Tesla is rolling out version 9 update but it is pulling Navigate

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says that the automaker is starting the wide release of its highly anticipated version 9 software update ‘now’, but they are pulling ‘Navigate on Autopilot, which is arguably the most important feature as part of the update. more…The post Tesla is rolling out version 9 update, but it is pulling ‘Navigate on Autopilot’ for now, says Elon Musk appeared first on Electrek. Source: Charge Forward

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Rivian R1T InsideEVs Exclusive Live Video Reveal

first_img Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on November 28, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News Rivian R1T Electric Pickup Truck Shocks World In LA Debut UPDATE: See Rivian R1T Electric Truck Live From LA Source: Electric Vehicle News Needless to say, we’re very excited about the potential for Rivian to be a driving force in the future of electric vehicles. Everything we’ve learned so far points to the fact that the automaker has gone about the entire process in a very painstaking and respectable manner. Since a few of us live near the Plymouth location — and Normal, IL is not too far away — we hope to establish a working relationship with Rivian so that we can continue to cover progress.Tom was fortunate to spend some time with RJ at the event, so we may have more details to share in the coming days. Moreover, we’re confident that once everything slows down after the show, we’ll be able to get some more talk time with RJ and perhaps some of the other execs in order to get all of our questions answered. Until then, enjoy the video.Video Description via Eric Loveday on YouTube:Rivian R1T Debut In LARivian R1T electric truck debuts live in LA. Get a firsthand look at the recent Rivian R1T unveiling event via InsideEVs’ Tom Moloughney.As we recently shared, we were in attendance at a Rivian R1T pre-launch event in Plymouth, MI, but taking video or photos was prohibited. Fortunately, Tom was able to attend the official reveal in L.A. on Monday evening. It was too difficult to broadcast live footage from the event, and even getting decent video and pictures was a bit of a challenge for some. However, Tom was able to record the entire ceremony, including CEO RJ Scaringe’s opening remarks and the first presentation of the truck in the flesh.Additional Rivian R1T Coverage: Rivian R1T Video Round Up From LA Debutlast_img read more

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Columnist Repeats Bogus Claim That Electric Cars Arent Green

first_imgSource: Electric Vehicle News Let’s not spread conspiracy theories. But there are troubling signs about the latest anti-EV op-ed.“Electric vehicle subsidies don’t help the environment.” That’s the headline of an opinion piece you might have seen recently in your local paper. The piece by Drew Johnson first appeared in the Austin American-Statesman a month ago.More about EV Myths Johnson’s article keeps showing up in local papers – from Montrose, Colo. to Houma, La. That’s because the Austin American-Statesman was purchased by GateHouse Media in 2018. The Pittsford, NY-company now publishes 145 daily newspapers, 325 community publications and more than 555 local market websites that reach more than 23 million people each week. GateHouse’s influence reaches 37 states.While Johnson arguably makes a fair criticism about EV tax credits going mostly to high-income earners, he also trots out some of the biggest whoppers about electric vehicles.T BoguEVs don’t help the environment much. Although they produce zero emissions once on the road, battery production for a single EV can emit up to 17.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide. That’s equivalent to the CO2 emissions released from over 1,900 gallons of gasoline.When EVs are charged with electricity generated at dirty coal-fired power plants, they can actually produce more total emissions than certain gasoline-powered cars.In other words, EVs don’t necessarily eliminate carbon pollution — they just shift the source of those emissions from the tailpipe to the power plant. Between 2018 and 2050, EVs will achieve a net CO2 emissions reduction of just “one-half of one percent of total forecast U.S. energy-related carbon emissions,” according to economic consultant Jonathan Lesser, author of a recent EV report published by the Manhattan Institute.The study by the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think-tank, claimed: “Widespread adoption of electric vehicles nationwide will likely increase air pollution compared with new internal combustion vehicles. You read that right: more electric cars and trucks will mean more pollution.”Fact CheckAndy Palanisamy, manager of Ford’s Urban Data Platform, made a post on LinkedIn last week that provides a useful dose of facts. “One of the arguments often heard in the sustainable mobility debates during the past decades is that even if we transition to electric vehicles the source of energy will still remain fossil fuels, and that means we are simply displacing the source of emissions from tailpipes to smokestacks.”Planisamy said that this was partially true in the past when most of the power generated in the US came from coal-powered plants. “This scenario has changed dramatically and quickly,” he explained pointing to this graph from the Financial Times.Bloomberg comes to the same conclusion. Earlier this month, the media company reported a story, “Electric Cars Are Cleaner Even When Powered by Coal.” Moreover, according to Bloomberg, electric cars will become cleaner in the coming years as utilities close coal plants and draw more energy from wind and solar farms. “When an internal combustion vehicle rolls off the line its emissions per kilometer are set, but for an EV they keep falling every year as the grid gets cleaner,” said Colin McKerracher, a transport analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance.McKerracher concluded, “While technological improvements will see related emissions from combustion engines falling by about 1.9 percent a year through to 2040, pollution from electric vehicles will fall anywhere from 3 percent and 10 percent annually.”Persistent MisinformationAs with any news these days, it’s critical to consider the source. Johnson is the founder and first president of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, now known as the Beacon Center of Tennessee. The center previously ran a website called “Carnival of Climate Change.” Johnson is also credited with revealing in 2007 that Al Gore’s Tennessee mansion used roughly 20 times more energy than the typical American household. Johnson previously served as a Koch Fellow at the Institute for Humane Studies and the American Enterprise Institute, both funded by foundations tied to Koch Industries.GateHouse Media has a mixed record on reporting about climate change. In August 2018, GateHouse published a balanced assessment of how rising seas in Florida had become undeniable, thus affecting the state’s citizen and politics. Earlier this month, the North Carolina’s Fayetteville Observer, a GateHouse Media property, published an opinion piece explaining how the fossil-fuel industry wages climate-denial campaigns. Dispelling Some Myths About The Environmental Impact Of Electric Vehicles Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on January 28, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News Engineering Explained Busts Myths: EVs Not Worse For Environment Carbon Tracker’s New Tool Estimates Impact Of EVs On Oil Demandlast_img read more

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12 Of New Cars Sold In Sweden In February 2019 Were PlugIns

first_img Volvo Delivered First Electric Trucks To Customers In Sweden No Sign Of Nissan LEAF e+ Sales Splash In Japan Source: Electric Vehicle News Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on March 8, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News Plug-in electric car sales in Sweden – February 2019The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV remains top selling model in Sweden with 496 new registrations, followed by Kia Niro PHEV (324).Source: EV Sales Blog It will only go up when the next-generation PHEVs hit the showroomsSweden noted two-digit market share of plug-in electric cars for six consecutive months. In February, sales amounted to 2,781, which is 52% more than a year ago.Market share stands at 12%, which is partially thanks to the shrinking overall market volume by 15%. EV Sales Blog says that it’s a common phenomenon for many countries that once plug-ins reach a certain share, they grow further, while the overall market starts to decrease. Well, it could be the result of many factors – especially the diesel downfall by more than a third.See Also Over 10% Of Smart & Nissan Sales In Western Europe Are BEVslast_img read more

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Two Years With The Chevy Bolt — Mixed Feelings A Family Of

first_imgWe’re excited around here right now. A couple of years ago, just about the time I signed my Bolt lease, my friends built me a birthday perch for the pond. They told us it would attract geese and entice them to have families here. Last year we labeled the perch, or at least I did, the barge. It was butt ugly sitting on our idyllic pond — think of a machine shipping skid with blue foam board under it in the hope of keeping it afloatSource: CleanTechnica Car Reviews RSS Feedlast_img

