Lois Lerners emails are back from the dead—sort o

first_imgLois Lerner’s emails are back from the dead—sort of. The former IRS director’s BlackBerry, however, is still long gone. The IRS intentionally destroyed it in June 2012 (after congressional staffers interviewed Lerner about the IRS targeting conservative groups) as the Deputy Assistant Chief Counsel acknowledged in a recent sworn declaration. We’ve all met someone we just don’t trust but don’t know why. There’s often a pretty good reason to feel that way. Has someone ever made an insincere attempt to flatter you? Their words might be complimentary, but their body language, tone, and/or context let you know the compliment is phony. Does this guy really think I’m that stupid? So, up goes your trust wall. If he’ll lie about this, he’ll lie about anything. The IRS debacle is a prime example of why we build trust walls. The emails Congress requested had (supposedly) been deleted when several hard drives crashed. I asked our in-house technology guru, Alex Daley, what the probability was of that happening. Here’s what he had to say: Everyone who ever owned a computer knows that hard drives are finicky beasts. In fact, Google uses a LOT of hard drives and so they have published all kinds of research on their failure rates. The gist: there’s about a 1 in 36 chance a hard drive fails in any given month. The math says then that if the IRS was practicing good data center management practices—we have to assume, however silly it might seem, that the agency responsible for holding the most personal information on American citizens outside the NSA is following best practices—then the chance of seven hard drives failing at the same time and wiping out the data on them is about 1 in 78 billion. How rare is that? The odds of winning the Florida Lottery are roughly 1 in 23 million. So it’s 340 times more unlikely than you winning a state lottery. The odds of winning the Powerball are 1 in 175 million; for Mega Millions, the odds are 1 in 259 million. Of course, we give the IRS too much credit. The risk of hard drives failing increases with age, and we suspect the IRS, like much of the government, isn’t spending a lot of time rotating hard drives. The odds also increase if you keep all the drives in one place, using old-fashioned persistence techniques. Then a fire, flood, electrical issues, or any other number of problems could easily wipe out the whole lot at once. At one point there seemed to be only one plausible explanation for allowing so much data to disappear: negligence. Turns out, however, the data weren’t even gone. As Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton announced on Monday: Department of Justice attorneys for the Internal Revenue Service told Judicial Watch on Friday [August 22] that Lois Lerner’s emails, indeed all government computer records, are backed up by the federal government in case of a government-wide catastrophe. The Obama administration attorneys said that this back-up system would be too onerous to search. The DOJ attorneys also acknowledged that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is investigating this back-up system. …. There are no “missing” Lois Lerner emails—nor missing emails of any of the other top IRS or other government officials whose emails seem to be disappearing at increasingly alarming rate. All the focus on missing hard drives has been a diversion. It sure seems clear why so many Americans feel put down. Does the government really think we’re that stupid? Maybe. I look at it this way: I suppose it’s possible a dog can eat your homework. It’s still a lousy excuse that no one will believe. It’s no wonder politicians rank so low on our trust scale.Whom Can You Trust? The IRS is in our lives, period. If you live here in the US or you’re a US citizen living abroad, you can’t sever the relationship. Here’s the upside, though: for the most part you can choose to conduct your private affairs with trustworthy people. One of the most common emails I receive is from subscribers looking for a trustworthy broker or financial advisor. Most come with sad tales: they had to fire their advisor because something felt fishy. Maybe they’d been directed to overly risky investments or high-fee mutual funds. Some couldn’t pinpoint their advisor’s exact offense but just knew in their gut something was amiss. We should all expect the people we pay to help manage our money to put our interests ahead of their own. One subscriber said that paying fees to an advisor to put his money into high-fee investments made it almost impossible to end up with the growth he needed. He clearly wasn’t getting the service he deserved and had good reason to look elsewhere. I recently finished reading The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine, M.D. Dr. Brizendine shares quite a bit of scientific evidence to support the existence of female intuition. In brief, women score higher on tests for reading nonverbal communications and on average have more receptors for those cues than their male counterparts. That explains why my youngest daughter recently fired an attorney. I was quite proud. She explained, “I got tired of feeling like I was being talked down to!” When I asked her to elaborate, she felt he thought she was stupid and should blindly follow his advice without question. She was picking up on the little things that might seem trivial but cause our subconscious mind to take notice. At one point in my career, I sought advice from a top public speaker. (Maybe I wanted to be more like my daughters.) This speaker had an uncanny ability to “read, sense, and feel” his audience. He did this mostly through nonverbal clues and suggested I read Body Language by Julius Fast to help my subconscious mind tune in to nonverbal cues. I read the book and learned that much of it was based on works like ‪Kinesics and Context: ‪Essays on Body Motion Communication by ‪Ray L. Birdwhistell. So I read those books too and worked to sharpen my subconscious mind’s nonverbal recognition skills. Afterward my student critiques even went up a full point. Perhaps that also helped me picked up on the suspect explanations coming from the IRS. It’s certainly helped me trust my gut when deciding whether or not to do business with someone. An attorney, stockbroker, money manager, or certified financial planner can have a great track record and all the requisite credentials you could ask for. That’s not enough. If he or she makes you uncomfortable but you aren’t sure why, don’t ignore your instincts. Switching course and hiring someone new can be an expensive headache, but in the long run, you’ll be glad you did.On the Lighter Side Last Saturday we went to the Frog Follies in Evansville, Indiana. It’s a huge vintage car show, with almost 4,500 cars, all made before 1949. My grandson mentioned that a lot of old people really like car shows, and he’s correct. The classics remind us of our youth, and we often have stories to tell about particular models. I hope future generations preserve their history to share with their grandchildren, too. I snuck away from the grandkids last week for an interview with Kerry Lutz of the Financial Survival Network about annuities. With that in mind, I hope all of our subscribers read through our free special report, The Truth About Annuities: Three Dangers You Must Avoid When Shopping for Annuities. Download your complimentary copy here. And finally… Until next week…last_img read more

