good or for ill.last_img read more

AFSPA gets six-month extension in Manipur

first_imgThe Manipur Cabinet on Saturday night decided to extend the Disturbed Areas Act for another period of six months to facilitate the imposition of the AFSPA except in seven Assembly segments in Imphal. The government had lifted the AFSPA from these segments on August 12, 2004.last_img

Free sanitary napkins for schoolgirls in Odisha

first_imgThe Naveen Patnaik government on Monday launched “Khushi”, a scheme to provide free sanitary napkins to schoolgirls across Odisha.“Under the scheme, the State will provide free sanitary napkins to 17 lakh girls in government and government-aided schools from Class VI to XII,” said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik while launching the initiative at the State Secretariat here.Women empowermentStating that his “government is always committed to the empowerment of women”, Mr. Patnaik said, “From Mission Shakti (for economic empowerment) to MAMATA (a maternity benefit scheme) to 50% reservation (in local bodies), women have been the focal point of all our key interventions.”In addition to this, Mr. Patnaik said that the government will also expand social marketing of sanitary napkins for women and girls in the community at subsidised rates.last_img read more

‘Militants killed in encounters of Jammu & Kashmir were post-2016 recruits’

first_imgAll militants who were killed in multiple operations in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday joined the terrorist outfits post-2016, J&K police chief S.P. Vaid told The Hindu on Tuesday. Mr. Vaid asked people from Kashmir to “introspect” whether the violence aided by Pakistan from across the border “was doing them any good.”Thirteen militants were killed as security forces launched “coordinated,” multiple operations in Shopian and Anantnag in south Kashmir on Sunday. Three Army men lost their lives in the operations. The Kashmir Valley saw a surge in the number of local boys joining terrorist outfits after Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commander Burhan Wani and two others were killed in an encounter with security forces on July 8, 2016. Pellet gunsMr. Vaid said a large number of protesters had gathered at the encounter site and there was no way to avoid the use of pellet guns. Four civilians were killed. Scores of them are being treated in Srinagar hospitals for pellet injuries. Some were hit in the eye. Mr. Vaid said, “The mob was pelting stones at security forces at the encounter site. When militants fire indiscriminately, the bullets don’t see if they will hit an Army man or a civilian. It was an open area and tear gas shells and PAVA shells were also used, but they remained ineffective,” he said. According to Mr. Vaid, this was the first time in many years that an operation of this scale had been launched in Shopian. He said he hoped the operations did not impact the tourist season in the Valley. He dismissed allegations by Pakistan that “human shields” were used in Sunday’s encounters. “When has Pakistan spoken the truth? Pakistan claims to be a friend of Kashmir but all this (violence) is their doing,” he said.last_img read more

‘Financial independence is key to life with dignity’

first_imgKRITIKA*, 22, EMPLOYEE IN A PRIVATE FIRMA successful professional, a wife, and a reluctant activist — Kritika* (name changed) is among the first few people in Delhi who got their identification papers changed from male to female without undergoing surgery.“I have emerged stronger from this experience. My fight has served as an inspiration for many other transgender persons to get their desired identity,” she said.Despite a Supreme Court directive against insisting on a surgery to change the gender of a person on official documents, the process of getting the change done is a humiliating and daunting task.Many people are not able to sustain the constant and brutal attack on their identity and are forced to forgo the benefits attached to a particular gender, said Kritika, adding that she refused to give up her fight.She eventually underwent a gender affirmation surgery in October 2017, at a private hospital in Delhi, but it was conducted months after she got her gender changed on her identification documents. New phase in life“I became shameless,” she said. “I think I got my way because of sheer persistence. Now that this phase of my life is over, where I have my papers in place and my surgery is done, I want to move on.”Kritika does not want to share her real name or picture and says she has changed her job and joined this new office as a female employee.“Why should I talk about my personal life? Who should I explain? I do not want to relive the humiliation,” she said.Kritika, who is from Lucknow, says she is the only child of her parents.“I was always a good student and got admission into an engineering college hoping that after completing my education I will become financially independent and will then be able to pay for my surgery. My classmates had other plans. They could not accept anyone even slightly different from them. They made my life miserable to an extent that I had to quit and return home. From then on I took up one small job after another. It was not an easy journey,” said Kritika. Mental trauma “What made it tough for me was that I looked different. I felt different. My mannerism did not match my gender and people around me could not come to terms with that. Depression, isolation and suicide attempts followed, but then I pushed myself to pick up the piece and start again.”Talking about her journey from her home to Delhi, she says, “It was not easy. I was always a female — in my head, my mind and my soul. I learned very early in life that financial independence was key to life with dignity. Also I did not just want to be a woman, I wanted to live like a woman. For me it was not a fetish, it was life itself.”Kritika says she went through her entire medical procedure on her own. “It is a very lonely journey. I know I have to be on hormones for the rest of my life. It is expensive and I need the financial security. Life becomes the clearest when we are faced with the toughest challenges.”Clear goals“I opted to ignore the humiliations, the rejections, the failures, the assaults, the lost chances, the ruined childhood and turbulent adolescence and focussed on who I truly am. I decided that the only person I needed to be true to and fight for was myself. Life and its goals were crystal clear for me after that.”“Today, I would like to live peacefully with my husband [whose family doesn’t know about her sex change] and even have children some day. The government, too, has to ensure that welfare is extended and reaches all sections of society,” she said.For those who are still struggling to get their gender changed on papers, Kritika wants the authorities to step in.“Provide us the right road to access the welfare measures and sensitise the officials dealing with people in conflict with their gender. A little bit of understanding goes a long way in ensuring a life of dignity for all involved.”Talking about her life after the surgery, she said: “You know through my struggle I have realised that there is no absolute right or absolute wrong. As long as I am not troubling anyone, I should be fine. Life is one and it is short. I am striving to achieve happiness and secure my future. Everyone and everything else will have to wait.”last_img read more

