Shazam for Android has a great new trick iOS users probably wont

first_img This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. We’d also like to send you special offers and news just by email from other carefully selected companies we think you might like. Your personal details will not be shared with those companies – we send the emails and you can unsubscribe at any time. Please tick here if you are happy to receive these messages.By submitting your information, you agree to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy. Just because Shazam is now owned by Apple, it doesn’t mean Android users are out in the cold. In fact, the latest feature addition to the song recognition app is an Android exclusive right now.The new Shazam update for Android builds upon the ability to recognise songs playing on TV or the radio through the phone’s microphone. It can finally identify tracks playing through the mobile device’s headphones, while keeping them in your ears. Previously Shazam on Android users had to actually point them at the speaker in order to identify the song they were listening to.The Pop-up Shazam feature works in the background to identify songs and it works with popular streaming apps like Spotify and YouTube.Related: Best Android phones 2019In an update on Google Play, Shazam explains: “You can now Shazam music coming through your headphones! No need to point them at the microphone. Shazam will recognise the music that’s playing through your headphones.”You may be thinking ‘why’s there a need to identify a song playing through your headphones when most of the music services tell you exactly which song you’re listening to?’ While that’s true in the majority of most cases, Shazam has plenty more to offer than simply ID-ing the track.It offers lyrics, information about the artists, a link to the listing on your favourite streaming service, other tracks by the artists in question, related tracks from other artists, as well as the ability to buy the song on iTunes.Unfortunately, there’s no Pop-up Shazam option in the iOS app right now despite Apple taking ownership of the popular app last year. The anomaly is likely down to Apple’s stricter rules. It doesn’t give third-party developers access to audio that’s playing directly from the device.At least we know Shazam is still operating on enough of an independent basis for Apple to be cool with allowing the Android version of the app to gain the upper hand when it comes to new features. Show More Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. We’ll always tell you what we find. We may get a commission if you buy via our price links.Tell us what you think – email the Editor Sign up for the Mobile NewsletterSign Up Please keep me up to date with special offers and news from Goodtoknow and other brands operated by TI Media Limited via email. You can unsubscribe at any time.last_img read more

Credit Suisse loses 60 million on Canada Goose

first_img More Canada Goose Holdings Inc’s stock slumped in December on rising trade tensions between Canada and China.Christinne Muschi/Bloomberg Reddit Twitter Bloomberg News 4 Comments Facebook Join the conversation → January 25, 20192:51 PM EST Filed under News Retail & Marketing center_img Recommended For You’We were experiencing headwinds’ — Canopy Growth stock heads south on poor sales ramp-upDefining the future of Canadian competitiveness: How partnerships between industry and educational institutions can help lead the way forwardTrans Mountain construction work can go ahead as National Energy Board re-validates permitsDavid Rosenberg: Deflation is still the No. 1 threat to global economic stability — and central banks know itBank of Canada drops mortgage stress test rate for first time since 2016 Email Comment Share this storyCredit Suisse loses $60 million on Canada Goose Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Credit Suisse Group AG lost about US$60 million late last year after it was left holding shares in a North American clothing company that slumped during rising trade tensions between Canada and China, according to people with knowledge of the matter.Credit Suisse, which acted as underwriter on the sale of 10 million shares by Canada Goose Holdings Inc. stockholders in late November, saw the value of the stock tumble after the arrest of Huawei Technologies Co’s finance chief in Canada prompted a diplomatic dispute between the two countries, the people said, asking to not to be identified as the loss isn’t public.The offering was priced at US$65.15 a share, a 1.85 per cent discount to the previous close, a person familiar with the matter said at the time of the deal in late November. The arrest of Huawei Technologies Co.’s finance chief in Vancouver on Dec. 1 prompted Chinese websites to call for a boycott of Canadian brands and a 20 per cent four-day losing streak for the stock later that month. Canada Goose tumbles the most in 11 months after downgrade on value Canada Goose is getting hammered by China’s anger over the Huawei arrest Canada Goose’s first Beijing store draws crowds willing to wait an hour in the freezing cold to pay 9,000 yuan (US$1,300) for a parka The bank eventually sold the Canada