Greece finally struck a deal… Over the weekend G

first_imgGreece finally struck a deal… Over the weekend, Greece held an “emergency summit” with its creditors. Negotiations dragged on for 17 hours. At 9 a.m. Monday, the two sides finally agreed on a deal that will keep Greece in the eurozone. Greece will receive €86 billion ($95 billion) in bailout funds. In exchange, it must radically transform its socialist economy. Greece agreed to slash spending, raise taxes, and fix its bloated pension system. It will also sell government assets to pay off some of its debt. Investors are happy to avoid a “Grexit.” The Euro Stoxx 50, an index of European blue chip stocks, climbed 1.8% on the news. The German DAX rose 1.5%. No word yet on when Greek banks will reopen. We told you how the Greek government closed all Greek banks during the crisis and how it would only let people withdraw €60 ($66) per day. The Athens stock exchange is still closed too. •  The Greek debt crisis will fade from the headlines for now… But this bailout doesn’t solve the real problem. Greece owes Europe more than €300 billion it can never repay. Yesterday’s bailout just kicks the can down the road… again. Its Greece’s third bailout since 2010. Europe and the International Monetary Fund had already loaned Greece more than €240 billion since 2010, before this latest bailout. BBC reported that the European Union believes this latest bailout could help Greece pay its bills for three years. After that, Greece will likely run out of money again. So expect to hear about the Greek debt crisis again sometime in 2018. On the brighter side, Greece’s debt crisis has created screaming bargains in some Greek stocks. The Athens stock market is down 84% from its 2007 peak. Nick Giambruno plans to recommend a Greek company in the next issue of Crisis Speculator. He’s found an exceptional Greek business trading for pennies on the dollar. This company is unique because it’s the victim of not one but two crises. That’s all we can tell you for now… more on this opportunity soon. I’ve just seen a shocking file from Bill Bonner… He’s been tracking a threat so big that it could cut us off from basic things that we depend on every day: ATMs, credit cards and more. Sounds crazy, but it looks like it’s finally about to hit. Stay Safe – See It Here. Recommended Links – Until Midnight Tonight, You Can Claim 1 Free Year of Professional Speculator It normally costs $2,500… But until midnight tonight, editor Paul Mampilly is sharing one of the biggest predictions of his career and letting you claim 1 free year of his work to see his top recommendation, and why he believes it could make you an extraordinary 26 times your money over the next decade. Click here for details.  — •  In other news, Japan is close to restarting its nukes… In March 2011, a massive tsunami slammed Japan. It killed 18,000 people. It also caused a meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. It was the worst nuclear disaster since Three Mile Island. Before the tsunami hit in 2011, Japan got 27% of its power from nuclear. Japan was the third-largest generator of nuclear power on the planet. But the country shut down all its nukes after Fukushima. Now, four years later, Japan plans to restart its first nuclear reactor in mid-August. It will fire up another reactor in September. Japan currently plans to restart 15 reactors total. Japan is a tiny island with few natural resources. It has been paying vast sums to import energy to keep its lights on. Japan paid $270 billion to import fossil fuels (mostly natural gas) in 2013. That caused Japan to have a trade deficit of $112 billion… its worst trade deficit ever. Louis James, editor of International Speculator, and his analyst team recently explained how has Japan no choice but to turn its nukes back on… There’s no way Japan can meet its electricity needs without restarting its reactors. Oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices will not stay low forever either. Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority should begin to streamline the restart application process. We then expect a faster pace of restarts in the second half of 2015 and beyond. •  This is good news for the price of uranium… Uranium is what powers a nuclear power plant… just like coal powers a coal power plant. We asked Louis if Japan’s nukes could “move the needle” in uranium prices. Here’s his reply… As it happens, I’m kicking rocks on a uranium exploration project today. There certainly is buzz among the analysts here about the restart of that Japan reactor bringing more buying to the sector. It’s happened before. I’m not so sure, with other forms of energy (like natural gas and coal) so cheap and looking to remain that way. But whether or not the market ticks up on that news, it’s a clear sign of where things are headed, for Japan to be doing this. Very bullish. Uranium is in a bear market. The price of uranium is down 72% from its all-time high of $130 per pound set in 2007. Japan restarting its reactors may or may not revive uranium prices in the short term. But there’s no question that uranium has a promising future. There are currently 437 nuclear power reactors operating worldwide. 60 more are under construction, another 165 are planned, and 331 more are proposed. The number of nuclear power plants in the world could easily double in the next couple decades. China alone plans to build 46 new ones by 2020. It will take a lot of uranium to fuel all those new plants. That means uranium prices will likely have to rise from their depressed levels. Paladin Energy, a uranium miner, reports that the cost of extraction for 60% of global production is above uranium’s market price. In other words, many uranium miners are struggling to make any money at all. Unless uranium prices rise, it’s not worth their while to produce the uranium needed to fuel all those new nuclear power plants. Louis James recently told International Speculator readers about his favorite uranium pick. He said this company is the “best-positioned producer to benefit from the coming bull market in uranium. This is true regardless of any potential weakness in uranium prices in the short term.” Louis thinks this company’s stock will eventually “go much higher” than its price before the Fukushima disaster. And right now, it’s selling for dirt-cheap. This is the company you want to own when the uranium price turns higher. You can learn about it by taking a risk-free trial to International Speculator.last_img read more

