History as mosh pit

first_imgHumanity’s descent is looking less like the linear succession it’s often thought to be and more like something resembling an ancient mosh pit.The last decade’s revolution in our ability to read ancient DNA has transformed our understanding of humankind’s roots, settling long-running debates among scientists about who is related to whom, and creating a swirling picture of human ancestry in which groups regularly immigrate, emigrate, colonize, conquer, and disappear, exchanging genes, languages, and cultures whose traces still exist.Traditionally, scientists have inferred relationships by comparing morphological traits from remains found in different parts of the world. With the advent and expansion of DNA technology, we are increasingly discovering not just what people looked like in a particular region over time, but who bred with whom and where they originated. In Europe, for example, groups whose remains have been found in the archeological record turn out to have made little contribution to the gene pool of modern Europeans.“New groups arrived in Europe after the advent of farming. Europe is a dynamic place,” said John Hawks, the Vilas-Borghesi Distinguished Achievement Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “Europe has undergone a succession of colonization by other populations.”Hawks spoke at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study’s Knafel Center last Friday. He was one of the speakers at the institute’s annual science symposium, this year focused on “The Past, Present, and Future of DNA.” The session featured discussions related to modern DNA analysis, including the possible resurrection of extinct animals like the mammoth, forensic DNA investigation, the ethics of DNA, and a peek at the likely future of DNA science.Radcliffe Dean Lizabeth Cohen, the Howard Mumford Jones Professor of American Studies, introduced the event, saying that science is in the institute’s own DNA, going back to Radcliffe College’s Bunting Institute (named after Mary Ingraham Bunting, former Radcliffe president and microbiologist). DNA, Cohen said, has fascinated and challenged scientists since it was first isolated in 1869. Since then, she said, advances in DNA technology have transformed an increasing number of fields, even history.Janet Rich-Edwards, co-director of Radcliffe’s science program and associate professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, compared the impact of modern DNA science with the moon landings. And, as transformative as the impact of DNA technology has been already, its future is rife with possibility, as scientists devise ways to edit the genome, create artificial DNA, and engage in large-scale environmental DNA sampling, providing new ways to understand the environment and what inhabits it.,The possibility of bringing back extinct species is a topic that engages the public, according to Beth Shapiro, associate professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Shapiro, who explores what DNA says about ancient animal populations in Beringia, the area around the Bering Strait, said the first question people often ask is whether it’s possible to clone a woolly mammoth. Shapiro said the answer is no, but added that it actually might be a good idea. Unlike other extinct animals that vanished along with their habitat, the mammoth’s habitat on Siberia’s frozen plains might still be appropriate.The mammoth, Shapiro said, was likely driven to extinction by human hunters, and there are stretches of the Siberian north that could again become its home. In fact, she said, researchers are already at work in Siberia’s Pleistocene Park, testing a theory that it was the disappearance of large herds of grazing animals — including the mammoth — that transformed productive grasslands into the current tundra.They are working to restore herds of deer, moose, and other large herbivores in hopes that their grazing, trampling, and other behaviors will re-create an environment called the Mammoth Steppe.There is still a long way to go to create a mammoth, however, Shapiro said. Scientists have compared the genomes of the mammoth with existing elephants and found that the Asian elephant is the mammoth’s closest relative, sharing some 99 percent of its DNA. But that remaining 1 percent, Shapiro pointed out, amounts to 1.5 million base pairs, some of which would be critical to the animal’s survival. One change, for example, makes blood better able to transport oxygen in cold weather, key for an animal adapted to frigid temperatures.“These guys really are ecosystem engineers,” Shapiro said of the mammoths. “Bringing these guys back, bringing back the large herbivores will re-establish interactions that … [have been] missing since the time of their extinction.”last_img read more

