Calif Lawmaker Pushes Expanded Role For MidLevel Health Professionals

first_img This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. A series of proposed bills would widen how much care California’s mid-level health workers could give to patients in order to meet the growing demand for health care services as the health law takes hold.Los Angeles Times: Lawmaker Wants To Expand Roles Of Medical ProfessionalsCiting a doctor shortage in California, a state lawmaker wants to expand the roles of nurse practitioners, pharmacists and optometrists to help treat what is expected to be a crush of newly insured Californians seeking care next year under the federal health care law. At a news conference at a community clinic here, state Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) announced plans Wednesday to introduce a series of bills that would redefine professional boundaries for certain mid-level health workers, allowing them to provide more services than currently allowed under state law (Mishak, 3/13). Sacramento Bee: CA Lawmakers Look To Expand Scope Of Some Medical ProfessionalsCiting a need for more medical professionals able to treat patients who will soon have health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act, state Sen. Ed Hernandez on Wednesday introduced a package of bills to expand the services that optometrists, pharmacists and nurse practitioners can offer patients. The so-called “scope of practice” bills set the stage for a massive fight with the state’s physicians, who will look to protect their role as gatekeepers to medical care. In a news conference at a Sacramento health clinic, Hernandez, an optometrist, argued that because of a shortage of doctors in California, other medical professionals should be permitted to offer patients more care (Rosenhall, 3/14). While some officials worry about who will care for patients, others worry about future holes in California’s safety net coverage –California Healthline: As Mass. Goes, So Goes California? Questioning The Safety Net’s Future”What will happen to safety-net health care facilities when their patients obtain insurance?” That’s one of many questions that county officials in California are asking about how the Affordable Care Act will affect health centers that serve patients regardless of ability to pay. The possibility of losing patients because of the ACA — and of losing funding under state proposals to expand Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program — have led some to wonder what will become of the health centers. The future may be bleak in the eyes of some California officials, but health reform efforts in Massachusetts tell a different story (Wayt, 3/13).Health coverage in California is also at issue for illegal immigrants and those with autism –Los Angeles Times: Illegal Immigrants Should Have Health Coverage, Foundation SaysThe California Endowment is launching a campaign to extend medical coverage to all uninsured state residents, including undocumented immigrants. An estimated 3 million to 4 million Californians, or about 10 percent of the state’s population, could remain uninsured even after the national health care overhaul takes full effect in January (Chang, 3/13).California Healthline: Administrative Law Office Oks Autism MeasuresThe California Office of Administrative Law on Monday approved emergency regulations governing health insurers’ treatment of autism coverage. The regulations were issued by the Department of Insurance to implement details of the California Mental Health Parity Act as well as to implement SB 946 by Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), an autism treatment law passed in 2011. “These emergency regulations will ensure that insurance companies cover medically necessary treatment,” Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said in a written statement (Gorn, 3/13). Calif. Lawmaker Pushes Expanded Role For Mid-Level Health Professionalslast_img read more

Weekend Reading A Researchers Quest To Lower Suicide Rates

first_imgEvery week reporter Ankita Rao selects interesting reading from around the Web.Newsweek: The Body-Data CrazeToday, I’ve been on the phone four times, for an average of 24 minutes a call. My last phone call was 22 minutes 23 seconds long, according to the digital time device on my landline. It took me exactly 45 minutes and 10 seconds on the train to reach Brooklyn the other night: I counted the seconds off on my smart phone. My average mile when I ran 5K yesterday was 8 minutes and 45 seconds that showed up on the pedometer. (Nothing to boast about, I know.)  … I am able to hold my plank at the gym for 54 seconds rather than the minute I always thought I could, which I know thanks to my phone’s stopwatch. My optimal sleep time is seven hours and 20 minutes and I wake up twice a night: I discovered that from a wristband that measures sleep duration and intensity. … Welcome to my biography, 2013-style. It includes more data points than it possibly could have 20 years ago. And it’s part of a national obsession of a people who, literally, number our days. According to a recent nationwide survey for Pew Research Center Internet & American Life Project, 7 out of 10 people self-track regularly – using everything from human memory to a memory stick – some aspect of health for themselves or for someone else (Alissa Quartz, 6/26).Wired: Healthcare Is Broken. And This Designer Thinks She Can Fix ItHealthcare is notorious for being technophobic, clunky and downright ugly. No one knows this better than Gretchen Wustrack, who is trying desperately to change that. Wustrack, who leads the Active Health group at the design and innovation firm IDEO in San Francisco, has spent 12 years trying to give the healthcare sector a much needed facelift through design. Her approach is part of a growing movement called human-centered design, which aims to redefine how people experience healthcare by focusing on their specific needs (Daniela Hernandez, 6/24).The New York Times: The Suicide DetectiveFor reasons that have eluded people forever, many of us seem bent on our own destruction. Recently more human beings have been dying by suicide annually than by murder and warfare combined. Despite the progress made by science, medicine and mental-health care in the 20th century — the sequencing of our genome, the advent of antidepressants, the reconsidering of asylums and lobotomies — nothing has been able to drive down the suicide rate in the general population. … That curiosity has made [Matthew K. Nock, the director of Harvard University’s Laboratory for Clinical and Developmental Research] 39, one of the most original and influential suicide researchers in the world. In 2011, he received a MacArthur genius award for inventing new ways to investigate the hidden workings of a behavior that seems as impossible to untangle, empirically, as love or dreams (Kim Tingley, 6/26).The Atlantic: The LGBT Health Movement, 40 Years Since Homosexuality Was A Mental IllnessAt the time of the 1973 declassification of homosexuality as a mental illness, people joked that never in history had so many “sick” people been cured so quickly. Forty years later, health researchers across the U.S. are still assessing the ongoing fallout of discrimination on LGBT health. … While we are learning that most members of the LGBT community cope remarkably well, considering what many have lived through, there’s also promise in several health movements that are developing evidence-based interventions to further optimize resilience (John-Manuel Andriote, 6/26).The New York Times: American Way Of Birth, Costliest In The WorldSeven months pregnant, at a time when most expectant couples are stockpiling diapers and choosing car seats, Renée Martin was struggling with bigger purchases.  At a prenatal class in March, she was told about epidural anesthesia and was given the option of using a birthing tub during labor. To each offer, she had one gnawing question: “How much is that going to cost?”… Like Ms. Martin, plenty of other pregnant women are getting sticker shock in the United States, where charges for delivery have about tripled since 1996, according to an analysis done for The New York Times by Truven Health Analytics. Childbirth in the United States is uniquely expensive, and maternity and newborn care constitute the single biggest category of hospital payouts for most commercial insurers and state Medicaid programs. The cumulative costs of approximately four million annual births is well over $50 billion (Elisabeth Rosenthal, 6/30). Weekend Reading: A Researcher’s Quest To Lower Suicide Rates This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.last_img read more