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Friday Roundup

first_imgChecking in on Wal-Mart, DOJ “declinations,” another installment of as we say not as we do, scrutiny alerts, and cashing in. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.Wal-MartIn its recent 2Q FY2017 earnings call presentation Wal-Mart disclosed $28 million in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and compliance related expenses ($23 million for ongoing investigations and inquiries and $5 million for global compliance program and organizational enhancements). The Q2 expenses of $28 million are higher than the Q1 expenses of $25 million.Doing the math, Wal-Mart’s 2Q FCPA and compliance-related costs is approximately $445,000 per working day.Over the past approximate four years, I have tracked Wal-Mart’s quarterly disclosed pre-enforcement action professional fees and expenses.While some pundits have ridiculed me for doing so, such figures are notable because, as has been noted in prior posts and in the article “Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Ripples,” settlement amounts in an actual FCPA enforcement action are often only a relatively minor component of the overall financial consequences that can result from corporate FCPA scrutiny.Pre-enforcement action professional fees and expenses are typically the largest (in many cases to a degree of 3, 5, 10 or higher than settlement amounts) financial hit to a company under FCPA scrutiny.Over the past eleven quarters, Wal-Mart’s pre-enforcement action professional fees and expenses have been $396,000, $520,000, $470,000, $470,000, $516,000, $563,000, $640,000, $662,000, $855,000, $1.1 million and $1.3 million per working day.In the aggregate, Wal-Mart’s disclosed pre-enforcement professional fees and expenses are as follows.FY 2013 = $157 million.FY 2014 = $282 million.FY 2015  = $173 million.FY 2016 = $126 million.FY 2017 (1Q, 2Q) = $53 million.DOJ “Declinations”The DOJ has never provided a meaningful, substantive definition of what it means by “declination.”In any event, the DOJ recently added a “declinations” tab to its FCPA website. If you go to the “Pilot Program” section and click on “declinations” you will see the following. As We Say, Not As We DoPrevious posts here and here have highlighted SEC enforcement actions against companies for non-existent, theoretical muzzling of individuals in certain employment agreements. Last week, the SEC brought yet another enforcement action of this type against Health Net Inc. “for illegally using severance agreements requiring outgoing employees to waive their ability to obtain monetary awards from the SEC’s whistleblower program.”In the words of the SEC’s Associate Director of Enforcement:“Financial incentives in the form of whistleblower awards, as Congress recognized, are integral to promoting whistleblowing to the Commission. Health Net used its severance agreements with departing employees to strip away those financial incentives, directly targeting the Commission’s whistleblower program.”Of note, the SEC’s order specifically stated:“Though the Commission is unaware of any instances in which (i) a former employee of [Health Net] who executed the above noted agreements did not communicate directly with Commission staff about potential securities law violations or (ii) [Health Net] took action to enforce those provisions or otherwise prevent such communications, [Health Net] – by use of [the] agreements – directly targeted the SEC’s whistleblower program by removing the critically important financial incentives that are intended to encourage persons to communicate directly with the Commission staff about possible securities law violations.”Without admitting or denying the SEC’s finding in an administrative, Health Net agreed to hand over $340,000 to the SEC.As highlighted in the previous posts, the irony is that all NPAs and DPAs that the SEC has used to resolve corporate FCPA enforcement actions contain a so-called muzzle clause along the following lines:“Respondent agrees not to take any action or to make or permit any public statement through present or future attorneys, employees, agents, or other persons authorized to speak for it, except in legal proceedings in which the Commission is not a party in litigation or otherwise, denying, directly or indirectly, any aspect of this Agreement or creating the impression that the statements in [the Statement of Facts” are without factual basis. […] Prior to issuing a press release concerning this Agreement, the Respondent agrees to have the text of the release approved by the staff of the Division.”Similar to the SEC’s own internal controls deficiencies, this appears to be another example of as we say, not as we do.Scrutiny AlertsAustralia media reports:“Two Australian companies are embroiled in bribery scandals that reach into the offices of the presidents of Sri Lanka and the Republic of Congo, as the firms sought to secure multimillion-dollar contracts.[…]A Fairfax Media and 7.30 investigation has uncovered internal documents from Perth-based listed mining company Sundance Resources that suggest it bribed the leader of the Republic of Congo as it sought presidential approval in 2007 for one of Africa’s most ambitious iron ore projects.[…]A Fairfax Media investigation has separately uncovered evidence … involving the iconic Snowy Mountains Engineering Company (SMEC). […]  The firm’s overseas staff allegedly bribed officials to secure a $2.3 million aid-funded sewerage project in Sri Lanka in 2011 and, in partnership with a Canadian company, a $2.2 million power plant project in Bangladesh in 2007. Company emails also reveal Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and his adviser allegedly demanded a political “donation” to be paid by SMEC when Mr Sirisena was a cabinet minister.”Sundance Resources had ADRs registered with the SEC.Cashing InA number of articles have been written about FCPA Inc. and the business of bribery. Not all have been as blunt as this piece from a private detective firm which ends with the following advice.“I would suggest that you all read up on the Act [the piece discusses the FCPA and UK Bribery Act] and see how you can use it to enhance your turnover and offer new services. What on the face of it first appeared to be a negative legislation can be used to your advantage.”*****A good weekend to all.last_img read more

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Baker Botts Leads Huge Shell Midstream IPO

first_imgThere is a new ticker on the NYSE: SHLX. Houston-based Shell Midstream Partners, a MLP, is expected to raise $920 million. Shell Midstream GC Lori Muratta selected Baker Botts partners Kelly Rose, Hillary Holmes and A.J. Ericksen to be its legal advisers. Vinson & Elkins partners Doug McWilliams and Gillian Hobson served as the lead legal advisers for the underwriters . . .You must be a subscriber to The Texas Lawbook to access this content. Not a subscriber? Sign up for The Texas Lawbook. Password Remember mecenter_img Username Lost your password?last_img read more

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Dallas Lawyer Chosen to Leadership Post in Airline Antitrust Litigation

first_img Remember me Lost your password? Not a subscriber? Sign up for The Texas Lawbook. Usernamecenter_img Password A federal judge in Washington, D.C. overseeing a series of antitrust class action lawsuits against American, Southwest and other airlines has appointed Dallas trial lawyer Warren Burns of Burns Charest to a co-leadership role in the litigation. Southwest GC Mark Shaw hired Vinson & Elkins to defend the airline. American hired O’Melveny and Myers . . .You must be a subscriber to The Texas Lawbook to access this content.last_img read more

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When Elders Go On Vacation

first_imgby, Virgil Thomas, ChangingAging.orgTweetShareShareEmail0 SharesEarlier this week I was in Branson, MO helping to cover Signature Health Care’s 2013 Elder Vacation, and there are some great stories to look at.Elders from 38 homes, including eight Eden Registry Members were in attendance.The vacations started as a way to give elders a chance at spontaneity. The tradition began in 2011 with a trip to Disney World and continued with last year’s trip to Myrtle Beach. Through the course of these vacations they discovered so many exciting stories from the Elders.For some, the vacation was their first in decades. Some had never left their home town or seen the ocean.This year did not disappoint. Seventh-six Elders got a chance at fun and each of them had their own story to tell. We are chronicling them over at The Eden Alternative Blog.So, come check it out.Related Posts5 Things Elders Taught Me In 2012It’s the time of year when traditionally I do quite a bit of thinking about the year that is about to come to an end, the year that lies ahead full of possibilities and endless dreams, and the many resolutions that I may or may not keep. As I sat…Myrtle Beach-The Joys of Upside Risk!A few months ago, I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Bill Thomas discuss “Surplus Safety” at the Eden Alternative Conference. I sat there at the time in complete agreement with him but not really taking to heart all that … Continue reading →Building Bridges Offers Experiential Youth Track at International ConferenceAt each Eden Alternative International Conference, we get a chance to take a fresh look at culture change as a community issue. Through Building Bridges, Elders and youth, ages 11 to 15, come together to learn more about each other and the value of reframing aging and attitudes about care.TweetShareShareEmail0 SharesTags: Aging Elders funlast_img read more

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New trial assesses criteria used to diagnose myocardial infarction