By EB Tucker editor Strategic Investor

first_imgBy E.B. Tucker, editor, Strategic Investor E.B. Tucker Editor, Strategic InvestorP.S. I’ll be at the second annual Legacy Investment Summit in Southern California from September 23-25. I’d love to meet you and chat about investments, traveling, art, and more.I hope to see you there.If you’re interested in joining, don’t delay… Spaces are filling up fast. Click here to reserve your tickets. Regular readers know I like to share what I’m doing outside of the markets.I believe it’s the experiences away from the desk that do more for long-term success than anything you can accomplish at the office.With that, I’m excited to share details on my latest trip with you. It’s a special two-part series on art that I hope you find useful.Let’s get started…Last month, I went to Marfa, Texas. It’s an out-of-the-way place with a population of 1,800. It’s not a place you’d expect to see world-famous art.In the 1970s, artist and architect Donald Judd moved to Marfa. He had risen to a somewhat famous status in New York City but he was frustrated with the art scene.Judd wanted to be away from people. He liked the American West. He took out a map and circled rural areas that seemed like they’d suit him. Marfa won. Marfa, Texas is three hours southeast of El Paso, not far from the Mexican borderFor about 100 years prior, Marfa wasn’t much more than a dried-up town where the train used to stop. After the end of the coal-powered steam engine, the town’s status as a water refueling station didn’t mean much. Downtown MarfaMarfa also has a military history. During World War II, there were several military training areas in the region. Judd bought a small, walled complex of abandoned buildings in the town formerly used by a military quartermaster. He transformed the complex into his home and studio.The locals thought this was strange. They were right. Judd went on to buy an old 340-acre military site south of town. It housed Nazi POWs during the war. With dozens of abandoned buildings on-site, he set out to turn the base into a permanent art installation.Permanent art means it sits there forever. The idea is you look at it, ponder it, and then move on. I’ll explain why that’s an important part of art later.In the picture below, notice the large silver boxes positioned in a straight line. They’re made of aluminum. Each one weighs 2,000 pounds. Judd had each of the 100 boxes fabricated with different internal dimensions. He placed them in three perfect lines roughly 30 years ago, and they haven’t moved since.Standing in the middle of this building is a unique experience. The giant quarter-pane windows let in a lot of west Texas sunlight. The symmetrical organization of the exhibit is purposeful. Former military building at Donald Judd’s Chinati Foundation in MarfaJudd insisted people not take photos while looking at his work. He was on to something. These days, people can’t look at anything without taking a photo of it on their smartphone. Judd realized that when you stare at a device and not the art, you’re not experiencing it.The Point of ArtJudd died in 1994. He left behind several foundations to preserve his work. He was an odd guy.For instance, he had thousands of books in his library organized by the author’s birthdate. I saw his library in Marfa. He also built uncomfortable furniture for the library. He thought that while reading you shouldn’t get too comfortable, or you’d lose focus.This is all part of why I enjoy art. It’s odd. The point of it is merely to observe and enjoy. It took me decades to discover this simple pleasure.I grew up in rural eastern North Carolina. I don’t remember people talking about art. My guess is they feared being mistaken for a liberal, which was essentially a communist in their eyes.Most of the artworks I saw were dark oil paintings depicting a fox hunt, a Civil War scene, or something related to early American history. I just didn’t get it.It wasn’t that we were hayseeds – far from it. We visited all the major U.S. cities. We visited the requisite museums to see the important stuff. What I didn’t know was how to look at a piece of art and simply enjoy it.Let It Speak to YouPeople said a piece of art spoke to them. My first thought was if a painting talks to you, you’re clinically insane. All of a sudden, that phrase made sense to me. It happened one day five years ago.I was in Paris waiting for Bill Bonner. In 2014, I helped him launch The Bill Bonner Letter (now The Bonner-Denning Letter). If you keep up with Bill, you know he spends a lot of time in “out of the way” places.That summer, he was on the way to his chateau in central France. It’s a few hours south of Paris. Since the directions were complicated, he asked me to wait for his other guests in Paris before heading south.With a few days to kill in Paris, a friend from Brussels gave me a list of several lesser-known museums to visit. He’s a major player in the art world. He told me there are around 130 museums in Paris. Most people only visit the Louvre.I ended up at a small museum on the north side of Paris. It had nothing but Claude Monet paintings. I spent half the day sitting and staring at his works. I figured out why I didn’t understand the detailed oil paintings I remembered from childhood. Monet smashed that style, kicking off the Impressionist movement.I’m simplifying a big part of art history, of course. The style change of the 1870s wasn’t something we should reduce to a few sentences. However, the contrast between Monet and his predecessors is shocking. Impressionist paintings are generally bright and a little messy, and they’re begging you to find the portrayed scene within that mess.I discovered that I liked Impressionist work. I liked Monet and his contemporaries. And that’s enough to enjoy art.Back to MarfaMarfa is an art mecca. If you enjoy culture, excellent cuisine, and progressive art all situated in the middle of nowhere, you might want to visit.On the drive from El Paso, you’ll pass a seemingly random building. It’s a replica of a Prada store. The shoes and handbags are real, yet there’s no one in the store. The contrast of the haughty brand against the barren west Texas landscape is interesting. “Prada Marfa” permanent art exhibit near Valentine, TexasOf all the art I saw over several days in Marfa, I did have a favorite.When Judd bought the abandoned military base south of Marfa, he had a plan. He gave each of his artist friends one of the buildings. He asked that they each create a permanent art installation in their building.Judd’s friend Dan Flavin chose six U-shaped former barracks. He painted the walls and ceilings white. He asked viewers to enter the building at the tip of the “U,” walk to the back, then turn and view each of the six exhibits. Dan Flavin’s permanent light exhibit at the Chinati FoundationFlavin designed the exhibit before his death in 1996. Other artists took his plans and completed the work. Walking building to building looking at the six exhibits from each side is a unique experience. If you enjoy art, it’s something to see.Art Can Be an InvestmentTraveling to see obscure art is an exciting hobby. It will also keep you away from homogenous mobs of Americans flocking to see overcrowded sites like Yellowstone or Mount Rushmore.The art a person enjoys seeing says something about them. The art a person chooses to hang on his wall says everything about them.I’ve turned my art hobby into an investment. I don’t intend to make a fortune from the pieces I buy. However, I also don’t want to own things I can’t sell.There’s nothing wrong with buying a painting you like for sale on Main Street in a ritzy tourist town. Just don’t expect to ever sell that painting for more than $100. I call this consumption art. I want to own investment art.I found a way to enjoy and invest in art at the same time. I had some help discovering it. I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow in part two.Regards,last_img read more