Goose shares it held at a loss, the people said. Credit Suisse declined to comment on the details of the trade but said that its full-year guidance for reported pretax profit of 3.2 billion francs to 3.4 billion francs for 2018 remains unchanged.Credit Suisse has scaled down its trading business to focus on wealth management. The lender, led by Tidjane Thiam, just completed a sweeping three-year restructuring program and is now trying to convince investors to stick with the bank by pledging capital returns and growth in profits.With block trades, a seller typically gathers bids from banks for shares it wants to unload, often at a discount to the most recent price. The bank or group of banks that wins the mandate to arrange the trade seeks to resell the shares at a higher price, ideally within hours. Mandates for block trades are hotly pursued by investment banks because the transactions offer opportunities for a quick profit, and for a boost in the rankings of underwriters.With assistance from Sandrine Rastello and Ross LarsenBloomberg.com Credit Suisse loses $60 million on Canada Goose Stock tumbled on rising tensions between Canada and China Jan-Henrik Förster last_img read more

German Automakers Act Like Tesla And EV Transition Is A Surprise

first_img Burdened German Automakers Struggle To Design Profitable Tesla Competitors Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on October 28, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News Source: Electric Vehicle News German Automakers May Need To Take Notes To Compete With Tesla As Tesla Surges Forward, Will German Automakers Up The EV Game?center_img GERMAN AUTOMAKERS ALARMED BY TRANSITION TO ELECTRIC CARSWhile excitement grows for electric cars, questions remain. Patrick McGee writes (via Financial Times), “Can Germany survive the ‘iPhone moment’ for cars? The country’s profitable carmakers are being hit quicker than expected by the adoption of electric vehicles… some question whether Das Auto will survive such an industry transformation.”*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Matt Pressman. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs.Check Out These Stories: Above: The success of Tesla is raising questions in Germany (Image: Car)Right now, “If the market is betting on someone building the iPhone on wheels, it is Tesla.” It’s reported that, “In the US, Tesla outsold Mercedes and BMW in the passenger car category. Globally, Tesla deliveries including cars and SUVs were lower than both, but they were double that of Jaguar and almost 20,000 higher than Porsche, according to AID research.”“It gives you a glimpse of the future — of what it will mean when Tesla can serve the German market,” says Mr Herger, author of Das Silicon Valley Mindset, a manual for traditional industries to innovate like start-ups. “And this was the quarter when all you heard about at Tesla was their production problems.”Granted, German automakers “are likely to produce a record 16m cars this year… [but] it is based on a product, combustion engine cars, that could cease to exist within a single generation. The engineering skills that have set German cars apart from the pack are likely to lose importance relative to software and imported batteries. And its strengths, from engine knowhow to world-class factories, could turn into a weakness as the industry undergoes a radical shift.”Looking ahead, “If the shift to electric happens quickly, production assets in Germany could turn into expensive liabilities.” Above: Production of internal combustion engine cars differs from factories producing battery electric vehicles (Image: The Manufacturer)“The whole frame of the car is different when you move from gasoline to electric,” says Sven Dharmani, global auto supply chain leader at EY. “Entire plants are going to become obsolete. The companies that make pistons and crankshafts are not going to provide the battery.”In fact, “The threats facing the German car industry could be existential, according to Herbert Diess, chief executive of Volkswagen.” Deiss told German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, “Such an industry can crash faster than many people realise… I see our chances of keeping the lead position at 50:50.”In the US, “Elon Musk, the Tesla chief executive, is driven by grand ambitions to wean the world off a fossil fuel based economy… [whereas] the Germans are unveiling EVs to avoid breaking EU rules.” The results are striking: “Globally, not a single German EV model makes it on to the top 10 list dominated by Tesla, Nissan, and Chinese producer BYD.”Viktor Irle, analyst at EV-Volumes, says the German strategy is to produce as many electrified and hybrid plug-in vehicles as are required by law— rather than desired.“It’s ‘compliance hell’ rather than ‘production hell’,” he says. “They don’t want to sell them; they have to sell them.”.embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }Above: Germany fights against EU emissions policy that encourages and expedites electric vehicle adoption (Youtube: France 24 English)All this is happening against a backdrop where “Brussels recently launched a formal investigation into alleged collusion between the German carmakers, over a slow rollout of emissions technology… [and Audi’s] longtime chief executive Rupert Stadler was arrested for his alleged role in the diesel scandal in June. VW dismissed him this month.”Inside the tumultuous auto sector, there appears to be a sea-change underway. According to Stefan Bratzel, director of the Centre of Automotive Management in Bergisch Gladbach, “For 100 years the automotive universe had established the rules of the game. Just a few people controlled the industry, especially the Germans. Now, the role of the German automotive industry is at risk.”===Source: Financial Times*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers, free of charge. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX. Check out the site here.last_img read more

Tesla Model 3 Leads Germany To New PlugIn Electric Car Sales Record

first_imgThe all-electric surge was mostly caused by volume deliveries of Tesla Model 3, which noted 959 registrations! Together with 133 S/X, Tesla had 1,092 registrations!The other best-selling models for the month were Renault ZOE (782), BMW i3 (694, including 628 BEVs), Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (544) and Hyundai Kona Electric (400).Several other important models:Audi e-tron – 155Jaguar I-PACE – 92Kia Niro EV – 52Registrations of StreetScooter commercial electric vans amounted to just 111 in February. Source: Electric Vehicle News Tesla Model 3 In #2 Spot Among EVs In First Month Of Sales In France Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on March 14, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News Tesla Model 3 Is #1 Selling Electric Car In Norway In 2019 Tesla noted 1,092 registrations, including 959 Model 3!Plug-in electric car sales in Germany reached a new all-time record in February thanks to a significant increase in the pure electric segment.In total, 6,839 new plug-in passenger cars were registered, which is 34% more than a year ago at near-record market share of 2.54%. The plug-in hybrids, on the other hand, have fallen for the sixth month in a row.BEVs: 4,637 – up 82% at ≈1.72% market sharePHEVs: 2,202 – down 14% at ≈0.82% market share More sales reports Plug-in electric car registrations in Germany – February 2019 Tesla Model 3 Tops German Electric Car Sales Chartlast_img read more

Little New Information In Assistant AG Caldwells FCPA Speech

first_imgSince 2011, there have been 31 core corporate DOJ FCPA enforcement actions.  17 of the enforcement actions (55%) have been based on voluntary disclosures per the DOJ’s own resolution documents.  This 55% figure actually under-represents the impact of voluntary disclosures on the DOJ’s FCPA enforcement program because several other FCPA enforcement actions (for instance against Smith & Nephew and Biomet) are generally viewed as “fruits” of a prior voluntary disclosure (Johnson & Johnson). Moreover, the Bilfinger enforcement action was the direct result of the prior Willbros enforcement action (an enforcement action based on a voluntary disclosure). Yesterday, Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell delivered this speech before a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act audience.To those well-versed on prior DOJ FCPA policy speeches, there was little new in Caldwell’s speech (and you can assess this for yourself by visiting this subject matter tag which highlights every DOJ FCPA policy speech in the public domain over the last several years).The only “new” item in Caldwell’s speech was her announcement that the DOJ is “preparing to add 10 new prosecutors to the Fraud Section’s FCPA Unit, increasing its size by 50 percent.” But here again, for years the DOJ and/or FBI have been trumpeting the ever increasing persons in their respective FCPA units.Prior to excerpting, Caldwell’s speech, a few observations about the voluntary disclosure and “secret” FCPA enforcement aspects of Caldwell’s speech.Voluntary DisclosureCaldwell stated yesterday:“[The DOJ] is not reliant on corporate self-reporting in the FCPA or any other context—indeed, the majority of our FCPA cases are investigated and prosecuted without a voluntary disclosure …”.As noted in this December 2014, the DOJ previously said that it does not track voluntary disclosure statistics. However, as noted in the post, FCPA Professor does based on information in the DOJ’s own resolution documents.  The statistics (current as of the date in the post) were as follows. “Secret” FCPA EnforcmentFor years, there have been whispers in the FCPA space about “secret” FCPA enforcement actions.  As noted in this prior post, the 2012 FCPA Guidance seemed to confirm such whispers as the Guidance stated:“Historically, DOJ had, on occasion, agreed to DPAs with companies that were not filed with the court.  That is no longer the practice of DOJ.”The Guidance also suggested that the DOJ has used non-prosecution agreements in individual FCPA-related case (e.g., “If an individual complies with the terms of his or her NPA, namely, truthful and complete cooperation and continued law-abiding conduct, DOJ will not pursue criminal charges.”  