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Aug 28 2018Results of the first randomized trial testing the criteria used to diagnose heart attack are presented today in a Hot Line Session at ESC Congress 2018 and published in The Lancet.Professor Nicholas Mills, principal investigator, University of Edinburgh, UK, said: “These results are controversial because they suggest that the Universal Definition of Myocardial Infarction needs to move away from binary thresholds to diagnose and treat patients with myocardial infarction. It is now up to the research community to find a superior approach.”Myocardial infarction is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. It is diagnosed with a combination of clinical history, electrocardiogram and a rise or fall in the concentration of cardiac troponin, a protein released into the blood when the heart muscle is injured. The Universal Definition of Myocardial Infarction recommends that any increase in troponin above the 99th centile of a healthy reference population should be used as one of the diagnostic criteria.The High-STEACS trial is the first randomized trial to evaluate whether the introduction of a high-sensitivity cardiac troponin I assay with a 99th centile diagnostic threshold would reduce subsequent myocardial infarction or cardiovascular death at one year in patients with suspected acute coronary syndrome.The trial included all patients presenting with suspected acute coronary syndrome to the emergency department at ten hospitals in Scotland, UK. All patients had measurements of cardiac troponin I using a contemporary assay as the standard of care and a high-sensitivity assay at presentation and six or 12 hours afterwards. During a six-month validation phase, clinical decisions were guided by the contemporary cardiac troponin I assay using the existing diagnostic threshold. Hospitals were then randomly allocated to early or late implementation of the high-sensitivity assay to guide clinical decisions using the 99th centile. Registries were used to record the primary outcome of myocardial infarction or cardiovascular death at one year.The rate of the primary outcome was compared in patients reclassified using the high-sensitivity assay (above the 99th centile but below the contemporary assay threshold) before and after implementation of the high-sensitivity assay for clinical decision making.Related StoriesCancer incidence among children and young adults with congenital heart diseaseStudy explores role of iron in over 900 diseasesStroke should be treated 15 minutes earlier to save lives, study suggestsA total of 48,282 patients were enrolled. The average age was 61 years and 47% were women. Just over one-fifth (10,360; 22%) had high-sensitivity cardiac troponin I concentrations above the 99th centile. The high-sensitivity assay reclassified 1,771 (17%) patients with myocardial injury or infarction not identified by the standard assay. Of those, less than one third had a final diagnosis of myocardial infarction.In those reclassified, the primary outcome occurred in 105 of 720 (14.6%) patients in the validation phase and 131 of 1,051 (12.5%) patients in the implementation phase. The adjusted odds ratio for the implementation versus validation phase was 1.10 (95% confidence interval 0.75-1.61, p=0.620).Professor Mills said: “The trial found that implementation of a high-sensitivity cardiac troponin I assay using the 99th centile as the diagnostic threshold increased the frequency of diagnosing myocardial injury or infarction. However, use of this method to help diagnose and treat patients was not associated with lower rates of recurrent myocardial infarction or cardiovascular death at one year.”He continued: “The findings were surprising and initially disappointing. But it was encouraging that there was no evidence of misdiagnosis, inappropriate treatment, excess bleeding or harm. Indeed, the length of stay across the trial population was reduced by almost a third suggesting that use of the high-sensitivity test increased the confidence of clinicians to rule out heart disease, with benefits for health service providers.”Professor Mills noted that the trial was embedded within routine clinical assessment with hospitals as the unit of randomization. “It included every patient evaluated using the test, thereby avoiding selection bias and ensuring that the findings are generalizable,” he said.Source: https://www.escardio.org/The-ESC/Press-Office/Press-releases/first-randomised-trial-tests-criteria-used-to-diagnose-heart-attacklast_img read more

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Official behind earthquake advice to stand trial in Italy

first_imgA high-ranking public official who sent a group of scientists to L’Aquila to assess seismic risk ahead of the deadly earthquake that struck the city in 2009 is to stand trial on charges of manslaughter, a judge ruled today. His trial follows the October 2012 conviction and sentencing to 6 years in prison of the seven experts, and the acquittal of all bar one of them last November.Guido Bertolaso, who at the time of the earthquake was head of Italy’s civil protection department, set up a meeting of the experts as full or acting members of an official panel known as the National Commission for the Forecast and Prevention of Major Risks on 31 March 2009, ostensibly to analyze the risk posed by a series of small- and medium-sized earthquakes that had been shaking the region around L’Aquila for several months. But following the earthquake, which struck 6 days later leaving 309 dead, the scientists were accused of having provided the public with a false and fatal sense of security. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) 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 The experts—Bertolaso’s deputy together with three seismologists, a volcanologist, and two seismic engineers—were put on trial in L’Aquila in September 2011 and charged with having carried out a superficial risk analysis during their 2009 meeting. The prosecution alleged that they made a series of unjustifiably reassuring statements that led some people to abandon traditional precaution and remain indoors during the quake.The new trial centers on a telephone call that Bertolaso made to a local official the evening before the experts’ meeting, a police recording of which was released by the newspaper La Repubblica during the original trial. In the call, Bertolaso described the meeting as a “media operation” that he was setting up in order to “shut up” a technician from a nearby physics laboratory who had allegedly made a series of alarmist predictions that had panicked the local population.During the call, Bertolaso also told the official what the scientists would say in their meeting—that the ongoing tremors were positive because they discharged energy and so made a major earthquake less likely. Many witnesses during the trial said that it was this idea of an energy discharge that had particularly reassured their relatives, leading them to remain inside and perish on the fateful night.Manslaughter investigations against Bertolaso started just a few days after the recording of the phone call came to light in January 2012 but it is only now that judge Guendalina Buccella has ordered him to stand trial. The prosecutor in the original trial, Fabio Picuti, twice requested that the case against Bertolaso be dropped, and on both occasions that request was contested by lawyers representing relatives of some of the victims. But judge Buccella today ruled that the former civil protection boss should be tried, and that the first hearing should take place in L’Aquila on 20 November, just a day after the trial of the seven scientists reaches the Supreme Court of Cassation, Italy’s highest appeal court.last_img read more

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Slaughter at the bridge Uncovering a colossal Bronze Age battle

