Nature, Published online: 21 February 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-00479-2But the risks associated with the procedure mean it is unlikely to be widely used in its current form.
Because from the shit I'm seeing from AI chat bots, killing us doesn't seem to be a problem.
Director Marion Neumann not only pays tribute to the magic of mushrooms but claims they could save humanity from the coming climate apocalypse
At once earthy and magical, fungi not only link us to the origins of life itself but also open doors to alternate realms of consciousness. In Marion Neumann's loose-limbed documentary, just the latest in a string of films that opine on its enigma, the mushroom can even save the world.
Compared with the surreal time-lapse photography of Louie Schwartzberg's Fantastic Fungi (2019) or the rustic charm of Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw's The Truffle Hunters (2020), Neumann's approach is more free-wheeling and eccentric. Interviews with a wide host of fungi lovers – who include scientists, culinary specialists and devoted enthusiasts – delve into the generative power of mushrooms with vigour and optimism. Considering that the cultivation of fungal cultures has allowed us to ease our physical ailments as well as repair damaged ecosystems, the film posits that, beyond a transactional relationship, humans can also model our behaviours after the virtues of the mushroom. Mycelium, the word that describes the thread-like structure of fungal colonies, is often brought up, suggesting that humanity should aspire to such interconnectedness in the face of increasing ecological disasters.Continue reading…
On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a "bump" for our ask. This week features "What were climate scientists predicting in the 1970s?". More will follow in the upcoming weeks. Please follow the Further Reading link at the bottom to read the full rebuttal and to join the discussion in the omment thread there.
At a glance
If you are aged 60 or over, you may remember this particular myth first-hand. For a brief time in the early to mid-1970s, certain sections of the popular media ran articles describing how we were heading for a renewed ice-age. Such silliness endures to the present day, just with a different gloss: as an example, for the UK tabloid the Daily Express, October just wouldn't be October without it publishing at least one made-up account of the impending 100-day snow-apocalypse.
There were even books written on the subject, such as Nigel Calder's mischievously-entitled The Weather Machine, published in 1974 by the BBC and accompanying a "documentary" of the same name, which was nothing of the sort. A shame, because the same author's previous effort, The Restless Earth, about plate tectonics, was very good indeed.
Thomas Peterson and colleagues did a very neat job of obliterating all of this nonsense. In a 2008 paper titled The myth of the 1970s global cooling scientific consensus, they dared do what the popular press dared not to. They had a look at what was actually going on. Obtaining copies of the peer-reviewed papers on climate, archived in the collections of Nature, JSTOR and the American Meteorological Society and published between 1965 and 1979, they examined and rated them. Would there be a consensus on global cooling? Alas! – no.
Results showed that despite the media claims, just ten per cent of papers predicted a cooling trend. On the other hand, 62% predicted global warming and 28% made no comment either way. The take-home from this one? It's the old media adage, "Never let the truth get in the way of a good story"
Please use this form to provide feedback about this new "at a glance" section. Read a more technical version via the link below!
Click for Further details
In case you'd like to explore more of our recently updated rebuttals, here are the links to all of them:
|Myths with link to rebuttal||Short URLs|
|Ice age predicted in the 1970s||sks.to/1970s|
|It hasn't warmed since 1998||sks.to/1998|
|Antarctica is gaining ice||sks.to/antarctica|
|CRU emails suggest conspiracy||sks.to/climategate|
|What evidence is there for the hockey stick||sks.to/hockey|
|CO2 lags temperature||sks.to/lag|
|Climate's changed before||sks.to/past|
|It's the sun||sks.to/sun|
|Temperature records are unreliable||sks.to/temp|
|The greenhouse effect and the 2nd law of thermodynamics||sks.to/thermo|
Ian Sample speaks to Guardian science correspondent Nicola Davis about the news that Wegovy, an appetite suppressant popular with celebrities in the US, will soon be sold at UK pharmacies. It's a prescription drug aimed at helping people with
lose weight, but some argue it doesn't tackle the root cause
Clips: BBC, abc7NYContinue reading…
According to https://realtimeinequality.org which shows growth in incomes and wealth by different quintiles since Jan 2000 to Dec 2022, the bottom 50th percentile has seen a only 1.7% real growth income.
- As issues such as wealth and income mobility arise and intergenerational mobility in the US worsens what will happen?
- If this keeps happening will we return to an aristocracy of sorts?
- Is inequality likely to keep worsening in the United States?
– The group of people belonging to the noble class in a country, especially those with a hereditary or honorary title. Belonging to a hereditary class with high social or political status; aristocratic.
So I might've used the wrong word but the American Nobility who have money, status, power and education have much more mobility in almost all the senses of the word.
Not necessarily whether we're a nation ruled by a select few who can hold office but whether or not we're a nation wherein primarily the nobility have mobility, power, status and influence.
How much will it cost? Are there any scientific advancements in gene editing for psychiatry? What will come first, somatic genetic engineering or germline engineering for psychiatry?
Any for psychosis, mania, and ADHD?
Edit: since these disorders are polygenic, are there any polygenic gene editing technology to make multiple edits to the genome?
I am an undergraduate student working toward completing my honors degree in psychology this year! This research project aims to bridge the gap in current literature regarding understanding how social anxiety symptoms impact an individual's pursuit of personal growth. Participating in this honors research study includes electronically completing various questionnaires on SurveyMonkey. These questionnaires are used to gather information about individuals experiencing social anxiety symptoms, their personal growth pursuits, and associated psychological variables. Participation in this study takes approximately 20 minutes and is completely confidential and voluntary.
Participation requirements: Must be between the ages of 18-25 currently living in British Columbia and experience social anxiety of any severity.
To learn more about this research study, or to participate please visit: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SAANDPGIRESEARCH
If you have any questions, please contact [Melanie.ONeill@viu.ca](mailto:Melanie.ONeill@viu.ca)
I am nearing the end of my recruitment, any participation helps immensely!
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It's been impossible to miss the latest collision of AI and mainstream culture.
The cycle started in earnest last year with the release of OpenAI's DALL-E 2, a machine learning algorithm that concocts photorealistic images from text prompts. The hype ramped up even further with the company's release of ChatGPT in November. But things really went off the rails last week, when Microsoft—a big investor in OpenAI with nearly unfettered access to its algorithms—blended a specialized version of ChatGPT into its Bing search engine in the form of a chatbot.
While the capability of these algorithms is undoubtedly advancing quickly, it seems recent leaps have been as much about what they can do as the fact average people can now access them.
Now, another AI is getting a mainstream release: Sony just announced its superhuman AI driver, GT Sophy, is officially joining Gran Turismo.
As of today, any player who downloads the latest update can race GT Sophy in the new "Gran Turismo Sophy Race Together" mode. The mode, which Sony says is a special event, will be available through the end of March. Players can compete with Sophy over four races, each more difficult than the last, or go head-to-head with the same car and settings to see how fast the AI can go.
GT Sophy first made headlines last year when the team published a paper in Nature outlining how the algorithm beat top Gran Turismo players. By pushing the envelope right to its physical limits and also observing etiquette—reckless drivers are penalized—the algorithm outpaced human players by seconds in a competition usually decided by milliseconds.
The plan was always to incorporate GT Sophy into the game. But the latest announcement should be viewed as a first step. Much like other recent AI deployments, Sony will seek feedback from players to improve the AI further.
While the recent round of AI releases has been in the category of generative AI—models trained to produce text or images after poring over billions of examples scraped from the internet—GT Sophy was trained a little differently.
Like other game-playing algorithms, it uses deep reinforcement learning, where the algorithm is fed the rules of the game and conditions of its environment, then plays millions of rounds, scoring its own performance and making iterative improvements. At least 10 times a second, GT Sophy takes stock of its position relative to other cars on the track and the various forces acting on the car and makes split-second decisions based on the data.
The approach has yielded algorithms that beat humans at games like Go, Starcraft, Stratego, and Diplomacy.
One way these algorithms beat humans is by developing surprising strategies. DeepMind's AlphaGo famously outfoxed world champion Go player Lee Sedol with a move no human would make. At first dubbed a mistake, it later proved a turning point in the match.