The number of inspections by the social care regul

first_imgThe number of inspections by the social care regulator that are cancelled or rescheduled every month has risen by more than 360 per cent in just one year, the watchdog’s own figures have revealed.The figures – revealed by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following a freedom of information request by Disability News Service (DNS) – show that 25 inspections of adult social care services were cancelled in April 2015, but that this shot up to 103 in April 2016.The figures also show the number of inspections that had to be rescheduled rose from 25 in April 2015 to 130 in April 2016.The freedom of information request was originally submitted by DNS in an attempt to discover the impact of changes to CQC’s troubled Experts by Experience (EbE) programme, in which people with experience of using services accompany CQC inspectors on their inspection visits of health and care services.The EbE programme was hit by criticism after three of four new contracts to run the programme were awarded to Remploy, the formerly government-owned disability employment business which is now mostly owned by the scandal-hit US company Maximus.In February, DNS reported that the decision to hand the three contracts to Remploy/Maximus had led to confusion, chaos and a stream of resignations, with some Experts even being told to print their own ID badges.Experts had previously been paid more than £17 an hour to take part in CQC inspections, but many were furious when they discovered Remploy planned to cut their pay to just £8.25 per hour (or £9.40 in London), although CQC later agreed to subsidise these wages for existing Experts for the first six months of the Remploy contracts.The new figures released to DNS show that inspections that were cancelled or rescheduled as a result of “insufficient non-CQC resources” (which includes those where there problems with securing Experts to take part in inspections) rose from six in July 2015 (when CQC began to collect the figures) to 26 in April 2016, an increase of more than 330 per cent.One Expert said the figures were “embarrassing”, but he said they did not surprise him because he was currently having more inspections cancelled by Remploy than those that went ahead.He said: “The inspectors [I speak to] are all saying the same thing: there are not any Experts available. That is what they are being told by Remploy.“Quite a lot of this I suspect is because of Remploy’s chaotic handling of the contract.”He said he had real concerns about the impact of so many cancelled inspections on CQC’s ability to root out abuse and other poor practice in care homes, community-based social care services and home care agencies.He said he believed that the inspection programme was “woefully and dangerously underfunded”, while inspectors were “dropping like flies because they are way too over-worked”.A CQC spokesman refused to say whether the increase in cancellations and rescheduled inspections due to “insufficient non-CQC resources” was connected with the decision to hand the contracts to Remploy/Maximus and the subsequent reported chaos within the EbE programme.And he refused to say whether the overall cancellation and rescheduling figures were due to funding problems within the regulator.But he said it was “clear that the majority of our inspections are able to go ahead, as planned”.He said: “When we do have to make arrangements to reschedule planned inspections of adult social care services, there are many possible reasons behind this. “For example, in adult social care these include urgent inspections or enforcement activity being required elsewhere; changes to the provider’s service, such as closure or relocation; and changes needed due to sickness, annual leave and other personal circumstances.“When making these decisions, we always prioritise our activities according to where we have the greatest concerns as this is in the best interests of people who are receiving care.”But he refused to explain why the number of cancellations and rescheduled inspections had risen by more than 360 per cent in just one year.He added: “The Care Quality Commission continues to have formal meetings with suppliers of the new Experts by Experience services which began in February 2016 on a monthly basis and we will continue to closely monitor their progress in helping us deliver our programme, which will significantly expand the number of Experts by Experience that we involve on inspections.“Our commitment to inspect every adult social care service that was registered on or before 1 October 2014 at least once using our current regulatory approach by the end of March 2017 remains and we are on track to do so.”last_img read more