first_img The flint arrowhead embedded in this upper arm bone first alerted archaeologists to the ancient violence in the Tollense Valley. The lakeside hunting lodge called Schloss Wiligrad was built at the turn of the 19th century, deep in a forest 14 kilometers north of Schwerin, the capital of the northern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Today, the drafty pile is home to both the state’s department of historic preservation and a small local art museum.In a high-ceilinged chamber on the castle’s second floor, tall windows look out on a fog-shrouded lake. Inside, pale winter light illuminates dozens of skulls arranged on shelves and tables. In the center of the room, long leg bones and short ribs lie in serried ranks on tables; more remains are stored in cardboard boxes stacked on metal shelves reaching almost to the ceiling. The bones take up so much space there’s barely room to walk.When the first of these finds was excavated in 1996, it wasn’t even clear that Tollense was a battlefield. Some archaeologists suggested the skeletons might be from a flooded cemetery, or that they had accumulated over centuries.  There was reason for skepticism. Before Tollense, direct evidence of large-scale violence in the Bronze Age was scanty, especially in this region. Historical accounts from the Near East and Greece described epic battles, but few artifacts remained to corroborate these boastful accounts. “Even in Egypt, despite hearing many tales of war, we never find such substantial archaeological evidence of its participants and victims,” UCD’s Molloy says.In Bronze Age Europe, even the historical accounts of war were lacking, and all investigators had to go on were weapons in ceremonial burials and a handful of mass graves with unmistakable evidence of violence, such as decapitated bodies or arrowheads embedded in bones. Before the 1990s, “for a long time we didn’t really believe in war in prehistory,” DAI’s Hansen says. The grave goods were explained as prestige objects or symbols of power rather than actual weapons. “Most people thought ancient society was peaceful, and that Bronze Age males were concerned with trading and so on,” says Helle Vandkilde, an archaeologist at Aarhus University in Denmark. “Very few talked about warfare.” Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Email Landesamt für Kultur und Denkmalpflege Mecklenburg-Vorpommern/Landesarchäologie/F. Ruchöft Landesamt Für Kultur Und Denkmalpflege Mecklenburg-Vorpommern/Landesarchäologie/S. Suhr Archaeologists have recovered a wealth of artifacts from the battlefield. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) In the aftermath, the victors may have stripped valuables from the bodies they could reach, then tossed the corpses into shallow water, which protected them from carnivores and birds. The bones lack the gnawing and dragging marks typically left by such scavengers. Elsewhere, the team found human and horse remains buried a meter or two lower, about where the Bronze Age riverbed might have been. Mixed with these remains were gold rings likely worn on the hair, spiral rings of tin perhaps worn on the fingers,  and tiny bronze spirals likely used as decorations. These dead must have fallen or been dumped into the deeper parts of the river, sinking quickly to the bottom, where their valuables were out of the grasp of looters. At the time of the battle, northern Europe seems to have been devoid of towns or even small villages. As far as archaeologists can tell, people here were loosely connected culturally to Scandinavia and lived with their extended families on individual farmsteads, with a population density of fewer than five people per square kilometer. The closest known large settlement around this time is more than 350 kilometers to the southeast, in Watenstedt. It was a landscape not unlike agrarian parts of Europe today, except without roads, telephones, or radio. And yet chemical tracers in the remains suggest that most of the Tollense warriors came from hundreds of kilometers away. The isotopes in your teeth reflect those in the food and water you ingest during childhood, which in turn mirror the surrounding geology—a marker of where you grew up. Retired University of Wisconsin, Madison, archaeologist Doug Price analyzed strontium, oxygen, and carbon isotopes in 20 teeth from Tollense. Just a few showed values typical of the northern European plain, which sprawls from Holland to Poland. The other teeth came from farther afield, although Price can’t yet pin down exactly where. “The range of isotope values is really large,” he says. “We can make a good argument that the dead came from a lot of different places.” Further clues come from isotopes of another element, nitrogen, which reflect diet. Nitrogen isotopes in teeth from some of the men suggest they ate a diet heavy in millet, a crop more common at the time in southern than northern Europe. They weren’t farmer-soldiers who went out every few years to brawl. These are professional fighters.Thomas Terberger, archaeologist at the Lower Saxony State Service for Cultural HeritageAncient DNA could potentially reveal much more: When compared to other Bronze Age samples from around Europe at this time, it could point to the homelands of the warriors as well as such traits as eye and hair color. Genetic analysis is just beginning, but so far it supports the notion of far-flung origins. DNA from teeth suggests some warriors are related to modern southern Europeans and others to people living in modern-day Poland and Scandinavia. “This is not a bunch of local idiots,” says University of Mainz geneticist Joachim Burger. “It’s a highly diverse population.” As University of Aarhus’s Vandkilde puts it: “It’s an army like the one described in Homeric epics, made up of smaller war bands that gathered to sack Troy”—an event thought to have happened fewer than 100 years later, in 1184 B.C.E. That suggests an unexpectedly widespread social organization, Jantzen says. “To organize a battle like this over tremendous distances and gather all these people in one place was a tremendous accomplishment,” he says. So far the team has published only a handful of peer-reviewed papers. With excavations stopped, pending more funding, they’re writing up publications now. But archaeologists familiar with the project say the implications are dramatic. Tollense could force a re-evaluation of the whole period in the area from the Baltic to the Mediterranean, says archaeologist Kristian Kristiansen  of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. “It opens the door to a lot of new evidence for the way Bronze Age societies were organized,” he says. For example, strong evidence suggests this wasn’t the first battle for these men. Twenty-seven percent of the skeletons show signs of healed traumas from earlier fights, including three skulls with healed fractures. “It’s hard to tell the reason for the injuries, but these don’t look like your typical young farmers,” Jantzen says.  Standardized metal weaponry and the remains of the horses, which were found intermingled with the human bones at one spot, suggest that at least some of the combatants were well-equipped and well-trained. “They weren’t farmer-soldiers who went out every few years to brawl,” Terberger says. “These are professional fighters.” Body armor and shields emerged in northern Europe in the centuries just before the Tollense conflict and may have necessitated a warrior class. “If you fight with body armor and helmet and corselet, you need daily training or you can’t move,” Hansen says. That’s why, for example, the biblical David—a shepherd—refused to don a suit of armor and bronze helmet before fighting Goliath. “This kind of training is the beginning of a specialized group of warriors,” Hansen says. At Tollense, these bronze-wielding, mounted warriors might have been a sort of officer class, presiding over grunts bearing simpler weapons.But why did so much military force converge on a narrow river valley in northern Germany? Kristiansen says this period seems to have been an era of significant upheaval from the Mediterranean to the Baltic. In Greece, the sophisticated Mycenaean civilization collapsed around the time of the Tollense battle; in Egypt, pharaohs boasted of besting the “Sea People,” marauders from far-off lands who toppled the neighboring Hittites. And not long after Tollense, the scattered farmsteads of northern Europe gave way to concentrated, heavily fortified settlements, once seen only to the south. “Around 1200 B.C.E. there’s a radical change in the direction societies and cultures are heading,” Vandkilde says. “Tollense fits into a period when we have increased warfare everywhere.” Tollense looks like a first step toward a way of life that is with us still. From the scale and brutality of the battle to the presence of a warrior class wielding sophisticated weapons, the events of that long-ago day are linked to more familiar and recent conflicts. “It could be the first evidence of a turning point in social organization and warfare in Europe,” Vandkilde says. When the fighting was through, hundreds lay dead, littering the swampy valley. Some bodies were stripped of their valuables and left bobbing in shallow ponds; others sank to the bottom, protected from plundering by a meter or two of water. Peat slowly settled over the bones. Within centuries, the entire battle was forgotten.How warriors were equipped for battle: Select a number to find out more.1Spear6Bow & arrow4Sword2Battle horses3Clothing5Hair ring34LalalaR. Johnson In 1996, an amateur archaeologist found a single upper arm bone sticking out of the steep riverbank—the first clue that the Tollense Valley, about 120 kilometers north of Berlin, concealed a gruesome secret. A flint arrowhead was firmly embedded in one end of the bone, prompting archaeologists to dig a small test excavation that yielded more bones, a bashed-in skull, and a 73-centimeter club resembling a baseball bat. The artifacts all were radiocarbon-dated to about 1250 B.C.E., suggesting they stemmed from a single episode during Europe’s Bronze Age.Now, after a series of excavations between 2009 and 2015, researchers have begun to understand the battle and its startling implications for Bronze Age society. Along a 3-kilometer stretch of the Tollense River, archaeologists from the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Department of Historic Preservation (MVDHP) and the University of Greifswald (UG) have unearthed wooden clubs, bronze spearheads, and flint and bronze arrowheads. They have also found bones in extraordinary numbers: the remains of at least five horses and more than 100 men. Bones from hundreds more may remain unexcavated, and thousands of others may have fought but survived. “If our hypothesis is correct that all of the finds belong to the same event, we’re dealing with a conflict of a scale hitherto completely unknown north of the Alps,” says dig co-director Thomas Terberger, an archaeologist at the Lower Saxony State Service for Cultural Heritage in Hannover. “There’s nothing to compare it to.” It may even be the earliest direct evidence—with weapons and warriors together—of a battle this size anywhere in the ancient world.  Northern Europe in the Bronze Age was long dismissed as a backwater, overshadowed by more sophisticated civilizations in the Near East and Greece. Bronze itself, created in the Near East around 3200 B.C.E., took 1000 years to arrive here. But Tollense’s scale suggests more organization—and more violence—than once thought. “We had considered scenarios of raids, with small groups of young men killing and stealing food, but to imagine such a big battle with thousands of people is very surprising,” says Svend Hansen, head of the German Archaeological Institute’s (DAI’s) Eurasia Department in Berlin. The well-preserved bones and artifacts add detail to this picture of Bronze Age sophistication, pointing to the existence of a trained warrior class and suggesting that people from across Europe joined the bloody fray. There’s little disagreement now that Tollense is something special. “When it comes to the Bronze Age, we’ve been missing a smoking gun, where we have a battlefield and dead people and weapons all together,” says University College Dublin (UCD) archaeologist Barry Molloy. “This is that smoking gun.”center_img About 3200 years ago, two armies clashed at a river crossing near the Baltic Sea. The confrontation can’t be found in any history books—the written word didn’t become common in these parts for another 2000 years—but this was no skirmish between local clans. Thousands of warriors came together in a brutal struggle, perhaps fought on a single day, using weapons crafted from wood, flint, and bronze, a metal that was then the height of military technology. Struggling to find solid footing on the banks of the Tollense River, a narrow ribbon of water that flows through the marshes of northern Germany toward the Baltic Sea, the armies fought hand-to-hand, maiming and killing with war clubs, spears, swords, and knives. Bronze- and flint-tipped arrows were loosed at close range, piercing skulls and lodging deep into the bones of young men. Horses belonging to high-ranking warriors crumpled into the muck, fatally speared. Not everyone stood their ground in the melee: Some warriors broke and ran, and were struck down from behind.Author Andrew Curry discusses his story on a major Bronze Age battle on this podcast interview V. Minkus for the Tollense Valley Research Project The bone scans have also sharpened the picture of how the battle unfolded, Terberger says. In x-rays, the upper arm bone with an embedded arrowhead—the one that triggered the discovery of the battlefield—seemed to show signs of healing. In a 2011 paper in Antiquity, the team suggested that the man sustained a wound early in the battle but was able to fight on for days or weeks before dying, which could mean that the conflict wasn’t a single clash but a series of skirmishes that dragged out for several weeks. Microscopic inspection of that wound told a different story: What initially looked like healing—an opaque lining around the arrowhead on an x-ray—was, in fact, a layer of shattered bone, compressed by a single impact that was probably fatal. “That let us revise the idea that this took place over weeks,” Terberger says. So far no bodies show healed wounds, making it likely the battle happened in just a day, or a few at most. “If we are dealing with a single event rather than skirmishes over several weeks, it has a great impact on our interpretation of the scale of the conflict.” In the last year, a team of engineers in Hamburg has used techniques developed to model stresses on aircraft parts to understand the kinds of blows the soldiers suffered. For example, archaeologists at first thought that a fighter whose femur had snapped close to the hip joint must have fallen from a horse. The injury resembled those that result today from a motorcycle crash or equestrian accident. But the modeling told a different story. Melanie Schwinning and Hella Harten-Buga, University of Hamburg archaeologists and engineers, took into account the physical properties of bone and Bronze Age weapons, along with examples of injuries from horse falls. An experimental archaeologist also plunged recreated flint and bronze points into dead pigs and recorded the damage.Schwinning and Harten-Buga say a bronze spearhead hitting the bone at a sharp downward angle would have been able to wedge the femur apart, cracking it in half like a log. “When we modeled it, it looks a lot more like a handheld weapon than a horse fall,” Schwinning says. “We could even recreate the force it would have taken—it’s not actually that much.” They estimate that an average-sized man driving the spear with his body weight would have been enough. Why the men gathered in this spot to fight and die is another mystery that archaeological evidence is helping unravel. The Tollense Valley here is narrow, just 50 meters wide in some spots. Parts are swampy, whereas others offer firm ground and solid footing. The spot may have been a sort of choke point for travelers journeying across the northern European plain.In 2013, geomagnetic surveys revealed evidence of a 120-meter-long bridge or causeway stretching across the valley. Excavated over two dig seasons, the submerged structure turned out to be made of wooden posts and stone. Radiocarbon dating showed that although much of the structure predated the battle by more than 500 years, parts of it may have been built or restored around the time of the battle, suggesting the causeway might have been in continuous use for centuries—a well-known landmark.“The crossing played an important role in the conflict. Maybe one group tried to cross and the other pushed them back,” Terberger says. “The conflict started there and turned into fighting along the river.” Today’s peaceful meanders of the Tollense River once were the site of bitter fighting. The 10,000 bones in this room—what’s left of Tollense’s losers—changed all that. They were found in dense caches: In one spot, 1478 bones, among them 20 skulls, were packed into an area of just 12 square meters. Archaeologists think the bodies landed or were dumped in shallow ponds, where the motion of the water mixed up bones from different individuals. By counting specific, singular bones—skulls and femurs, for example—UG forensic anthropologists Ute Brinker and Annemarie Schramm identified a minimum of 130 individuals, almost all of them men, most between the ages of 20 and 30.The number suggests the scale of the battle. “We have 130 people, minimum, and five horses. And we’ve only opened 450 square meters. That’s 10% of the find layer, at most, maybe just 3% or 4%,” says Detlef Jantzen, chief archaeologist at MVDHP. “If we excavated the whole area, we might have 750 people. That’s incredible for the Bronze Age.” In what they admit are back-of-the-envelope estimates, he and Terberger argue that if one in five of the battle’s participants was killed and left on the battlefield, that could mean almost 4000 warriors took part in the fighting.Brinker, the forensic anthropologist in charge of analyzing the remains, says the wetness and chemical composition of the Tollense Valley’s soil preserved the bones almost perfectly. “We can reconstruct exactly what happened,” she says, picking up a rib with two tiny, V-shaped cuts on one edge. “These cut marks on the rib show he was stabbed twice in the same place. We have a lot of them, often multiple marks on the same rib.”Scanning the bones using microscopic computer tomography at a materials science institute in Berlin and the University of Rostock has yielded detailed, 3D images of these injuries. Now, archaeologists are identifying the weapons responsible by matching the images to scans of weapons found at Tollense or in contemporary graves elsewhere in Europe. Diamond-shaped holes in bones, for example, match the distinctive shape of bronze arrowheads found on the battlefield. (Bronze artifacts are found more often than flint at Tollense, perhaps because metal detectors were used to comb spoil piles for artifacts.) Landesamt für Kultur und Denkmalpflege Mecklenburg-Vorpommern/Landesarchäologie/S. Suhr A bronze arrow penetrated this skull, reaching the brain. 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 Landesamt für Kultur und Denkmalpflege Mecklenburg-Vorpommern/Landesarchäologie/D. Jantzen This skull unearthed in the Tollense Valley shows clear evidence of blunt force trauma, perhaps from a club.last_img read more