Report Apple will be upping its photography game with the 2019 iPhones

first_imgiPhone 11 price − How much will the new iPhone cost?Last year’s iPhone XS had an initial RRP of £999/$999, just like the iPhone X that came before it. It would seem a safe bet to assume that the iPhone 11 will cost a similar amount.An apparent pricing leak broke via Evad3rs in early May, claiming that Apple will offer the iPhone 11 on undisclosed contracts for $399 (128GB), $499 (256GB), and $599 (512GB) from September 20, 2019.SIM-free pricing was claimed to be $999 (128GB), the $1099 (256GB) and the $1199 (512GB).And the report added that the 128GB iPhone 11 Max would set you back $1099, with the 256GB and 512GB models retailing for $1199 and $1299 respectively.However, since none of this has been confirmed by Apple, we’d recommend taking it with a hefty dose of scepticism. Apple is notoriously secretive about its next iPhone, to the point there are rumblings that even its advertising and paid search agencies don’t get much information on them ahead of the actual launch event.However, with the ongoing trend of rising smartphone prices, one thing the iPhone 11 almost certainly won’t be is any cheaper than its predecessors. Sorry.iPhone 11 − Performance and softwareThe iPhone 11 will almost certainly pack an A13 CPU but exactly how capable that processor will be no one quite knows. Though we can expect a healthy boost over the A12 of the iPhone XS.The A13 entered production in May, according to Bloomberg, and it’s expected to have a 7nm node like its predecessor, with the 5nm upgrade waiting until 2020.Given that the A12 remains one of the most capable mobile chips on the market, we’re expecting the iPhone 11 to absolutely fly.Apple Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reckons that the iPhone will pack 4GB of RAM, just like the iPhone XS.Image Credit: WeiboAs for the software, it’s arguably the most concrete aspect of the iPhone 11 experience that we know of. Following WWDC19, Apple showcased all manner of new functionality coming to iOS 13 – the next major release.Its smart dark mode includes light and dark versions of the same wallpaper, with the ability to fade between the two on command or when tied to sunrise and sunset times.The whole UI also gets a darker lick of paint when the mode is activated too.Even before you fold the forthcoming A13 chipset into the equation, Apple has promised significant performance improvements thanks to this latest version of iOS.The company’s Craig Federighi stated that face unlock will be up to 30 percent faster while fundamentals like app updates will up to 60 percent smaller in size.The introduction of ‘Sign in with Apple‘ will also help streamline signup for various first and third-party services, with Face ID integration and anonymous credential functionality.Alongside the addition of some new Aniomji characters, Memoji will benefit from a heap of new customisation options, like piercings, additional makeup options, hats and alternate teeth designs.To round things out, one of the lesser-known additions that will unquestionably resonate with gamers is forthcoming native support for both PlayStation DualShock 4 and Bluetooth-enabled Xbox controllers.iPhone 11 – Design and displayNumerous leaks have suggested that the iPhone 11 will have a giant, inelegant camera bump on its back (more on the camera in the next section).In May, 9to5Mac published a series of case renders, allegedly for the next iPhone. They each feature a giant hole that’s designed to house the iPhone 11’s new tri-camera. And over the past few weeks, this has been corroborated by numerous leaks.It appears that the bump on the iPhone 11 will be markedly bigger than the small protrusions you’ll find on competing Android phones, such as the Galaxy S10 and Huawei P30 Pro, which both have similar multi-sensor camera setups.It’ll be interesting to see where Apple goes with the iPhone 11’s screen design. The iPhone X proved massively influential with its notched display, but its rivals are already moving on to alternative − and many would say more elegant − solutions.Could Apple follow suit? An alleged USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) filing spotted by LetsGoDigital suggests that it might be. The filing claims that Apple is proposing “apparatus, systems or methods for camera integration with cover glass and for processing cover glass to provide a camera window for an electronic device”.This would seem to suggest shaped lens glass that would be inlaid into the standard display glass of the phone or a method by which the camera sits under the display panel itself.Patent applications don’t mean all that much, of course, and Ming-Chi Kuo believes that Apple will indeed stick with its notched design for at least another year.In terms of the screen technology itself, there’s little reason to think Apple will deviate from the 5.8- and 6.5-inch screen sizes currently used by the XS and XS Max. Nor are we likely to see the 11 series jump from OLED technology back to LCD.One tidbit of information provided by Apple Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo again is that the iPhone 11 will pack a new OLED screen laminate.The only other question we have is around who will make the screen. Reports recently emerged suggesting a trade war between Korea and Japan may force Apple to source the iPhone 11’s panel from a different manufacturer to past iPhones, which traditionally use Samsung or LG screen tech.iPhone 11 – CameraReliable mobile tipster @OnLeaks has taken to Twitter to provide schematics of a triple camera system on the rear of the next Apple phone. This design is already proving a little controversial for its boxy, asymmetrical nature. It’s certainly not a looker. iPhone 11 rumours, features, release date and everything we knowSummer is here and that means one thing: there’s a new iPhone coming out in a few months. Excitement is already building in anticipation of Apple’s next flagship phone, which will likely be released just after the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 in September.There are rumours abound about what exact new features, specs and tricks Apple will take to speed up sales of its new 2019 iPhone and how it’ll differ from the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.Here to help we’ve collected all the latest and on-going iPhone rumours into one handy guide, making it quick and easy for you to find out what to expect from Apple’s next flagship. #IOS13 #iOS13Beta Plus de Lightning et d’iTunes sur l’écran de restauration, de l’USB-C ? et un futur utilitaire pour iPhone sur mac ? @LeoDuffOff pic.twitter.com/iTJj4Tp18O— Raphaël Mouton (@Raf___m) June 7, 2019That said, we’ve seen loads of conflicting information about this. In June, the image above got tongues wagging once again.Rumour has it that the iPhone 11 won’t be ready to join the 5G connectivity train either. Apple tends to wait until mobile network connection standards are settled and headed for ubiquity before it adopts them, as was the case with both 3G and 4G.Sure enough, a December 2018 Bloomberg report co-authored by noted Apple crystal ball gazer Mark Gurman claims that the Cupertino-based company will “hold off until at least 2020” to introduce a phone with next-generation 5G mobile data speeds.However, the iPhone 11 could have super-fast Wi-Fi. Barclays analyst Blaine Curtis reckons that the new iPhone will benefit from the latest Wi-Fi 802.11 ax standard, more commonly known as Wi-Fi 6, bringing with it a 4x performance boost in crowded areas and 40 percent higher data speeds. Just another leak seemingly confirming my January #iPhoneXI prototype leak accuracy… pic.twitter.com/qVWF59GgKr— Steve H.McFly (@OnLeaks) March 28, 2019It would make sense for the new iPhone to have a tri-camera setup. Multi-sensor cameras have been a staple sight on Android flagships for the last couple of years, and the systems on the Galaxy S10 and Huawei P30 Pro we reviewed earlier this year are among the best we’ve seen – a definite step up on the iPhone XS and XS Max’s cameras.Other rumours suggest the front camera might be in for a big update too. Apparently, the next iPhone could pack a 12-megapixel TrueDepth selfie camera.iPhone 11 – Battery life, USB-C and 5GRumours (again) from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggested in April that the iPhone 11 will pack a huge battery. We’re talking about a 25 percent capacity boost.However, more recent leaks have suggested that the capacity boost will be closer to 5 percent. 3110mAh is a figure we’ve seen bandied around but that’s something we’d advise taking with a pinch of salt.That enlarged power pack will apparently drive two-way Qi wireless charging, so you’ll be able to power up your new AirPods 2 off the back of the phone, not unlike Samsung’s S10 series and the Galaxy Buds which launched alongside them.Apple shifted from Lightning to a complete USB-C solution for the iPad Pro last year and has also chosen the standard for all of its modern MacBooks, but Kuo doesn’t think that this is the year for Apple to switch to the USB-C charging on its phones, so keep hold of those spare Lightning cables for the time being. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. Sign up for the Mobile NewsletterSign Up Please keep me up to date with special offers and news from Goodtoknow and other brands operated by TI Media Limited via email. You can unsubscribe at any time.center_img We’d also like to send you special offers and news just by email from other carefully selected companies we think you might like. Your personal details will not be shared with those companies – we send the emails and you can unsubscribe at any time. Please tick here if you are happy to receive these messages.By submitting your information, you agree to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy. iPhone 11 iPhone 11 – what we expectApple unveils its new iPhone in September, with a release following a week or two after. We’re expecting the iPhone 11 to continue this trend to be announced and available to buy in September 2019.The iPhone 11 will almost certainly be the first phone to run using Apple’s latest iOS 13 software. Older will be able to update to the new software too.Nearly every rumour suggests the iPhone 11 will have a triple-camera setup (similar to the Samsung Galaxy S10 and Huawei P30) though none of the rumours have revealed any definitive specs for the new snapper.The iPhone 11 is expected to run using a new Apple-made A13 chipset.The iPhone 11 probably won’t be 5G-capable due to issues with Intel’s modem business, according to rumours.Issues with Japan and South Korea’s current trade policies mean the iPhone 11’s screen may be made by a different manufacturer to past iPhones.Rumours suggest it might have the biggest battery ever included on an iPhone.Read more: Best iPhoneImage credit: @evleaksiPhone 11 release date − When is the next iPhone out?We’ve had a September iPhone launch in each of the past seven years, and we’d be shocked if that trend didn’t continue this year. Though an alleged marketing calendar from the US mobile network Verizon Wireless (leaked by Evan Blass) suggests the next iPhone will arrive in late September rather than mid-September.Here’s when the last few iPhone models have been announced:iPhone 5 − September 2012iPhone 5S − September 2013iPhone 6 − September 2014iPhone 6S − September 2015iPhone SE − March 2016iPhone 7 − September 2016iPhone X/iPhone 8 − September 2017iPhone XS − September 2018So we think September 2019 looks pretty likely. iPhone XR DealApple iPhone XR (64GB) – BlackSave yourself over £112 this Prime Day on one of Apples most latest and greatest smartphones – the iPhone XR.Amazon|Save £110|Now £639View DealNow £639|Save £110|Amazon Show More Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. We’ll always tell you what we find. We may get a commission if you buy via our price links. Tell us what you think.last_img read more

Google Nest Hub Max will no longer blind you with its boring

first_imgA new update will let you change the background on your smart display, which means you can break up with that unsightly white background you’ll no doubt be familiar with. The revamp also changes how you get your weather fix on the smart device.Google’s new Smart Display UI is headed to all of its smart screen devices. The UI update follows the rebranding of the Google Home line of smart devices to Google Nest. The changes were first shown off on the new Google Nest Hub Max and will now head to the Google Nest Hub too.Related: Best smart home devices9to5Google reports that the biggest change in the update allows you to choose your own wallpaper for a Google Smart Display. Previously, the background remained white across almost all of the devices. The only exception was Ambient Mode – the device’s screensaver. The Smart Display will now show your customisable Ambient Mode image as the device’s background.However, you aren’t completely free from the impending wall of whiteness. The background blurs (intentionally) when you swipe through from screen to screen – eventually taking you to a fully white backdrop again.The time/date and weather information see some changes too. The information has been condensed, and now lives in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen – having previously taken up almost all of the left side. This also means some more detailed weather information is sacrificed. A three-day forecast is now replaced with today’s temperature and daily highs and lows. The new Google Smart Display update should now be available across all Google Nest devices. The revamp is tied to the latest Google Home firmware update (v1.39154941), which has just been released. Along with the Google Nest line, the firmware update means the changes will come to non-Google Smart Displays like the JBL Link View and Lenovo Smart Display. We’d also like to send you special offers and news just by email from other carefully selected companies we think you might like. Your personal details will not be shared with those companies – we send the emails and you can unsubscribe at any time. Please tick here if you are happy to receive these messages.By submitting your information, you agree to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy. Sign up for the Mobile NewsletterSign Up Please keep me up to date with special offers and news from Goodtoknow and other brands operated by TI Media Limited via email. You can unsubscribe at any time. Show More Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. We’ll always tell you what we find. We may get a commission if you buy via our price links.Tell us what you think – email the Editor This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.last_img read more

Warren Buffett bows out of Canadas Home Capital — and the stock

first_img Warren Buffett said he will “continue to cheer from the sidelines for our friends at Home.”Getty Images Share this storyWarren Buffett bows out of Canada’s Home Capital — and the stock dives Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Bloomberg News What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation Sponsored By: 0 Comments ← Previous Next → advertisement Katherine Chiglinsky and Natalie Wong Email Twitter Featured Stories Warren Buffett bows out of Canada’s Home Capital — and the stock dives ‘We will continue to cheer from the sidelines for our friends at Home’ Reddit December 19, 20181:11 PM EST Filed under News FP Street Join the conversation → Comment More Facebook Warren Buffett’s role in the saga of Home Capital Group, the embattled Canadian alternative lender, is coming to a close, with Berkshire Hathaway Inc. saying it will “substantially exit” its investment in the company. Home Capital shares plunged.More than a year after taking a stake in Home Capital to shore up confidence after a near collapse, Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway will hold less than 10 per cent of the company when the lender completes a repurchase of shares on Friday, according to a statement Wednesday. Home Capital shares dropped as much as 19 per cent, their biggest intraday decline since April 2017.Buffett swooped in last year to take a stake in the company and provide it with a $2 billion credit line, which replaced an existing emergency credit facility. The bet paid off: The original purchase of the shares was at $9.55 each in June of 2017, and Friday’s repurchases will be at a price of at least $16.50, according to a separate statement. That represents a gain of 73 per cent.‘Like the perfect storm’: An FP Investigation into the events that took Home Capital to the brinkHome Capital plans to keep rebuilding the lender after Buffett’s second tranche rejectedISS recommends Home Capital shareholders vote against the second equity placement to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire HathawayStill, the billionaire investor didn’t get all he had hoped for in the deal. He had agreed to buy shares in two transactions, one of which required shareholder approval. That bid, which would have doubled his stake, was rejected in September 2017.That failed effort and the repayment of the credit line mean the investment is “now not of a size to justify our ongoing involvement,” said Buffett, whose company was Home Capital’s largest shareholder, with a 20 per cent stake, prior to the planned sale. He isn’t leaving on sour terms. The billionaire praised Home Capital’s leadership and said Berkshire will continue to “cheer from the sidelines,” he said in the statement.Home Capital’s management team found out about Berkshire’s plans on Tuesday after the close of trading. The company is doing “fine” and is optimistic about 2019, chief executive Yousry Bissada said in an interview.“Our volumes have continued to go up in 2018. We expect to continue on that path for 2019,” Bissada said by phone. “With more efficient capital behind us, we expect it’ll be a better return for shareholders, and we’re going to continue to fine-tune capital.”Bloomberg’s David Scanlan contributed to this report.Bloomberg.com Recommended For YouRyanair CEO says confident in ‘great’ Boeing 737 MAX despite delaysGerman yields fall to day’s lows after disappointing ZEW dataBleak German mood weighs on Europe, Brexit pummels poundDemand for new designer’s ranges lift Burberry sales and sharesEuro drops as German investor morale darkens, Swiss franc nears 2019 high last_img read more