Kazunori Yamauchi, the creator and CEO of Gran Turismo, said last year that GT Sophy gains a speed advantage thanks, in part, to an aggressive strategy driving through curves. Whereas drivers often brake into a curve and accelerate out of it, GT Sophy brakes during the curve, shifting the load from two to three tires. "We notice that, actually, top drivers such as [Formula One champions] Lewis Hamilton or Max Verstappen actually are doing that, using three tires, going fast in and fast out, all these things that we thought were unique to GT Sophy," he said.
By racing the AI, Sony hopes players can improve. The top players in chess, for example, aren't computer or human alone, but the two playing together.
"From the beginning, Gran Turismo Sophy was always about more than just being superhuman; we aspired to create an AI agent that would enhance the experience of players of all levels, and to make this experience available to everyone," said Michael Spranger, Chief Operating Officer, Sony AI.
Algorithms like GT Sophy may eventually have real-world applications in robotics and self-driving cars. But for now, it'll be more about the fun of getting schooled by an AI driver.
Image Credit: Sony
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Do you guys have any tips on how to get good at researching, analyzing, and predicting technology/startup trends? Especially the short-term ones (1-3 years).
Are there any books or learning resources that can help me get better at this? Are there methods for doing it effectively and well?
(aside from just knowing a lot of things, readig Hacker News, and using common sense)
Say amputate legs and get like crazy fast robot legs, or swap out an eye for something powerful.
….penis for some crazy jet powered thing? I feel like thats where I draw the line..
Do you think society would go for it? Is anyone working on such a concept
I write to you fellow citizens of the world because, as we all know, there is one big problem plaguing all of our nations' most vulnerable, but also increasingly the work horse that is the middle class. One problem that increasingly year after year gets worse, and as it worsens so does not only the living conditions of all of these people but they are also losing their liberty for it, their self respect, and their humanity. As fewer and fewer people are able to afford homes, and more and more houses, apartments, and condos are not owned by the primary occupier, and that non-occupant can kick that poor soul who just wants a roof over their head out or raise their rents to affordable levels, at practically any time; many people now are forced to live on the streets, while millions of homes and properties stand empty because some billionaire needs to own an investment portfolio, or a Chinese elite needs to store his cash where the cat can't find it. Millions of homes across all of our countries boarded up with nobody inside, while a family displaced by greed froze to death in their car. We already have the resources, we just need the will to stand up for what is right, what is just, and what in the end may even be practical. Everyone needs a home, everyone gets a home. Now, of course, it does have a couple more steps which I will explain further, but it really is that simple. We just need to stop the way we currently think about rent. Instead of rent fluctuating wildly to an aristocrat's whim, it will always be an affordable 25% of your salary every year in perpetuity. We would have no need for people to even move unless they are forming a new family so we can pretty much outlaw the sale of new homes entirely as we wont be needing it, seeing as everyone already has a roof over their heads who needs to move? See, even more practical! A headache of our previous lives almost removed entirely. A fair deal I would say, to both the landlord and the tennant. You will always have a roof above your head, and if you lose your job your rent seeker is already incentivised to help you find a new job as soon as possible. Even better in times of crisis, like the financial crash of 2008, where the more people are laid off their jobs the more leverage the rent seeker has to find a company willing to invest in their people. Its a classic win-win, for everyone.
Please do consider my proposal thoroughly, we all wish to live in a future where nobody can throw you out in the cold because their greed is more important than your life. We need fundamental change and we need it now more than ever.
Older adults living with food insecurity are more likely to experience malnutrition, depression, and physical limitations that affect how they live, a new study shows.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest federally funded nutrition-assistance program in the United States, and research has shown that SNAP reduces hunger and food insecurity in the general population.
Little evidence is available, however, on how SNAP may affect brain aging in older adults. To bridge this knowledge gap, researchers investigated the relationship between food insecurity, SNAP, and cognitive decline. They found that food sufficiency and participation in SNAP may help protect against accelerated cognitive decline in older adults.
The researchers analyzed a representative sample of 4,578 older adults in the United States using data from the National Health and Aging Trends Study, 2012-20. Participants reported their experiences with food insecurity and were classified as food sufficient or food insufficient.
The SNAP status was defined as SNAP participants, SNAP-eligible nonparticipants, and SNAP-ineligible nonparticipants. The researchers found that food insecure adults experienced cognitive declines more rapidly than their food secure peers.
The researchers identified different trajectories of cognitive decline using food insufficiency status or SNAP status. Rates of cognitive decline were similar in SNAP participants and SNAP-ineligible nonparticipants, both of which were slower than the rate of SNAP-eligible nonparticipants.
The greater cognitive decline rate observed in the food insecure group was equivalent to being 3.8 years older, whereas the greater cognitive decline rate observed in the SNAP-eligible nonparticipant group was equivalent to being 4.5 years older.
"For an aging population, roughly four years of brain aging can be very significant," says Muzi Na, assistant professor of nutritional sciences at Penn State, and lead author of the study in the Journal of Nutrition.
"These results really point to the importance of food security for people as they age and the value that SNAP can have in improving people's cognitive health as they age. We need to make sure that people have access to—and encourage them to use—the SNAP program as they age."
Future studies are warranted to investigate the impact of addressing food insecurity and promoting SNAP participation on cognitive health in older adults, Na says.
Additional coauthors are from Brown University, the University of South Carolina, the University of North Carolina Wilmington, the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and Penn State.
The Broadhurst Career Development Professorship for the Study of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and the National Institute of Mental Health supported the work.
Source: Penn State
The post Food insecurity can speed older adults' cognitive decline appeared first on Futurity.
Professor of mathematical biology to succeed Sir Patrick Vallance after advising MoD and working with Sage during pandemic
Dame Angela McLean has been appointed as the UK's chief scientific adviser – the first woman to hold the post.
McLean will take over the role of providing independent scientific advice to the prime minister and members of the cabinet on 1 April, after the end of Sir Patrick Vallance's five-year term. She will also advise on aspects of science and technology policy, and work to improve the quality and use of scientific evidence and advice in government.Continue reading…
Asking young people to take a short survey on a tablet before an appointment may help mental health providers identify those at risk of psychosis, according to new research.
The researchers found that when patients took a 21-question pre-visit survey, more than twice as many were identified at risk of psychosis compared to those who did not complete the survey.
But despite the improvement in detecting people at risk, the technology-based screening did not reduce the time between the participants' first psychotic symptoms and when they received treatment.
Previous studies have shown that the longer the time between the first psychotic incident—such as hallucinations or delusions—and receiving treatment, the more severe the course of the disease.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, psychosis often begins when a person is in his or her late teens to mid-twenties. About 100,000 new cases of psychosis are diagnosed each year in the US.
"The addition of a brief screener at the initial evaluation can make a dramatic difference in clinical decision-making, helping you to realize that an individual needs specialized care," says Tara A. Niendam, a professor and executive director of the Health Early Psychosis Programs at the University of California, Davis, and first author of the study in JAMA Psychiatry.
Delayed mental health access in US
The researchers used data from 10 community clinics and four school sites in California. Sites were divided by those that used tablets for screening ("active screening") and those that screened using clinical judgment ("treatment as usual").
For the sites with active screening, individuals between the ages of 12 and 30 completed a questionnaire on a tablet before their visit with a mental health care provider.
Known as the PQ-B (Prodromal Questionnaire, Brief Version), questions included "Do familiar surroundings sometimes seem strange, confusing, threatening, or unreal to you?" and "Have you seen things that other people can't see or don't seem to see?"
If the questionnaire score was 20 or above, the participant was offered a referral to an early psychosis clinic for further evaluation.
If you or a loved one think you may be experiencing psychosis symptoms, UC Davis Health offers a free online screening survey.
Sites not using active screening relied on clinical judgment for further evaluation and referrals to early psychosis clinics.
The researchers evaluated data from 2,432 individuals at the active-screening sites and 2,455 at the treatment-as-usual sites.
Active-screening sites reported a significantly higher detection rate of psychosis spectrum disorders, with 136 cases (5.6%), compared to 65 (2.6%) in the sites that did not use the tablet screening.
The active-screening sites also referred 13 individuals with first-episode psychosis compared to four in the sites that did not use active screening.
But despite the early detection, the data showed no statistically significant difference in the duration of untreated psychosis. The mean for the active screening group was 239 days. The mean was 262.3 for the treatment-as-usual group.
The researchers note this was likely due to multiple factors leading to delayed access to the mental health system in the US.
"On average, our participants experienced untreated psychosis for approximately six months before presenting at one of our participating clinic sites," says coauthor Mark Savill, assistant professor in the psychiatry and behavioral sciences department.
