Podcast: Cosmic rays, a feces cocktail, and a porcupine-eagle face-off

first_imgCan particles from space shed light on lightning on Earth? How did a “feces cocktail” kill dodos and giant tortoises thousands of years ago? And why are eagles getting stuck with porcupine quills? Science’s Online News Editor David Grimm chats about these stories and more with Science’s Susanne Bard. Plus, James Sanchirico discusses the challenges of creating sustainable fisheries in developing countries.last_img

Read More »

U.S. House takes its whacks at planning for 2020 census and at monthly survey

first_imgRepublicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have again shown their low regard for the Census Bureau, voting to use it as a bank to fund other federal agencies and telling people they don’t have to fill out a survey that allows the government to track the country’s changing demographics.The moves came in a series of amendments to a 2016 spending bill for the Department of Commerce, home of the Census Bureau, and several other agencies that passed last night on a mostly party line vote of 242 to 183. House members took a total of $121 million from what officials say they will need in 2016 to prepare for the 2020 census and gave it to other federal agencies. (Terri Ann Lowenthal’s The Census Project Blog provides a blow-by-blow account.)Last month, the House appropriations committee cut the agency’s requested 2016 budget for census-related activities by $374 million. After this week that amount has grown to nearly half a billion dollars less than the $1.2 billion the administration is seeking for those activities. The swaps conform to the Republican leadership’s dictate that any proposed spending increases be revenue-neutral, that is, that legislators find the money from another agency. And the Census Bureau’s proposed 38% increase for 2016 makes it a popular target.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(*)That approach could be penny wise and pound foolish, however. The reduced funding levels, if adopted by the Senate, would make it difficult for the agency to properly test proposed changes to the next census that they say could save $5 billion. Those changes include making the census available online and using existing government records to provide answers to some of the questions. The goal is to send fewer workers out into the field to track down those who haven’t completed their forms, the biggest single cost of any census.Census Bureau Director John Thompson has told Congress he hopes to carry out the 2020 census for no more than the 2010 census cost, on a per-household basis. But census officials say they won’t adopt any changes that sacrifice the quality of the enumeration.The 2-day debate on the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations spending bill  also gave Representative Ted Poe (R–TX) an opportunity to win support for his long-running assault on the American Community Survey (ACS), a monthly questionnaire that goes out to 3.5 million people and supplements the decennial census. Answering the survey is now mandatory, a provision meant to ensure that the data it provides paints an accurate picture of everything from the nation’s commuting characteristics to residential energy usage. But Poe believes that the ACS asks many “intrusive and personal questions” and that the people chosen to participate should be able to ignore those that offend them.Last month he reintroduced a bill (H.R. 2255) that would make the ACS voluntary except for gathering information on names and addresses. Since most programmatic, or authorization, bills are never enacted, Poe chose something that eventually Congress must pass—an annual spending bill—and tweaked his legislation to fit its narrower scope. Specifically, his amendment would prohibit the Census Bureau from spending money to compel people to respond.As it happens, the bureau has just begun a pilot study of what it hopes could be a kinder, gentler ACS. It is testing modifications to messages in survey mailings with the goal of addressing critics, like Poe, who feel that it is being heavy-handed. (Nonrespondents are subject to prosecution and a fine, although no money has ever been collected.)“This Amendment defunds enforcement of the criminal penalty of the survey,” Poe explained in a statement after his amendment was adopted by a voice vote. “The ACS is an unnecessary waste and an abuse of government power with no constitutional authority.”On 10 June the Senate CJS subcommittee is scheduled to mark up its version of the 2016 spending bill, the next step on its journey. And there are outspoken critics of the ACS in that body as well, including Senator James Lankford (R–OK). So if and when the bill moves to the Senate floor, no one will be surprised if a version of Poe’s amendment is introduced.last_img read more

Read More »