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Astronomers ink deal to build record telescope

first_img 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! Country Email Astronomers today signed an unprecedented contract to build the world’s largest ground-based optical and infrared telescope. In a ceremony at the headquarters of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Garching, Germany, ESO Director General Tim de Zeeuw inked the record deal—worth €400 million—with three Italian engineering firms. They will build the structure that will hold the huge 39-meter mirror of the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), as well as the domed building that will enclose it. (Watch a video about the new telescope design.)The agreement “gives ESO the opportunity to be the first in the era of giant telescopes,” De Zeeuw told an online press conference. The light-collecting area of the E-ELT is greater than that of all ground-based optical research telescopes currently in operation, and it will produce images 15 times as sharp as the Hubble Space Telescope. Roberto Tamai, E-ELT program manager, said the telescope will provide “a transformational step in our understanding of the universe.”Ground-based astronomy is in the throes of a giant leap forward from today’s roughly 10-meter-wide scopes to much bigger instruments. In addition to E-ELT, two other behemoths are under construction: the 25-meter Giant Magellan Telescope at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile and the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) at Mauna Kea in Hawaii (although the TMT is currently stalled because of local opposition).center_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 Although ESO has struggled to fully fund the €1.1 billion E-ELT project from its 15 member countries, it has maintained momentum by delaying some components until a later phase II. Tamai says that 90% of the funds for phase I (covering the full telescope and most other components) are in ESO’s bank accounts, but phase II will have to wait. “Construction will be a magnet for new members,” he says. ESO is hoping that Brazil and Russia may come on board.Gianpietro Marchiori, president of the EIE group which, along with the firms Astaldi and Cimola, forms the ACe consortium that will assemble the scope, described the enormous structure to be built on Cerro Armazones in Chile. The dome will be 80 meters high, weigh 5000 tons, and have a footprint the size of a soccer pitch. The mass of the moving part of the telescope—holding the mirror—will be 3000 tons. The structure will contain 70 kilometers of cabling and 30 million bolts, and will take a total of 4.8 million person-hours to design and build. To walk from the entrance to the roof of the dome will take 30 minutes, Marchiori says.last_img read more

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San people of Africa draft code of ethics for researchers