Rapid Chargers Considered Too Ugly To Install In Some Areas

first_img Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on November 22, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News Car2go Announces Car Sharing In Paris: 400 Smart EQ Fortwo Malta’s First Car Sharing Club Introduces 150 Renault ZOE Source: Electric Vehicle News Zipcar intends to switch to 100% electric cars by 2025.The problem is that London is lacking fast chargers and some were not installed because they are considered “too ugly” for some boroughs, according to Jonathan Hampson, General Manager for Zipcar UK. Hampson said that the city promised “huge” targets for the number of DC fast chargers, but have failed to materialize.““Only a fraction of what we were told would be installed have been put in,” he said, “and it’s really because, between the boroughs and City Hall they haven’t reached agreement on where they should go; how they’re going to be put in. The boroughs don’t want them on their land because they perceive them to be ugly.”Hampson acknowledged that Transport for London (TfL) is installing rapid chargers on red routes – a network of major roads that make up 5% of the total, but carry up to 30% of the city’s traffic and therefore have tight controls on parking and loading – but said these locations were “probably the least suitable place for them to go.”He added: “I just think, at some point or other we need to get over these – what are in many senses – quite petty arguments, in the grand scheme of some of the issues we’ve got. Why does London make life so difficult when the issues we’ve got are so big?””Because the new installations are way behind the increase of EV sales, Londoners note problems with charging infrastructure (some 60% don’t have a garage or driveway).Currently, there are some 4,000 charging points in London, including 100 DC fast chargers (at least 300 should be ready by the end of 2020).Source: driving.co.uk Maybe it’s the right time to open a business of that makes only stylish chargers?Zipcar notes delays of expansion of the fast charging infrastructure in London, apparently caused by ‘petty’ arguments from the authorities.The car-sharing company operates 2,800 cars in the city, including 75 Volkswagen Golf GTE plug-in hybrids and recently added 325 Volkswagen e-Golfs.The e-Golfs became very popular, as during the first three months they were used by 6,000 drivers on over 20,000 trips.See Also Zipcar Orders 325 Volkswagen e-Golfs For Fleet In Londonlast_img read more

Public EV Charging Is Often Free Observations From ChargePoint

first_imgThere are still a lot of myths and misunderstandings about EV infrastructure.Few people in the EV business have as much experience as Darryll Harrison. Before becoming ChargePoint’s director of global communications in 2016, Harrison managed comms for the launch of three different electric vehicles. He worked at Nissan in 2008 and 2009 leading up to the launch of the LEAF. Then he had a brief stint at ill-fated Coda in 2010 before moving to Volkswagen to introduce the first generation E-Golf.More about Public EV Charging Greenlots and ChargePoint Announce Charger Roaming Deal Source: Electric Vehicle News Electrify America’s New Campaign Aims To Increase EV Public Awareness I spoke with Harrison last week to discuss his decade in the field. Back in the day, he said, “You had a lot of early adopters that were totally into sustainability.” Now, Harrison said, battery-electric vehicles have expanded from small hatches to SUVs and every other segment. “The practical nature of EVs is starting to resonate.”ChargePoint was founded in 2007. Harrison said that its recent growth has been dramatic – essentially matching the rise in the number of EVs on the road. Just in the two years since Harrison joined, the staff has expanded from about 220 employees to approximately 550 spread across the globe.For Harrison, fueling patterns for an EV are more like charging a phone rather than the chore of gassing up a combustion car when the tank approaches Empty. “You don’t wait for your batteries to go dead,” he said. “The more people have EVs the more they’re going to want to charge where they are.”Here are a few other things I gleaned from the conversation.EV Charging Is an Amenity – Not a Standalone BusinessHarrison said that more than one-third of ChargePoint stations today are free. “We don’t make money selling electricity, and we don’t encourage most of our customers to make money on electricity,” he said. ChargePoint’s business is selling charging hardware, as well as the software solutions to maintain the stations. It’s the station owners who determine the price – not ChargePoint.When charging is offered at a workplace, it’s an employee perk. When it’s available at public locations (like a hotel or big-box store), it’s intended to attract and retain customers. Tesla and Electrify America networks help sell more EVs. When the owners add a cost, it’s usually to make sure drivers don’t occupy the space longer than necessary.EV Stations Are Invisible“When I speak with journalists or friends, the refrain is that lack of infrastructure is an obstacle to EV mass adoption,” said Harrison. In response, Harrison asks them to take out their phone and do a search for a charging station close to their home – only to discover locations are nearby and abundant. “They usually say, ‘I didn’t realize they were there.” In other words, there are probably hundreds of available charging stations right around you. But because there’s no big canopy like at a gas station, people don’t realize that they’re there.The implication – my words, not Harrison’s – is that lack of EV infrastructure is over-hyped.Shoppers often stay longer and spend more money when they are charging.Level-2, 240-Volt Rules. Ultra-Fast Charging Is Rarely Used.Harrison said that ChargePoint’s CPE 250, a 62.5-kilowatt DC public charger, is now rolling out. It’s part of a broad platform of ultra-fast charging solutions called Express Plus, which is in Beta development. Harrison said that fast charging right now is “somewhere in the neighborhood of five to 10 percent of charging.”He explained that ChargePoint anticipates that ultra-fast charging will be increasingly used both for longer trips between destination cities, as well as for occasional opportunistic top-ups in urban hubs. “But we don’t see that being the norm,” he said. Besides, Harrison added, “There are no cars on the road today that can accept anywhere near 350 kilowatts.”Charging Is Already Interoperable“We have a lot of Tesla drives charging on our network,” said Harrison. “There’s data to suggest that a lot of them charge on ChargePoint the same if not more than on Tesla’s Supercharger network.” Again, that’s because people rarely use fast charging as their primary source of electricity.Also, ChargePoint has agreements with EV Box, Greenlots, and Canada’s Flo Network to allow EV drivers to roam between networks without needing separate accounts. Harrison doesn’t believe that charging stations are all moving toward use of a credit-card reader. “It’s going the other direction, so that use your phone to start a session,” he said. “I don’t take my wallet with me when I go to the grocery store. I use Apple Pay.”Fleets Will Push Expansion of EV MarketChargePoint is expanding its fleet business. What’s driving this direction is municipalities and transit authorities working to electrify their fleets – and the rise of ride-hailing, delivery platforms, and car-sharing services. Harrison believes all this activity will take time, but it’s a positive development for EVs. “It might not happen in the next five to 10 years, but as a company, we see that as a shift in mobility, and we are preparing,” he said.Electric vehicles offer direct business benefits for fleet managers to lower fuel and maintenance costs. As consumers, we usually focus on individual vehicles but ultra-green, low-cost electric fleets can electrify faster and therefore play a major role in EV expansion. ChargePoint CEO On Tesla Superchargers & The Future Of EV Charging Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on January 29, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle Newslast_img read more

Tesla Sales Down For Q1 2019 But The Situation Is Far From

first_imgSource: InsideEvsEurope and China are much larger markets for Model 3 and the company will need some time to get its delivery network in shape to handle the volume. Tesla has reiterated its guidance of “360,000 to 400,000 vehicle deliveries in 2019”, and it’s clear that Tesla will be banking on Model 3 sales in Europe and China to help achieve that goal.===Author Bio: Shankar Narayanan is the editor of 1redDrop.com. Has an MBA from Kent State University and an engineering degree from Madurai Kamaraj University. He has been an active contributor to top financial sites like SeekingAlpha and GuruFocus, and has a penchant for talking business, finance, and technology.*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers, free of charge. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX. Check out the site here. *This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Posted by Shankar Narayanan. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs. Lead Image Source: Alphr.Tesla also reported that in the last three months it delivered 63,000 Model S, Model X, and Model 3 (while producing 77,100 vehicles), falling short of the average analyst delivery estimate of 73,500.Even if Tesla managed to deliver all the cars the company had manufactured between January and March 2019, it would have still fallen short of the fourth-quarter 2018 sales record of 90,700 units. Tesla cited delivery bottlenecks in Europe and China as a reason for its lower-than-expected deliveries.The company said, “Due to a massive increase in deliveries in Europe and China, which at times exceeded 5x that of prior peak delivery levels, and many challenges encountered for the first time, we had only delivered half of the entire quarter’s numbers by March 21, ten days before the end of quarter. This caused a large number of vehicle deliveries to shift to the second quarter. At the end of the first quarter, approximately 10,600 vehicles were in transit to customers globally.”Even though Tesla’s Q1-19 deliveries increased by 110% compared to the first quarter of 2018, we’ve been getting used to the company reporting massive sequential increases in quarterly deliveries. But this time Tesla broke its sequential growth winning streak after six quarters. The last time Tesla missed out on reporting a sales increase in the following quarter was during the second quarter of 2017 when the company was yet to begin Model 3 production. Source: ir.tesla.comApart from the 10K+ units that were in the transit, Tesla lost sales of 10k units in the form of Model S and X. The drop in deliveries of higher priced Model S and Model X will certainly put additional pressure on Tesla’s quarterly revenue as well as its operating margins.Tesla started off the quarter with $3.7 billion cash on hand and the company had to pay off a $920 million bond in March. The launch of Model Y and overseas expansion-related expenses will further impact the company’s cash balance in the first quarter. The drop in deliveries is going to hurt first-quarter revenue and could conceivably end up transitioning Tesla’s net income into the red.The first quarter of 2019 now looks like a bit of a difficult pill to swallow for investors, but it’s certainly not a dire scenario that necessitates panic.Tesla started Model 3 deliveries in Europe in early February and China in late February. Tesla’s struggle to deliver cars in North America during the ramp-up of Model 3 production in 2018 has been well documented, and the company took several months to get its logistics in order. March 2019 U.S. EV Sales Continue The Trend, Barely Exceeding 2018 Tesla Model 3, S, X March 2019 U.S. Sales Estimates: Final March 2019 U.S. Plug-In EV Sales Report Cardcenter_img Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on April 5, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News Source: 1reddropBut Tesla’s problem during the first quarter was not just the number of Model 3 units that got caught in transit; production and delivery of flagship vehicles Model S and Model X also took a significant hit, knocking down Tesla’s overall numbers. TESLA’S Q1-19 DEFINITELY HURT, BUT DON’T PANICTesla’s first-quarter deliveries dropped by 31% compared to the previous quarter as the Elon Musk-led company struggled to deliver cars to customers in international markets. The company said that approximately 10,600 cars were in transit, compared to 2,907 cars that were in transit at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018.Additional EV Sales Content: Source: Electric Vehicle Newslast_img read more