The Guidance also states that “in circumstances where an NPA is with a company for FCPA-related offenses, it is made available to the public through DOJ’s website.” (emphasis added).  This statement suggests that when an NPA is with an individual for FCPA-related offenses, the agreement is not made public.In yesterday’s speech, Caldwell stated:“We usually publicly announce corporate resolutions and pleas, and make the documents available on our website.” (emphasis added).This statement only deepens the mystery surrounding apparent “secret” FCPA enforcement and the irony is that Caldwell’s statement was made in the same speech in which she stated “greater transparency benefits everyone.”The remainder of this post excerpts Caldwell’s speech.“I appreciate the opportunity to talk with you today about the Justice Department’s (DOJ) increasing attention to the investigation and prosecution of international corruption under the FCPA.In 1977, when Congress enacted the FCPA, it called the “payment of bribes to influence the acts or decisions of foreign officials…unethical [and] counter to the moral experience and values of the American public.”  In the investigations leading to the act’s passage, Congress uncovered more than $300 million—or nearly $1.2 billion in 2015 dollars—in bribes paid by American companies to foreign officials.Unfortunately, in the intervening 38 years, corruption has not disappeared.  In fact, as globalization increases, there is some evidence that corruption has as well.  The FCPA has, however, helped bring to justice some of the largest-scale perpetrators of economic corruption, and in 2014, companies paid more than $1.5 billion in corporate FCPA penalties to DOJ alone.  And that does not include payments made to other U.S. and foreign entities.  Clearly, our work to uphold the “moral experience and values of the American public” remains unfinished.As you may know, that work is led by a team of federal prosecutors in the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.  They are joined in this fight against international corruption by their colleagues in the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section—known as AFMLS—which pursues prosecutions against institutions and individuals engaged in money laundering, Bank Secrecy Act violations and sanctions violations.AFMLS attorneys also seek the forfeiture of proceeds of high-level foreign corruption through the relatively new Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.  The two units complement each other in their efforts to hold both bribe payers and bribe takers accountable for their criminal conduct.I would like to talk with you today about our ongoing efforts to enhance the Criminal Division’s ability to root out and prosecute corruption, and also to provide increased transparency about the division’s decision-making.During this past year, we increased our FCPA resources, including by adding three new fully-operational squads to the FBI’s International Corruption Unit that are focusing on FCPA and Kleptocracy matters.  We are also preparing to add 10 new prosecutors to the Fraud Section’s FCPA Unit, increasing its size by 50 percent.  These new squads and prosecutors will make a substantial difference to our ability to bring high-impact cases and greatly enhance the department’s ability to root out significant economic corruption.In addition to increased resources directed to FCPA cases, one of my priorities in the Criminal Division has been to increase transparency regarding charging decisions in corporate prosecutions.Greater transparency benefits everyone.  The Criminal Division stands to benefit from being more transparent because it will lead to more illegal activity being uncovered and prosecuted.  This is in part because if companies know the consideration they are likely to receive from self-reporting or cooperating in the government’s investigation, we believe they will be more likely to come in early, disclose wrongdoing and cooperate.On the flip side, companies can also better evaluate the consequences they might face if they do not merit that consideration.  In both ways, transparency helps achieve the deterrent purpose of the FCPA because comparatively opaque or unreasoned enforcement action can make it more difficult for companies to make their own rational decisions about how to react when they learn of a bribe.Transparency also helps to reduce any perceived disparity, in that companies can compare themselves to other similarly-situated companies engaged in similar misconduct.  There are often limits to how much we can disclose about our investigations and prosecutions—particularly for investigations in which no charges are brought—but we are trying to be more clear about our expectations in corporate investigations and the bases for our corporate pleas and resolutions.Let me provide some examples to illustrate this point.Just a few months ago, the former co-CEO of PetroTiger pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the FCPA.  He joined his fellow co-CEO and the company’s former general counsel in being convicted of bribery and fraud charges after a DOJ investigation that revealed a scheme to secure a $39 million oil-services contract for PetroTiger through bribery of Colombian officials.  