What is the lowdown on Kashmir strategy?

first_imgWhat is it?As Jammu and Kashmir comes under President’s rule on December 20, the State has witnessed interventions by government as well as non-governmental players with no clear picture emerging. Before and after the State came under Governor’s rule on June 20 this year, the strategy in the Kashmir Valley has mostly veered around the gun. Till December 2 this year, the State witnessed 587 terrorist-related incidents, the highest in the last six years. According to the Home Ministry, 238 militants and 86 security personnel were killed in various operations this year, again the highest in six years.How did it come about?The Assembly was dissolved on November 21 by Governor Satya Pal Malik amid allegations of horse-trading. Only in Jammu and Kashmir, President’s rule is imposed after six months of Governor’s rule. The proclamation has to be ratified by Parliament within two months. When the State is under Governor’s rule, the legislative power rests with the Governor and during President’s rule it is with Parliament. The State had faced another crisis when it was placed under Governor’s rule on June 20, after the BJP pulled out of an alliance with the People’s Democratic Party after the government said on June 17 that it would not continue the ‘suspension of operations’ or ‘cease-ops’ that was announced to provide relief to people in the month of Ramzan. In May, Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced that security operations would be suspended for a month to provide relief to the people during Ramzan. A month later, the government revoked the decision after the killing of Rising Kashmir Editor Shujaat Bukhari on June 14.Why does it matter?Last month, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s NGO Art of Living Foundation arranged a meeting of former Prime Minister of Norway Kjell Mangne Bondevik with hard-line separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani in Srinagar. The meeting raised eyebrows as India has always opposed intervention by a third country and insisted that all violence in Kashmir is perpetrated by Pakistan. The meeting of the NGO members and the Norwegian delegation at Hyderpora, the fortified residence of Mr. Geelani, wouldn’t have been possible without the tacit support of the Centre. Special Representative Dineshwar Sharma, who was appointed last year to carry forward the dialogue with all stakeholders in Kashmir, was not part of the meeting. After the State came under Governor’s rule, 356 people, including security men, were injured during counter-terror operations and stone-throwing incidents in the Valley. In the same period, 136 militants were killed in operations by security forces. Around 250 militants are said to be active in the Valley, an official said. Last week, Mudasir Rashid Parray, 14, from Hajin in north Kashmir, once a militancy-free area, became the youngest militant of the Lashkar-e-Taiba to have been killed after an 18-hour encounter with security forces. The police have maintained that recruitment to militant groups was at a record low and some teenagers joining terrorist ranks was not a trend but “deviant behaviour.”What lies ahead?With winter setting in and the panchayat elections over, the State will now prepare for the Assembly election that is most likely to be held around the 2019 general election in March-April next year. The Supreme Court is expected to resume hearing the petition challenging Article 35A in January. The constitutional validity of Article 35A, which prohibits a non-J&K resident from buying property in the State and ensures job reservation for J&K residents and lets the legislature decide the permanent residents of the State, has been challenged through a PIL petition. The National Conference and the PDP, the two main parties, have cautioned against any tinkering with the law. The Home Ministry informed Parliament last year that there was no proposal for abolition of Articles 35A and 370, which give special status to the State.last_img read more