Sophomore dyes hair to promote The Bald and The Beautiful

first_imgWhen sophomore Kalie Holdren first dyed her hair electric blue a few weeks ago, she got a lot of “strange looks.” But once in awhile, someone will ask her why she did it, and she’ll get the chance to explain. “I decided to do it all blue when I realized that I could kind of promote [The Bald and the Beautiful] and also ovarian cancer specifically, after finding out that blue was the awareness color for it.” But come Thursday, Holdren will say goodbye to her unusual hairdo in exchange for another one when she shaves her head to raise money and awareness for cancer research. Because Holdren had previously dyed her hair natural colors, she was unable to donate her hair. Instead, she decided to dye her hair blue and then shave it to raise awareness for cancer. Holdren said she was inspired because her mother is a survivor of melanoma, and her uncle and grandfather both passed away from cancer-related causes. “Cancer is kind of prevalent in my family,” she said. By dyeing and then shaving her hair, Holdren said she hopes to support and be in solidarity with individuals with cancer. “Having dyed my hair blue kind of gives me the same sense of having something different from everyone else,” she said. “Everyday I kind of have to explain why it’s blue. And then when I shave my head, I’m going to have to explain why I won’t have hair. In a way, that kind of relates to how people who have cancer [have to explain.]” Holdren has raised $400 so far and will donate the funds when she shaves her head Thursday. “A lot of people ask me if I’m nervous and to be perfectly honest, I’m not really that nervous about it,” she said. “I know that it will help people.” Contact Sarah Mervosh at [email protected]last_img read more

CVPS offers $1,000 reward in substation wire theft

first_imgCentral Vermont Public Service is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of someone who cut their way into a Bennington substation and cut out copper ground wire.”This incident put the culprit, public and CVPS workers in serious jeopardy, and caused thousands of dollars in damage,” CVPS spokesman Steve Costello said. “The amount of copper stolen probably wasn’t worth more than $40, but the risk to the public was far greater. Anyone near the substation during a fault could have received a severe electrical shock, as a substation ground grid is critical for return currents and fault dissipation.”The damage was discovered this morning by a CVPS electrical maintenance worker performing routine maintenance at the Lyons Street substation in Bennington. Thanks to careful and cautious efforts on the part of CVPS workers, customer load was transferred to other substations and the substation was safely de-energized. About 475 customers in Bennington had their power interrupted for about 20 minutes around 10:25 am this morning during the switching process. Full repairs will be completed today, at a cost of approximately $2,000.Since discovering damage to the Lyons Street substation in Bennington this morning, CVPS crews were dispatched and have been patrolling other substations in the area. At this time, crews have found additional missing ground wire and damage at the Silk Road, north Bennington and south Bennington substations. They are patrolling other substations in the area at this time, and are still assessing the damage.The incident is under investigation by the Bennington Police Department. Anyone with information is asked to call Officer George Corey at (802) 442-1030.“These individuals are putting their lives at risk, have endangered the public, and put CVPS employees in a very hazardous situation,” Costello said.  “We urge anyone who sees anything suspicious near a substation or utility property to call their local or State Police immediately.”Source: CVPS. 3.25.2010last_img read more

Paraguay Will Invest 234 Million Dollars in Equipment for Its Armed Forces

first_imgBy Dialogo December 27, 2010 This information is more than interesting, I have not seen this level of detail and information in any other written material, as is contained in this page, I also believe that the Government is accordingly making an assertive decision, national sovereignty is sacred and is the principle value of a nation as it is in the family. The government of Paraguay will invest 234 million dollars in equipment for its armed forces in 2011, according to an announcement made by Defense Minister Cecilio Pérez, speaking to reporters. “That is our budget, and within it, the investment plan corresponds to almost 30 %. We will then have a sufficient budget to make new acquisitions in 2011,” the minister indicated. The Paraguayan defense minister explained that each military branch will set its priorities for acquisition and clarified that military “modernization” will be destined for “the security of the authorities and of the population.” The minister emphasized that after many years, “finally, we will again have armed forces that are well equipped and in a position to carry out their mission, which is to guard our territorial integrity and the legitimately constituted authorities.” Looking forward, he said that the Paraguayan Armed Forces will acquire vehicles, weapons, monitoring equipment, radars, equipment for use on rivers, on land, and in the air, and fighter and training planes. Along these lines, Pérez affirmed that nothing has yet been determined with regard to a Russian offer to sell military planes and admitted that the sale price “is low, but it’s the Air Force’s job to do the analysis.”last_img read more