This was serious misconduct that went to the very top of the company, and in a typical case, criminal charges for the company may well also have been appropriate.We learned about this misconduct through voluntary disclosure by PetroTiger, however.  And after that self-disclosure, the company fully cooperated with the department’s investigation of the misconduct and of the individuals responsible for it.  As you likely know, the department ultimately declined to prosecute the company, or to seek any NPA (non-prosecution agreement) or DPA (deferred prosecution agreement) with it, even though we clearly could have done so.By contrast, in December of last year—about a month after I last addressed this conference—Alstom S.A., the French power company, pleaded guilty to violating the FCPA.  In fact, Alstom was sentenced just last week.  Alstom admitted to its criminal conduct and agreed to pay a penalty of more than $772 million, the largest foreign bribery resolution with the Justice Department ever.  In addition, Alstom’s Swiss subsidiary pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA.  Two U.S.-based subsidiaries also admitted to conspiring to violate the FCPA and entered into deferred prosecution agreements.  The investigation resulted in criminal charges against five individuals, including four corporate executives, in connection with the bribery scheme.  To date, four of those individuals have pleaded guilty.Given the significant scope of the misconduct in that case—including the involvement of corporate executives—it is fair to say that the factors we look at in these cases weighed in favor of some kind of criminal disposition.  And it would also be fair to point out that what was missing in those factors was any strong argument, of the type that PetroTiger was able to make, for prosecutorial consideration for Alstom’s own efforts to mitigate the misconduct.  Rather, unlike PetroTiger, Alstom did not voluntarily disclose the misconduct and refused to cooperate with our investigation until years later, after we had already charged company executives.When we talk about this kind of credit for mitigation in FCPA corruption cases, we cannot talk simply about “cooperation.”  Cooperation is only one element of mitigation.  In our view, a company that wishes to be eligible for the maximum mitigation credit in an FCPA case must do three things: (1) voluntarily self-disclose, (2) fully cooperate and (3) timely and appropriately remediate.When a company voluntarily self-discloses, fully cooperates and remediates, it is eligible for a full range of consideration with respect to both charging and penalty determinations.Of course, in some cases the scope or seriousness of the criminal activity or the company’s history will mandate a criminal resolution, but in those cases it will be even more important for the company to present the strongest possible mitigation.  And companies that fail to self-disclose but nonetheless cooperate and remediate will receive some credit.  But that credit for cooperation and remediation will be measurably less than it would have been had the company also self-reported.Let me walk through now in more detail the elements of those three factors.First, as I have said before, companies for the most part have no obligation to self-disclose criminal wrongdoing to the Justice Department.  That has not changed.  And we are not reliant on corporate self-reporting in the FCPA or any other context—indeed, the majority of our FCPA cases are investigated and prosecuted without a voluntary disclosure and sometimes, as in the Alstom case, without corporate cooperation.As time passes and the world continues to shrink, we have more and more sources of information about FCPA violations, ranging from whistleblowers, to foreign law enforcement, to competitors, to current and former employees, the foreign media, and others.   So if you discover an FCPA violation that you opt not to self-report, you are taking a very real risk that we will one day find out, or that we already know, and you will not be eligible for the full range of potential mitigation credit.That said, we recognize that companies often are reluctant to self-report FCPA violations, especially when they believe that we may not otherwise learn of the misconduct.  And we also recognize that FCPA investigations present challenges for us that make them different in some important ways from other types of white collar crime.By their nature, overseas bribery schemes can be especially difficult to detect, investigate and prosecute.  Individuals who violate the FCPA and relevant evidence often are located overseas—sometimes in jurisdictions with which we have limited relationships.  FCPA violations often involve one or more third parties, such as resellers or agents, also located overseas.  Money often moves through multiple offshore accounts, usually in the names of shell corporations.  The transactions almost always are concealed in some fashion from the company’s books and records.  And the company often is much better-positioned than the Justice Department to get to the bottom of things in an efficient and timely fashion.For these reasons, voluntary self-disclosure in the FCPA context does have particular value to the department.   