first_img CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA—Scientists have studied the San people of Southern Africa for decades, intrigued by their age-old rituals and ancient genetic fingerprints. Now, after more than a century of being scrutinized by science, the San are demanding something back. Earlier this month the group unveiled a code of ethics for researchers wishing to study their culture, genes, or heritage.The code, published here on 3 March, asks researchers to treat the San respectfully and refrain from publishing information that could be viewed as insulting. Because such sensitivities may not be clear to researchers, the code asks that scientists let communities read and comment on findings before they are published. It also asks that researchers keep their promises and give something back to the community in return for its cooperation. “We’re not saying that everybody is bad. But you get those few individuals who don’t respect the San,” says Leana Snyders, head of the South African San Council in Upington, which helped create the code. By Linda NordlingMar. 17, 2017 , 3:30 PM Researchers have eagerly studied Africa’s San people, some of whom are shown here foraging in a grassland. Now, the San have drawn up a code of ethics to govern scientists’ interactions with them. San people of Africa draft code of ethics for researchers 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 JASON EDWARDS/National Geographic Creative 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 Email The San created the code because of past transgressions, including use of insulting language such as the term “Bushmen,” using jargon when communicating with the San, failing to consult study communities about findings before publication, and approaching individuals before asking community leaders for permission. Snyders cited a 2010 study in Nature that she says committed several of these mistakes and raised awareness in the community about the issues. Approval by university research ethics committees is not sufficient to comply with the code, Snyders adds. The San community needs to be involved in reviewing research proposals and have a say in the design and conclusions, she says.Snyders also notes that despite all the interest from scientists, the San have not benefited from their star research status. “When a researcher comes they enrich themselves of our culture and our knowledge. But our communities remain in poverty; their daily life does not change. We want to change that,” she says.Benefits to the community do not have to be monetary, but could be in the form of knowledge, or educational or job opportunities. Communicating research results back to the community is paramount, Snyders adds, in order to avoid derogatory terms. “Before somebody publishes anything they need to discuss it with the community. Then the community can say: You don’t understand, or that it’s damaging.” Researchers that flout the code will be blacklisted. “If it comes to that, we will blacklist and close the door and make sure you don’t come back,” Snyders says.The San are not the first indigenous population group to impose such codes on research. The Aboriginal Australians and Canada’s First Nations and Inuit have drawn up similar codes, which standardize consultation, the benefits due to participating communities, and data storage and access. But this is the first research code produced by an African group. For now it is formally adopted only in South Africa; Snyders and her colleagues hope to roll it out to San who live in neighboring Botswana and Namibia.The code does not place unrealistic demands on scientists, says Himla Soodyall, director of the Human Genomic Diversity and Disease Research Unit at South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. But others point out that the code focuses on past transgressions, and doesn’t refer to recent efforts to respect and involve communities, such as guidelines for genomics work on vulnerable populations prepared in 2014 by the Human Heredity and Health in Africa program. As a result, the code may present an overly negative view of researchers and discourage communities from participating in studies, says Charles Rotimi, founding director of the National Institutes of Health Center for Research on Genomics and Global Health in Bethesda, Maryland.Reuse of data is another potential stumbling block. The San refuse to grant broad consent for other researchers to reuse data for purposes not specified in the original agreement. This restriction is not spelled out in the code, but is the position of the South African San Council, Snyders says. “Should any other research institution want to use the data, they need to acquire informed consent from the council.”But good scientific practice allows other scientists to try to replicate analyses, says geneticist David Reich of Harvard Medical School in Boston. He is a leader of the recently assembled Simons Genome Diversity Project, which contains 300 high-quality genomes from 142 populations, including the San. “Other researchers need to be free to reanalyze the data to come to their own conclusions. … If this is not possible, then science cannot be done,” he says.*Correction, 22 March, 4:42 p.m.: This story has been corrected to remove any implication that because the San’s ancestors branched off early from other human populations, living San are unusually closely related to ancestral humans.last_img read more

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Where have all the insects gone