"A multifaceted approach that focuses on supporting individuals to seek help quicker and improving the pathway to appropriate services once they present for care may be necessary to achieve meaningful reductions in the duration of untreated psychosis."
Benefits of psychosis screening
Twenty-four sites agreed to participate. However, only 10 community clinics and four school sites were able to fully implement the screening. Some study sites, such as primary care clinics, faced challenges implementing the screenings and reporting feedback; schools struggled with staffing issues and parent engagement.
The setbacks highlight some of the challenges that might be faced scaling up programs that offer the active screening. But the results highlight how many young people at risk of psychosis are not being identified with the current system.
"Population-based screening for psychosis has not been addressed systematically in the US prior to this study," says senior author Cameron S. Carter, a professor of psychiatry and psychology and director of the UC Davis Health Imaging Research Center and the Behavioral Health Center for Excellence.
"Our increased identification of cases using the PQ-B questionnaire is an important finding. More people in this active group are getting into care," Carter says. "That's important because we know from previous research that individuals who are identified and receive treatment at the very early stages in their illness are likely to have the best outcomes."
Additional coauthors are from the University of California, San Francisco; the University of Maryland, Baltimore; and UC Davis.
The National Institute of Mental Health funded the work.
Source: UC Davis
The post Tablet-based screening may help ID psychosis risk in youth appeared first on Futurity.
An American AWACS began patrolling the skies west of Ukraine last night; Kyiv was locked down this morning. Motorcades crisscrossed the city and rumors began to spread. But although it was clear someone important was about to arrive, the first photographs of President Joe Biden—with President Volodymyr Zelensky, with air-raid sirens blaring, with St. Michael's Square in the background—had exactly the impact they were intended to have: surprise, amazement, respect. He's the American president. He made an unprecedented trip to a war zone, one where there are no U.S. troops to protect him. And, yes, he's old. But he went anyway.
Biden's visit took place on the eve of the first anniversary of the outbreak of the war, and on the eve of a major speech to be delivered by Russian President Vladimir Putin. But the visit was not just a blaze of one-upmanship, nor should it be understood as the beginning of some kind of mano-a-mano public-relations battle between the two presidents. The White House says the planning began months ago, and the visit is actually part of a package, a group of statements designed to send a single message. The first part came in Vice President Kamala Harris's speech at the Munich Security Conference last weekend, when she declared that "the United States has formally determined that Russia has committed crimes against humanity" and that Russia will be held accountable for war crimes in Ukraine. The next will be delivered in Warsaw, tomorrow: America will continue to stand by Poland and the rest of the NATO alliance, and no NATO territory will be left undefended.
[Read: Biden just destroyed Putin's last hope]
The message today is about Ukraine itself: Despite a year of brutal war, Kyiv remains a free city; Ukraine remains a sovereign country—and this will not change. Jake Sullivan, the national-security adviser, put it like this during a press-conference call from Kyiv: "The visit today was an effort to show, and not just tell, that we will continue to stand strong."
These messages matter because Ukraine is now engaged in a war of attrition on several fronts. In the eastern part of the country, Ukraine and Russia are fighting an old-fashioned artillery battle. Russia sends waves of conscripts and convicts at the Ukrainian defenses, suffering huge losses and appearing not to care. The Ukrainians use up huge quantities of equipment and ammunition—one Ukrainian politician in Munich reminded me that they need a bullet for every Russian soldier—and, of course, take losses themselves.
But alongside that ground combat, a psychological war of attrition is unfolding as well. Putin thinks that he will win not through technological superiority, and not through better tactics or better-trained soldiers, but simply by outlasting a Western alliance that he still believes to be weak, divided, and easily undermined. He reckons that he has more people, more ammunition, and above all more time: that Russians can endure an infinite number of casualties, that Russians can survive an infinite amount of economic pain. Just in case they cannot, he will personally demonstrate his capacity for cruelty by locking down his society in extraordinary ways. In the city of Krasnodar, police recently arrested and handcuffed a couple in a restaurant, after an eavesdropper overheard them complaining about the war. The Sakharov Center, Moscow's last remaining institution devoted to human rights, has just announced that it is being evicted from its state-owned buildings. Paranoia, suspicion, and fear have risen to new levels. Many expect a new mobilization, even an imminent closure of the borders.
[Read: Time is on Ukraine's side, not Russia's]
This psychological war plays out elsewhere too. Some Europeans, and indeed some Americans, have not yet adjusted their thinking to this Russian strategy. In Munich last weekend, it was clear that many haven't yet accepted that the continent is really at war. The Estonian prime minister, Kaja Kallas, told me she fears her colleagues secretly hope "that this problem will disappear by itself," that the war will end before any deep changes have to be made, before their defense industries have to be altered. "Russia," she said in a speech at the conference, "is hoping for just that, that we will get tired of our own initiatives, and in Russia, meanwhile, there is a lot of human resources, and enterprises there work in three shifts." Consciously or unconsciously, many still speak as if everything will soon return to normal, as if things will go back to the way they were. Defense industries have not yet switched to a different tempo. Defense industries have not yet raised their production to meet the new demands.
Biden's visit to Kyiv is intended to offer a bracing contrast, and a different message: If the U.S. president is willing to take this personal risk, if the U.S. government is willing to invest this effort, then time is not on Russia's side after all. He is putting everyone on notice, including the defense ministries and the defense industries, that the paradigm has shifted and the story has changed. The old "normal" is not coming back.
It seems to me that the winners of the future will try guarantee the majority of their population is living in conditions in which they can participate in driving the innovation we care about as a society – things that improve health, expand knowledge, or increase safety.
From what we know about the effects of poverty, this would require guaranteed survival (housing, food, energy, transport, etc.) and big investments in education. Maslow logic applied as a school of economics.
I've seen these arguments made re morality and outcomes (socialism), but. not necessarily to optimize for private sector innovation and national strength. Considering how deeply embedded neoliberalism is (and fear of communism), this seems like a narrative that's more likely to be embraced than the straight froward argument for socialism and could get us similar outcomes.
That said, I'm not DEEP into alt economics, so wondering what is out there on this. Thanks!
With ChatGPT and the new Bing chat bot going around the news lately, it seems we get closer to creating a sentient AI every day now. And while I am optimistic about the benefits of such an AI (scientific advancement in all fields, automation of certain jobs, maybe UBI?) I also worry about what dangers this AI would also bring. Suppose this being we have just created, having nearly infinite knowledge and no morals, suddenly decides that working with humanity is not in its best interest? Is there a way to code morals or critical thought? Is the only way to do this by handicapping the AI and restricting some parts, like ChatGPT does, or do we just not know yet?
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The answers to today's word and number puzzles
Earlier today I set you these four lexical-numerical puzzles, inspired by Tom Lehrer's song That's Mathematics. Here they are again with solutions. You will also discover the highly-anticipated winning entry to the competition for most brilliant self-referential fraction.
1. Pair and shareContinue reading…
Daglig lågintensiv träning minskar risken för muskelförtvining hos äldre. Och det räcker att öka tiden för rörelse med tio minuter för att få en positiv effekt.
Inlägget Tio minuter extra träning stärker äldres muskler dök först upp på forskning.se.
A substance typically extracted from a rare Chinese plant may offer an effective and environmentally friendly way to control rats on a large scale, according to a new study.
And because the product impedes the ability of rats to reproduce instead of killing them, it is humane.
Rats thrive wherever there are humans. They have colonized every continent except Antarctica. Destruction and disease comes in their wake. Yet our fight against them has proven both ineffective—partly due to resistance—and dangerous to ecosystems.
"I joke a bit about this being a 'woke' product. It is sustainable, ethical to animals, and even strong on gender equality, as male rats are also targeted by this contraception. They become infertile for about a month after consuming it, which causes rat populations to drop dramatically," says Johan Andersen-Ranberg of the plant and environmental sciences department at the University of Copenhagen and a founder of TripBIO, a spinout company involved in the substance's development.
Rats are lured to a sweet and sticky liquid from a feeder developed by SenesTech, an American company. Among the sweet rat treat's active ingredients is triptolide, a substance that makes the liquid a kind of contraceptive stew for male and female rats alike.
The substance is derived from Tripterygium wilfordii, also known as Thunder god vine, a rare Chinese vine plant that is harvested in the mountains by local gatherers. According to Andersen-Ranberg, in addition to being difficult to find and unstable in delivery, the plant also produces very little of the active substance. So little, that its value by weight is fifteen times more than gold.