Friday Roundup

first_img“In June 2011, an anonymous source reported, through our confidential ethics hotline, that our majority-owned joint venture in Kenya may have made certain improper payments. In July 2011, an employee of our subsidiary in Angola reported that similar improper payments may have been made in Angola. Outside counsel and forensic accountants were retained to investigate the alleged improper payments in Kenya and Angola, including our compliance in those countries with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. We do not believe that the amount of the payments in question in Kenya and Angola, or any revenue or operating income related to those payments, are material to our business, results of operations, financial condition or liquidity.As a result of our review of these matters, we have implemented, and are continuing to implement, appropriate remedial measures and have voluntarily disclosed the results of our initial investigation to the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission, and are cooperating with those agencies in their review of these matters. As a result of ongoing discussions with the government, we have recorded a charge of $16 million in connection with these matters in the third quarter of 2014. While we currently estimate that the most likely amount of the loss associated with these matters is approximately $16 million, the actual amount of the loss could vary, and the timing of any resolution and payment cannot yet be determined.” Key Energy ServicesHere is what the company disclosed about its third quarter expenses associated with its FCPA investigation.“The results for the third quarter include a pre-tax charge of $60.8 million, or $0.25 per share, for an impairment of the Company’s U.S. assets and pre-tax costs of $16.1 million, or $0.07 per share, related to the previously disclosed Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) investigations.”Doing the math, that is approximately $243,000 in professional fees and expenses per working day.AvonAvon has been under FCPA scrutiny since June 2008.  As highlighted here, in May 2014 the company disclosed that it and the DOJ/SEC reached an agreement in principle to resolve FCPA enforcement actions for an aggregate amount of $135 million. Approximately six months later, there has still yet to be an enforcement action.  Yesterday, Avon disclosed: Scrutiny updates, the story of the FCPA, keep it simple, and for the reading stack. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.Scrutiny UpdatesGoodyearGoodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has been under FCPA scrutiny for approximately three years concerning conduct in Kenya and Angola. Earlier this week the company disclosed:center_img “As previously reported, we have reached an understanding with respect to terms of settlement with each of the DOJ and the staff of the SEC. Based on these understandings, the Company would, among other things: pay aggregate fines, disgorgement and prejudgment interest of $135 with respect to alleged violations of the books and records and internal control provisions of the FCPA, with $68 payable to the DOJ and $67 payable to the SEC; enter into a deferred prosecution agreement (“DPA”) with the DOJ under which the DOJ would defer criminal prosecution of the Company for a period of three years in connection with alleged violations of the books and records and internal control provisions of the FCPA; agree to have a compliance monitor which, with the approval of the government, can be replaced after 18 months by the Company’s agreement to undertake self monitoring and reporting obligations for an additional 18 months. If the Company remains in compliance with the DPA during its term, the charges against the Company would be dismissed with prejudice. In addition, as part of any settlement with the DOJ, a subsidiary of Avon operating in China would enter a guilty plea in connection with alleged violations of the books and records provision of the FCPA. The expected terms of settlement do not require any change to our historical financial statements.Final resolution of these matters is subject to preparation and negotiation of documentation satisfactory to all the parties, including approval by our board of directors and, in the case of the SEC, authorization by the Commission; court approval of the SEC settlement; and court approval of the DPA and acceptance of the expected guilty plea by an Avon subsidiary operating in China. We can provide no assurances that satisfactory final agreements will be reached, that authorization by the Commission or the court approvals will be obtained or that the court will accept the guilty plea or with respect to the timing or terms of any such agreements, authorization, and approvals and acceptance.”“The Story of the FCPA”Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell’s recent speech (see here for the prior post) has generated follow-up discussion at the FCPA Blog (here and here), including as to the motivation of Congress in passing the law.Read the “story” of the FCPA for yourself.  This article weaves together information and events scattered in the FCPA’s voluminous legislative record to tell the FCPA’s story through original voices of actual participants who shaped the law.Keep it SimpleOver at thebriberyact.com, this post begins:“Three years ago Bribery Inc. went mad.  Every law firm, accounting firm and uncle Tom Cobley and all got into the anti bribery business. Many detailed anti-bribery policies were sold, placed on corporate intranets and training given. Three years on and many are reviewing their policies and looking back at how they’ve been operating for the last three years.  This is a sensible thing to do. Many anti-bribery policies are extensive. […] We could go on.  And many policies do. And this is where they go wrong. Because the longer they are the less likely it is anyone will read them or even know where to find them.”Referencing comments made by U.K. Serious Fraud Office Director David Green, the post states:“The SFO Director said that he doesn’t really like long anti-bribery policies.  Broadly speaking he is concerned that they probably won’t be read or understood by employees. The obvious consequence of the anti-bribery policy not being read is that it is unlikely to be followed. His observation and the concern which underpins it resonates with us.”It resonates with me as well.  (See this previous post titled “Compliance Fatigue?”).That is why my global anti-bribery online training course (created in conjunction with Emtrain) keeps things simple. To see how the course engages employees in a business organization and inspires them to spot risk (see this video). To see how the course trains gatekeepers in a business organization to minimize risk (see this video).Reading StackThomas Fox (FCPA Compliance and Ethics Blog) is out with a new book titled “Doing Compliance: Design, Create, and Implement an Effective Anti-Corruption Compliance Program.”  (See here for more information).The latest FCPA Update from Debevoise & Plimpton is here.Dorsey & Whitney’s Anti-Corruption Digest (Oct. 2014) is here.Sidley & Austin’s Anti-Corruption Quarterly is here.*****A good weekend to all.last_img read more

Age of Disruption in the UK

first_imgby, Kavan Peterson, Editor, ChangingAging.orgTweetShareShareEmail0 Shares Manchester Town HallTaking a mid-way break from his Age of Disruption 2015 US tour, Dr Bill Thomas visits Halifax, Canada June 12 and then the United Kingdom June 15-19 to challenge ageing stereotypes and talk about how organizations can meet the needs of a savvy older consumer.Dr. Thomas visited Halifax to speak at the Nova Scotia 50 Plus Expo. Click here to see Dr. Thomas and Expo Chair Valerie White interviewed on CTV.Dr. Thomas tours the UK on behalf of Evermore, a UK-based adaption of The GREEN HOUSETM model of long term care. Dr. Thomas serves as global chair for Evermore and will help launch a new program designed by the Evermore Academy aimed at revolutionizing lifestyles in older age through a radical approach to people development called GREEN HOUSE PEOPLE TM.The program aims to build a culture of autonomy, mastery, and power within Britain’s social care workforce, said Evermore Founder and Market Innovation Director Sarah McKee.Visit the Tour website www.drbillthomas.com to learn more about Age of Disruption UK. Related PostsAge of Disruption 2016 World TourWe are excited to announce that Dr. Bill Thomas and the Center for Growing and Becoming have committed to continuing the Age of Disruption Tour in 2016 and 2017!Last Chance to Play Life’s Most Dangerous GameOnly three more Tour stops in 2015 for Dr. Bill Thomas’ Age of Disruption Tour! Click here to buy tickets for his signature “non-fiction” theater performance Life’s Most Dangerous Game this week only in Florida.WGN Morning News: Age of Disruption Comes to ChicagoDr. Bill Thomas appeared on WGN Chicago Morning News and the first question was about ageism. Video coming soon, click here for details on Dr. Thomas’ May 8 Chicago performance for the Age of Disruption Tour.TweetShareShareEmail0 SharesTags: Age of Disruption evermore UKlast_img read more

New study explores human T cell function under inflammatory conditions

first_img Source:https://www.marshall.edu/ucomm/2018/07/26/marshall-school-of-pharmacy-school-of-medicine-researchers-identify-inflammatory-biomarkers-in-t-cells/ Jul 31 2018The Marshall University School of Pharmacy, in collaboration with the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of MedicineGenomics Core, recently released a new study that explores human T cell function under inflammatory conditions.The findings are published in the July 19, 2018, edition of Scientific Reports, an online journal from the publishers of Nature.Related StoriesNew shingles vaccine reduces outbreaks of painful rash among stem cell transplant patientsExciting study shows how centrioles center the process of cell divisionNanoparticles used to deliver CRISPR gene editing tools into the cell”Our gene expression analysis of T cells provides many possible targets for studying how environmental products control T cell activation and pro-inflammatory functions,” said Jeremy P. McAleer, Ph.D., lead author and assistant professor at the Marshall School of Pharmacy. “We were encouraged to find that one of these targets, named GPR68, regulates the ability of T cells to produce chemical messengers. This may have implications for diseases on mucosal surfaces such as the lungs and gastrointestinal tract.”The study examined T cells, which protect against bacteria, fungi and viruses on mucosal surfaces. When activated against harmless substances, T cells may provoke autoimmune diseases. Findings reveal that the set of genes expressed by T cells under pro-inflammatory conditions include several G-protein-coupled receptors (GPRs). Future studies will explore if blocking the GPR68 pathway can be a potential therapy for chronic inflammatory diseases.last_img read more

Study explores if exercise can help prevent weight lossinduced bone loss in

first_img Source:https://newsroom.wiley.com/press-release/journal-bone-and-mineral-research/can-community-exercise-help-prevent-bone-loss-associ Aug 9 2018In a Journal of Bone and Mineral Research study of older adults with obesity who were cutting calories, an intervention that incorporated resistance training, aerobic training, or neither did not prevent bone loss associated with active weight loss. The study’s results suggested that resistance training may help minimize long-term hip bone loss, however.”If minimizing bone loss during active weight loss proves necessary to offset long-term skeletal fragility, then our results suggest that resistance exercisemay need to be coupled with other intervention strategies to maximize skeletal benefit,” said lead author Dr. Kristen Beavers, of Wake Forest University.Additional research should seek to elucidate the mechanisms underlying weight-loss-induced bone loss, so that, safe and effective strategies can be designed to preserve all aspects of bone health in dieting older individuals.last_img read more