first_img The Krefeld Entomological Society’s collections contain millions of insect specimens. By Gretchen VogelMay. 10, 2017 , 9:00 AM Changes in land use surrounding the reserves are probably playing a role. “We’ve lost huge amounts of habitat, which has certainly contributed to all these declines,” Goulson says. “If we turn all the seminatural habitats to wheat and cornfields, then there will be virtually no life in those fields.” As fields expand and hedgerows disappear, the isolated islands of habitat left can support fewer species. Increased fertilizer on remaining grazing lands favors grasses over the diverse wildflowers that many insects prefer. And when development replaces countryside, streets and buildings generate light pollution that leads nocturnal insects astray and interrupts their mating.Neonicotinoid pesticides, already implicated in the widespread crash of bee populations, are another prime suspect. Introduced in the 1980s, they are now the world’s most popular insecticides, initially viewed as relatively benign because they are often applied directly to seeds rather than sprayed. But because they are water soluble, they don’t stay put in the fields where they are used. Goulson and his colleagues reported in 2015 that nectar and pollen from wildflowers next to treated fields can have higher concentrations of neonicotinoids than the crop plants. Although initial safety studies showed that allowable levels of the compounds didn’t kill honey bees directly, they do affect the insects’ abilities to navigate and communicate, according to later research. Researchers found similar effects in wild solitary bees and bumble bees.Less is known about how those chemicals affect other insects, but new studies of parasitoid wasps suggest those effects could be significant. Those solitary wasps play multiple roles in ecosystems—as pollinators, predators of other insects, and prey for larger animals. A team from the University of Regensburg in Germany reported in Scientific Reports in February that exposing the wasp Nasonia vitripennis to just 1 nanogram of one common neonicotinoid cut mating rates by more than half and decreased females’ ability to find hosts. “It’s as if the [exposed] insect is dead” from a population point of view because it can’t produce offspring, says Lars Krogmann, an entomologist at the Stuttgart Natural History Museum in Germany.No one can prove that the pesticides are to blame for the decline, however. “There is no data on insecticide levels, especially in nature reserves,” Sorg says. The group has tried to find out what kinds of pesticides are used in fields near the reserves, but that has proved difficult, he says. “We simply don’t know what the drivers are” in the Krefeld data, Goulson says. “It’s not an experiment. It’s an observation of this massive decline. The data themselves are strong. Understanding it and knowing what to do about it is difficult.” 3 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 factors causing trouble for the hover flies, moths, and bumble bees in Germany are probably at work elsewhere, if clean windshields are any indication. Since 1968, scientists at Rothamsted Research, an agricultural research center in Harpenden, U.K., have operated a system of suction traps—12-meter-long suction tubes pointing skyward. Set up in fields to monitor agricultural pests, the traps capture all manner of insects that happen to fly over them; they are “effectively upside-down Hoovers running 24/7, continually sampling the air for migrating insects,” says James Bell, who heads the Rothamsted Insect Survey.Between 1970 and 2002, the biomass caught in the traps in southern England did not decline significantly. Catches in southern Scotland, however, declined by more than two-thirds during the same period. Bell notes that overall numbers in Scotland were much higher at the start of the study. “It might be that much of the [insect] abundance in southern England had already been lost” by 1970, he says, after the dramatic postwar changes in agriculture and land use.The stable catches in southern England are in part due to constant levels of pests such as aphids, which can thrive when their insect predators are removed. Such species can take advantage of a variety of environments, move large distances, and reproduce multiple times per year. Some can even benefit from pesticides because they reproduce quickly enough to develop resistance, whereas their predators decline. “So lots of insects will do great, but the insects that we love may not,” Black says.Other, more visible creatures may be feeling the effects of the insect losses. Across North America and Europe, species of birds that eat flying insects, such as larks, swallows, and swifts, are in steep decline. Habitat loss certainly plays a role, Nocera says, “but the obvious factor that ties them all together is their diet.”Some intriguing, although indirect, clues come from a rare ecological treasure: decades’ worth of stratified bird droppings. Nocera and his colleagues have been probing disused chimneys across Canada in which chimney swifts have built their nests for generations. From the droppings, he and his colleagues can reconstruct the diets of the birds, which eat almost exclusively insects caught on the wing.The layers revealed a striking change in the birds’ diets in the 1940s, around the time DDT was introduced. The proportion of beetle remains dropped off, suggesting the birds were eating smaller insects—and getting fewer calories per catch. The proportion of beetle parts increased slightly again after DDT was banned in the 1970s but never reached its earlier levels. The lack of direct data on insect populations is frustrating, Nocera says. “It’s all correlative. We know that insect populations could have changed to create the population decline we have now. But we don’t have the data, and we never will, because we can’t go back in time.”Sorg and Wägele agree. “We deeply regret that we did not set up more traps 20 or 30 years ago,” Sorg says. He and other Krefeld society members are now working with Wägele’s group to develop what they wish they had had earlier: a system of automated monitoring stations they hope will combine audio recordings, camera traps, pollen and spore filters, and automated insect traps into a “biodiversity weather station”. Instead of tedious manual analysis, they hope to use automated sequencing and genetic barcoding to analyze the insect samples. Such data could help pinpoint what is causing the decline—and where efforts to reverse it might work best.Paying attention to what E. O. Wilson calls “the little things that run the world” is worthwhile, Sorg says. “We won’t exterminate all insects. That’s nonsense. Vertebrates would die out first. But we can cause massive damage to biodiversity—damage that harms us.” 4 A weather station for biodiversity Researchers in Germany hope to develop a set of automated sensors that will monitor the abundance and diversity of plants, animals, and fungi with the help of pattern recognition and DNA and chemical analysis. 7 JEF MEUL/NIS/MINDEN PICTURES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE 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! Country 6 Of the scant records that do exist, many come from amateur naturalists, whether butterfly collectors or bird watchers. Now, a new set of long-term data is coming to light, this time from a dedicated group of mostly amateur entomologists who have tracked insect abundance at more than 100 nature reserves in western Europe since the 1980s.Over that time the group, the Krefeld Entomological Society, has seen the yearly insect catches fluctuate, as expected. But in 2013 they spotted something alarming. When they returned to one of their earliest trapping sites from 1989, the total mass of their catch had fallen by nearly 80%. Perhaps it was a particularly bad year, they thought, so they set up the traps again in 2014. The numbers were just as low. Through more direct comparisons, the group—which had preserved thousands of samples over 3 decades—found dramatic declines across more than a dozen other sites. 1 Sky scannerDetecting birds, bats,and large insects5 Acoustic recorderDetecting birds,frogs, and insects6 Moth scannerDetecting night-flying insects7 Scent detectorDetecting plants,animals, and soil-dwelling organisms2 Pollen collectorDetecting plantsand fungal spores3 Malaise trapDetecting insects4 Camera trapDetecting ground-dwelling animalscenter_img © ENTOMOLOGISCHER VEREIN KREFELD Where have all the insects gone? 2 V.ALTOUNIAN/SCIENCE Email Weighty disappearances The mass of insects collected by monitoring traps in the Orbroicher Bruch nature reserve in northwest Germany dropped by 78% in 24 years. 1 Entomologists call it the windshield phenomenon. “If you talk to people, they have a gut feeling. They remember how insects used to smash on your windscreen,” says Wolfgang Wägele, director of the Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity in Bonn, Germany. Today, drivers spend less time scraping and scrubbing. “I’m a very data-driven person,” says Scott Black, executive director of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation in Portland, Oregon. “But it is a visceral reaction when you realize you don’t see that mess anymore.”Some people argue that cars today are more aerodynamic and therefore less deadly to insects. But Black says his pride and joy as a teenager in Nebraska was his 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1—with some pretty sleek lines. “I used to have to wash my car all the time. It was always covered with insects.” Lately, Martin Sorg, an entomologist here, has seen the opposite: “I drive a Land Rover, with the aerodynamics of a refrigerator, and these days it stays clean.”Though observations about splattered bugs aren’t scientific, few reliable data exist on the fate of important insect species. Scientists have tracked alarming declines in domesticated honey bees, monarch butterflies, and lightning bugs. But few have paid attention to the moths, hover flies, beetles, and countless other insects that buzz and flitter through the warm months. “We have a pretty good track record of ignoring most noncharismatic species,” which most insects are, says Joe Nocera, an ecologist at the University of New Brunswick in Canada. Hover flies, often mistaken for bees or wasps, are important pollinators. Their numbers have plummeted in nature reserves in Germany. (GRAPHIC) G. GRULLÓN/SCIENCE; (DATA) M. SORG ET AL., MITTEILUNGEN AUS DEM ENTOMOLOGISCHEN VEREIN KREFELD 1, 1–5 (2013) © 2013 ENTOMOLOGISCHER VEREIN KREFELD 5 Such losses reverberate up the food chain. “If you’re an insect-eating bird living in that area, four-fifths of your food is gone in the last quarter-century, which is staggering,” says Dave Goulson, an ecologist at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, who is working with the Krefeld group to analyze and publish some of the data. “One almost hopes that it’s not representative—that it’s some strange artifact.”No one knows how broadly representative the data are of trends elsewhere. But the specificity of the observations offers a unique window into the state of some of the planet’s less appreciated species. Germany’s “Red List” of endangered insects doesn’t look alarming at first glance, says Sorg, who curates the Krefeld society’s extensive collection of insect specimens. Few species are listed as extinct because they are still found in one or two sites. But that obscures the fact that many have disappeared from large areas where they were once common. Across Germany, only three bumble bee species have vanished, but the Krefeld region has lost more than half the two dozen bumble bee species that society members documented early in the 20th century.Members of the Krefeld society have been observing, recording, and collecting insects from the region—and around the world—since 1905. Some of the roughly 50 members—including teachers, telecommunication technicians, and a book publisher—have become world experts on their favorite insects. Siegfried Cymorek, for instance, who was active in the society from the 1950s through the 1980s, never completed high school. He was drafted into the army as a teenager, and after the war he worked in the wood-protection division at a local chemical plant. But because of his extensive knowledge of wood-boring beetles, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1979. Over the years, members have written more than 2000 publications on insect taxonomy, ecology, and behavior.The society’s headquarters is a former school in the center of Krefeld, an industrial town on the banks of the Rhine that was once famous for producing silk. Disused classrooms store more than a million insect specimens individually pinned and named in display cases. Most were collected nearby, but some come from more exotic locales. Among them are those from the collection of a local priest, an active member in the 1940s and 1950s, who persuaded colleagues at mission stations around the world to send him specimens. (The society’s collection and archive are under historical preservation protection.) Tens of millions more insects float in carefully labeled bottles of alcohol—the yield from the society’s monitoring projects in nature reserves around the region. The reserves, set aside for their local ecological value, are not pristine wilderness but “seminatural” habitats, such as former hay meadows, full of wildflowers, birds, small mammals—and insects. Some even include parts of agricultural fields, which farmers are free to farm with conventional methods. Heinz Schwan, a retired chemist and longtime society member who has weighed thousands of trap samples, says the society began collecting long-term records of insect abundance partly by chance. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, local authorities asked the group for help evaluating how different strategies for managing the reserves affected insect populations and diversity.The members monitored each site only once every few years, but they set up identical insect traps in the same place each time to ensure clean comparisons. Because commercially available traps vary in ways that affect the catch, the group makes their own. Named for the Swedish entomologist René Malaise, who developed the basic design in the 1930s, each trap resembles a floating tent. Black mesh fabric forms the base, topped by a tent of white fabric and, at the summit, a collection container—a plastic jar with an opening into another jar of alcohol. Insects trapped in the fabric fly up to the jar, where the vapors gradually inebriate them and they fall into the alcohol. The traps collect mainly species that fly a meter or so above the ground. For people who worry that the traps themselves might deplete insect populations, Sorg notes that each trap catches just a few grams per day—equivalent to the daily diet of a shrew.Sorg says society members saved all the samples because even in the 1980s they recognized that each represented a snapshot of potentially intriguing insect populations. “We found it fascinating—despite the fact that in 1982 the term ‘biodiversity’ barely existed,” he says. Many samples have not yet been sorted and cataloged—a painstaking labor of love done with tweezers and a microscope. Nor have the group’s full findings been published. But some of the data are emerging piecemeal in talks by society members and at a hearing at the German Bundestag, the national parliament, and they are unsettling.Beyond the striking drop in overall insect biomass, the data point to losses in overlooked groups for which almost no one has kept records. In the Krefeld data, hover flies—important pollinators often mistaken for bees—show a particularly steep decline. In 1989, the group’s traps in one reserve collected 17,291 hover flies from 143 species. In 2014, at the same locations, they found only 2737 individuals from 104 species.Since their initial findings in 2013, the group has installed more traps each year. Working with researchers at several universities, society members are looking for correlations with weather, changes in vegetation, and other factors. No simple cause has yet emerged. Even in reserves where plant diversity and abundance have improved, Sorg says, “the insect numbers still plunged.”last_img read more

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People might have bred tropical macaws in the desert 1000 years ago

first_img Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) 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 By Lizzie WadeAug. 13, 2018 , 3:00 PM People might have bred tropical macaws in the desert 1000 years ago Scarlet macaws like this one fly through the jungles of tropical Mexico, Central America, and the Amazon. So what are their skeletons doing in archaeological sites in the deserts of the southwestern United States, at least 2000 kilometers to the north and in an entirely different ecosystem?To solve the mystery, researchers sequenced the complete mitochondrial genomes (the DNA found in the power plants of cells and passed down only from mothers) of 14 macaws that lived in five archaeological sites in Chaco Canyon and the Mimbres region of New Mexico, where people farmed, traded, and built cities from 900 C.E. to 1200 C.E. Seventy-one percent of the macaws had the exact same mitochondrial genome, and the others differed only slightly, making them all part of a single population called a haplogroup, the team reports today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.That haplogroup appears to be relatively rare in wild populations of macaws; only three of 84 museum samples of scarlet macaws from tropical ranges that the researchers tested belonged to it. So it’s likely the southwestern macaws all descended from a very small group of females captured from the wild—or perhaps even just one. Tim Fitzharris/Minden Pictures Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country That implies that instead of being individually captured and transported over great distances, the southwestern macaws were born in a breeding center that supplied feathers and birds to the region for religious and ceremonial purposes. Archaeologists know of just one nearby macaw breeding center, in the deserts of the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua, but it operated from 1250 C.E to 1450 C.E., centuries after many of these birds lived. So where these macaws were born and raised is still a mystery.last_img read more