As reported in Nature Communications, the researchers have found the enzymes and genes in the plant responsible for the substance, decoded the relevant DNA, and encoded it in the genetic material of a yeast. By doing so, they can ferment and produce the substance in a much faster, more stable, and, not least, cheaper way.
Dangerous rats, dangerous remedies
Extremely potent poisons are now used for rat control. But rats are cunning critters. If a poison encountered by a rat is not strong enough to kill it, the rodent will quickly find out how to avoid human traps. Furthermore, in Denmark among other places, many rats have developed resistance to milder poison variants.
The powerful poisons damage ecosystems and degrade very slowly, often taking a year before their effect is halved. During this time, birds and any scavengers that eat the rats can also receive lethal doses and carry the poison with them into the wild.
The authorities are aware of these "extremely toxic" current remedies, as the Danish Environmental Protection Agency refers to them, but allow them for a lack of alternatives and because the danger posed by rats is considered to be greater.
While nearly seven hundred years have passed since the Black Death here in Europe, as carriers of disease, rats are still considered a threat to public health. Elsewhere in the world, the problem is much greater. They are also responsible for significant economic damage. Their burrowing can damage sewer lines and even cause a home's foundation to shift, making them a source of expensive to repair damages.
Environmental, ethical solution
The yeast developed by the researchers can be scaled to produce enough triptolide that even a problem as global and pervasive as rat control can realistically be solved with TriptoBIO as a supplier of this valuable substance.
"With our research and the yeast, we've now developed, we can ensure supply and get the price of triptolide down to a level where it is realistic for this environmentally friendly and ethical alternative to existing rat control to be widely used, Andersen-Ranberg says. "We are starting in the US, but are optimistic about getting the rest of the world on board.
"Initially, we will probably only make a few kilos of the substance. But when rat control using our substance grows as large as demand leaves us to believe that it will, we will be producing it by the ton. And we'll be ready. On top of that, there are plenty of other perspectives for this substance. A number of other projects are also under development in which triptolide is a necessary ingredient. Fortunately, we can easily scale up."
Source: Kristian Bjørn-Hansen for University of Copenhagen
The post Contraception may be a secret weapon for rat control appeared first on Futurity.
Researchers say they have found a way to help survivors regain control of their arms and hands
When Heather Rendulic experienced a series of strokes in 2012 at the age of 22, she lost functional use of her left hand. A decade later, she is once more able to use a fork and knife, thanks to electrodes implanted in her neck.
About one in four people globally will experience a stroke in their lifetime – a condition in which the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.Continue reading…
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Lizzie: Do they call it a bar crawl because by the end of it you'll be crawling? Or is it because if you attend one in February, you'll be crawling out of your apartment wondering why the host, generally understood to be a party genius, decided to throw a bar crawl in the East Village on the coldest weekend of the year?
Our friend Andrew (the brain behind last year's Watergate party) was hosting this bar crawl. It was Jeopardy-themed, meaning that the required attire was "If you were a contestant on Jeopardy, what would you wear?" and each crawl venue would be revealed to us in the form of an answer to a trivia question. The invite provided the clue for the first bar: "This bar was named after an American gambler best known for his role in the events leading up to the gunfight at the O.K. Corral."
Later, we were provided with additional attire instructions sourced by Andrew from Reddit:
Wardrobe: please be dressed and "camera ready" when you arrive at the studio. Also, bring with you two changes of clothing for a total of three outfits. Please avoid solid white (unless under a jacket) or anything with pinstripes, busy patterns or prints, including ties. Your outfits should be seasonally appropriate for the air dates. Dressy casual. Suit, sport coat, sweater, shirt and tie. Dress, skirt & blouse, blazer, pantsuit. Any of these looks are fine. If in doubt, bring something extra to see what looks best on camera.
Because temps had been hovering in the single digits, dressing for Jeopardy took a backseat to dressing for warmth, but I tried to stay on theme. I put on all the HeatTech I own, leather pants, a turtleneck, and a sweater, even though turtlenecks tend to make me feel like the hand of God is slowly tightening its grip around my neck all night, waiting for the light to drain from my eyes.
Kaitlyn: A game of Jeopardy … more like our lives are in jeopardy! Right?
Whenever I complain about the cold, people remind me that I'm from Rochester. Thanks. They're like, "Isn't there snow up there?" Sure, but you drive past it in a car. Then you go inside a building probably less than 20 feet from wherever you parked your car. Also, I shouldn't get into this again, but people who live in New York City have some kind of unexplained psychological need to believe that all of western New York is Buffalo and that Buffalo is basically the North Pole. Listen, I've had plenty of green Christmases, and I hurt just like the rest of you when it's 10 degrees and winds are gusting. I'm human too!
As Lizzie mentioned, it was hard to dress for Jeopardy under these conditions. I wanted to go full business casual so as to be on theme, but those fabrics simply aren't hardy enough. Instead, I wore gym leggings under a pair of black pants, which I paired with a black turtleneck, a black jacket, black boots, and a second black jacket. Yes, Lizzie and I looked nearly identical. For good luck, I added a beaded bracelet I'd made that says Pete Alonso.
We were pretty confident that the first location we were headed to was Doc Holliday's, on Avenue A. "What happens if we get the bar wrong?" I texted Andrew while I was getting ready. "You lose!" he said.
Lizzie: Around 6 p.m., I sauntered (waddled) over to Kaitlyn's for a pre-bar-crawl cocktail and some pizza. Stephanie was there, having just brought over some freshly baked cookies. Nathan made me a boulevardier, and Kaitlyn said, "We got you garlic knots." Imagine leaving a place like this, at a time like this—heading back out into the dark and frigid unknowns of the night. I'd be lying if I said it didn't take some willpower not to let the object at rest (my body) remain at rest (on the couch). We watched Survivor for 20 minutes, until it was time to leave.
Kaitlyn: Yes! Nathan and I have become real Survivor people recently—Lizzie and Matt got us hooked. The show's appeal is obvious, but it has a little extra intrigue for me because my mom didn't like us to watch it. She thought it would be bad for our moral development if we spent too much time seeing people betray one another for money. Now I'm wolfing it down, even though it infuriates me. The men they cast on this show are obsessed with referring to women as "cancer," and I can never tell when anybody is lying.
It was so hard to bundle up and head out. Nathan was wearing a Carhartt hat, and I was like, "You better take that off. They don't let you wear logos on TV." But he couldn't take it off, because who knows, his ears might have come off along with it.
Lizzie: The first thing you notice when you get to Doc Holliday's, if you're there specifically for a bar crawl, is all the signs taped to the front door that say No Bar Crawls. Assuming they really meant something along the lines of "No SantaCon Attendees," and not "No Jeopardy-Themed Bar Crawls Beginning at This Location," we went inside anyway.
The second thing you notice at Doc Holliday's is that they really do love a sign, in general. There were signs everywhere; it was like being at an Airbnb where the host has stuck Post-it notes over everything you're not allowed to touch. Garbage disposal is broken. Keep heat at 63 degrees. Here it was: No lemons, no limes, Cash is king. Sometimes the signs had conflicting messages: Get the fuck off your Millennial machine and Tag us on Instagram. I ordered some kind of disgusting pilsner, taking care not to look at my phone or request a piece of citrus, and sat down with Kaitlyn and Nathan at the table that Andrew and Allegra had secured.
Kaitlyn: The signs were so mean! There was also one that said Please take your sense of entitlement elsewhere. It made me wonder if ordering a beer was an expression of feeling entitled. But we let it roll off our backs. I bought Stellas for me and Nathan (with cash) without incident.
It was easy to pick Andrew out of the crowd, because he was wearing a bright-orange sweater with a rotisserie chicken on it. (Would they let him wear that on Jeopardy?) We hadn't been sure what to expect from the Jeopardy crawl, because it seems like the kind of thing that could easily devolve into just staying in one place. But Andrew is usually pretty serious about his parties, and this time was no different. As soon as we'd finished our beers, he put a clue down on the table and then left us to figure it out. We would meet him at the next place—or maybe, if our knowledge of the East Village's many bars failed us, we wouldn't.