Top stories: A 400-year-old shark, smashing a famous science hoax, and more

first_imgMutation that made it easier to ride horses evolved more than 1000 years agoSitting in the saddle can still be a bumpy ride, but things got a lot smoother nearly 12 centuries ago, when a single genetic mutation arising in the medieval United Kingdom and Iceland gave horses their ability to “amble,” or walk with a relatively smooth, four-beat rhythm versus a bumpier, more erratic pattern.Greenland shark may live 400 years, smashing longevity recordSign 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(*)Imagine having to wait a century to have sex. Such is the life of the Greenland shark—a 5-meter-long predator that may live more than 400 years, according to a recent study, making it the longest lived vertebrate by at least a century. So it should come as no surprise that the females are not ready to reproduce until after they hit their 156th birthday.A bit of cash can keep someone off the streets for 2 years or moreIf someone is about to become homeless, giving them a single cash infusion, averaging about $1000, may be enough to keep them off the streets for at least 2 years. That’s the conclusion of a new study, which finds that programs that proactively assist those in need don’t just help the victims—they may benefit society as a whole.U.S. science groups have 20 questions for candidatesA coalition of 56 higher education and scientific organizations has come up with 20 questions whose answers could help voters choose from among Democrat Hillary Clinton, Republican Donald Trump, the Green Party’s Jill Stein, and Libertarian Gary Johnson.Chemists to get preprint server of their ownCall it a chain reaction. Following the leads of the physics, mathematics, economics, and biology communities, the American Chemical Society announced yesterday that it will start a preprint server for chemistry papers, tentatively titled ChemRxiv.Now that you’ve got the scoop on this week’s hottest Science news, come back Monday to test your smarts on our weekly quiz!last_img read more

Read More »

Wetlands scientists speak out against Trump’s move to undo water rule

first_img “As non-profit organizations, we support and foster sound science, education, restoration and management of wetlands and other aquatic resources,” the letter says, adding that the regulation was written “using the best available science.”Finalized by the Obama administration in May 2015, the Clean Water Rule, also known as the Waters of the U.S. rule, or WOTUS, caught the ire of farmers, land developers and energy companies.The law was stayed in a federal court following multiple legal challenges, including one brought by now-U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt when he was Oklahoma attorney general.On Tuesday, President Trump signed an executive order directing EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to review and possibly rescind or replace the regulation (E&E News PM, Feb. 28).The letter from the societies accompanies an amicus brief they filed in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to support a brief filed by the Obama administration defending the regulation earlier this year. That case has been stayed pending a Supreme Court review of whether it has jurisdiction over the regulation (Greenwire, Jan. 13).In their letter, the organizations describe the ecological importance of wetlands, which can remove otherwise harmful nutrient pollution from water, as well as the benefits wetlands provide to humans.”They store water, and thus are a source of water during times of drought,” the letter says. “Many wetlands soak up runoff and floodwaters, which reduces peak flood-flows and avoids costly flood damage.”Reprinted from Greenwire with permission from E&E News. Copyright 2017. E&E provides essential news for energy and environment professionals at www.eenews.net Originally published by E&E NewsSeven scientific societies are speaking out against President Donald Trump’s executive order targeting the contentious Clean Water Rule.Representing more than 200,000 members total, the Society of Wetland Scientists, Ecological Society of America, American Institute of Biological Scientists, American Fisheries Society, Society for Ecological Restoration, Society for Freshwater Science and Phycological Society of America wrote a letter to Trump arguing in favor of the regulation.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(*) Randy von Liski/Flickr By Ariel Wittenberg, E&E NewsMar. 2, 2017 , 3:00 PM Read more… Some farmers are concerned about the impact that the Clean Water Act rule could have on their operations. Wetlands scientists speak out against Trump’s move to undo water rulelast_img read more

Read More »