Muscle Molecule Spurs Fat Cells to Slim Down

first_imgJust in time for all those New Year’s resolutions to exercise more, scientists have a better idea of how the body turns pain into gain. Exertion stimulates muscles to release a molecule that modifies fat cells, turning them into calorie-burning machines, a research team has found.Exercise works the muscles but affects cells throughout the body, even in the brain. An important player in this process is a protein called PGC-1α. In exercising muscles, it activates genes that ramp up energy use. But its impact extends beyond these tissues. The protein somehow indirectly prompts, for example, white fat—the energy-storing variety that pads our hips and stomachs—to switch on genes that are characteristic of brown fat, a form that burns calories. PGC-1α doesn’t travel outside muscle cells, so researchers aren’t sure how its influence spreads, however.By sifting through the secretions of PGC-1α-making muscle cells, Robert Gerszten of Harvard Medical School in Boston and colleagues have nabbed one molecule that might be doing the protein’s bidding: β-aminoisobutyric acid (BAIBA). They found that BAIBA induces white fat cells to become more like brown fat cells, altering their gene activity patterns. And it stimulates other cell types, stoking fat metabolism in the liver, the team also reveals today in Cell Metabolism.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)These effects may translate into a healthier metabolism. When mice lapped up water laced with the molecule, the rodents lost weight and were better at absorbing glucose.Does BAIBA produce similar modifications in humans? The researchers analyzed blood samples from more than 2000 subjects in the famous Framingham Heart Study, which has been probing the causes of cardiovascular disease for more than 60 years. The team found low BAIBA levels in people who had risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, such as high insulin and high cholesterol. In contrast, after couch potatoes taking part in a different study began an exercise program, the concentration of BAIBA in their blood jumped 17%, the researchers determined.These findings suggest that BAIBA is PGGC-1α’s molecular emissary. But BAIBA isn’t the only such messenger. Two years ago, a group that included some of the authors on the current paper identified another example: the protein irisin. But because exercise triggers complex effects in multiple tissues and organs, “it’s no surprise that other factors could be found here,” says metabolic physiologist Christopher Newgard of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, who wasn’t connected to either the irisin or BAIBA research. “This paper is noteworthy, and this factor deserves further attention.” One question scientists should focus on, he says, is whether levels of BAIBA fall as people become obese.It’s too early to say whether BAIBA can be developed into a drug that would help people lose weight or fend off metabolic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. “We are going to study it extensively in animals to see if there are any odd side effects we haven’t picked up,” Gerszten says. In the meantime, if you want to keep your New Year’s resolution, you should probably hold on to that gym membership.last_img read more

The Key to the Next Energy Revolution?

first_imgNatural gas is great at heating our houses, but it’s not so good at fueling our cars—at least not yet. Researchers in the United States have discovered a new and more efficient method for converting the main components in natural gas into liquids that can be further refined into either common commodity chemicals or fuels. The work opens the door to displacing oil with abundant natural gas—and reducing both carbon emissions and society’s dependence on petroleum in the process.Over the past several years, the United States and other countries have undergone an energy revolution as new drilling techniques and a process called hydraulic fracturing have made it possible to recover vast amounts of natural gas. Today, most of that gas is burned, either for heating homes or to drive electricity-generating turbines. But chemical companies have also long had the technology to convert the primary hydrocarbons in natural gas—methane, ethane, and propane—into alcohols, the liquid starting materials for plastics, fuels, and other commodities made by the train load. However, this technology has never been adopted on a wide scale, because it requires complex and expensive chemical plants that must run at temperatures greater than 800°C in order to carry out the transformation. Converting petroleum into those commodities has always been cheaper, which is why we’ve grown so dependent on oil.Two decades ago, Roy Periana, a chemist at the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Florida, started looking for metal catalysts that could transform natural gas into alcohols at lower temperatures. He knew he needed to find metals that were deft at breaking the carbon-hydrogen bonds that are at the heart of methane, ethane, and propane, short hydrocarbons known as alkanes, and then add in oxygen atoms that would transform the alkanes into alcohols. But all the catalysts he discovered—including platinum, rhodium, and iridium—are rare and expensive, and the technique was never commercialized.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Periana says that what he didn’t appreciate at the time was that to be a good catalyst, the metals need to do another job in addition to transforming C-H bonds into C-O bonds. That’s because in a reactor, these catalysts are surrounded by solvent molecules. So before a metal can break an alkane’s bond, the alkane must first nudge a solvent molecule aside. It turns out that the expensive metals Periana was using aren’t so good at that part of the process: They require extra energy to push the solvent molecules out of their midst. Periana’s team realized that the different electronic structure of more abundant “main group” metals means that they wouldn’t have to pay this energetic price, and, therefore, might be able to carry out the C-H to C-O transformation more efficiently.It worked better than he expected, Periana says. When he and his colleagues at Scripps and Brigham Young University ran a methane reaction with thallium—a main group metal—alkanes pushed the solvent molecules aside 22 orders of magnitude faster than when the reaction was run with iridium, reducing the overall energy required by about one-third, they report online today in Science. The success brought other benefits as well. The reaction runs at 180°C, and works on all alkanes at the same time, unlike the conventional natural gas conversion technology that works on only one species of alkane at a time. That could make it far easier, and thus potentially cheaper, to build chemical plants to convert natural gas to liquids using the new approach.“This is a highly novel piece of work that opens the way to upgrading of natural gas to useful chemicals with simple materials and moderate conditions,” says Robert Crabtree, a chemist at Yale University. But that way is not entirely clear yet, Periana cautions. For now, the chemistry works one batch at a time. To succeed as an industrial technology, researchers must work out the conditions to get it to work on a continuous basis, he says. If they do, it may one day make it cheaper to derive commodity chemicals and fuels from natural gas than from petroleum. And that would be an energy revolution indeed.last_img read more