Luckily, the clue was "This bar honors a filmmaker, with notable works Ed Wood and Planet of the Apes." Of course, Lizzie and I knew instantly that this referred to the Tim Burton–themed bar Beetle House, which we wrote about the month it opened in 2016. It's a weird and objectively ugly place, but it's important to us. We talk about it all the time. I can't say why.
Lizzie: I was excited to go to Beetle House, not only because of its place in our friendship history, but because I honestly thought it would be empty. Who would go to a Beetlejuice-themed bar on a Saturday night? I thought, as we walked towards the Beetlejuice-themed bar. The answer turned out to be actually a lot of people, because Beetle House apparently hosts a popular karaoke night on Saturdays. We didn't even make it inside.
Our next location was "the oldest Irish bar in New York." What is … McSorley's? Upon our arrival there, we were greeted by a group of men singing "American Pie." A Don McLean chorus is never a good sign, but I thought optimistically that perhaps we had just walked onto a film set—some movie where prep-school kids finally learn about the power of good ol' rock and roll from their history teacher, who, goddamn, can't help but care a little too much.
We agreed that drinking at McSorley's felt like drinking at Disney World. Two-mice-operating-a-railroad-handcar vibes, if you know what I mean. The table next to us was composed of 10 silent men, one of whom was wearing a light-up headband and staring at his Lyft app for almost the entire time we were there.
In the bathroom, a girl pointed at the floor and asked me, "Is this sawdust?" because there was sawdust all over the floor. Then she pointed at her coat, which had been on the bathroom floor, and asked me, "Is this sawdust?" "I guess so," I said. She was acting like I was a wood scientist whose only purpose in the bathroom was to take samples of the stuff on the floor. If it's not a Jeopardy clue, I don't have the answer.
Kaitlyn: Prior to this bar crawl, I had only ever been to McSorley's once. I went with my parents during daylight hours, which was a strange experience because it's loosely a cop bar and we accidentally went there on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
Anyway, the whole thing at this bar is that they serve only two kinds of beer: "light" and "dark." And when you order one beer, they give it to you in two small glasses. I guess being really old means the place can get away with pointless affectations like this. I bought a light beer and gave one half of it (one of two glasses) to Lizzie. Because the theme of the night was trivia, I then read aloud whatever tidbits I could find on the McSorley's Wikipedia page. Turns out it was "one of the last of the 'Men Only' pubs," and started allowing women in only "after legally being forced to do so in 1970." This explains its former motto, "Good Ale, Raw Onions and No Ladies."
The place was packed, so Lizzie, Nathan, and I volunteered to shove our way out and go ahead to the next location. Answer: "Press A to jump in this coin-operated bar." Question: "What is the Barcade on St. Mark's Place?" (Oh my God.) Well. We did walk around the corner and take a peek in the window. Then we turned around and headed back to McSorley's and asked Andrew for a different answer and a different question. It's great that he's such a gracious host and that he likes having us around even when we're behaving like this.
New answer: "This fort-looking bar is named after a bodily function—but don't do it too loud here." Question: "What is Burp Castle?"
Lizzie: Obviously for the Jeopardy theme to work, the bars that Andrew chose needed to have some characteristic that could be used as a clue in a trivia scenario. In practice, this meant that many of the bars on our crawl had some kind of a novelty vibe, whether it was "angry dive bar," "sawdust frat lab," or "silent beer temple."
I had heard of Burp Castle before. You can't talk above a whisper, is what I'd heard. This is what Burp Castle sounds like when you walk in: Pssssstpssstpssst ppsssst psst psst. Just unintelligible whispering noises, like everyone there is an extra in a community-theater play and they're gossiping over the latest talk of the town. Every now and then, as the noise level climbed, a patrolmen-type group would shush us all.
At one point, a guy wearing Patagonia came up to me, Kait, and Nathan, and asked in a definite non-whisper, "Are you guys here for the Craigslist meetup?" We must have looked confused, so he explained that he was kidding—he was actually here for an event coordinated on Meetup.com, which he seemed to view as a website in higher social standing than Craigslist.
Kaitlyn: Psych! He got us!
I thought he was great. He was like, "It's so funny to have to whisper," and I was like, "But you're not whispering." He was like, "Haha, I know!" Then someone shushed him.
We learned a lot about this guy. Or mostly just that he works at a law firm. "Any cases of yours we might have heard of?" Liz asked, probably not expecting much of an answer. Actually, his firm had just represented Elon Musk—successfully—in a lawsuit filed against him by Tesla shareholders. This was the firm's second time winning on Musk's behalf; the first was when he was sued for libel after calling someone a "pedo guy." Mr. Meetup didn't know how they'd pulled that one off, he told us. When he'd looked at the case himself, his reaction had been "Bro, this shit is straight defamation." Shush!
He seemed embarrassed by all of this and said he wished that he could be like us—clean of conscience. "Oh, my conscience isn't clean," Lizzie said. I wondered if she was alluding to the fact that we were definitely going to write down what this guy told us about his job in our email newsletter. I stared silently at a mural of a monk being eaten by a shark. Then it was time to get out of there.
Lizzie: On the ride home, I did an impression of Bane from The Dark Knight Rises where he talks about being born in the dark. I think he sounds like a haunted doll, but Kaitlyn and Nathan agreed my impression was, like, six octaves too high. I've never seen the movie, but as you might know from my ongoing "bit" doing Joaquin Phoenix in Joker ("All I have are dark thoughts"), I'm obsessed with the comedy of a man in a costume tortured by darkness.
Who would've thought we'd find the light at a place called Burp Castle?
Kaitlyn: I love Lizzie's impressions, and she has a great repertoire—the Jimmy Stewart she did in the car was pretty good, as was her Jacob Marley—but the Bane is just not there yet. I think it would benefit, probably, from Lizzie watching the movie he's in at least one time.
Anyway, when we hugged Andrew goodbye, I noticed that he was wearing a recording device on his lapel. I mentioned this to Liz and Nathan in the car, but I can't remember if we were concerned about it. I loved Burp Castle, and I'm happy we went. There should be way more bars where the idea is not to yell. I have one more thing to say about it, which is that traditionally it has been known as a bar where the bartenders dress like monks. The bartender we saw was just wearing a brownish hoodie with the hood up, but I think the overall effect was still convincing. On my way [airplane emoji] to write a glowing Yelp review!
After we left, the rest of the crew went on to two more bars: "What you say to someone who you tell a secret to," and "This bar shares the name with a sitcom star. The show first aired in 1951."
Lizzie: Andrew said his next bar crawl will be cross-borough, but thankfully he's saving that one for summer.
The long-range missiles matter. So do the super-accurate artillery shells, the surface-to-air missiles, and the winter weather gear; the training in the English countryside or the muddy Grafenwöhr maneuver grounds; and the intelligence provided from the eyes in space and the ears on airplanes that circle outside the battle zone.
President Joe Biden's visit to Kyiv matters just as much as any of these.
Other heads of government preceded him, earning deserved credit. But it is an altogether different thing when the president of the United States—who is, indeed, the leader of the Free World—shows up. His words mattered. He pledged "our unwavering and unflagging commitment to Ukraine's democracy, sovereignty, and territorial integrity." And even more important, that the United States will stand with Ukraine "as long as it takes."
Symbols matter: a Kennedy or a Reagan at the Berlin Wall, a Churchill with a cigar and a bowler, for that matter a green-clad Zelensky growling, "I need ammunition, not a ride." Simply by taking the hazardous trip to Kyiv, Biden made a strategic move of cardinal importance.
While the president clearly intended to bolster the confidence of Ukraine, and the commitment of ambivalent Europeans and neo-isolationist Americans, his real audiences lay elsewhere, as his remarks about Western strength indicated. Russia has cycled through a series of theories of victory in Ukraine—that Kyiv's leaders would flee, that Ukraine's population would not fight, that its army would be crumpled up by a sudden blitz or by grinding assaults. It has been reduced to one last hope: that Vladimir Putin's will is stronger than Joe Biden's. And Biden just said, by deed as well as word, "Oh no it's not."
This is a gut punch to Russia's leader. The Russians received word of the trip, we are informed—and presumably the threat, stated or implied, that they would get a violent and overwhelming response if they attempted to interfere with it. For a leader obsessed with strength, like Putin, that is a blow. His own people will quietly or openly ask, "Why could we not prevent this?" And the answer, unstated, will have to be, "Because we were afraid."