Because of that, we want to encourage self-disclosure by making clear that, when combined with cooperation and remediation, voluntary disclosure does provide a tangible benefit.What do I mean by voluntary self-disclosure?  I mean that within a reasonably prompt time after becoming aware of an FCPA violation, the company discloses the relevant facts known to it, including all relevant facts about the individuals involved in the conduct.To qualify, this disclosure must occur before an investigation—including a regulatory investigation by an agency such as the SEC—is underway or imminent.  And disclosures that the company is already required to make by law, agreement or contract do not qualify.Second, in line with the focus on individual accountability for corporate criminal conduct announced earlier this year by Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, companies seeking credit must affirmatively work to identify and discover relevant information about the individuals involved through independent, thorough investigations.Companies cannot just disclose facts relating to general corporate misconduct and withhold facts about the individuals involved.  And internal investigations cannot end with a conclusion of corporate liability, while stopping short of identifying those who committed the underlying conduct.In addition to identifying the individuals involved, full cooperation includes providing timely updates on the status of the internal investigation, making officers and employees available for interviews—to the extent that is within the company’s control—and proactive document production, especially for evidence located in foreign countries.Some have expressed concern that we now expect companies to conduct more extensive—and expensive—investigations to obtain credit for cooperating.  That is not the case.  As I have said before, we are not asking companies to boil the ocean.As always, we continue to expect investigations to be thorough and tailored to scope of the wrongdoing, and to identify the wrongdoing and the wrongdoers.  We expect cooperating companies to make their best effort to uncover the facts with the goal of identifying the individuals involved.  To the extent companies and their counsel are unclear about what this means, we remain willing to maintain an open dialogue about our interests and our concerns, which should help save companies from aimless and expensive investigations.A company that does not have access to all the facts, despite its best efforts to do a thorough and timely investigation, will not be at a disadvantage.  Our presumption is that the corporate entity will have access to the evidence, but if there are instances where you do not, or you are legally prohibited from handing it over, then, again, you need to explain that to us.  And know that we will test the accuracy of your assertions.We, of course, recognize that we sometimes can obtain evidence that a company cannot.  We often can obtain from third parties evidence that is not available to the company.  Also, we know that a company may not be able to interview former employees who refuse to cooperate in a company investigation.  Those same employees may provide information to us, whether voluntarily or through compulsory process.  Likewise, there are times when, for strategic reasons, we may ask that the company stand down from pursuing a particular line of inquiry.  In these circumstances, the company of course will not be penalized for failing to identify facts subsequently discovered by government investigators.Finally, remediation includes the company’s overall compliance program as well as its disciplinary efforts related to the specific wrongdoing at issue.  For example, we will consider whether and how the company has disciplined the employees involved in the misconduct.  We will also examine the company’s culture of compliance including an awareness among employees that any criminal conduct, including the conduct underlying the investigation, will not be tolerated.A well-designed and fully-implemented compliance program is key.  Such a program should have sufficient resources relative to the company’s size to effectively train employees on their legal obligations and to uncover misconduct in its earliest stages.  Compliance personnel should be sufficiently independent so that they are free to report misconduct even when committed by high-ranking officials.Because this area is nuanced, the Fraud Section has recently retained an experienced compliance counsel to help assess these programs.  She has many years of experience in the private sector assisting global companies in different industries build and strengthen compliance controls.  We look forward to her insights on issues such as whether the compliance program truly is thoughtfully designed and sufficiently resourced to address the company’s compliance risks and whether proposed remedial measures are realistic and sufficient.  