Podcast: An Antiradiation Drug, the Upside to Bullying, and More

first_img 00:0000:0000:00 An Antiradiation Drug, the Upside to Bullying, and More An Antiradiation Drug, the Upside to Bullying, and Morecenter_img Can a drug protect from radiation exposure? Could bullying actually be good for you? And how many genes underlie domestication? Science’s Online News Editor David Grimm chats about these stories and more with Science’s Sarah Crespi.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

Google X sets out to define healthy human

first_imgGoogle X, the secretive research arm of Google Inc., is making a major foray into clinical research with the goal of pinning down what it means to be healthy. The Mountain View, California, company revealed last week that it will launch a project, the Baseline Study, to follow thousands of people and identify patterns of biochemicals, proteins, genetic mutations, and other measurements that correlate with who remains well and who gets sick.The project was first reported on 24 July by The Wall Street Journal, whose story described it as Google’s “most ambitious and difficult science project ever” and “a giant leap into the unknown.” It will “know the structure of thousands of people’s bodies—down to the molecules inside their cells,” raising “significant issues of privacy,” according to the article.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)After a pilot study this summer with 175 people who are donating blood and saliva for testing, Google X expects to recruit thousands more volunteers in collaboration with medical schools at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, and Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Besides donating biological samples, participants may sport wearable medical devices, such as a glucose-sensing contact lens developed by Google X. Heading the project is Andrew Conrad, Google X’s life sciences chief, who developed cheap HIV tests for donated blood and was chief scientific officer of LabCorp, the giant clinical testing firm, before joining Google last year.In some ways, the Baseline Study doesn’t sound that radical. Many groups are amassing DNA and biological samples from large groups of people, both healthy and diseased, and tracking their outcomes. It is also routine in such longitudinal health studies to gather detailed medical data from volunteers and keep their information anonymous, as Google X says it will do.Google declined to make Conrad available for an interview that might clarify how its project differs from others, but collaborator Robert Califf, a Duke cardiologist, provided more details to ScienceInsider. Califf said the study hopes to recruit 10,000 volunteers over 2 to 3 years from Palo Alto and the communities of Durham and Kannapolis in North Carolina. Participants will be tested for their genome sequence, blood proteins, and biochemical or so-called metabolomic profiles; in some cases, these data may eventually be be combined with their electronic health records. Some participants will be healthy; others will have disease. The goal is to tease out new biomarkers that can detect diseases such as cancer and heart attacks earlier, according to Califf. Google X has “obviously got the computing power to do things on a bigger scale than other people,” he says.The study may also find new correlations with physiological measures and better define what’s normal: For example, perhaps monitoring pulse 24 hours a day might reveal some new predictor of a heart attack, Califf says. “Integrating real-time physiology with the biology just hasn’t been done before. It’s too hard.”Google X is funding the study for now, but there will be other contributors, says Califf, who declined to say what the costs will be. He expects the Baseline Study to run for 5 years “and then we’ll see,” he says.The Kannapolis site for Google X’s project is especially intriguing. After the local textiles mill there closed down in 2003, throwing many townspeople out of work, Dole Food Co. chair and billionaire David Murdock built a new research center on the mill’s remains. One of its projects is now the MURDOCK study, which plans to enroll 50,000 local residents and follow their health much like the famed Framingham Heart Study. Conrad worked with Murdock to set up the research center while he was at LabCorp.last_img read more

Fukushima radiation still poisoning insects

first_imgEating food contaminated with radioactive particles may be more perilous than thought—at least for insects. Butterfly larvae fed even slightly tainted leaves collected near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station were more likely to suffer physical abnormalities and low survival rates than those fed uncontaminated foliage, a new study finds. The research suggests that the environment in the Fukushima region, particularly in areas off-limits to humans because of safety concerns, will remain dangerous for wildlife for some time.The 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station disaster released massive amounts of radiation, much of which drifted out to sea. Humans were evacuated to safety and their exposure to radiation was minimal. But local wildlife were exposed both externally to radiation in the environment and internally from contaminated food sources. Joji Otaki, a biologist at University of the Ryukyus in Nishihara, Japan, and his colleagues have been conducting field studies and lab experiments on how such radiation affected the pale grass blue butterfly (Zizeeria maha), a species found throughout most of Japan.In a previous experiment, Otaki’s group fed butterfly larvae leaves of the creeping woodsorrel (Oxalis corniculata) with radiation in the thousands of becquerels per kilogram (Bq/kg) gathered near the power plant within a few months after the accident. (For comparison, the Japanese government set a limit of 100 Bq/kg for human consumption of rice, meat, and fish, and 50 Bq/kg for milk and infant formula.) Larvae that dined on the radiation-drenched leaves had low survival rates and high incidences of physical abnormalities such as unusually small forewings. These results corroborated field surveys by others that turned up fewer butterflies in contaminated areas than would normally be expected.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The new study shows that radiation can damage larvae even at much lower concentrations. Otaki and colleagues collected leaves 16 to 20 months after the accident, after short-lived radioactive contamination had decayed, but this time from locations ranging from 59 to 1760 kilometers from the power plant; contamination levels ranged from 161 to 0.2 Bq/kg. They found that as contamination increased, mortality rates and incidences of abnormalities increased. “These results suggest that low-dose ingestion of approximately 100 Bq/kg may be seriously toxic to certain organisms,” the team writes in a paper published today in BMC Evolutionary Biology.  In another experiment, the researchers divided offspring of the butterflies into two groups, feeding larvae either the same contaminated leaves their parents had eaten or uncontaminated leaves. Larvae fed the contaminated leaves had even lower survival rates and more abnormalities than their parents, whereas those feeding on clean leaves largely reverted to near-normal in both mortality rates and frequency of abnormalities.The findings from Otaki’s group are “groundbreaking,” says Timothy Mousseau, a biologist at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, who also studies the effects of radiation on wildlife near Fukushima and Chernobyl. He notes that there have been “almost no studies” on how ingestion of radiation-tainted foods affect wildlife. Still, Mousseau cautions that the results should not be directly extrapolated to humans. “I think butterflies as a group are likely to be much more sensitive than humans to radiocontaminants,” he says. He adds that Otaki’s findings suggest that insects that survive after eating contaminated leaves might evolve tolerance to the low levels of radiation likely to persist in the Fukushima region for decades.last_img read more