ITL Group announces completion of SMT manufacturing upgrade

first_imgRelated StoriesITL Group returns to MEDICA 2017 to discuss future of diagnostic devicesITL Group proud of passing latest FDA auditUniversity of Tennessee researchers use Vitl’s Lu-mini in watermelon snow research projectThe TSM A70 Series is the latest addition to ITL’s electronics department, which is also home to the new, fully programmable StripCrimp 200 – suitable for high precision stripping and subsequent crimping of side- or rear-feed terminals for wires between 0.05 – 4.00 mm² (30 – 12 AWG).Features: This investment is part of our commitment to continuous improvement and enables us to retain our reputation for delivering superior quality manufacturing services to our customers.” Aug 24 2018Experienced medical device design, development, and manufacturing partner, ITL Group (a Gooch & Housego company) has announced further investment in its on-site PCB manufacturing facility.With more than 40 years PCB manufacturing experience, ITL is one of the few ISO13485 and FDA GMP certified UK companies that can provide high volume PCB manufacturing within the medical sector.ITL has invested in the TSM A70 Series, a SMT reflow oven, alongside a five-day training course for four SMT Operators. These recent advancements are part of ITL’s commitment to continuous improvement.Tristan Lambert, Production Manager, ITL Group said: TSM ovens feature ultra-low power consumption Temperature Monitoring Function – Measured, actual temperature is indicated by on-screen display with any differences clearly illustrated by changing on-screen colours and alarm. Automatic Conveyor Adjustment, Chain Oiler and Start-Stop Entire Reflow System is controlled through the on-board PC – This includes the heater temperature, blower fan, and convection velocity. Sets the optimum profile and system checks if the set profile is maintained within the error range by measuring the temperature in the oven in real time (alarm sounds if there is an error). Temperature profile memory for each product; no time loss when changing production model, making a separate profile check unnecessary. Source:https://www.itlmedical.com/last_img read more

Oral anticoagulant use after hospital discharge may offer protection from nonfatal blood

first_img Source:https://www.escardio.org/The-ESC/Press-Office/Press-releases/extended-use-of-oral-anticoagulant-after-hospital-discharge-reduces-non-fatal-blood-clots Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Aug 27 2018The use of an oral anticoagulant medicine in medically ill patients for 45 days following their discharge from the hospital reduces the rate of non-fatal symptomatic blood clots with no impact on fatal blood clots, according to late breaking results from the MARINER trial presented today in a Hot Line Session at ESC Congress 2018 and published in The New England Journal of Medicine.Professor Alex Spyropoulos, study author, of the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, New York, US, said: “Anticoagulants help prevent blood clots in medically ill patients while they are under our supervision at the hospital. However, the risk of blood clots extends well beyond this period. Our results suggest we may be able to offer further protection to patients at risk from non-fatal blood clots, with no increase in major bleeding, by prescribing an oral anticoagulant for use after discharge. This study has potential to reduce the public healthcare burden of non-fatal blood clots in a large proportion of medically ill patients.”Each year, around 20 million acutely ill medical patients are hospitalised in the US and EU with conditions such as heart attack, pneumonia, flu, bronchitis, asthma, or broken bones. A significant proportion of these patients are at risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE), which includes deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism, while in hospital and up to six weeks afterwards. Around 70% of hospital-acquired fatal pulmonary embolism occurs in medically ill patients.Anticoagulants delivered by intravenous drip or injection are recommended to prevent blood clots (called thromboprophylaxis) in medically ill patients while in hospital, but guidelines do not recommend any use of anticoagulants post-discharge. However, after leaving the hospital the rate of symptomatic VTE more than doubles over the first 21 days and is associated with a five-fold increased risk of fatal pulmonary embolism within 30 days post-discharge.The MARINER trial investigated whether continuing thromboprophylaxis with an oral anticoagulant after discharge could reduce the risk of symptomatic VTE and VTE-related death in medically ill patients at risk for VTE. The trial enrolled 12,024 patients from 671 centres in 36 countries. Patients were 40 years of age or older, had been hospitalised for an acute medical illness, and had other risk factors for VTE as defined by a VTE risk score that included immobilisation for one day or longer, being in intensive care, age over 60 years, limb paralysis, previous VTE, thrombophilia or a D-dimer level more than two times the upper limit of normal.Related StoriesDanbury Hospital launches ‘Healing Hugs’ for its most vulnerable patientsFeeling safe and good sleep at night matter most to sick kids in hospital’Traffic light’ food labels associated with reduction in calories purchased by hospital employeesPatients were randomly allocated to a 45-day course of either once daily oral rivaroxaban 10 mg (7.5 mg in patients with reduced kidney function) or placebo at the time of hospital discharge. The primary efficacy outcome was symptomatic VTE and VTE-related death. The principal safety outcome was major bleeding.The final analysis included 12,019 patients, of whom 11,962 (99.5%) had taken at least one dose of study drug. The average age was 69.7 years and 48% were female. Four in ten patients had been admitted to hospital for heart failure, 27% for respiratory insufficiency, 17% for infectious disease, 14% for ischaemic stroke, and 2% for inflammatory disease.During the 45-days post-discharge, 50 (0.83%) patients taking rivaroxaban had symptomatic VTE or died from VTE-related causes compared to 66 (1.1%) taking placebo (p=0.136). When examining symptomatic VTE only, which included lower extremity DVT and non-fatal pulmonary embolism, there were fewer events with rivaroxaban (0.18%) compared to placebo (0.42%; hazard ratio [HR] 0.44, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.22-0.89, p=0.023).The researchers also examined an exploratory secondary composite endpoint of symptomatic VTE and all-cause mortality and found that 1.3% of patients taking rivaroxaban experienced an event compared to 1.78% of patients in the placebo group (HR 0.73, 95% CI 0.54-0.97, p=0.033).Major bleeding occurred in 17 (0.28%) patients in the rivaroxaban group compared to nine (0.15%) taking placebo (p=0.124), with very few critical and fatal bleeds and no significant difference between groups.last_img read more