Diamond-studded meteorites came from the collision of a lost planet

first_img By Sid PerkinsApr. 17, 2018 , 11:15 AM When our solar system was in its infancy 4.5 billion years ago, a swarm of protoplanets swirled around the sun—some of which coalesced into larger and larger masses, while others were blasted to smithereens in a demolition derby of planetary proportions. Those collisions would have produced innumerable fragments of cosmic shrapnel, some of which orbited the sun as carbon-rich asteroids. Now, a new analysis of the remains of one such asteroid, which broke apart in our atmosphere and fell to Earth, bolsters the idea that they are, in fact, the remnants of one of our solar system’s lost planets—some of which may have been the size of Mercury, or larger.The Almahata Sitta meteorites, a few hundred rock fragments that rained down on Sudan’s Nubian Desert in 2008, included a number of coarse-grained, carbon-rich fragments known as ureilites. Inside were tiny diamonds that likely measured up to 100 micrometers across when they originally formed. That’s at least 100 times larger than the nanodiamonds that form when planetary objects collide, and it’s far larger than diamonds that form by condensing from carbon vapor inside clouds of interplanetary gas and dust. Excluding those possibilities, a new study proposes that the diamonds in the Almahata Sitta meteorites grew deep inside a large protoplanet before it suffered the collision that turned it into cosmic shrapnel (artist’s concept, above).Just how large would the planet have been? Small blebs of iron-rich sulfides inside these meteorites’ diamonds provide key clues. Because the minerals could only have formed at pressures about 200,000 times those of Earth’s atmosphere at sea level, the diamonds would have formed near the center of a Mercury-or-larger-size protoplanet, the researchers report today in Nature Communications. Another alternative: They could have formed just outside the metal-rich core of a Mars-or-larger-size body.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(*) Diamond-studded meteorites came from the collision of a lost planetcenter_img NASA/JPL-Caltech last_img read more

Read More »

NIH pulls the plug on controversial alcohol trial

first_img NIH pulls the plug on controversial alcohol trial The National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, today killed a controversial clinical study that was already on life support: the Moderate Alcohol and Cardiovascular Health (MACH) trial.A working group of NIH advisers assembled to review the study found that senior officials at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) actively and secretively courted the alcohol industry to fund the $100 million project, and saw to it that a favored principal investigator (PI) won the funding. NIH Director Francis Collins this morning called the conduct “way outside of the acceptable culture of our noble institution” and, following the working group’s recommendation, ordered the study shut down “as quickly as that can be done.”“Many of the [NIH staff] who have seen the working group report were frankly shocked to see that so many lines were crossed,” Collins said in describing the findings, which were released today. For instance, he said, it was clear that backers of the study had manipulated the research plan to ensure an outcome favorable to the sponsors, which included five companies—Anheuser-Busch InBev, Carlsberg Group, Diageo, Heineken, and Pernod Ricard—and had hidden their activities from other NIH staff, behavior he called “a flashing neon light.”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(*) By Meredith WadmanJun. 15, 2018 , 5:45 PM The 10-year trial aimed to enroll 7800 participants, with the active arm consuming one serving of alcohol each day and the control group none, to measure whether moderate alcohol consumption prevents the development of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as has been suggested by earlier studies.But the working group enlisted the opinions of epidemiologists and concluded that the study proponents appeared “to intentionally bias the framing of the scientific premise in the direction of demonstrating a beneficial health effect of moderate alcohol consumption.” The epidemiologists said the study did not plan to enroll enough patients or allow enough follow-up time to assess whether moderate alcohol consumption also increases cancer risks. They concluded that “the trial could show benefits while missing the harms.”The huge study was to have been funded mostly by the alcohol industry through donations to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH), a nonprofit established by Congress that is meant to provide a firewall between donors and the studies they fund, preventing them from influencing trial designs to promote particular outcomes. The working group found that senior NIAAA officials kept FNIH officials in the dark about their courting of alcohol companies. It also concluded that the officials ensured an investigator who helped them woo the industry—Kenneth Mukamal of Harvard Medical School in Boston—would become the trial’s PI.Mukamal and three members of NIAAA leadership had “sustained interactions” from at least 2013, prior to and during development of the Funding Opportunity Announcements for both the planning and main grants to fund the MACH trial, said NIH Principal Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak, who led the working group. “These interactions appear to have provided the eventual PI with a competitive advantage not available to any other applicant and effectively this steered funding to this investigator.”Collins praised The New York Times for revealing the actions of the alcohol institute officials in an article published in March, when, Collins said, he realized “this was a matter that needed really serious consideration.” Last month, Collins suspended enrollment in the trial pending the findings of the working group. At the time the trial was suspended, 105 people were enrolled. “Those are 105 people to whom we owe all kinds of information,” Collins said today.Before killing the study, Collins invited the opinion of George Koob, the NIAAA director who took the reins of the institute in January 2014. At that point, senior NIAAA officials had begun courting the industry to fund the study, but they hadn’t solicited grant applications for executing the trial or engaged FNIH as a vehicle for industry contributions.A strained-looking Koob told Collins and his advisory panel today: “I understand and agree with the significant concerns about the MACH study and its ultimate credibility. There were design issues … [and] also significant process irregularities … that undermined the integrity of the research process. We do not see a truly competitive competition [for the award]. The trial is irrevocably damaged and I don’t think we can justify continuing the study.”NIH is now undertaking a 60-day study to try to locate any other agency-funded projects that may have been compromised by donor influence or improper inside tracks for favored investigators. (In the case of the MACH trial, Mukamal was the only applicant for awards NIH solicited for both planning and execution phases of the study.)“We will see what we get from the new investigation and come up with an appropriate plan for interventions,” Collins said. “My expectation is that the MACH study is an unusual outlier, but I want to be sure I’m right. And this is the only way to find out.”For some, NIH’s internal investigation does not go far enough. “The shocking allegations” about the “aggressive campaign” by NIH officials to solicit industry funding require an independent investigation, says Michael Carome, director of the health research group at Public Citizen, a watchdog organization in Washington, D.C. In April, Public Citizen and 13 other groups asked Alex Azar, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), NIH’s parent department, to request an investigation by the HHS inspector general.*Correction, 18 June, 9:45 a.m.: An earlier version of this story stated that NIAAA officials had not solicited grant applications related to the MACH study before Koob, the current NIAAA director, took the helm in January 2014. In fact, NIAAA solicited applications for planning grants, to allow investigators to begin laying the groundwork for the trial, in July 2013, months before Koob arrived at NIAAA. iStock.com/JaysonPhotography last_img read more