The most popular ScienceInsiders of 2014

first_imgPlagiarism, Ebola, and boring lectures don’t have much in common. But they were the topics of some of ScienceInsider’s most read stories of 2014. Here’s a full list the top 10:1. Study of massive preprint archive hints at the geography of plagiarism. Analyses of hundreds of thousands of technical manuscripts submitted to arXiv, a massive repository of digital preprint articles, offered some intriguing insights into the consequences—and geography—of scientific plagiarism. It found that copying text from other papers is more common in some nations than others, but the outcome is generally the same for authors who copy extensively: Their papers don’t get cited much.2. What does Ebola actually do? How Zaire ebolavirus and the family of filoviruses to which it belongs disarm the human immune response and then dismantle the vascular system.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)3. Lectures aren’t just boring, they’re ineffective, too, study finds. Drone on before your undergraduate class, and your students are 1.5 times more likely to fail than students in classes that use more stimulating, so-called active learning methods. “It’s almost unethical to be lecturing if you have this data,” noted one researcher.4. The 1% of scientific publishing. Very few scientists—fewer than 1%—manage to publish a paper every year. But those busy scientists—about 150,000 in all—dominate the research journals, concluded a study published in July. Their names appeared on 41% of papers surveyed by the study. Among the most highly cited work, members of this elite group were co-authors of 87% of the papers.5. Battle between NSF and House of Representatives science committee escalates: How did it get this bad? A long-running feud between a senior Republican lawmaker and the National Science Foundation (NSF) became especially heated earlier this year, as congressional staff began reviewing a select group of NSF grants that have drawn the ire of Representative Lamar Smith (R–TX).6. Top U.S. scientific misconduct official quits in frustration with bureaucracy. “This has been at once the best and worst job I’ve ever had,” wrote David Wright, director of the Office of Research Integrity, in his letter of resignation.7. Physicist who inspired Interstellar spills the backstory—and the scene that makes him cringe. The man who inspired the hit film and kept a close eye on its scientific fidelity is Kip Thorne, a renowned theoretical physicist and one of the world’s leading experts in the astrophysical predictions of general relativity.8. Ebola’s heavy toll on study authors. Five co-authors of an Ebola study appearing in Science died after being infected with the virus. Their heroic and heartbreaking stories.9. Creationism conference at large U.S. research university stirs unease. Creationists organized a conference at Michigan State University in East Lansing, causing a stir among some of the school’s students and faculty, which includes several prominent evolutionary biologists. The story received more than 1200 online comments.10. How does Ebola spread? Hard facts from key studies. Turns out researchers have collected precious little data on some practical questions: Which bodily fluids harbor the virus? Does it linger on objects touched by an infected person? But a few studies offer some hints.last_img read more