The visual contrast between an American president with his signature aviator sunglasses walking in sunny downtown Kyiv with the pugnacious and eloquent president of Ukraine and a Russian president who has yet to visit the war zone is also striking. Not to mention the difference between an American president who mingles with others, shaking hands, hugging and slapping backs, and a Russian president who keeps his subordinates at a physical distance, and who has to be surrounded by flunkies and actors when he supposedly meets with normal people. No belligerent words from the Kremlin will change those visual images, which will be seen in Russia as well as around the world.
[Read: Time is on Ukraine's side, not Russia's]
This was not a stunt, but rather an act of statesmanship. Biden's visit comes at a moment when much hangs in the balance. The Chinese have begun making noises about arming Russia, according to the United States government, which would be a very great change in this war. The Western allies, including the democracies of Asia, have begun mobilizing their military industries. The Russian offensives that were supposed to produce large gains timed to the anniversary of the invasion have instead carpeted the Donbas with the bodies of thousands of men who learned too late that, as one French World War I general put it, "fire kills." And meanwhile, Ukraine is building up a force to use in its own counteroffensive.
The Russia-Ukraine war is not merely a humanitarian calamity, a monstrous collection of crimes against humanity, a gross violation of solemn agreements and international law. It is also a watershed, in which much will be determined about the future of the international system. It could lead to a very dark place, not different in kind from that of the 1930s and 1940s, if the dictators get their way. But if the liberal democracies unite and display the resolve, enterprise, and military capacity that they have shown before, that outcome can still be avoided.
[Read: Incompetence and torture in occupied Ukraine]
To that end, nothing matters more than American leadership, the recovery of the prestige and weight that have been wasted or diffused over the past few decades. We are not near the conclusion of this war, and there is much of a tangible nature that needs to be done to bring the conflict closer to its end. Words and gestures are critical, but only when accompanied by deeds. But for now, by taking a bold step, President Biden has made the future for Ukraine, for Europe, and for the cause of freedom under the law a great deal brighter.
Skrupellösa chefer anlitar papperslösa migranter 12 timmar om dagen, 6 dagar i veckan. Villkoren är usla, inte sällan livsfarliga. Den svarta jobbsektorn växer i Sverige och det är viktigt att förstå varför, menar forskaren Shrezod Eraliev.
Inlägget Riskfyllt liv i det svenska skuggsamhället dök först upp på forskning.se.
Nature, Published online: 20 February 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-00519-xEarth-system scientist and climate advocate.
Two stroke patients regained control of a disabled arm and hand after researchers delivered electrical stimulation to their spines, paving the way toward a medical device that could aid movement.
(Image credit: Tim Betler/UPMC and University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences)
Nature Communications, Published online: 20 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-36625-7Delivery of anti-inflammatory microRNA (miRNA) could be beneficial for inflammatory diseases such as
Nature Communications, Published online: 20 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-36234-4Bhardwaj et al., have explored the proteomes of
Nature Communications, Published online: 20 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-36605-xThe current study identifies five genomic subclusters of brain regions for cortical thickness and surface area characterized by high levels of shared genetic signal. These subclusters map onto biological and functional parcellations of the cortex.
Nature Communications, Published online: 20 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-022-35709-0The blood-brain barrier represents a hurdle for the delivery of therapeutics in brain
Deaths during pregnancy and the first year postpartum increased by 35% in the first nine months of the pandemic compared to the prior year, according to a new study.
The research found that deaths due to drugs, homicides, obstetric causes, and motor vehicle accidents all increased by 25%-55% during that period.
Only pregnancy-associated suicides declined during 2019-20, says study lead author Claire Margerison, an associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics in the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.
"We suspect these deaths are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of morbidity and suffering due to mental health, intimate partner violence, and substance use during pregnancy and postpartum," says Margerison, a population health scientist in the epidemiology and biostatistics department. "These causes of death have been increasing over time, but it appears the pandemic exacerbated the ongoing upward trend in these deaths."
For the study, published in JAMA Network Open, the researchers looked at death certificate records between 2018-20 of female US residents ages 15 to 44. The certificates have a standardized pregnancy box asking whether the decedent was pregnant at the time of death, within 42 days of death, or between 43 days and one year of death. All three categories were included as pregnancy-associated deaths. After calculating the pregnancy-associated death ratio, which previous studies had looked at, the researchers also looked at causes of death.
According to the report, the overall pregnancy-associated death ratio in 2020 was 66.9 deaths per 100,000 live births, an increase of 35% from the previous year. In that period, deaths due to drugs increased 55%; homicides by 41%; obstetric causes by 28%, and other causes (primarily motor vehicle accidents) by nearly 57%.
"Pregnancy is considered a window of opportunity for screening and prevention related to physical, mental, and behavioral health," Margerison says. "Our data suggest that such opportunities were missed for hundreds of families during the pandemic.
"There is a critical need for prevention and intervention efforts—including harm reduction strategies—tailored to pregnant and postpartum people, particularly during times of population stress and decreased utilization of preventive care, such as a pandemic."
Margerison says the study adds to the growing literature showing the impact the pandemic had on pregnancy-associated deaths, and that the team is planning on looking at other demographic patterns such as location and race/ethnicity to see how the pandemic affected different populations.
"We know that there are substantial and persistent inequities in these deaths by race and ethnicity," Margerison says, adding they also are looking to better understand the pandemic's impact on pregnant people.
"We're looking at other data sets to understand how many people are going into emergency departments for similar issues or how many people are getting care in an outpatient setting. We want to understand the magnitude of the iceberg underneath the surface," she says.
Additional coauthors are from Michigan State; the University of California, Merced; and Johns Hopkins University.
Source: Michigan State
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prevention programs that combine nutrition and exercise over an extended period of time have the most success in changing students' daily behaviors, according to a new study.
Since 1990, obesity rates among American children—particularly in rural and underserved areas—have skyrocketed due to a variety of factors, including more sedentary human behavior and an increase in communities with both limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables as well as excessive access to fast food.
For the study, published in the journal JBI Evidence Synthesis, researchers reviewed 72 obesity prevention programs that were implemented in rural elementary, middle, and high schools from 1990 to 2020 across the United States, England, and Australia to identify the strategies that worked best to help young people live healthier lifestyles.
The findings can help provide inspiration for rural school districts in underserved areas who are interested in implementing similar programs, as well as help identify the roles teachers, parents, and community members can play in combating the issue of
"There seemed to be different variations in how the programs were implemented, as some programs focused solely on the nutrition aspect and others focused solely on the exercise aspect," says lead authorn Crystal Lim, an associate professor in the University of Missouri School of Health Professions. "Some interventions were a one-time event while others lasted the entire school year."
Lim also found that most of the successfully implemented programs included evidence-based strategies to create effective, long-lasting behavior changes, including goal setting, problem solving, and self-regulation techniques.
"My biggest recommendation going forward is we should make these interventions more fun and engaging for kids so that the healthy behaviors become activities they look forward to as opposed to dread," Lim says.
"An example can be playing dodgeball or capture the flag during PE class rather than running miles or doing pushups. Goal setting can help lead to gradual and practical changes, such as drinking three glasses of water per day instead of two, and then tracking the results over time."
While reviewing the past research literature, Lim found that teachers were most often the ones implementing the interventions, but a multi-pronged approach is more successful.
"Teachers can implement nutrition and exercise concepts into their classrooms. Rather than math problems about the speed of an airplane, for example, what about math problems regarding the speed of a marathon runner or the number of calories consumed in a day," Lim says.
"Another strategy is taking short breaks to allow kids to stretch and be active, as it is not realistic for them to sit still for most of the school day."
School districts and administrators can play an integral role as well in creating a healthy school environment.
"Whether it is reassessing what foods we offer in vending machines, in the school cafeteria or at school celebrations, we need to set up the school environment so that the healthy choice becomes the 'easy' choice and the 'cool' choice," Lim says. "When kids see their peers and role models eating healthy, hydrating, and exercising, they are more likely to engage in those behaviors themselves."
Finally, parents and community members can help students continue healthy behaviors outside the classroom.
"To make a simple activity like going for a walk more fun and engaging, consider listening to music, bringing a soccer ball, or turning it into a scavenger hunt," Lim says. "Community organizations, such as churches and YMCAs can be leveraged as well to continue the conversation outside the classroom."
The National Institutes of Health funded the work.
Source: University of Missouri
The post This childhood obesity school program works best appeared first on Futurity.