She also will be interacting with the compliance community to seek input about ways we can work together to advance our mutual interest in strong corporate compliance programs.Let me reiterate: there is no requirement that a company self-disclose, fully cooperate or remediate FCPA offenses, and failure to do those things, or to do them to the standards I have described here, in and of itself, does not mean that charges will be filed against a company any more than it would with respect to an individual.  But when it comes to serious, readily-provable offenses, companies seeking a more lenient disposition on the basis that they took steps to mitigate the offense after it was discovered are on notice of what the Criminal Division looks for when we consider these mitigating factors.Just as we expect transparency from companies seeking prosecutorial consideration for mitigating an FCPA offense, we are doing our best to act in kind.  We recognize that information about the bases for our corporate guilty pleas and resolutions is an important reference point for companies that are evaluating whether to self-disclose a violation or cooperate.In each of our corporate resolutions—be it a guilty plea, NPA or DPA—we aim to provide a detailed explanation of the key factors that led to our decision.  These include a detailed recitation of the misconduct, as publicly admitted by the company and the corporation’s cooperation—if any—and remedial measures.  We usually publicly announce corporate resolutions and pleas, and make the documents available on our website.We know that the overwhelming majority of companies try to do the right thing the overwhelming majority of the time.  And we applaud the efforts of corporate counsel and executives alike in establishing and enforcing FCPA compliance programs to prevent violations.  I think we can all agree that the FCPA’s ultimate goal – like that of the other criminal statutes we enforce on a daily basis – is not the prosecution and punishment of individuals and companies engaged in bribery as a business practice but rather an end to corruption before it begins.  I would much prefer to report lower figures in terms of FCPA prosecutions and penalties in future years if it meant less corruption were occurring.By increasing the size of our FCPA force and by incentivizing early reporting and thorough compliance programs through increased transparency, we are making progress towards that goal.  With the help of companies and their counsel, we can get there sooner.  To that end, we look forward to continuing the dialogue of which this conference is a part.”last_img read more

FearBased FCPA Marketing

first_imgAs is his occasional style, Mike Volkov began this post on his Corruption Crime & Compliance blog with a rant:“Akin to politics (to a smaller degree), there is a fair amount of disinformation, some call it bloviating, put out by the FCPA Paparazzi. Some of this disinformation is motivated by immature attempts to “market” legal services; other sources of disinformation carry a readily apparent bias, one way or the other, and usually are supported by self-citations to one’s own “scholarship” to prove their points.”When ranting, one can at least be a bit more specific and perhaps provide supporting links so that readers can decide for themselves the veracity of the assertions.In any event, it was a bit ironic that a few days after the above rant a post was published on Corruption Crime & Compliance titled “Doing Business in China Should be “Scary.”As most FCPA-fear based marketing pieces do, the post begins with a current events hook (the recent Novartis enforcement action), contains the phrase a “perfect storm” and asserts that “companies should absolutely be scared of doing business in China.” And then of course, as most fear-based marketing pieces do, the post ended with a simplistic solution in this case with five generic steps (such as “train,” “communicate” and “be proactive”) to “make doing business in China a little less scary.”Does business in China entail FCPA risk? Absolutely.Have several FCPA enforcement actions (or instances of disclosed FCPA scrutiny) concerned alleged improper conduct in China? Yes, but FCPA enforcement actions and scrutiny tend to be directly related to the extent of business in any particular country and to state the obvious there are more business organizations subject to the FCPA doing business in China than in Ethiopia, Honduras, or Madagascar (to name just a few countries).However, the notion that doing business in China is “scary” and that “companies should absolutely be scared of doing business in China” is ridiculous.Tens of thousands, indeed likely hundreds of thousands, of companies subject to the FCPA do business in China and China is the most attractive market in the world for foreign direct investment (FDI). Indeed, according to World Bank figures foreign direct investment in China has generally increased during the FCPA’s new era of enforcement.Against this backdrop, the fact that there tends to be 3-5 FCPA enforcement actions per year concerning alleged conduct in China (often enforcement actions that originated with voluntary disclosures and often enforcement actions based on dubious and untested legal theories) is unremarkable.As Volkov himself previously observed:“The FCPA Paparazzi has done a great disservice to the business community.  