Lender to Foreign Students Raises $40 Million in Financing

first_imgAs American universities’ interest in courting international students intensifies, an online lender that caters to them has drawn significant new financing.Prodigy Finance, the lender that makes loans to international postgraduate students, said Sunday that it had raised $40 million in new equity financing. It also said it had secured a $200 million credit line from an undisclosed bank.The new financing comes at a time of keen interest in international students among U.S. universities — and a decline in applications from those students that has begun to unnerve educators.Students from abroad brought more than $32 billion to the U.S. economy during the 2015-16 academic year, and that figure has shown steady growth. Last year, the number of foreign students at American schools rose above 1 million for the first time.But there are signs of trouble with the international student population. A survey of 250 institutions by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers found that nearly 40 percent of the responding schools reported a decline in applications from international students, particularly those from the Middle East. Many respondents cited concerns about the Trump administration’s immigration policies.Nevertheless, the appeal of international students has underpinned the investment in Prodigy, which was founded in 2007. International students often cannot get loans for their education because they lack credit histories. But Prodigy says it looks most closely at applicants’ earning potential, allowing it to ignore their lack of credit history, guarantor or co-signer. For much of the company’s history, it has focused on business school students.Much of the financing for Prodigy’s loans comes from crowdfunding; investors buy stakes in debt that supports the loans. The company said it had lent more than $325 million to more than 7,100 students to date.“Students from emerging economies such as China, Brazil and India face challenges in accessing financing for education, even with high credentials and excellent credit quality,” Cameron Stevens, Prodigy’s founder and chief executive, said in a statement. “We believe in financial inclusion and talent mobility and look forward to continuing to help international students break the funding barrier and further their education at a top school.”The new investment in Prodigy was led by Index Ventures, along with Balderton Capital and AlphaCode.“Prodigy Finance is opening the doors of the world’s top universities to students who were previously shut out because they couldn’t fund their education,” Neil Rimer, a partner at Index, said in a statement. “Every decade, the number of international students doubles, and our hope is that Prodigy Finance will help accelerate that growth. Our planet sorely needs more educated citizens of the world.”© 2017 New York Times News Service Related Itemslast_img read more

Donald Trump Says India Wants Trade Deal With America Primarily To Keep Him Happy

first_imgUS President Donald Trump on Monday slammed India for imposing “tremendously high tariffs” on American products and said that New Delhi wanted to have a trade deal with the US primarily to keep him happy.Trump’s charges against the alleged high Indian tariffs, for the second time in a few days, came during his White House news conference where he announced a new trade deal with neighbouring Mexico and Canada. Read it at Economic Times Related Itemslast_img

Liberal Liars

first_imgAfter weeks of blaming minions and forcing them to fall on their swords, President George W. Bush, at one of his rare press conferences at the end of July, admitted “personal responsibility” for making the now widely-discredited charge in his state of the union speech in January that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa.If you parsed his words, however, he did not acknowledge that the false claim is actually false or even that he was unwise in making the false assertion.No, his carefully caliberated admission was simply that “I take personal responsibility for everything I say.” Not this statement, but every statement.For all the public flagellation to which the Bush administration has been subjected in the media, there was little follow-up by the usually loud-mouth journalists on what the nature of that public responsibility, or its consequences, for that matter, is.In any event, the controversy over the false assertion by Bush of the uranium deal is a distraction and irrelevant, except perhaps that it has brought public attention to bear on something that should have occurred well before the war, when both the media and many in the Democratic opposition were cowering like little poodles.President Bush has systematically lied to the American public about both the facts and rationale for the war – as indeed he has about his economic policies, or lack of them. Uranium deal or not, and the discovery, or lack of it, of weapons in Iraq, does not alter the simple fact that Saddam’s regime posed no imminent threat to either the United States or any of its neighbors. That was always a bogus argument. The Bush administration invaded Iraq simply because it concluded that it was an effortless military target, and it helps mask Bush’s abysmal failures at home.The real threat that Saddam posed was to his own people and there is no question that Iraqis are the better from the removal of his brutal regime. That rationale one can buy. And although Bush is given to using it now, he does not share it.Perhaps there needs to be a logic in international affairs for external intervention against regimes that abuse human rights. It would need to be a necessarily high, or low, standard, (such as mass murder and genocide) because Bush’s own attorney general would otherwise qualify as an egregious human rights abuser himself.But whatever that standard, Saddam would surely have occupied a spot at the head of its class, as indeed would many of Bush’s international buddies, certainly in the Middle East. The claim about the brutality of Saddam’s rule is accurate, but coming from Bush it is false and hypocritical. The democratic enterprise is susceptible to manipulation by lies and deception. The right wing establishment in the Republican Party knows that all too well. The Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) launched by conservative and moderate Democrats, similarly concluded that truth and electability in democratic polity are not always compatible.Bush, a creature of corporate America, has even fewer problems massaging the truth or puffing up the sell. In his culture, embellishments are toasted and celebrated and rewarded daily in the form of advertising, where the sole measure and currency is the sell. It is well if it sells.The public disdain for coiffured politicians and manipulated public discourse has now thrown up the populist candidacy of Howard Dean, sending alarm bells peeling in the DLC, which derided his “plain talk” candidacy at its just concluded annual convention, warning that “protest-oriented activists” are leading the party down the road of “assisted suicide.”Democratic public polity is no longer about ideas and truth for conservative handlers in both parties. For all their rage at liberals, these Bible-thumping conservatives are surely liberal at lying.   Related Itemslast_img read more