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National academy president breaks her silence on ejecting sexual harassers

first_imgMarcia McNutt Stephen Voss Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country 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 By Meredith WadmanDec. 20, 2018 , 3:45 PM It has been 7 months since the presidents of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) in Washington, D.C., announced they had “begun a dialogue” about the standards of professional conduct required for membership in their exclusive ranks. In plainer terms, the three presidents of the prestigious academies—whose members are elected by existing members—were telegraphing their intention to try to find a way to expel proven sexual harassers and those found guilty of other kinds of misconduct. We “take this issue very seriously,” they wrote.Membership in the academies is a lifetime honor, and the current bylaws of all three make no provision for ejecting members. But in April, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in Washington, D.C., was rocked by allegations that cancer scientist Inder Verma, a longtime member, had a long record of sexual harassment. The NASEM presidents’ statement followed in May. But it did not satisfy those pressing for change.“It’s staggering that they continue to refuse to make clear if there will be consequences for misconduct, including sexual harassment,” Gary McDowell, executive director of Future of Research, an Abington, Massachusetts–based nonprofit that advocates for junior researchers, tweeted on 22 May, the day the presidents’ statement was released. “This statement does not say action will be taken, only that they will ‘re-examine’ their policies.”center_img Email National academy president breaks her silence on ejecting sexual harassers Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Since then, NASEM has said little about the actions it is taking to expel harassers, although in June it issued a groundbreaking report showing that large numbers of women at all levels experience sexual harassment across the sciences. But the circumspection has not been for want of activity, according to NAS President Marcia McNutt, who broke her silence earlier this week in an interview with ScienceInsider.Her remarks have been condensed for brevity and clarity.Q: It was in May that you three NASEM presidents said you were looking into ejecting harassers. What has happened since?A: The report Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine came out in June. And that report was truly a watershed moment. I divide the timeline into two eras, BR and AR: before report and after report. Before the report came out, I was hearing things like: “Aren’t things getting better for women? Aren’t some of these problems in the past?” Or: “Yes, maybe there are still problems but aren’t these personnel problems or personal problems? … We are a PROFESSIONAL organization so we should concentrate on professional matters.”After the report … I have even had women who actually prided themselves on being fairly knowledgeable on women’s issues who said to me: “I was surprised by that data in that report and in not a good way.” [The report makes clear] that this is not something in the past. And that this is not a minor issue. This is a major issue. And it’s happening to a lot of people. So the report comes out in June. The next meeting of the NAS [governing] council is in August. The council says: “OK, before we can say we are going to be able to remove them we have to say what the standards are for their conduct.” We quickly drafted a code of conduct. We got together with National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Engineering and we harmonized the draft across the three academies.[Since then] I have been going around the country, talking to members at regional meetings about the possibility of changing the NAS bylaws to remove members. And the response … has actually been quite positive. The appetite for the membership to really do the right thing, I have just been so energized by it. Especially when [they are] presented with evidence.Q: What’s next?A: We are putting together right now regional meetings in the [Washington], D.C., area and in Irvine, California, [hopefully in January 2019] that will focus just on the bylaw issue. Because by our [6] February [2019] council meeting we want to be able to have a good idea of what we want to draft into this bylaw.Q: Are you on track to propose a bylaw change at the NASEM annual meeting in late April 2019?A: Based on the meetings we have had to date, we see enough support that we are optimistic that should the remainder of the regional meetings be equally supportive that we think we could propose one. It’s an aggressive schedule … [but the] council’s goal and attempt is to do that.Q: What would the bylaw change look like?A: That’s what we would hope to work out. It has not taken full shape yet. But it would be providing the opportunity to remove a member under some sort of limited circumstances that would require some kind of process.Q: So in the case of a proven harasser, will you require a vote on this particular person’s ejection before the full membership? Or will you put to the membership a process by which the council is able to assess the evidence and decide on ejection?A: I’m not sure what I am foreseeing right now. The bylaws only allow for people to come into the academies and leave by dying or becoming emeritus [or resigning]. We need a change to the bylaws that would allow us some process for actually removing them, connected to … our code of conduct. Exactly how it would connect is undecided, but will be worked out in the next 2 months or so. I’m hoping it will be something the members will agree to and will think is fair. For example, it will have to have some kind of standards of evidence. Because I am sure the members will feel more comfortable about it if they feel there is no chance of it being politicized. … There is the concern that a small cabal could potentially distort the process for nefarious purposes if there are not the checks and balances in place.Q: What do you say to a 25-year-old  graduate student who is being harassed by her principal investigator and is completely in his power and feels trapped. And she is asking: Academies, why aren’t you doing this now?A: The academy really does care. … We definitely want to practice what we preach. We want to set the highest standards. We want to make sure that we are … that beacon for her and for the rest of the country. … The way we can do that is first of all by making sure that we have got our own house in order. … I know people feel like it has taken us a while to get here, but the important thing is we have to get the members on board.Q: NAS’s 2352 members are 83% male and the average age of a member is 72. Are you nonetheless encouraged that the members will vote something through?A: Yes. I am. I have been so encouraged by the degree to which so many of the—it’s not just the women in the academy … but so many of the men in the academy, too. They really care about their students. They care about their postdocs. They care about the academy’s reputation as well. And they see this as the academy’s obligation to be a leader.*Correction, 21 December, 9:55 a.m.: An earlier version of this story misstated the location of Future of Research.last_img read more

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Skerrit says international airport is not to be rushed promises firm decision

first_imgShareTweetSharePinSkerrit speaks at launch of Fidel GrantPrime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has said that he has five “solid” proposals from a number of firms for the construction of the much-talked-about international airport.He was speaking at a Dominica Labour Party (DLP) launch of one of its candidates in Wesley on Sunday.Skerrit said negotiations are underway “for the best deal” with firms from China, India, Dubai, two multilateral agencies and independent developers in Europe and the Americas.“What I can share with you this evening, at least five solid proposals that I have in my armour for the design, finance, construction and operation of an international airport for Dominica,” the prime minister stated.He said the government was negotiating with those entities “because we need to ensure that, that which we enter into today can be maintained by us tomorrow and the next week.”Skerrit said his conversations with countries in similar situations across the region and beyond has revealed what he already knows – that an international airport is nothing to be rushed.“The decision that we are about to take on the issue of the construction and provision of an international airport is one of the most complex we have had to take as a government, but we shall do it and we shall do it correctly, “he stated.The prime minister maintained that as “a prudent and responsible government,” he will not “rush the brush and spill [the] beans. However, he gave the assurance that, “We shall take that decision in this year of our Lord 2019; a firm decision shall be taken on the construction of the international airport in Dominica.”Skerrit said that he wants an international airport as much as any Dominican but he is not seeking a white elephant as the physical infrastructure is the easiest part of providing an international airport.“I want the best for Dominica and I want to ensure that what we get is a product that we can be proud of and an airport that we can afford to maintain in pristine condition and which would benefit frequent, regular, international airline use,” he noted.He reiterated, having made that point before, that his government has the money to pay property owners as soon as negotiations are finalized and reminded that the World Bank is providing his government with financial support to access some of the human resource that is required for the process of constructing the international airport.Skerrit once again questioned the ability of the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) to secure financing for their proposed international airport.“I want to know this evening with whom is the other side in discussion about the international airport. I want to know who their prospects are. I want to know how the proposed airport will be financed and what would be asked of tax payers in Dominica in the short, medium and long-term?”He assured his supporters that none of the proposals his government currently has makes any demands of the workers of this country.“I have made it clear to all and sundry that I do not intend on imposing any new taxes on Dominicans at any time,” Skerrit remarked.He said the international airport to be constructed by the DLP will be located in the Wesley constituency.A section of the DLP crowd at the launch of Fidel Grantlast_img read more

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