Live blog Rosetta comet landing day 2

first_imgUpdate, 12 November: 3:40 p.m. CET/9:40 a.m. ETAfter several glimpses on control room screens, we finally have seen proof of Philae’s separation from Rosetta: the CIVA camera’s “farewell snap.” The image shows Rosetta’s solar panels amid the glare and glint of sunlight. We are now in the phase of the landing descent where dignitaries are making speeches. But touchdown is rapidly approaching—still on track for an hour window centered on 5 p.m. CET/11 a.m. ET. Update, 13 November: 12:45 p.m. CET / 6:45 a.m. ETCIVA, the panorama camera on Philae, has released its first picture, and it shows the lander in a distressing position. A lander leg is visible, but it’s hard to tell which way is up. There is no view of the sky—or perhaps it’s that blackness at left—and there’s lots of shadow. The darkness is particularly worrisome. Philae will need sunlight in order to recharge its batteries. It has just over 50 hours of juice left right now. “The big fear is cold,” says Gerhard Schwehm, the former mission manager who retired less than 2 years ago. He said it looked like the lander was on its side, or maybe in a ditch—but at least the head of the lander was pointing up. This was known for sure because of the good radio connection. The next day will be of assessing the present environment to see how much science can be done in such a compromised position. Two instruments, APXS and MUPUS, have not been deployed for fear of upsetting the lander, and, at the moment, drilling is out of the question. At some point, with dwindling batteries, action could be taken—even though Philae is a comet lander, and not a comet hopper. A decision could be made to try and fire the unactivated harpoons—even at the risk of launching the lander into space. Another possibility could be using the penetrator on the MUPUS instrument—a hollow rod 35 centimeters long that could be pressed into the soil. But first the team must make heads or tails of where they are before they start to consider, erm, last-ditch improvisations. Philae landing site from 30 kilometers altitude Email Update, 12 November: 12:12 p.m. CET/6:12 a.m. ETAfter a tense wait, relief spreads through the control room as ESA reestablishes contact with both Rosetta and Philae, which are now talking to each other. Mission control managers can now watch Philae through its slow, unpowered descent. Update, 12 November: 10:30 a.m. CET/4:30 a.m. ETWhere is Philae going? This is a picture of Agilkia, the 1-kilometer-wide circle that is the target area for the lander. Most of that uncertainty comes from errors in the velocity at which Philae was shoved off of Rosetta; the remainder comes from errors in the known position of Rosetta’s orbit. You can see that the landing zone is by no means completely flat and smooth. There are boulders and sheer slopes that could upset the lander. On Monday, Philae project manager Stephan Ulamec told me that 20% of this landing terrain is pitched at angles greater than 30°, slopes that could pose a problem. Add in the threat of boulders, and most mission managers are talking about a probability of success of about 75%. But no one really knows. The problem with the gas thrusters—which are supposed to press the lander to the surface while its harpoons and footpads fix themselves to the ground—cannot help. Decades of work are going to come down to a crapshoot. Update, 12 November: 10:13 a.m. CET/4:13 a.m. ETThe 7-hour descent to the comet surface has begun. Applause burst out in the ESA control room upon receiving confirmation that Philae had indeed separated from the Rosetta spacecraft. “It’s on its path down to the comet,” says flight director Andrea Accomazzo. Stephan Ulamec, the Philae project manager, said he was feeling “released, or relieved.” “The lander is on its own now,” he says. It will be a long wait in the meantime. We are hoping that we will get a farewell image of Rosetta taken by CIVA, the lander’s panoramic camera, at about the halfway mark, around 2 p.m. CET.Update, 12 November: 8:10 a.m. CET/2:10 a.m. ETThe predelivery burn was a success! And the landing sequence is going ahead. Rosetta’s release of Philae comes in less than 2 hours. But there is a problem: The cold nitrogen gas thrusters that were supposed to press the lander against the surface appear not to be working. Philae will have to rely on its other two tools needed to stick the landing. It still has two harpoons and spinning screws in the tips of each of the lander’s three feet. The harpoons are to puncture harder, icy materials, and the screws are to burrow into the surface if it is softer. But part of the point of the thrusters was to prevent any rebound that might occur because of the harpoons. Couldn’t the landing be attempted again in 2 weeks’ time? Project manager Fred Jansen says that they made two separate attempts to measure a rise in pressure in the gas tanks that would have signaled them being ready to fire. Making that measurement again in 2 weeks’ time wouldn’t make any difference, he says.Update, 12 November: 7 a.m. CET/1 a.m. ETGood morning! There are some bleary eyes here in the European Space Agency’s control room in Darmstadt, Germany. But that is surely outweighed by the momentous activities that await. First up: We’re expecting to learn soon about a 6-minute-long “predelivery burn” on the Rosetta spacecraft. This would put the orbiter in a position to drop the Philae lander in a few hours. This terrific video explains the orbital mechanics of what’s about to happen much better. (The burn in question happens at the 47-second mark.)DARMSTADT, GERMANY—On Wednesday, 12 November, the Rosetta spacecraft’s Philae probe is set to attempt an historic landing on a comet, known as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. In a technological tour de force, the probe will slowly approach the comet, then attempt to touch down and use harpoons to secure itself to the surface. A suite of onboard instruments will be taking scientific measurements.ScienceInsider’s Eric Hand is at Rosetta mission control in Germany, following the action, and will be updating this blog with the latest news, starting at 1 a.m. Wednesday morning U.S. Eastern Standard Time. Please join us.Rosetta officials are scheduled to make a “go/no-go” decision on the landing attempt at about 2:35 a.m. Wednesday (U.S. EST). If it’s “go,” the lander will separate from Rosetta at 4:03 a.m. and start sending images of the landing at 10:01 a.m. Touchdown is expected at 11:02 a.m. But the terrain is diffcult, and success is not assured.The European Space Agency will be webcasting the event: http://rosetta.esa.int/NASA TV online will be covering Rosetta starting at 9 a.m.: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.htmlTo read more Rosetta coverage, visit our Rosetta collection page. ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Update, 13 November: 10 a.m. CET / 4 a.m. ETI’m back at ESA’s operation center for a second day, following Philae’s harrowing, but ultimately successful landing on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This morning, Philae project manager Stephan Ulamec told me something improbable: Philae bounced, in a really big way. He says that, after impact, the lander may have flown as high as 1 kilometer back into space (this is microgravity, after all) before returning again to the comet. It may have bounced a second time a little bit before finally coming to rest. The good news: Mission managers now have steady radio contact with Philae, and science data are being gathered. We expect to see panorama pictures from the CIVA camera, maybe even before a planned 2 p.m. CET media briefing. The bad news: Philae remains unanchored by its harpoons. That might make managers less willing to operate the drill, which could jeopardize the lander’s stability.Many of the TV crews have already packed up and left, and the press room is virtually empty. But today is the day that we really begin to learn about Philae’s new home.Update, 12 November: 6:03 p.m. CET/12:03 p.m. ETFerri also says he is confident Philae landed near the center of the landing ellipse — maybe within 100 meters. — Eric Hand (@erichand) November 12, 2014Paolo Ferri says the lander is safe but may not be completely stable. — Eric Hand (@erichand) November 12, 2014Update, 12 November: 5:11 p.m. CET/11:11 a.m. ETSuccess! Philae has landed on a comet. Philae project manager Fred Jansen confirmed the touchdown. “We are sitting on the surface, Philae is talking to us, more data to come.”We have yet to hear of the condition of the lander—much remains unknown about its health, or how benign the environment is: whether it is sitting flat and happy. Assuming the lander is healthy, it will begin a first run of preprogrammed science, lasting about 7 hours. First will be CIVA, taking panoramas to understand where Philae landed within Agilkia. Then come instruments such as the gas-sniffing Ptolemy and COSAC. The lander has enough batteries to last on its own about 3 days. After that, it will require recharging from its solar panels—and could survive until March 2015.We may expect to receive first images from Philae later tonight.Update, 12 November: 4 p.m. CET/10 a.m. ETAnd we have now seen the most stunning image of the mission so far. Holger Sierks—who has been criticized for being stingy in releasing images from his OSIRIS camera—just unveiled a jaw-dropper: the spidery, three-legged lander floating down against the black background of space. These images surely belong in a pantheon of sorts, along with the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s snapshots of Curiosity and Phoenix parachuting down to the Red Planet. There is always something poignant about one robot taking a picture of another robot, unimaginably separated from the human beings that created them. How did Philae get to this spot? Philae project manager Stephan Ulamec explained how, after impact on Wednesday, the lander rebounded at 38 centimeters per second, traveling a kilometer up in space, and a kilometer laterally across the surface. The lander bounced again, a little bit. The strong rebounds are an indication that beneath the soft, fluffy dust at the surface lies something tougher. “This material is like a trampoline,” Bibring says. Radar data helped locate an approximate position for its final resting spot—somewhere just within the rim of the large crater on the head of the duck-shaped comet, what was once known as landing site “B.” Holger Sierks, principal investigator for the orbiter’s camera, was waiting for images to be downloaded to Earth tonight that he thought would contain the lander. By comparing before-and-after pictures—by hand—and looking for a 3×3 pixel dark patch, he hopes to locate Philae. “We’ll find the lander,” he said. So it’s looking like Philae is in a tough spot. But engineers have many creative ways both to hoard energy and extricate their robots form precarious positions—so I would not be suprised if this is just the beginning of Philae’s time on 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Even if the 1.5 hours of sunlight is not enough to recharge Philae’s batteries warm, the mission could, in theory, come out of hibernation later on with seasonal improvements in sunlight.  Update, 12 November: 2:15 p.m. CET/8:15 a.m. ETYesterday, I had the chance to meet Klim Churyumov, who discovered Rosetta’s cometary target in 1969, along with Svetlana Gerasimenko. Through a translator, the 77-year-old astronomer at Kiev State University in Ukraine recalled the special expedition he made 45 years ago to a 0.5-meter telescope in the mountains near Almaty, the capital of Kazakhstan. “The whole world knows about this comet,” he says. “At the beginning, we didn’t know anything. We didn’t have such a nice shape. It was just a bright dot.” The astronomers kept taking images, and noticed some smudging on their photographic plates—a sign of 67P’s atmosphere, or coma. “It was clear that it was not a star,” Churyumov says. Asked how he was feeling about the prospects of landing on his namesake, Churyumov said that he was excited. “For me, it will be a moment of truth,” he says. “It’s an inspiration. We’ll jump.” For more on the discovery of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, see this nice ESA-produced piece. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA Update, 13 November: 5 p.m. CET/11 a.m. ETThe Thursday afternoon press briefing confirmed what we’ve been learning all day: Philae is between a rock and a hard place. More specifically, it’s on its side, one leg sticking up in the air—and in the shadows of a looming crater wall a few meters away. Solar panels are receiving only about 1.5 hours of light a day, when the goal was for 6 or 7 hours per day to recharge the lander’s batteries. Drilling into the subsurface would have to wait until the very end of Philae’s 60 hours of battery life—for fear that it could upset the lander. Yet mission leaders were largely upbeat about being alive and doing science. Most of the lander’s 10 instruments were taking data, and engineers were exploring options to use the spring of the lander legs or other ground-poking instruments to jostle the lander into a more favorable position. “Do not focus on the failure of the system,” implored Philae lead scientist Jean-Pierre Bibring, who showed a panorama of six CIVA images and its unsettling portrait of the lander’s position. “It’s gorgeous where we are.” Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwelast_img read more

Bacteria on pubic hair could be used to identify rapists

first_imgWhen it comes to identifying a rapist, one of the main pieces of evidence police analyze are pubic hairs found at the crime scene. But most of these hairs are missing their roots and thus don’t harbor enough DNA for a proper match. Now, a new study suggests there may be a better way to finger the criminal: Look at the bacteria he left behind.In addition to hair, police have relied heavily on semen samples to identify potential rapists, notes Silvana Tridico, a forensic biologist at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia. But criminals have gotten wise to genetic testing, she says, and are increasingly wearing condoms, which they take with them after assaults. She hoped to find a way to get around this problem by comparing bacteria that are present in the pubic hairs of the victim and suspects and then creating a microbial fingerprint that could nail the culprit.Tridico and colleagues asked seven individuals—two of whom were living together—to collect their scalp and pubic hair for 5 months. The researchers then analyzed these samples in the lab, looking for bacterial populations present after 2 and 5 months. The scalp hair showed that 50 different varieties of microbes in males and 55 in females are found in this part of the body, but many of the microbes that were found were not specific to the individual carrying them. The pubic hair bacteria, however, turned out to be more distinct; in addition, each individual’s “personal” pubic bacteria stayed roughly the same during the 5 months. More kinds of bacteria live in these hairs: approximately 73 in males and 76 in females. A larger combination of different bacteria means it is more likely for people to carry a unique microbial signature on them, Tridico says. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Although each person’s pubic hair bacteria were distinct, the couple who were living together had greater similarity of bacteria on their pubic hairs at 5 months than detected after 2 months. The couple later revealed that they had sexual intercourse 18 hours before the collection of their hairs, the researchers report online today in Investigative Genetics.Because the study included only one couple who were living together and only seven participants in total, the results are “far from conclusive,” Tridico cautions. However, the findings are encouraging, she says, and show that “it may be possible to differentiate between individuals on the basis of their bacteria.”Max Houck, a lead forensic scientist at Consolidated Forensic Laboratory, a government organization based in Washington, D.C., agrees. But he also points out that it might be more difficult to use this method if there has been previous sexual contact between the victim and the subject, in the case of abusive ex-spouses, for example. “Human pubic hairs could be of potentially significant use in cases where the victim and subject have not had previous sexual contact.”Rachel Fleming, a molecular biologist at the Institute of Environmental Science and Research Ltd., a government-owned research institute, who’s based in Auckland, New Zealand, says further research is needed before pubic hair bacteria can be used in forensic research. Experiments would need to determine how easily the bacteria are transferred between people, she says, and whether these microbes can be transferred by using the same bed sheets, clothing, or towels and how long transferred bacteria can stay on pubic hairs.“I think this method has interesting possibilities for forensic science,” Houck says. “Forensic science is all about the associations between people, places, and things involved in criminal activities, and sexual assaults are among the closest associations we encounter.” Emaillast_img read more

Insect hunger games Male mantises deceived by starving females

first_imgA well-fed female mantis is irresistible to a male. She’s chock-full of eggs and draws him in by producing high levels of pheromones. Now, a new study reveals that starving females can deceive males by enticing them to their doom. Researchers have found that female false garden mantises (Pseudomantis albofimbriata, pictured) that were fed just a quarter of what others got actually produced more pheromones than well-fed females—and attracted almost twice the number of males. This is despite the fact that the number of eggs in the starved females was less than 10, compared with more than 60 eggs in well-fed females. The finding, reported online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, is the first experimental demonstration of sexual deception using false chemical signals in any animal. The starving females seem to be treating the males as easy prey to gain nutritional benefits and potentially produce more eggs.*Correction, 17 December, 3:59 p.m.: This item originally stated that fully fed female mantises are also cannibalistic. We have changed the text to reflect that they are not.last_img read more