Scientists spot genes that make some sarcomas less aggressive

first_imgShare2Editor’s note: A link to a high-resolution image for download appears at the end of this release. David Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduMike Williams713-348-6728mikewilliams@rice.eduScientists spot genes that make some sarcomas less aggressive Rice, Duke team model mechanism that could lead to new approaches against cancer HOUSTON – (Sept. 19, 2016) – Scientists at Rice and Duke universities have identified a set of genes they say make sarcoma cells less aggressive. They hope to turn the discovery into new therapeutic approaches to fight metastatic cancers.The work by members of Rice’s Center for Theoretical Biological Physics led by co-director and biophysicist Herbert Levine and scientists at Duke combined simulations and experiments to uncover genes that regulate how cells transition from epithelial (nonmobile) to mesenchymal (migrating) — or vice versa.The work appears on the October cover of the American Society for Microbiology journal Molecular and Cellular Biology.The epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, known as EMT, is a characteristic of developmental processes but can be hijacked by cells that turn cancerous and metastatic. A previous study by Rice’s theoretical group found that during EMT, some cells are in a hybrid state that has both epithelial and mesenchymal properties, including group migration.The reverse, aka MET, is important to normal development but is also suspected of helping roving mesenchymal cancer cells use epithelial characteristics to settle in distant organs and initiate metastasis.“We’re interested in understanding the hierarchy of controls that cells use when they change from one phenotype to another,” Levine said. “Most of the work here has been on carcinoma cells, which start out as epithelial and then, as part of the metastatic process, pick up mesenchymal-like properties in order to move and evade detection.“Here the opportunity was to look at the same process, but almost in reverse. Here we have a cell that’s really mesenchymal, but it has picked up certain properties to be epithelial,” he said. “We were interested in how symmetric these processes were. And the answer is there are some degrees of symmetry but there are some clear differences that seem to involve what I think of as the second layer of how regulation works.”Cells change their orientation from mesenchymal to epithelial or back depending on genetic signals or mutations, Levine said. “When a gene is expressed for a very long time — or not expressed for a very long time — that gets encoded at the structural level of DNA,” he said. “So the DNA of genes that are used often are more accessible.“We discovered these sarcoma cells, which are really mesenchymal, have gone to this extra structural level of DNA organization where epithelial-like genes are more strongly constrained.” That, he said, makes it much harder for hybrid cells to drop their epithelial traits.Both EMT and MET exhibit what’s called phenotypic plasticity, in this case the ability of a cell to change its type in response to changes in its environment. But in some types of sarcomas — malignant tumors that develop in soft tissue and bone – roving mesenchymal cells seem to acquire a greater share of the traits of stationary epithelial cells.According to lead author Jason Somarelli of Duke Cancer Institute, “Patients whose sarcomas have more of these epithelial-like traits have better survival outcomes. They live longer than patients whose sarcomas do not exhibit this phenotypic plasticity.”The team found that in multiple sarcoma cell lines, the combined expression of the micro RNA-200 family and upregulation of an epithelial gene activator, GRHL2, led to downregulation of the ZEB1 protein, which makes cells lean more toward epithelial-like behavior and therefore less aggressive.The initiative at Duke first caught the eye of Rice graduate student Mohit Kumar Jolly, who with Levine has published related works based on predictive computer simulations of biological systems. The ability of cells to become epithelial-mesenchymal hybrids was the topic of a 2015 study in which the Rice team discovered that tumors depend on these hybrids to hijack cell-signaling processes.“We thought they were looking at the same players that we were, but they are connected differently in sarcomas as compared to carcinomas,” Jolly said. “They had different results from what our initial model predicted, so we developed a new mathematical model to capture cellular plasticity in sarcomas.”The next challenge, Levine said, will be to understand the mechanism by which genes that encode the relevant proteins are made available in DNA’s chromatin structure, a subject of ongoing study at Rice. “We want to understand how those factors either help or prevent cells from going through the phenotypic transitions we think are important for cancer metastasis,” he said.The paper’s co-authors are Samantha Shetler, Xueyang Wang, Suzanne Bartholf Dewitt, Alexander Hish, Shivee Gilja, William Eward, Kathryn Ware and Andrew Armstrong, all of Duke, and Mariano Garcia-Blanco of Duke and the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston.The research was supported by the Duke Cancer Institute, the Duke University Genitourinary Oncology Laboratory, the Duke University Department of Orthopaedics, the National Science Foundation, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas and the National Institutes of Health.-30-Read the abstract at http://mcb.asm.org/content/36/19/2503.abstractThis news release can be found online at http://news.rice.edu/2016/09/19/scientists-spot-genes-that-make-some-sarcomas-less-aggressive/Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNewsRelated materials:Researchers Identify Genes That Make Sarcomas Less Aggressive: https://sites.duke.edu/dukecancerinstitute/researchers-identify-genes-that-make-sarcomas-less-aggressive/Center for Theoretical Biological Physics: https://ctbp.rice.eduRice Department of Bioengineering: http://bioengineering.rice.eduImage for download: http://news.rice.edu/files/2016/09/0919_SARCOMA-1-WEB-22rlklp.jpgRice University researchers Mohit Kumar Jolly, left, and Herbert Levine. (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,910 undergraduates and 2,809 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for happiest students and for lots of race/class interaction by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to http://tinyurl.com/RiceUniversityoverview. AddThislast_img read more