Bush’s Black Eye

first_imgIn the wake of the Sept 11 tragedy and the ensuing “war on terror,” President Bush arrogated to himself sweeping powers to round up citizens his government deemed “enemy combatants,” who were barred access both to lawyers and to courts.Hundreds of alien residents the justice department deemed “suspicious,” often without a shred of evidence, were similarly arrested and kept incommunicado for months, and then just as covertly deported, once again without access to lawyers or family.… It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of one of those liberties …  And then there are the 650 detainees (even the number is presumably secret) from the Afghanistan conflict who have now been held for two years in Guantanamo Bay, the vast majority of whom probably just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.President Bush dismissed criticism of the most horrific violation of civil liberties in U.S. history since the concentration camps for Japanese Americans in World II, asserting that he would not allow the “enemies use the forums of liberty to destroy liberty itself.”Now, at long last, the U.S. Supreme Court has stepped in with a stinging rebuke of these egregious constitutional violations, concluding that a “state of war is not a blank check for the president.”The court held that Yaser Esam Hamdi, “a citizen-detainee seeking to challenge his classification as an enemy combatant must receive notice of the factual basis for his classification, and a fair opportunity to rebut the government’s factual assertions before a neutral decision-maker.”The Bush administration had calculatingly kept hundreds of foreign captives in horrific conditions in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on the legal fiction that U.S. courts did not have jurisdiction there. But the court saw through the Bush administration’s ploy, ruling that the U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay was “territory over which the United States exercises exclusive jurisdiction and control.”The detainees there too now will have the opportunity to challenge their confinement. Justice Stevens wrote in a dissenting opinion that harkened images of Abu Ghraib, executive detention is not “justified by the naked interest in using unlawful procedures to extract information.” Added Justice O’Connor, “History and common sense teach us that an unchecked system of detention carries the potential to become a means for oppression and abuse of others.”The New York Times recently related the harrowing experience of a Nepalese Purna Raj Bajracharya, who was arrested after innocently taking video shots of New York streets, one of which turned out to house a FBI building.For his touristy impulse, Bajracharya ended up spending three months in solitary confinement inside a 6 ft by 9 ft cell kept lit 24 hours a day, even after the arresting FBI agent concluded that he was innocent. But even that FBI agent James P Wynne found himself powerless to secure his release from a black hole of a legal system and ultimately Wynne turned to the Legal Aid Society for help to secure Bajracharya’s release. Bajracharya was deported without a trial in January 2002.His is not even the worst of such cases. One day, perhaps, a truth commission will be established to document the full extent of the governmental abuse of innocent people under Bush’s bogus war on terror, whose principal aim is to milk the 9/11 tragedy for all its political value for his reelection.But already the Supreme Court has admonished: “It is equally vital that our calculus not give short shrift to the values that this country holds dear … It is during our most challenging and uncertain moments that our commitment to due process is most severely tested; and it is in those times that we must preserve our commitment at home to the principles for which we fight abroad…. It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of one of those liberties … which makes the defense of the nation worthwhile.”   Related Itemslast_img read more