Read More »

$125 million gift from Microsoft co-founder launches new institute to probe immune system

first_img $125 million gift from Microsoft co-founder launches new institute to probe immune system Immunology is the latest field that will benefit from a hefty sum donated by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. The newly launched Allen Institute for Immunology, planned before the philanthropist died in October from complications of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, will attempt to better define what’s normal for the immune system and why it falters in cancer and autoimmune diseases.The institute, which will be announced today at a press conference, will eventually hire about 70 researchers, who will work at the Seattle, Washington, location shared by Allen institutes focused on cell biology and the brain. Their new sibling starts with a nest egg of $125 million from Allen, but it could receive more money from his estate. The immunology institute will differ from the other Allen institutes because “we are going to be really dedicated to understanding disease mechanisms and translational opportunities,” says Executive Director Thomas Bumol, a former senior vice-president at Lilly Research Laboratories.With the recent explosion in immune-based therapies such as checkpoint inhibitors for treating cancer, it might seem that scientists have the immune system figured out. But these drugs aren’t the norm, Bumol says. “The successes are great but, as everyone knows, failure is the predominant result in drug discovery.” A prime reason for these stumbles, he says, is “a lack of understanding of the complexity of the immune 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(*) By Mitch LeslieDec. 12, 2018 , 10:50 AM Evan Agostini/AP Photo center_img Paul Allen To refine that understanding, “we want to do a very detailed view of the immune system over time,” Bumol says. Researchers with the institute will track the immune function of three groups of people over periods of 5 years. The first group is 4-year-olds, who are starting to receive vaccinations and whose immune system is about to be assailed by all the pathogens they will pick up in school. The other two groups will be healthy adults in their 20s and 30s and older people between 55 and 65. Scientists at the institute will use recently developed techniques such as mass cytometry, which provides a much more detailed profile of cells’ identity and activities than older methods, to try to determine a baseline for the immune system.With these groups for comparison, scientists will then try to ferret out immune differences in people with either of two cancers—multiple myeloma or melanoma—or with the autoimmune illnesses rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn disease. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, Bumol says, researchers will study people who are at risk of developing the disease, in hopes of discovering what sets it off. Institute immunologists will have access to clinical data through partnerships with several medical centers.By including leaders from industry who understand drug development and forming partnerships with clinical researchers, the new institute improves its odds of making discoveries that spawn new treatments, says infection biologist Eric Skaar, who heads the Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology, and Inflammation in Nashville. And that $125 million won’t hurt. “It’s a large commitment [that] is proportional to the magnitude of the problem,” he says. Cellular immunologist Holden Maecker of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, agrees that the project “is set up well for success.”The new institute’s approach isn’t revolutionary—other collaborations or researchers are using big data to delve into the human immune system, says immunologist Mitchell Kronenberg, president and chief scientific officer of the La Jolla Institute for Immunology in San Diego, California. “I expect them to make a contribution,” he says, “but I think it will be additive.”last_img read more