Expanse Appoints Sherry Lowe as Chief Marketing Officer

first_imgLowe joins Expanse to Lead Global Marketing and Accelerate the Company’s Rapid Customer Growth across Fortune 500 and Government OrganizationsExpanse, the leader in helping IT operations and security teams discover, manage, and secure all of their global internet assets, announced it hired veteran marketing executive, Sherry Lowe, as Chief Marketing Officer. Lowe will spearhead the company’s global brand and demand generation efforts and will report directly to Tim Junio, co-founder and CEO of Expanse.Lowe brings more than 20 years of marketing leadership and enterprise software experience across cloud, storage and platform technology. She joins Expanse after serving as Chief Marketing Officer at Druva, where she oversaw marketing strategy and broadened Druva’s awareness worldwide. Prior to that, Lowe was the Vice President of Worldwide Corporate Marketing and Communications at Splunk, where she built out the corporate marketing team of more than 50 employees and was pivotal in leading the company’s corporate marketing and communications teams during its transition to a public company in one of the largest tech IPOs of 2012.Marketing Technology News: SessionM Demonstrates How to Turn Data into Loyalty at Salesforce ConnectionsPrior to Splunk, Lowe served as Vice President of Marketing at MarkLogic, where she led all inbound and outbound marketing programs. She also held various marketing positions at Actian (formerly Ingres), Savvion (acquired by Progress Software) and Business Objects (acquired by SAP). Prior to becoming a Silicon Valley marketing executive, Lowe was an award-winning broadcast journalist. She was one of the first female sportscasters in the country, working for FOX and ABC affiliates. Lowe has degrees from Arizona State University and Indiana State University.“Sherry is a seasoned leader who brings outstanding judgment and extensive marketing, branding, public relations and go-to-market expertise to Expanse,” said Tim Junio, co-founder and CEO of Expanse. “We are now primed to scale rapidly. We just closed our Series C. We have product market fit with over $100 million in federal contracts across all military services and a growing customer base in the Fortune 500. Sherry will play a critical role in building a global brand and expanding our mission and vision to capitalize on this incredible market opportunity.”Marketing Technology News: Actions, Not Words: The Economist Group Unveils Global Social Purpose Research at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity“I have admired Expanse for quite some time and am excited to lead a marketing organization that is helping drive the phenomenal growth and traction that Expanse has seen in just a few short years,” said Sherry Lowe, Chief Marketing Officer of Expanse. “Digital transformation is driving business today – across the enterprise and in government – but it is leading to a state of insecurity. Expanse is a one-of-a-kind platform that keeps our customers safe by telling them in real-time what they own, what’s at risk and how to protect their most critical internet assets. It is an incredible story to tell and as a marketer I’m excited to share it as part of the opportunity to build an iconic brand at a rapidly growing company.”The addition of Lowe as Chief Marketing Officer comes on the heels of hypergrowth at Expanse. In April,  Expanse raised $70 million in Series C funding led by TPG Growth, and with return investments from NEA, IVP, Founders Fund, and MSD Capital. The company has tripled sales year-over-year since product launch in 2016 and has dozens of Fortune 500 and government organizations using its services, including CVS/Aetna, PayPal, Capital One, Allergan, Hudson’s Bay Company, the US Army, US Navy, US Air Force, and the Departments of Defense, Energy, and State.Marketing Technology News: AUDIENCEX Continues Momentum with 300% Revenue Growth and Strategic Leadership Appointments ExpanseMarketing TechnologyNewsSherry Lowe Previous ArticleMarTech Interview with Alan Braun, CEO at IngageNext ArticleADK, Japan’s Third-Largest ad agency, partners with CHEQ for Brand Safety and Anti-Fraud Prevention Expanse Appoints Sherry Lowe as Chief Marketing Officer PRNewswireJune 20, 2019, 1:35 pmJune 20, 2019 last_img read more