Moratorium on risky experiments lifted for MERS mouse studies

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country The U.S. government has lifted a temporary ban on research attempting to develop an animal model for the MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) virus, a deadly coronavirus spreading from camels to people in the Middle East.On 17 October, in an unusual move, the U.S. government halted federal funding for risky studies on MERS, SARS, or influenza that tweak these viruses to make them more pathogenic or transmissible by respiration in mammals. Among the 18 stopped projects were at least five working on adapting the MERS virus to mice in order to generate a strain that sickens the animals. That could ease studies aimed at understanding the virus and developing vaccines and drugs. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Emailcenter_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe The funding pause came as a shock to MERS researchers. At various meetings, including one at the National Academy of Sciences this week, they argued that developing an animal model for MERS is crucial for addressing the virus, which has infected at least 938 people and killed one-third of them. They applied for an exemption, spelled out in the moratorium policy, that allows for continuing work “urgently necessary to protect the public health.”That exemption has now been approved for at least some of these projects. “We are very happy,” says Matthew Frieman of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, who got a call from his program officer at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) yesterday. NIAID intramural researcher Kanta Subbarao said her project to develop a rabbit model for MERS has also been exempted; the National Institutes of Health had not responded to a request about the other projects at press time.*Update, 18 December, 3:20 p.m.: NIH confirmed today that all five projects working on a mouse model for MERS have been exempted from the pause. Two influenza studies have also been granted an exception; no requests for an exemption have been denied.last_img read more

US drops fraud case against ChineseAmerican physicist

first_imgIn an interview with ScienceInsider, Xi says he does basic research only and publishes the results openly. “I do everything on the table.” It’s not clear to him what might have triggered the government’s investigation. “I didn’t do anything wrong,” he says. “If you ask me for advice on how to avoid this situation, I really don’t know … and that’s the scary part. It could happen to anybody.”The experience has been traumatic for Xi and his family. Early in the morning on 21 May, he awoke to loud knocking at his front door. “I came downstairs not even fully dressed,” Xi says. “To see armed agents bursting into my home was like a nightmare.” Xi, who posted a statement online on Saturday, has been on administrative leave at Temple; he says he would like to return to teaching and research as soon as possible. Federal prosecutors filed a motion Friday in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to drop a case against a Temple University physicist accused of helping Chinese organizations illegally obtain U.S. technology. The government’s case against Xiaoxing Xi had rested on a “misunderstanding” of the technology involved and the nature of scientific collaborations, according to Xi’s lawyer, Peter Zeidenberg.In a 14 May indictment, the government alleged that Xi, a well-known expert on thin-film materials, schemed to pass information about a device known as a Pocket Heater—a proprietary U.S. technology used to make magnesium diboride superconducting thin films—to Chinese entities in order to help them become leaders in the field of superconductivity. Federal investigators obtained Xi’s email exchanges with colleagues in China, and cited four messages in charging Xi with four counts of wire fraud. In June, Xi pleaded not guilty to the charges.The email exchanges concern “routine academic collaboration,” says Zeidenberg, a partner in the Washington, D.C., firm Arent Fox LLP. And the technologies discussed, he says, “were not restricted in any way.” In one email, Xi offered to help build a world-class oxide thin-film lab at a Chinese university; the exchanges, Zeidenberg says, had nothing to do with either the Pocket Heater or MgB2 thin films. Xi says he bought the heater to test variations of his own method for making MgB2 thin films at his lab here, and the Pocket Heater was one of the devices tested. Contrary to the indictment’s claim that the Pocket Heater “revolutionized the field of superconducting magnesium diboride thin film growth,” the device is only a modified version of an earlier invention by a German scientist, Xi says. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)last_img read more