Read More »

CL refs for Inter and Napoli

first_imgDanny Makkelie will officiate Borussia Dortmund-Inter, while Szymon Marciniak is assigned to Napoli-RB Salzburg. UEFA have announced the referees for Tuesday’s Champions League fixtures. Inter face a direct showdown with Borussia Dortmund in Germany following the 2-0 win at San Siro. Dutch official Makkelie will be in charge of the whistle, supported by Mario Diks, Hessel Steegstra and fourth official Kevin Blom. The VAR is Jochem Kamphuis with Bas Nijhuis. Napoli won 3-2 away to RB Salzburg and could secure their qualification for the Round of 16 when hosting the Austrians on Tuesday evening. They will look to Polish referee Marciniak, who is assisted by Pawel Sokolnicki, Tomasz Listkiewicz and fourth official Tomasz Musial. The VAR booth is also an all-Polish affair, with Pawel Gil and Marcin Borkowski. Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/last_img read more

Read More »

Mertens pledges future to Inter?

first_imgThere are reports Napoli striker Dries Mertens has already agreed to join Inter as a free agent next summer for a salary of €6m per season. According to Sunday’s edition of the Corriere dello Sport and Gazzetta dello Sport, the Belgian has worked out basic personal terms to remain in Serie A, albeit at San Siro with a Nerazzurri jersey. It’d be a two-year contract with option for a third, worth €6m per season, including various bonuses. As he’ll be 33 by the end of this season, the deal could also include provisions for a future spell at Inter’s sister club Jiangsu Suning in China. Mertens has been at Napoli since 2013 when he arrived from PSV Eindhoven, but his contract is due to expire in June 2020. President Aurelio De Laurentiis has repeatedly suggested he does not want to keep Mertens on his current salary and would only sign him – and Jose Callejon – to a new deal at a vastly reduced rate. Mertens will be free to start negotiating a contract with another club from January and the Corriere dello Sport maintains he has already been approached by Antonio Conte’s Inter. With that in mind, Napoli could try to sell Mertens in the January transfer window to at least make back some money. Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/last_img read more

Read More »

Vialli: ‘Honoured to help Mancini’

first_img Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/ Gianluca Vialli says it is an “honour” to work alongside Italy CT and ex-Sampdoria teammate Roberto Mancini’s as chief delegate of the national team. Vialli becomes Italy’s first chief delegate since Gigi Riva, who retired from the role in 2013, linking up with Mancini after he failed in his efforts to buy Samp. “I am happy to be here and fill this role, also because I think about whose who came before me [in the role] like Gigi Riva,” he told Tuttomercatoweb. “I’ll be able to contact the younger players to support them. I’m at the service of the federation, Mancini and [Gabriele] Oriali, and I’d like to thank the President [Gabriele Gravina]. “I wore the Azzurri jersey 80 times in my career and I know what it means, to understand the pressure.” “We’ve seen all the consequences of the failure to qualify for the World Cup in Russia. To wear this shirt is a great honour, and you can leave a mark on it as a professional.” The 55-year-old and Mancini formed a prolific partnership for the Blucerchiati in the late 1980s and early 1990s, coining the nickname ‘goal twins’. “Working with Roberto and the staff is emotional. He has said that we are becoming old but, for me, working here together will keep us all young. “In my career for the national team, I collected two bronze medals, at Euro ’88 and Italia ’90. I hope I can do better now.” The former Juventus and Chelsea striker, who is still receiving cancer treatment, scored 16 goals in 59 caps for the Azzurri from 1985 to 1992.last_img read more

Read More »