​Estrogens found in cows milk shown to pose no risk to adult

first_img Source:Estrogens in cows’ milk are unlikely to pose a threat to adult health. The majority of studies we reviewed concluded that the concentrations of estrogens found naturally in milk are too low to pose a risk to reproductive health or cancer development in adults. However, studies are lacking that look at any harmful effects of hormones from cows’ milk on baby and child development and health.”Professor Gregor Majdic, Co-author By Sally Robertson, B.Sc.Oct 26 2018Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)A review of studies looking into the health effects of consuming estrogen-containing cows’ milk has found that the milk is likely to be safe for human consumption.Image Credit: Alexander Chaikin / ShutterstockThe review suggests that the level of estrogens that occur naturally in cows’ milk are too low to pose a risk to adults and that people do not need to be concerned.The paper, entitled “Estrogens in consumer milk – is there a risk to human reproductive health?”, was published today in the European Journal of Endocrinology.The female sex hormone estrogen is present in cows’ milk and with more than 160 million tons of the milk produced in the EU in 2016 alone, it is a common component of our diet.Intensive farming has been shown to increase the amount of estrogen in cows’ milk which has raised concerns about the safety of drinking it.Potential adverse health effects include an increased risk of hormone-related cancers, reduced fertility, and abnormal fetal development.The current study reviewed the evidence available from more than a dozen analyses of rodents and humans looking at the effects that drinking the milk may have on the risk of cancer development and on fertility.Professor Gregor Majdic and Professor Tomaz Snoj from the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia found that the majority of studies where rats ingested milk or milk-derived estrogens, showed no differences in cancer risk or reproductive health.Some studies did report changes in reproductive health and other adverse health effects, but in those studies, the level of estrogen assessed far exceeded the level that people would usually ingest.Some studies have also suggested that drinking the milk can affect the level of growth hormone in children, but it is not clear whether the link is related to consuming estrogens or whether there are any other adverse health effects.last_img read more

Immediate HIV treatment initiation has improved but not yet universal in NYC

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)May 7 2019A new study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases found that immediate treatment initiation for HIV infection has improved since local and federal guidelines began to recommend universal treatment for all persons diagnosed with HIV, regardless of their disease stage.Despite notable improvements, nearly 25 percent of New York City residents with a new HIV diagnosis in 2015 had not initiated treatment within six months of their diagnosis. Another key study finding was that only 35 percent of people diagnosed with HIV had less advanced HIV disease. The study’s authors concluded that “continued efforts are needed to expand and better target HIV testing to promote earlier diagnosis and treatment initiation”.The study was conducted by a team of investigators, in collaboration with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and used population-based HIV surveillance data to understand if the timeliness of HIV diagnosis and antiretroviral treatment (ART) initiation improved since ‘universal treatment’ was first recommended. They found that, among 9,987 NYC residents diagnosed with HIV from 2012 to 2015, 35 percent were diagnosed early, and the annual proportion of persons diagnosed sooner after HIV infection did not increase appreciably. Six months after diagnosis, only 62, 67, 72, and 77 percent of persons diagnosed in 2012, 2013, 2014 or 2015 respectively had initiated ART.Voluntary HIV testing followed by immediate ART initiation is an integral part of strategies to eliminate HIV and control the HIV/AIDS epidemic because individuals with HIV have a lower risk of transmitting the virus and developing AIDS or serious illness if they start ART as soon as possible after HIV infection. In New York City, the ‘universal treatment’ recommendation, immediate treatment for all persons diagnosed with HIV, was made in late 2011.Related StoriesPrevalence of anal cancer precursors is higher in women living with HIV than previously reportedPatients with HIV DNA in cerebrospinal fluid have high risk of experiencing cognitive deficitsNovel method can help clinicians identify individuals most in need of PrEPTo understand and influence how quickly testing programs are diagnosing HIV and getting individuals on treatment, the timeliness of diagnosis and ART initiation would ideally be measurable and carefully monitored at the population level. Yet, population-based data on ART initiation are generally not systematically collected and thus unavailable in the US. And neither implementors nor researchers have adequately focused on the elapsed time from HIV infection to diagnosis and to ART initiation. The elapsed time matters because this represents time when an individual misses out on the benefits of treatment.”Although patients are increasingly receiving ART upon diagnosis, this study shows that treatment is neither universal nor immediate. To reach the monumental goal of ending the HIV epidemic, it is important to continue to expand and target HIV testing in order to achieve earlier diagnosis and treatment for people with undiagnosed HIV infection,” said McKaylee Robertson, the study’s lead author and an epidemiology doctoral student at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy.”A fundamental premise underlying public health implementation efforts aimed at ‘ending HIV epidemics’ around the globe is that the most effective way to reduce HIV-related deaths and onward transmission of the HIV virus is to diagnose and treat all persons with HIV as soon as possible after infection occurs. This study shows that we have made significant improvements in quickly getting people on treatment, but that we still have a long way to go”, said Dr. Denis Nash, the senior author on the study and Executive Director of the CUNY Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health. Source:http://sph.cuny.edu/2019/05/06/art-initiation-increased-not-universal/last_img read more