Feature Ecologys megaproblem

first_imgBut NEON board chair Collins acknowledges that the project’s checkered history means it has a lot of ground to make up. “It still needs to prove itself to the community,” he says. Email The disturbing news was a harbinger of worse to come. Despite his impressive title of observatory director, Ollinger discovered that he had little influence over how NEON was being built, or the day-to-day activities of its growing scientific staff. Soon, “the number of decisions I tried to make that were overruled reached a point where I felt there was no way I could succeed,” he recalls. Frustrated and feeling powerless, Ollinger returned home after less than a year.Ollinger’s experience reflects management problems that have dogged NEON since its birth and the project’s tense relationship with the community of scientists who will ultimately use its data. This summer those problems came home to roost.SIDEBAR: NEON jobs plentiful but problematicGetting a job in ecology can be tough, but the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) arguably has been hiring more ecologists than anyplace else; its workforce topped some 400 permanent and 100 summer employees earlier this year. But NEON’s disarray has led to high turnover and taken a toll on promising careers.Elizabeth Webb was hired in 2014 to manage field sampling protocols and sensors at a NEON site just outside Gainesville, Florida. Webb had worked with similar instruments in Alaska while earning her master’s degree in biology, and thought her new job “would be a great opportunity to learn new things with a different setup.”Instead, Webb says, her bosses discouraged her from showing any initiative or using her knowledge to help the fledgling project. “Someone without a college education could have done my job,” she says. For example, Webb says it took a month and several sign-offs to get approval to remove a wasp’s nest hanging from the site’s flux tower. In contrast, Webb says that she could have solved the problem with bug spray from Home Depot.Webb quit after 5 months and now works as an outreach and facilities coordinator at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Gainesville. “I really like the idea of NEON, but it’s not working,” she says. Webb “was one of my best students,” says ecologist Edward Schuur, a one-time NEON adviser who recently moved to Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff. “If NEON can’t retain people of her caliber, then something is seriously wrong with the organization.”Todd Dawson, chair of NEON’s top scientific advisory panel, goes further. “I wouldn’t encourage a young person to apply for a NEON job now,” says the University of California, Berkeley, academic. “It’s a sad commentary. But I want to know their plans for righting the ship, and then see some real progress in achieving them, before I would advise anyone to work there.” On 3 August, NSF abruptly announced it was scaling back the project in an attempt to prevent an 18-month slip in its schedule and a projected cost overrun of more than $80 million on its $434 million construction budget (Science, 7 August, p. 574). On 8 September, NEON Inc., the nonprofit that manages the project, fired CEO Russ Lea, a former forestry professor and university administrator, after the head of NSF’s biology directorate, James Olds, ordered the corporation to correct “deficiencies in leadership.” And last week Olds told a congressional committee investigating what has gone wrong that NSF would consider replacing NEON Inc. if it doesn’t shape up.NSF officials say NEON’s “descoping” was prompted by ongoing difficulties in obtaining needed site permits and technical challenges in building NEON’s sensors, some of which take novel approaches to collecting data. NEON’s supporters note that other large, complex science projects that NSF has built have undergone periodic changes in scope and leadership, particularly as they transition from construction to operations. And NEON has been especially challenging because of its complexity and uniqueness, Olds says. But scientists both inside and outside of NEON say the project’s woes run much deeper. They point to a chronic disharmony among NSF, NEON Inc., and the research community. Ollinger, for instance, is one of five researchers who has held—and then left—NEON’s top scientific post since 2007. This past spring, members of NEON’s chief scientific advisory body even considered a mass resignation.Now, as NEON regroups, the scientists with whom it has had a love/hate relationship say NSF and NEON Inc. need to turn things around, and fast. “I wish them luck,” says Scott Collins, a plant biologist at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, who helped get NEON off the ground as an NSF program manager in the early 2000s. “They need to wake up and change the way NEON operates and get the research community behind the project,” he says. “NSF has invested a ton of money in the infrastructure,” he adds, “and if NEON fails, ecology won’t get another chance.”WHEN THEN-NSF DIRECTOR Rita Colwell proposed what became NEON in 2000, she hoped that it would generate questions researchers had never been able to ask—or answer. Although the agency had been funding Long-Term Ecological Research sites across the United States since 1980, those projects tended to focus on hypothesis-driven research by an individual investigator. They weren’t designed to collect and share highly standardized, continental-scale data over many decades.The move into Big Data is an intoxicating vision to many. “The idea of a community of ecologists coming together to put up a piece of infrastructure as significant as a telescope, atom smasher, or an icebreaker sucked me in,” Lea said last month, explaining why he took the CEO job in early 2012.It took NEON’s planners a decade and several tries, however, to draw a blueprint acceptable to NSF’s oversight body and Congress. The final plan called for dividing the United States into 20 ecological domains (see map). Each domain would host two “core” observing stations chock-full of standardized sensors and sampling sites (see graphic). One core site would focus on a terrestrial ecosystem such as a forest or grassland, the other on an aquatic environment such as a stream or lake. In addition, the domains would support a total of 56 “relocatable” stations that researchers could move a few times during the 30-plus years that NEON is expected to operate. The original plan also included a long-term experiment, called STREON (STReam Experimental Observatory Network), which would simulate abrupt environmental change in aquatic ecosystems by adding nutrients—phosphates and nitrogen—and removing some organisms at 10 sites.Since 2011, project managers have completed construction on 48 sites—fewer than half of what was in the original plan—and spent approximately two-thirds of NEON’s construction budget. The descoping preserves the 40 core sites, but eliminates 15 of the 56 relocatable sites—including seven dedicated to studying urban ecosystems. NEON also pulled the plug on two terrestrial instruments: sensors to measure fluxes of nitrogen oxides and methane, and fiber optic cables for collecting video of underground root growth. And it dropped the STREON experiment (although NSF officials emphasized that they would welcome new STREON-like proposals to another NSF funding program).The loss of STREON was the latest defeat for aquatic scientists, who had long been unhappy with what they regarded as NEON’s inattention to its river and lake sites. In June, several prominent scientists petitioned NEON to invest more in completing the aquatic observatories. Sensing that STREON was in danger, they also asked to be consulted on any decision to drop STREON.NEON managers rebuffed both requests, saying that “we cannot make one component of the observatory a higher priority than others.” But the descoping does exactly that, argues ecologist Walter Dodds of Kansas State University, Manhattan, who organized the petition and who has championed STREON. “It’s terrible news for aquatic scientists.”IT’S NOT UNUSUAL for a federal agency to adjust its plans for a major scientific facility, such as a telescope or spacecraft, after construction is underway. But those changes are usually the product of discussions between scientists and project managers. On a typical NASA mission, for instance, “the job of the chief scientist is to understand the high-level science requirements of the mission and to engage in respectful conflict with the project manager to make sure that the best outcome occurs,” says David Schimel, NEON’s first CEO and later its first chief scientist. “They succeed or fail together.”That give-and-take has not been the norm at NEON, Schimel and others say. In late 2007, for example, geophysicist Michael Keller left his job as a project scientist for a NASA-funded program in the Amazon, bought a house in Boulder, and moved his family in preparation for what he expected to be the crowning achievement of his career: chief of science at NEON. “We had a golden dream that was going to make this incredibly difficult thing happen,” he recalls. “That idealism was our calling card.”Keller’s first task was to reach a consensus on the scientific requirements for the observatory. “Then we converted those questions into what we were going to measure and how we would report them as products” that scientists could use, he says. The result, he says, was “a very respectable final design.”That’s when things headed south. “We fully expected to have to adapt what we were doing on a site-by-site basis,” Keller recalls. But that’s not how NSF saw things. “NSF’s model is that you do the science up front,” he says. “And once you come up with the final design, it’s up to the project manager to execute it.” The message from NSF was clear, he says: “Once we had designed it, [scientists] were somewhat obsolete.”Ollinger says that approach may work well when building a single large facility with a clear and compelling scientific objective—he calls it a “north star”. But NEON lacks that north star, he says. Instead, its fundamental objective is to generate high-quality data that scientists will use to answer a wide array of questions.After about 3 years at NEON, Keller “decided it was probably time for me to move on.” In late 2010 he returned to Brazil to manage a sustainable development project funded by the United States and Brazilian governments.Keller was succeeded by the man who had hired him: Schimel. A biogeochemist who has been a tireless advocate for NEON, Schimel initially tried to recruit people who understood both ecology and what it takes to build a large scientific facility—before realizing that those two cultures rarely overlap. “It was difficult to find ecologists with experience in large projects,” Schimel says. “It was equally hard to find engineers and project managers with experience in ecology. And by difficult I mean impossible—they didn’t exist.”Even so, Schimel says he’s proud of the team he assembled during his 5 years at NEON. But eventually he was also pushed aside. “My science role was being increasingly marginalized,” he recalls. “I was losing the authority and access to the systems engineering staff and other expertise I needed to do my job.” Schimel left NEON in 2012 to join NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, where he’s analyzing global carbon data.Next up was Ollinger, whose year at NEON was equally disheartening. Ollinger found out that he didn’t have the promised authority to make sure that sensors passed muster before they went live at a site. Nor was he allowed to create career paths for NEON’s growing staff of scientists, who could never get a straight answer from project managers about whether they would continue to have jobs once NEON was running (see sidebar, p. 1441). A third role that Ollinger relished—figuring out how outside scientists would access NEON’s data—was impossible to fulfill, he says, because “the data weren’t flowing.”Ollinger’s successor as observatory director, C. J. Loria, lasted just 4 months. A former Navy test pilot hired for his business acumen, Loria was ousted this past winter at the same time that NEON Inc. eliminated the position of observatory director.The churn has deepened the rift between scientists and the project by creating a “lack of a scientific presence” at the Boulder headquarters, Lea admitted before his departure. “The community wants a mano-a-mano relationship with a strong scientific leader at NEON on a daily basis,” he said. “Scientists want to talk to their peers.”Lea’s interim replacement as CEO is Eugene Kelly, a soil scientist at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, who only this summer was hired to be NEON’s visiting chief scientist. Kelly agrees that the research community “feels it has been kept in the dark about NEON for many years.” The low point in NEON’s relationship with the ecology community may have come this past winter, when members of its principal advisory panel, the Science, Technology and Educational Advisory Committee (STEAC), seriously considered disbanding the group.STEAC “made several explicit recommendations over the years, and those recommendations were either ignored or opposed,” explains the panel’s chair, integrative biologist Todd Dawson of the University of California, Berkeley. “People were saying, ‘There’s no point having an advisory committee if [NEON] is not going to use it.’”James Collins, chair of NEON’s board of directors, agrees that top management has historically shown a disregard for what scientists can bring to the project, and says that attitude must change. A biology professor at Arizona State University, Tempe, who helped get NEON off the ground as head of NSF’s biology directorate in the late 2000s, Collins says the board expects the next CEO to take a different approach. “The CEO has to set a tone in which people feel they are being treated well and their contributions are valued,” he says.Relations between NEON Inc. and NSF also need to improve, say scientists both within and outside the project. The funding delay that sabotaged Ollinger, for example, was the result of a festering disagreement over when a site is ready to be commissioned.It’s not a minor issue. NEON managers argue that a site should be considered operational once all the equipment works and the instruments start to generate data. Any delay in commissioning, they note, forces NEON to use construction dollars for operating costs, such as power and maintenance. That leaves less money to complete new sites.NSF’s position, however, is that a site cannot be commissioned until its data are available online, says Elizabeth Blood, the agency’s longtime project manager for NEON. That process could add months to the commissioning process, she concedes, adding that NSF has no intention of changing its criteria.NSF has the authority to decide the issue. But NEON’s position got a strong endorsement this past July from a high-powered panel of scientists from both inside and outside the project, which reviewed NEON’s future shortly before NSF announced the descoping. Some of NEON’s cost overruns were due to “delayed transition to operations,” the panel concluded. Its recommendation was unequivocal: “The cost of carrying field operations on the construction project is unjustified,” and NSF needed to start paying the operating costs.Even NEON’s critics are willing to cut NSF some slack, however, because they recognize that the foundation has little political margin for error. The Republican-led science committee in the U.S. House of Representatives has repeatedly questioned whether NSF has been a proper steward of taxpayer dollars, and NEON’s missteps have provided some ammunition for those attacks. In recent months the committee has held hearings to berate NSF officials for allowing NEON Inc. to use $150,000 of its management fees on what the agency later admitted were inappropriate activities, including a Christmas party.Last week, the panel grilled the agency on its oversight of the entire project, and Olds made it clear that the corporation is on shaky ground. “By December 1 NSF will have enough information to make a determination as to whether NEON Inc. has made sufficient improvement to successfully complete construction,” Olds told the panel. Pressed by one legislator whether that could mean replacing the current contractor, Olds hemmed and hawed before concluding, “Yes, that is an option.”NSF has already shortened the leash. Olds said NSF is taking a closer look at the project’s financial books, and an advisory committee to the biology directorate is examining whether the descoping will affect NEON’s scientific goals. The National Science Board, NSF’s oversight body, has formed a NEON task force. Olds was also critical of NSF’s performance to date. “We could have done a better job,” he admitted.DESPITE ITS MANY problems, NEON has made considerable progress. Managers said last month that 33 sites in 15 domains are now ready for operations. By September 2016, Lea predicts it will have “upward of 60% of final capability” at the 81 sites currently planned. The final goal, he says, is “100% of capability by the end of 2017.”Getting to 100%, however, will require NEON to fully resolve longstanding permitting problems. NEON doesn’t own any of its sites, so before it can do any work it must obtain the permission of the landowner—whether a federal or state agency, an environmental nonprofit, a university, or private individuals. Construction also has to go through numerous environmental reviews. It all has taken much longer than anyone anticipated. “We’ve needed probably five to 10 times more permits than was originally thought,” Lea says. “It’s become a huge drain on time and resources.”STREON posed an especially high permitting hurdle that NEON never cleared. “Dropping pollutants into a reach of streams for 30 years was a hard thing for most people to swallow,” Lea says.NEON officials also have had to deal with everything from protests by local residents to a pair of murders that ultimately doomed an urban site in Puerto Rico (see below). In Hawaii and Alaska, the permitting process has been so problematic that this past summer NSF officials proposed dropping those two states, plus Puerto Rico, from NEON. Scientists reacted with horror, pointing out that Hawaii alone provides 25% of the climate variability across NEON sites and that, together, the three locales double the amount of biodiversity being monitored. The idea, which NSF’s Blood says was simply a trial balloon, was eventually abandoned.SIDEBAR: Tragic end for Puerto Rico siteFor many of the National Ecological Observatory Network’s (NEON’s) 80-plus monitoring sites, getting the necessary permits to begin construction was the biggest hurdle. But one site in Puerto Rico was undone by tragedy.This past spring, two security guards were gunned down at what was to have been a “relocatable,” or movable, site in a village near Ponce. In June, NEON took down the nearly complete installation after deciding that the site, known as Mameyes, was too dangerous.“The community said they wanted us to stay, but they couldn’t guarantee our safety,” says Russ Lea, who this month stepped down as NEON’s CEO. “They haven’t captured those responsible for the murders … so … the decision was clear.”The local contractor had hired armed guards after construction material started disappearing from Mameyes, making it NEON’s only guarded site. In the predawn hours of 30 April, the guards were shot dead. Local authorities have declined to discuss the status of the investigation.Although it pales next to the human tragedy, Lea says shuttering Mameyes meant abandoning a site that had required incredible resourcefulness by NEON managers. After a landslide in 1985 killed 130 people and destroyed the barrio, the remaining houses were bulldozed, and a dry forest grew up through the rubble. That history posed a special challenge to those installing the tower and monitoring equipment.“The engineering skill needed to put that urban site into a rubble field, and not disturb the key environmental components, is a testament to what NEON is capable of achieving,” Lea says. “And then having to pull it all out—it breaks me up just to think about it.” There’s also a loss to science, as Mameyes represents a unique ecosystem within an urban setting. The descoping offers outside scientists a golden opportunity to reconnect with the project, Kelly says. Last month the Ecological Society of America issued a supportive letter from 16 present and past presidents. “We remain excited about the potential new science that could emerge” from NEON, they wrote, asking NSF and NEON Inc. “to re-engage with the ecological community.” NEON will be trapping beetles at many sites. Click to view the privacy policy. 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Country More than a decade ago, ecologist Scott Ollinger helped launch U.S. ecology’s flagship foray into big science. He and other researchers worked to transform the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) dream of a continental-scale observatory that would monitor environmental change into a concrete plan. What emerged was the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), a unique string of more than 100 data collection stations spread from Alaska to Puerto Rico.So Ollinger was thrilled when, in 2013, NEON offered him the chance to oversee the network’s expected trove of data on long-term changes in climate, land use, biodiversity, and invasive species. He arranged for a 3-year leave of absence from his post at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. Then he hit the road to NEON’s headquarters in Boulder, Colorado.En route, however, Ollinger learned that NSF, which is paying for NEON, had put a hold on an initial $111 million grant to begin operating some of the newly built stations.  That meant “I was almost fired the day I arrived,” he says. NEON INC. last_img read more