Have a tough decision to make on drivers for the 2012 season: Mallya

first_imgSahara Force India’s team principal Vijay Mallya said on Sunday that it would be tough for him to decide his driver’s line-up for the 2012 season.Adrian Sutil and Paul Di Resta are eager to learn their future with the Silverstone-based team and this prompted Mallya to say that he would announce his team in two week’s time before the next race in Abu Dhabi.”Regarding my decision about the 2012 drivers, I have said this week that I will give an answer to the drivers before the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. I already have three excellent drivers, who are all in the running, and the decision ahead will not be an easy one,” said Mallya, after Sutil’s ninth place finish at the Sunday race here earned points for the team.Di Resta, who made an impressive debut in 2011, is likely to retain his seat along with test driver Nico Hulkenberg. Di Resta has also been hailed as the season’s most impressive rookie.The 28-year-old Sutil, who has driven for the team since it was known as Midland in 2006, also has a strong possibility to be retained because of the sponsorship money he brings with him. Sutil has also been linked with a move to the struggling Williams team.Mallya, however, said that he doesn’t need a paid driver. But Sutil is confident of racing next season in Formula One regardless of Mallya’s decision.last_img read more

Read More »

India rise to second spot in Test rankings

first_imgIndia have risen to No. 2 position in the Test rankings, thanks to South Africa losing the second Test against Australia.South Africa thus slipped to third on the Reliance ICC Test Championship table following its drawn home series against Australia.The Proteas were ranked second but the 1-1 series result against the lower ranked Australia meant it lost one ratings point to 116 and fell below India, who are at 117 rating points.England held on to the No. One spot, a good eight points ahead of India at 125 rating points.Australia’s series-saving two-wicket victory in Johannesburg has earned it a point and it now sits 11 ratings points behind South Africa, in fourth place.Reliance ICC Test Championship 1. England 1252. India 117 3. South Africa 1164. Australia 1055. Sri Lanka 996. Pakistan 987. West Indies 888. New Zealand 79 9. Bangladesh 9last_img read more

Read More »

How Team India struggles chasing low scores

first_imgTrust the Indian cricket team to make things difficult for itself.There may have been all round relief after the team managed to squeeze out a heart- stopping one-wicket win against the West Indies in the first one- dayer here on Tuesday. But the result left in its wake a point to ponder: why do Indian teams often make heavy weather of small targets in One- day Internationals? So many times in the past, Indian batsmen and bowlers , through their indiscretion or overconfidence/ complacency – or sheer lack of killer instinct – in ODIs as well as Test matches, have shot themselves in the foot. They have lost – and also won – on those occasions, but not before making millions of Indian fans go through anxious moments.The two recent examples of thrillers are the third Test against the West Indies in Mumbai and Tuesday’s ODI here. While in Mumbai a full strength Indian team surprisingly conceded 108- run first- innings lead before both teams ended up with the same tally after four innings, in Cuttack it was a combination of a few careless shots and largely due to inspired West Indies bowling and committed fielding that made the task for Virender Sehwag’s team difficult.The previous occasion when India managed a one- wicket win was almost eight years ago, when they successfully chased 200 against New Zealand in Auckland in January 2003. By a strange coincident, then and on Tuesday India reached the target in 48.5 overs.”In India you hardly see the team tottering at 59 for five,” Sehwag said of Tuesday’s match. When you lose five quick wickets, it’s difficult to come back. Hopefully, we will come up with strong batting performances in the next games. We have to learn from our mistakes.” One reason of lowscoring matches going to the wire could also be psychological. Some players find it difficult to motivate themselves while others get complacent when faced with a not- so- challenging and tricky targets. This has happened with the Indian teams over the years, and is likely to happen in the future too.At other times, pitches and weather conditions pose a greater challenge than the opposition. For instance, if the team is bowling second in a day- night game, dew could hamper bowlers, particularly spinners, as the ball gets wet and they find it difficult to grip it.India have also lost in low- scoring ODIs. Two matches that can be cited as examples for one- run defeats are the games against the West Indies in Kingston in 2006, when India were set a target of 199, and against Australia in Brisbane in 1992, when the target was slightly bigger (236).In recent times, India have won a few matches by the same onerun margin. They edged past South Africa chasing 191 in Johannesburg this January and successfully chased against the same opposition in Jaipur in February last year, when the total was 299.It’s not just a recent phenomenon that India have won – or lost – in close encounters. In 1988, the Ravi Shastri-led Indian team was set a target of just 197 and the West Indies won the ODI by two runs.The margin of win or defeat, however, is not always a correct indication of how close a match was. The numbers only suggest the closeness of an encounter, but there are a lot of other factors that don’t reflect in them.advertisementlast_img read more

Read More »