German utility EON to cut 5000 jobs in RWE megadeal

German energy giant EON to buy RWE subsidiary Innogy © 2018 AFP German utility EON on Monday said it plans to cut up to 5,000 jobs as part of its takeover of the renewables unit Innogy from rival RWE, in a deal that will redraw the country’s energy landscape. Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. In a joint statement, EON and RWE said they planned to complete their asset swap transaction, which surprised investors when it was unveiled this weekend, “by the end of 2019”.EON said it expects the Innogy takeover to generate some 600 to 800 million euros in savings annually from 2022, but warned that the “integration process” will lead to “a reduction of a maximum of 5,000 jobs” out of a total of around 70,000 jobs.”At the same time, EON anticipates to create thousands of new jobs in the coming decade,” the statement added.The ultimate goal of the transaction is to allow EON to focus on retail customers and on managing energy networks, essentially buying and selling electricity, while RWE will specialise in generating power from fossil fuels and renewables.The complicated arrangement comes amid huge upheaval in the sector as Europe’s top economy switches from conventional to renewable power under the government’s so-called “Energiewende” or “energy transition”.The deal would first see EON acquire RWE’s 76.8 percent stake in Innogy, valuing the clean-energy spin-off at some 22 billion euros.Pending the green light from financial regulators, EON then intends to make a voluntary takeover offer to Innogy’s minority shareholders from “early May”, offering 40 euros per share.RWE for its part would gain an effective participation of 16.67 percent in EON—turning the one-time competitor into EON’s largest shareholder.The next step of the deal would see RWE take control of EON’s renewables business, including Innogy’s renewables, its gas storage business, its stake in Austrian energy supplier Kelaq and EON’s minority stakes in two nuclear power plants. In return, RWE will make a cash payment of 1.5 billion euros to EON.Innogy’s energy networks and customer base would remain with EON.The transaction is still subject to regulatory approval.The deal would make RWE “a leading European electricity producer,” according to the statement, as the firm becomes Europe’s third-largest renewables producer while also hanging on to gas and coal-fired power plants to ensure “security of supply” despite their harmful impact on the environment.EON meanwhile said it would “focus entirely on meeting the demands of its around 50 million customers across Europe”, and pledged to look into novel climate protection solutions—such as the faster roll-out of charging stations for electric cars.Merkel welcomes dealChancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the companies’ manoeuvres earlier Monday, saying she was “confident” both EON and RWE were working to find “the best ways” to assure “the supply of sustainable energy” and respond to the country’s energy shift.Germany’s energy market has been rapidly transformed since Merkel announced a phase-out of nuclear power after Japan’s 2011 Fukushima disaster.Under the “energy transition”, Germany has raised the share of solar, wind and other renewables to about one third of electricity production.As wholesale power prices have dropped, the big utilities have been forced into major restructuring.In response to those challenges, EON spun off its fossil fuel operations and invested heavily in renewables, while RWE remains the biggest power producer and still operates major coal-fired plants.In a separate statement Monday, EON unveiled its 2017 financial results, which showed adjusted net profits jumping 58 percent year-on-year to 1.4 billion euros.Operating, or underlying, profit came in at 3.1 billion euros, while EON was also able to trim its massive debt from 19.7 billion last October to 19.2 billion euros.RWE is due to announce its results on Tuesday. Citation: German utility EON to cut 5,000 jobs in RWE mega-deal (2018, March 12) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-german-eon-jobs-rwe-mega-deal.html RWE is selling German energy renewables unit Innogy to EON in a complex deal that will redraw Germany’s energy landscape read more

Toward animalfriendly robots

first_img Citation: Toward animal-friendly robots (2018, September 6) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-animal-friendly-robots.html Self-driving cars may soon be able to make moral and ethical decisions as humans do Machine ethics is a young, dynamic discipline, which primarily targets people, not animals. However, it is important that animals are kept from harm when encountering these machines since animals cannot make informed decisions or react as humans would.Several prototypes of semi-autonomous and autonomous machines that do not startle animals in the wild have been developed at the FHNW University in Brugg-Windisch, Switzerland. The prototypes are a ladybird-friendly robot vacuum cleaner, a self-driving car, a drone study for nature photography and advanced driver assistance systems.The article “Towards animal-friendly machines” by Professor Oliver Bendel of the FHNW School of Business, published in De Gruyter’s open access journal Paladyn, Journal of Behavioral Robotics, describes how annotated decision trees for animal-friendly moral machines are being developed and compared while making the moral justifications transparent.The modeling for the drone, for example, was presented in 2015 and instructed it to ignore humans, to avoid harming flying birds and to identify skittish animals and only photograph them from an appropriate height.The robot vacuum cleaner was programmed to identify ladybirds by their coloring, and stop vacuuming until the insect had moved on. Furthermore, the owner could control the morality of the machine by presetting it to spare ladybirds, but vacuum other invasive or undesirable species. This may not seem animal-friendly, but absolute moral rules need not be enforced consistently if, for example, a vermin-free house is justified.Programming advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) in terms of decisions they can make with respect to animals is the main focus of the Robocar design study. The study posits that ADAS should recognize warning signs for toad migration, hedgehog populations or deer crossings and adapt the car’s reactions (emergency brake, reduced speed, etc) accordingly. In short, ADAS systems should identify such animals and animal species directly and react appropriately.”Both robotics and computer science must be sensitized to animal protection and advocates for animal ethics should follow developments in robotics and artificial intelligences and should be involved in both,” said Professor Bendel. More information: Oliver Bendel. Towards animal-friendly machines, Paladyn, Journal of Behavioral Robotics (2018). DOI: 10.1515/pjbr-2018-0019 Credit: CC0 Public Domain Explore further Provided by De Gruyter Semi-autonomous and autonomous machines and robots can become moral machines using annotated decision trees containing ethical assumptions or justifications for interactions with animals. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more