5M cards exposed in supermarket breach

first_imgCompromised gas pumps, coffee shops and restaurants operated by Hy-Vee – an Iowa-based company that operates more than 245 supermarkets throughout the Midwest – may have led to over 5 million credit and debit accounts being exposed and sold online.According to KrebsOnSecurity, Hy-Vee announced earlier this month that was investigating a data breach involving its payment processing systems. Reported restaurants affected include Hy-Vee Market Grilles, Market Grille Expresses and Wahlburgers locations owned and operated by the company.“Hy-Vee said it believes the breach does not affect payment card terminals used at its grocery store checkout lanes, pharmacies or convenience stores, as these systems rely on a security technology designed to defeat card-skimming malware,” reported Brian Krebs.Krebs said that the compromised payment data was being advertised last week on a popular underground store for selling stolen credit and debit card information. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Triplet of deals for Benchmark’s Bruton Street

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

Trump promotes false birther theory about Kamala Harris

first_imgPresident Donald Trump said Thursday he had heard Democratic vice-presidential running mate Kamala Harris was not eligible to serve, stoking a false claim echoing the baseless “birther” theory he promoted about Barack Obama.At a White House news conference, Trump was asked about “claims circulating on social media” that Harris was not eligible and whether he could say she met the legal requirements for vice president.”I heard it today that she doesn’t meet the requirements. And, by the way, the lawyer that wrote that piece is a very highly qualified, very talented lawyer. I have no idea if that’s right,” Trump said. Topics : ‘Total B.S.’ In his Newsweek op-ed, Chapman University law professor John Eastman claimed some “commentators” said Harris was ineligible as she was not a “natural born citizen” as her parents were not naturalized US citizens at the time of her birth.According to the Constitution, any natural born US citizen over the age of 35 is eligible to be president or vice president.Constitutional law expert Erwin Chemerinsky told CBS News the claim about Harris “is a truly silly argument.””Under section 1 of the 14th Amendment, anyone born in the United States is a United States citizen. The Supreme Court has held this since the 1890s. Kamala Harris was born in the United States,” the dean of UC Berkeley School of Law said in an email to CBS.”Some conservatives, such as John Eastman, think that is wrong and being born in the country is not enough,” he said. “[They’re] clearly wrong under the language of the 14th Amendment and under Supreme Court precedent.”Eastman’s op-ed was published a day after Democratic challenger Joe Biden announced Harris as his running mate, the first woman of color tapped by a major party for the post.Laurence H. Tribe, a professor of constitutional law at Harvard Law School, told the New York Times that Eastman’s idea was “total B.S.””I hadn’t wanted to comment on this because it’s such an idiotic theory,” Tribe told the paper. “There is nothing to it.” “I would have assumed the Democrats would have checked that out before she gets chosen to run for vice president,” he said.”But that’s a very serious — you’re saying that — they’re saying that she doesn’t qualify because she wasn’t born in this country.”The reporter replied that Harris was born in the United States but her parents might not have been permanent residents at the time.Trump appeared to be referring to a Newsweek op-ed by a conservative law professor wrongly claiming the California senator was not eligible to serve as vice president or president because of the immigration status of her parents when she was born. Harris was born in Oakland, California in 1964 to a father from Jamaica and a mother from India.Trump earned national political prominence by promoting the “birther” lie that Obama, America’s first black president, was not born in the United States.He grudgingly acknowledged late in his 2016 presidential campaign that Obama was born in the United States.last_img read more