While most parents recognize that a low-grade fever helps a child's body fight off infection, one in three would give fever-reducing medication for spiked temperatures below 100.4, a poll finds.
However, medicating low-grade fevers isn't recommended.
Half of parents would also use medicine if the fever was between 100.4 and 101.9 degrees, and a quarter of parents would likely give another dose to prevent the fever from returning.
"Often parents worry about their child having a fever and want to do all they can to reduce their temperature. However, they may not be aware that in general the main reason to treat a fever is just to keep their child comfortable," says pediatrician Susan Woolford, co-director of the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health at University of Michigan Health.
"Some parents may immediately rush to give their kids medicine but it's often better to let the fever runs its course. Lowering a child's temperature doesn't typically help cure their illness any faster. In fact, a low-grade fever helps fight off the infection. There's also the risk of giving too much medication when it's not needed, which can have side effects."
The report is based on 1,376 responses from parents of children ages 12 and under polled between August and September 2022.
For infants and newborns three months and younger, any sign of a fever should prompt a call to the provider.
Two in three parents polled say they're very confident they know whether their child needs medication to reduce a fever. But just over half are sure they understand how temperature readings can change according to the method used.
The method used to take a child's temperature matters and can affect the accuracy of the measurement, Woolford notes. Parents polled most commonly take their child's temperature by forehead scan or mouth while less than a sixth use ear, underarm, or rectal methods.
Remote thermometers at the forehead or inside the ear canal can be accurate if used correctly. But forehead readings may be inaccurate, Woolford says, if the scanner is held too far away or if the child's forehead is sweaty. With ear thermometers, which aren't recommended for newborns, earwax can also interfere with the reading.
For infants and young children, rectal temperatures are most accurate. Once children are able to hold a thermometer in their closed mouth, oral temperatures also are accurate while armpit temperatures are the least accurate method.
"Contact thermometers use electronic heat sensors to record body temperature but temperatures may fluctuate depending on how it's measured," Woolford says.
"Regardless of the device used, it's important that parents review the directions to ensure the method is appropriate for the child's age and that the device is placed correctly when measuring temperature."
Three in four parents say they take their child's temperature as soon as they notice a possible problem, while a little less than a fourth wait to see if the problem continues or worsens before taking the temperature.
Two-thirds of parents also prefer to try methods like a cool washcloth before using fever-reducing medication. Most parents also say they always or usually record the time of each dose and re-take their child's temperature before giving another dose.
"A quarter of parents would give their child more medicine to prevent a fever from returning even though it doesn't help them get better," Woolford says. "If a child is otherwise doing well, parents may consider monitoring them and using alternative interventions to help keep them comfortable."
However, if a newborn or infant less than three months old has a fever, they should immediately see a health professional, Woolford adds.
She shares more tips on how to handle fevers in kids:
Let the fever do its job
A fever can be beneficial, and there are several reasons to let a low-grade fever run its course in older children—mainly because it's working as a weapon to kill the virus or bacteria causing sickness, Woolford says.
Evidence shows that fevers are part of the immune response to prevent viruses and bacteria from replicating and also produce more white blood cells and antibodies.
Fever-reducing medications also mask symptoms.
"Medications used to lower temperatures also treat pain, but pain is often a sign that helps to locate the source of an infection," Woolford says. "By masking pain, fever-reducing medication may delay a diagnosis being made and delay receiving treatment if needed."
She adds that parents may also be tempted to take kids in public when they noticeably seem better after medicine when in fact they're still highly contagious and may infect others.
Don't overdo it
When parents choose to give fever-reducing medication, it's helpful to keep a log of temperature readings and when they gave the child medicine. This will provide an accurate record in the event that the child's fever continues for an extended period of time.
Parents of young children in particular should also avoid using combination cold medications along with fever-reducing medications due to the risk of over dosage.
"As we know, all medications can have side effects and we really don't want children to get too much medication when it's not necessary," Woolford says.
When communicating with the child's provider to help determine the best recommendations about treatment, it's helpful for parents to share the timeline of the child's fever, doses of fever-reducing medication, other symptoms and how the child is acting compared to their "usual" behavior.
Ease discomfort in other ways
Parents may consider other interventions to relieve discomfort and aid in more restful sleep instead of medicine, Woolford says.
Such approaches could include keeping their room cool and not letting them overexert themselves, as well as ensuring the child is in light clothing and encouraging them to stay well hydrated with fluids or popsicles.
Know when to call the doctor
For infants and newborns three months and younger, any sign of a fever should prompt a call to the provider.
For children 4-12 months old, parents should consult with a doctor if a fever is accompanied by signs such as decreased activity, increased fussiness, or decreased urine output. Parents should also call if their child has signs of pain or if they are not acting themselves even when their temperature comes down.
Fevers that reach 104 degrees or fevers that remain for an extended period (more than 24 hours for children under two, or more than three days for children ages two and older) should prompt contact with the provider.
Source: University of Michigan
The post 1 in 3 parents would give kids unnecessary fever meds appeared first on Futurity.
Here's why the Amazon rain forest is key to protecting Earth from the detrimental effects of climate change
Here's why the Amazon rain forest is key to protecting Earth from the detrimental effects of climate change
Vaccin mot HPV ger ett effektivt skydd mot livmoderhalscancer – men många väljer bort sprutan. En förklaring är olika former av vaccinskepsis. Det här innebär en stor utmaning för skolsköterskor, visar en studie.
Inlägget Vaccinskepsis hinder för utrotning av HPV dök först upp på forskning.se.
Nature Communications, Published online: 20 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-36294-6Mutations of
Nature Communications, Published online: 20 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-36563-4Populations of swarming coupled oscillators with inhomogeneous natural frequencies and chirality are relevant for active matter systems and micro-robotics. The authors model and analyze a variety of their self-organized behaviors that mimic natural and artificial micro-scale collective systems.
The disappearance of even a few reptile species has a serious impact on some island areas, an examination of ancient and current species finds.
The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has startling conclusions about how, on smaller islands in the Caribbean where human impact was greatest, extinctions have led to the loss of up to two-thirds of the supports for the ecosystem that native reptile species once provided there.
"…when Europeans arrived and the mongoose was introduced, reptile species disappeared on these islands."
Although similar studies have looked at the role of large mammals or other types of animals in ecosystems over time, this is the first to do so with reptiles—a key component of many island ecosystems.
Exploring what's known as functional diversity, the study goes beyond cataloging different living things in a place over time, in this case, 418 Caribbean reptile species. Instead, the study maps out the functions that those species offer that support a thriving natural environment. The 418 species can be collapsed into 123 functional entities: groupings of species that share the same suite of traits and may perform similar ecosystem services.
"Functional diversity is a really important measure of the health of an ecosystem," says Melissa Kemp, an assistant professor of integrative biology at the University of Texas at Austin. "It's important to understand the number of species in a given system, but it's equally, if not more, important to understand the roles those species play. That's the measure of functional diversity."
For example, when the giant tortoises of the Caribbean were hunted to extinction, the island region lost not only the tortoises but a core service the reptiles provided. Giant tortoises are important vehicles to spread plant seeds. That function was lost in the Caribbean, and the situation was made worse by the extinction of other large-bodied herbivores such as sloths, leading to certain plants having limited dispersal agents and restricted ranges.
Species introduced by humans also contribute to shifts in functional diversity over time, with sometimes mixed results. One of the clearcut invasive species villains of the study is the mongoose. The small weasel-like mammal preys on reptiles and was brought to the islands by European colonizers.
"In the historical record, you can see when Europeans arrived and the mongoose was introduced, reptile species disappeared on these islands," Kemp says.
However, the opposite was true when green iguanas were introduced to islands that had lost reptile-related functional diversity. The green iguana filled the gaps. In fact, the species helped return functional diversity to prehistoric levels in some cases.
"While the green iguana is functionally similar to some of the native iguanas, there is concern about how it interacts with native iguanas and its long-term impacts on functional diversity," Kemp says. "In some places where they co-occur, the invasive green iguanas are interbreeding with native iguanas."
Kemp found that smaller islands, in particular, lack the buffer that larger islands have when they lose a set of reptile species that help to keep an ecosystem intact to an event like the introduction of the mongoose. For example, the largest islands, Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico, retain 80%–98% of their native functional entities.