Bharati’s Visible Ghosts

first_imgWhat’s their in science to tell me that spirits don’t exist, asks Bharati Mukherjee. When Bharati Mukherjee came to America in 1961 to attend the Iowa Writers Workshop, Indian American writers were not just a rarity, they were practically non-existent. Over decades of writing and novels like Holder of the World, Jasmine and the National Book Critics Circle award-winning The Middleman and Other Stories, Mukherjee has been dubbed the grande dame of diasporic Indian literature. It’s a crown she’s worn uneasily often wanting to be just a writer, rather than a hyphenated one like Indian American. But her latest novel, The Tree Bride is both Indian and American.The second in a trilogy that started with Desirable Daughters, The Tree Bride switches back and forth between Tara Chatterjee in post dot-com San Francisco and her great aunt Tara Lata sequestered in a mansion in pre-Independence Bengal.  Mukherjee says she has been thinking a lot of these journeys back and forth. When she came to the nited States in the 60s she was at the forefront of a wave of doctors and engineers that crested with the 90s boom of software engineers. Now when she goes back to India she notices the US-returned NRIs. “I was amazed at the number of Silicon Valley families who have settled in towns like Bangalore and set up hybrid Indo-American lives,” says Mukherjee, describing the “McMansions” she has seen in areas of Bangalore nicknamed Dollar Colony.In The Tree Bride, entrepreneur Bish Chatterjee could have been one of those freshly-returned engineers. Mukherjee is amazed at the confidence with which this new generation of Indo-Americans “present themselves as having the best of both worlds. They want their children to have the kind of schooling that would make it possible for them to max their SATs and go to Princeton and Harvard and MIT. But they are also the guardians of Kathak and Kathakali and ancient Indian culture.”Mukherjee certainly never thought in 1961 that she could be both Indian and American in quite this way. “When I was a child, we were wary of Bengalis who had moved out of Bengal,” says Mukherjee. “To be a “probashi (diasporan) Bengali” was to be a sorry creature, cut off from true Bengali culture.”She remembers at that time, even in a place like Manhattan, Indians were so few that when passing each other on the street, they nodded and smiled. “By the time I came to write Jasmine, Indian immigrants were far more visible as a community, but the rhetoric for talking about immigration was stuck in the old melting pot versus rejection of American culture,” says Mukherjee. “That meant either you had to reject wholly the culture that you had come from or you became very American and gave up something in order to acquire the other.” In fact many South Asians have criticized Mukherjee for what they have seen as jettisoning of her Indianness in order to be American just as her character Jasmine re-invents herself.  “I am an American, not an Asian-American,” Mukherjee wrote in an essay in 1997. “My rejection of hyphenation has been called race treachery, but it is really a demand that America deliver the promises of its dream to all its citizens equally.”She finds that dilemma less compelling now and her characters hreflect that. Tara and Bish Chatterjee are perfectly at home sipping wine on deck in Marin County looking at sail boats dotting the San Francisco bay as they are at an Indian function. In Tree Bride, she describes them as part of “an immigrant fog of South Asians (that) has crept into America.” It’s a fog that has completely changed the contours of places like Silicon Valley.“Of course, Silicon Valley will never be what it was,” writes Mukherjee. “By the time Bish walks again, it will be a memory, ripe for a twenty-first-century Fitzgerald to make it come alive. The Great Gupta, perhaps.”America to Mukherjee may not have been a glittering Great Gatsbyesque party, but it was a conscious escape from the tug-of-war of identities in Kolkata. She came from a traditional Brahmin family but went at her mother’s insistence to Loreto Convent School in Kolkata. “I had grown up watching the funeral processions of young freedom fighters,” remembers Mukherjee.“So I was personally upset at the way the Irish nuns in my very British school continued to display colonial attitudes.” But she knew her going to Loreto and getting an English education was important to her mother. Her mother had long had to suffer the barbs of her in-laws for producing three daughters. “English for her was looking outwards,” hreflects Mukherjee. “The roots of the do we want to acquire English or do we want to reject English goes back to the different ways of reacting against the influx of colonial educational policies.”Colonization is a central theme of Tree Bride containing characters like John Mist who completely go “native” in India, even abandoning English as well as Virgil Treadwell, a pugnacious Churchill-devotee who thinks the Empire needed to show its subjects some tough love for their own good as well as Nigel Coughlin, an officer of the Raj who is deeply conflicted about his role.Though all of that is set in pre-Independence India, Mukherjee notes “these conflicts are relevant to American enterprise like the war in Iraq.” Mukherjee admires the “pioneer toughness” in characters like Mist who are even capable of murder. But she says unemphatically it doesn’t mean the British with their sola topis were more qualified to be Emperor than the Americans trying to rule Iraq by remote control. “I don’t think anyone is more qualified to be emperor,” says Mukherjee unequivocally. The solution? “My short answer is get out and vote,” she says without hesitation. Growing up in fifties Calcutta, Mukherjee was keenly aware of the colonial legacy that English held as well as its power. America was in some ways, a way out of the dilemma. “For me coming to America rather than Britain was a sense of relief,” says Mukherjee. “I think of American English as my step mother-tongue.” But it was a kindly stepmother. “The discarding of the British English we were forced to respect and copy in Calcutta and adopting instead the much looser make-up-your-own-grammar and pronounce-it-the-way-you-want-freedom American English provided was very liberating.”Though she finds her Bengali remains strong and vibrant, she doesn’t think she can write fiction in anything but “American.” “Probably because I can be free to be any character I want in English, but I am stuck, constrained, restrained to be the good well-brought up Bengali  woman in Bengali,” she laughs.Tara Chatterjee in Tree Bride is just such a well-brought up Bengali woman, though as a divorcee who shacks up briefly with a boyfriend she may not fit the Rashbehari Avenue definition of “good”. But in Tree Bride, Tara is tentatively re-assessing her relationship with her ex-husband. When the book opens she is pregnant with her second daughter from Bish.In Desirable Daughters, Tara was anxious about the shackles of her “wife-of-Bish-Chatterjee identity. In Tree Bride she is avidly searching out the family history of her great aunt Tara Lata who had been married off to a sundari tree when her husband-to-be died on their wedding day. She is also more acutely conscious of where she comes from, even seeking out an Indian gynecologist. Of course, the V. Khanna her health plan offers her is neither Veena or Vibhuti but Victoria with blondish-white hair and gray-green eyes. “In Desirable Daughters, Tara concentrated on the very American pursuit of individual happiness,” says Mukherjee. “Now she has to discover for herself how her identity has been shaped by social historical, political and colonial forces that are beyond the individual.”In that sense she says Tara is a very different creature than Jasmine of yore. “Tree Bride tabulates the regrets and the limitedness of the concept of free will that had been embraced by my earlier characters like Jasmine,” says Mukherjee.She admits that might make some of her more American readers unhappy, but she says that this “dance of free will and destiny is a complicated one in which each side casts a shadow.”Even in her home in San Francisco’s Upper Haight, Mukherjee is keenly aware of these shadows. Who knows if ghosts can cross the Pacific but Tara always turns on the lights of her San Francisco home at dusk to drive away the roaming spirits just as her mother used to do in India. “I do literally turn on the lights in my room in my home and I did have ghosts at one time there before we renovated,” says Mukherjee, laughing.“What is there in science to tell me that spirits don’t exist? So I am turning on the lights even more vigorously.”  Related Itemslast_img read more