Denmark’s F&P decries lack of capital requirements in IORP II Directive

first_imgThe new IORP framework includes a series of measures the commission says are aimed at improving governance and transparency of the pension funds in Europe, promoting cross-border activity and helping long-term investment.Danish pensionskasser are covered by the Solvency II regime along with pensions providers incorporated as life insurance companies, as a result of a decision by the national regulator to create equal competitive conditions for the two types of business within Denmark.“We are glad about the increased information requirement that is included in the submitted IORP directive but disappointed that the capital requirements are not included,” Skjødt said.This omission will lead to individual customers having a different level of security depending on whether they are customers of a pension fund or a life insurance company in Europe, he said.“The mantra should be – same risk, same requirement – which the IORP Directive submitted does not create because of the lack of harmonisation of the Solvency II capital requirements,” he said. The new IORP Directive from the European Commission should include the same capital requirements as those in the Solvency II regulation that applies to Danish pension funds, the country’s pensions industry association has said. Responding to last week’s publication of the revised European prudential framework for pension funds, the Danish pensions and insurance association F&P pointed out that IORP would not apply to Danish funds regardless of whether they were pensionskasser (pension savings institutions) or life insurance companies.Peter Skjødt, executive director, told IPE: “However, it is important that [IORP II] give rise to equal rules for pensionskasser and life insurance companies in the rest of Europe, so that there is a level playing field.”The benchmark for this is Solvency II, he said.last_img read more

Australia’s QSuper and Sunsuper in merger talks

first_img“There is an absolute responsibility upon trustees to consider how to best serve members’ interests. Whether a partnership between our two funds could be better for both QSuper and Sunsuper members is an appropriate enquiry,” they said.“Whether or not that consideration proceeds beyond preliminary discussions is dependent on many factors. In the meantime, both Sunsuper and QSuper members may be assured they will be kept informed of any material decisions.”Sunsuper itself has grown rapidly in recent years, taking over a number of smaller super funds. Its most recent mergers, with Kenetic Super and AustSafe Super, have occurred in the past 12 months.Australia’s A$2.8trn superannuation industry is undergoing a wave of mergers and acquisitions as consolidation continues.Australia’s smaller super funds are under pressure to find a merger partner to achieve economies of scale and deliver better and more efficient services to thousands of Australian retirement savers.The pressure on directors of super fund trustees has stepped up following a report from the Productivity Commission, a federal government agency, into the industry.First State Super, the largest NSW-based profit-for-member fund, is currently in talks with VicSuper, from Victoria, to merge the savings of more than 1 million contributors into a A$120bn fund.First State and VicSuper have agreed on the composition of the board of the enlarged scheme, with First State Super’s current independent chair, Neil Cochrane, to be appointed chair.Details of integrating the two funds continue to be worked out, but it is expected that a merger could be formalised by the end of this year.Australia’s hospitality and sports industry fund, the A$43bn Hostplus, and the smaller Club Super this month officially consummated their merger.Other recent mergers include Equip Super and Catholic Super, which combined their operations in May, making it Australia’s thenth largest profit-for-member fund with A$26bn in assets.Tasplan, which covers workers in Tasmania, and MTAA (Motor Trades Association of Australia) Super have entered into a binding memorandum of understanding to merge. If successfully completed, the national fund will manage more than A$22bn in investment savings for more than 320,000 members. Two of Australia’s largest profit-for-member super funds – QSuper and Sunsuper – have begun discussions on a possible merger to create what would be Australia’s largest superannuation fund of around A$182bn (€113bn).Currently, that crown belongs to AustralianSuper, which manages A$172bn.The two Brisbane-based superannuation funds both cater primarily to Queensland employees. At July 31, QSuper had A$113bn and Sunsuper A$69bn in funds under management.In a joint statement, the chairmen of the two funds, QSuper’s Karl Morris and Sunsuper’s Andrew Fraser, said both funds were in talks on a non-binding basis about a possible partnership.last_img read more

Carnival 2012 opening parade highlights

first_img Share 178 Views   one comment LocalNews Carnival 2012 opening parade highlights by: – January 30, 2012 Share Sharing is caring!center_img Share Tweet (L-R) Miss Dominica 2011 Jacintha Fagan and Calypso Monarch 2011 Tasha “Tasha P” Peltier during Satruday’s parade.Here are a few highlights of the Opening Parade of Carnival 2012 in Dominica.Contestants of various pageants: [nggallery id =129]Parade part 2: [nggallery id = 130]Dominica Vibes Newslast_img read more