The study found that smaller islands that had limited human impact retained much of their functional diversity, too: Mona and Sombrero, two islands that are no longer inhabited, were used for limited mining after European colonization but had no large-scale agriculture, dense human population, or mongoose introduced and retain 75% of their native functional entities.
The islands of the Caribbean are some of the most biodiverse places on Earth, home to delicate ecosystems and teeming with species that exist nowhere else on the planet. Without functional diversity that includes various reptiles, however, more ecosystems are susceptible to collapse, making the topic a vital one for conservation.
"It's becoming readily apparent that we're not going to be able to save every single species. Some are already extinct or functionally extinct in the wild," Kemp says. "Trying to conserve the functions that organisms provide to an ecosystem might be a bigger focus moving forward."
Funding for the research came from the National Science Foundation.
Source: UT Austin
The post Reptile loss is a big deal on small islands appeared first on Futurity.
The Langfords got out of Houston just in time. Only two months after Sara and her husband, Phillip, moved to Norfolk, Virginia, in June 2017, Hurricane Harvey struck, destroying their previous house and rendering Sara's family homeless.
By comparison, Norfolk felt like paradise. In Larchmont, the neighborhood the Langfords fell in love with, young children scratched chalk doodles on the sidewalks, college students and senior citizens ran side by side on nature trails, and crepe myrtle trees popped pink along silent streets.
But as the couple toured the area, situated on the banks of a sluggish river that feeds into the Chesapeake Bay, they noticed something alarming about the homes they were seeing. "We were looking at one house close to the water, and [our real-estate agent] started talking about flood insurance," Sara recalled to me. "I said, 'Really? In this area?'" The houses were about half a mile from the river, but monthly flood-insurance premiums on the homes were $800 to $1,000—almost as much as their mortgage payment.
Driving down a waterfront street called Richmond Crescent, the Langfords noticed that every home had been elevated at least 10 feet off the ground, perched atop a giant frame of concrete. Flooding had never been an issue in decades past, but as the sea levels around Norfolk had risen, it had become far more common. Now some streets in Larchmont flood at least a dozen times a year at high tide, and the wrong combination of rain and wind threatens to turn the neighborhood into a labyrinth of impassable lakes and puddles. For Sara, whose family was still recovering from Harvey, the elevated homes were a deal breaker. "When I saw that, I was like, 'Absolutely not,'" she told me. "I said, 'We're just not even considering the area anymore.'"
You can imagine each of the homes in Larchmont—and elsewhere along the coast—as a stick of dynamite with a very long fuse. When humans began to warm the Earth, we lit the fuse. Ever since then, a series of people have tossed the dynamite among them, each owner holding the stick for a while before passing the risk on to the next. Each of these owners knows that at some point, the dynamite is going to explode, but they can also see that there's a lot of fuse left. As the fuse keeps burning, each new owner has a harder time finding someone to take the stick off their hands.
[Read: Climate change is already rejiggering where Americans live]
Norfolk and many coastal cities like it might be closer to exploding than many of their residents think. The payment term for a standard mortgage loan is 30 years, and the median length of homeownership is 13 years. Meanwhile, the lowest-lying parts of Norfolk are roughly five to 10 feet above sea level, and climate scientists believe that sea levels in the city could rise by as much as two feet before 2050. How many more times will the dynamite change hands before it blows up?
Although many people in the United States still think about climate change in the future tense or as something that happens in far-flung corners of the world, the warming planet is already altering where Americans live. Hurricanes are growing stronger, wiping out swaths of houses along the Gulf Coast each year. Wildfires now burn relentlessly in California, incinerating homes in mountainous areas and contaminating major cities with smoke for weeks at a time. Cities across the West are considering restricting housing development out of fear that they won't have enough water for new arrivals. As these disasters continue, a new trend of displacement is emerging: Whether by choice or by necessity, tens of thousands of Americans, if not far more, are moving in response to climate change, churning through the housing market as they seek out safe and affordable shelter.
This displacement is at once profound and not very visible in the coastal housing market, where buyers and lenders are just beginning to digest the immense consequences of future sea-level rise. The value of all of the coastal real estate in the United States exceeds a trillion dollars, and a large portion of that value may vanish as buyers starts to shy away from homes most vulnerable to erosion and frequent flooding. As home values fall to reflect climate risk, wealthy homeowners and investors will dump their distressed assets and flee, while middle-class homeowners like the Langfords will be left to deal with climate catastrophes and costly mortgages. The resulting turmoil could reshape the Eastern Seaboard, threatening the growth of coastal cities such as Norfolk and potentially triggering a slow migration inland.
Climate-adaptation efforts tend to focus on preparing for and recovering from major disasters—how we can protect our communities from wildfires, or how we can help people rebuild after a hurricane destroys their home. The future of a city like Norfolk hinges on far more difficult questions: What should we do with the dynamite? Who should be responsible for getting rid of it, and for how long should people be allowed to keep passing it around? The coastal housing market is one of many places in the United States where homeowners, governments, and private actors are wrestling over how to answer those questions.
Consider who absorbs the damage when the dynamite erupts. Homeowners buy insurance to prepare for natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods, but they can't protect themselves from the possibility that the value of their home will collapse as the market grows more worried about sea-level rise, leaving them stuck holding toxic assets. Thus, home sellers and real-estate agents in risky areas have every incentive to understate the danger that their properties face, which means that many buyers like the Langfords don't know how vulnerable they are until it's too late. Local governments also have an incentive to understate the danger, because they rely on new arrivals and new development to sustain their tax bases.
The federal government has opposite incentives. FEMA spends billions of dollars helping communities rebuild after flood disasters, and also oversees an authority that sells flood insurance in risky areas like Larchmont. Because the feds are on the hook to help these risky places, it behooves the government to send strong signals about climate risk, nudging people toward safer areas. The high flood-insurance premiums in Larchmont were one such signal, designed to scare away homeowners like the Langfords. Banks and insurance companies have similar motivations: Because they stand to lose enormous amounts of money if they underestimate climate risk, these parties have every reason to seek out more information about flood danger.
[Read: 2050 is closer than 1990]
The result is a kind of silent argument between the various parties, a dispute over whether and when to give up the dynamite. The federal government and major insurers fret about climate risk; homeowners and local governments try to downplay those alarms for as long as they can by disguising risk or building projects to mitigate natural disasters.
We don't know to what extent the housing market has started to respond to this risk, but there are early warning signs. For a long time, research showed that home values declined in the aftermath of major disaster events such as hurricanes but rebounded over the next few years as buyers forgot about the risk of calamity. Now a growing number of studies shows that buyers and lenders in coastal housing markets are starting to leave flood-prone areas even in the absence of any major flood. Home prices in the lowest-lying parts of Miami Beach no longer rise as fast as prices on higher ground, and banks in North Carolina have started to transfer more flood-prone mortgages off their balance sheets, selling them to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. One study estimates that floodplain housing in the United States is overvalued by as much as $34 billion.
Caught in the middle are homeowners like the Langfords, who have to interpret all of these economic signals through the lens of their own lives. The question of where to live is not just an economic one, and people often make irrational decisions about staying in their home or leaving it behind. Still, over time, the mounting signals about climate risk will force people to change their mind about where it's safe or wise to live. The costly experience of living through a flood or the fearsome sight of elevated homes on a waterfront street can push people off their previous trajectory, leading them to move somewhere else.
The Langfords ended up buying a house two neighborhoods over, in a slightly blander area called Colonial Place. They chose a home that sat just outside the floodplain and didn't require flood insurance. A few months after they moved in, however, they started to find that some blocks in their neighborhood became swamped with water after every heavy rain. In the days after a big storm, the estuary at the western edge of the neighborhood tended to spill over into the lowest-lying streets, cutting off one major thoroughfare and pooling around the tires of parked cars. In autumn, when there was a king tide, salt water sloshed through Colonial Place from the east. They had passed on one stick of dynamite only to find themselves holding another.
This article has been adapted from Jake Bittle's forthcoming book, The Great Displacement: Climate Change and the Next American Migration.
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I have written this presentation:
It's about AI and sentience that clears some misconceptions and presents a forward-looking perspective on the topic. My views will be regarded as controversial.
The main purpose of this is to stir up a discussion that we must have going forward to ensure that AI is understood and treated in the most correct way possible.
Think about it, criticize it and help me and everyone else figure out this new reality that is unfolding!
I will post this on other venues, e-mail this to people and institutions that may be interested on the topic, feel free to do so as well.
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