Call it a complete lack of credibility.  Legal marketing has become confused in this day and age – marketing has now been turned into the ‘Fear Factor,’ meaning that lawyers need to scare potential clients into hiring them.  That is flat-out wrong.   Each week, new client alerts, client warnings and other cries of impending disaster are transmitted through the Internet to businesses.”Against the backdrop of ever-present “fear-based” FCPA marketing are the refreshing words of Pamela Marple:“Over the past five years, the [FCPA] has solidified itself as an industry brimming with expert forums, company departments and substantial news coverage. Is this statute really the bear in the woods some say it is? […]  The existence of the FCPA industry (and professionals who are available to conduct internal investigations at a high price) does not mean that this reaction is what is always required. What is required first and foremost is reasonable judgment exercised by directors and professionals who seek both compliance and solutions—without assuming a bear is present at every turn.”*****Speaking of bloviating, in this other recent post Volkov writes: “The doctrine of the “rogue” employee has been an artificial concept promoted by white-collar defense lawyers to minimize corporate client responsibilities.”Last I checked, the Department of Justice is most certainly not comprised of white-collar defense lawyers. Yet even the DOJ recognizes the existence of rogue employees.As stated in the DOJ’s Principles of Federal Prosecution of Business Organizations: “[I]t may not be appropriate to impose liability upon a corporation, particularly one with a robust compliance program in place, under a strict respondeat superior theory for the single isolated act of a rogue employee.”As stated by then DOJ Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer: “There will always be rogue employees who decide to take matters into their own hands. They are a fact of life.” (See here).Similar to the DOJ, the SEC is most certainly not comprised of white-collar defense lawyers. Yet even the SEC recognizes the existence of rogue employees. For instance, in announcing FCPA charges against Garth Peterson (a former Morgan Stanley executive),  Kara Brockmeyer (Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s FCPA Unit) stated: “As a rogue employee who took advantage of his firm and its investment advisory clients, Peterson orchestrated a scheme to illegally win business while lining his own pockets and those of an influential Chinese official.”last_img read more

Issues To Consider From The Odebrecht Braskem Enforcement Action

first_imgAs highlighted in this prior post, last week’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Odebrecht / Braskem was egregious and largely centered on a business unit, the Division of Structured Operations, housed within an Odebrecht subsidiary that allegedly served as little more than a bribe-paying department for the benefit of Odebrecht and Braskem in connection with projects and other issues in Brazil and eleven other countries.Given the egregious and wide-spread improper conduct, the Odebrecht / Braskem global (Brazil, U.S. and Switzerland) settlement of approximately $3.5 billion set a record. After accounting for various credits and deductions (including for payments to Brazil and Swiss law enforcement agencies and a claimed inability to pay) the net FCPA settlement amount (subject to potential future adjustments) was approximately $420 million (the 5th largest FCPA settlement amount of all-time). [Note, in April 2017 the DOJ trimmed the Odebrecht criminal penalty by $167 million to $93 million (it originally was $260 million). Thus, the overall net FCPA settlement amount is $252 million].Just because the conduct was egregious does not mean that there are not legal and policy issues to consider from the enforcement action. This prior post highlighted why the Odebrecht / Braskem enforcement action was unique (the bulk of the conduct focused on Brazil and it is believed to be the first FCPA enforcement action ever against a foreign issuer for bribing its own “domestic” officials) and this post continues the analysis by highlighting additional issues to consider.TimelineAccording to this May 2016 Bloomberg report:“Although the Justice Department and SEC opened their investigations in October 2014 with a focus on Petrobras, much of the work early on was done by Brazilian investigators […]. The wider examination of companies that had dealings with Petrobras [including Odebrecht and Braskem] started more recently.”On this note, Braskem disclosed in this April 2015 SEC filing that “as of April 24, 2015, to the knowledge of the management, Braskem has not received any notification of the filing of any proceeding or investigation by Brazilian or U.S. authorities.”Regardless of the precise date the DOJ and/or SEC began to formally investigate Odebrecht / Braskem (see this Law360 article for additional information), the FCPA scrutiny of the companies was super speedy compared to the normal timeline of an FCPA inquiry (typically between 2.5 – 4 years). If the DOJ and SEC can conclude a major instance of FCPA scrutiny with a broad scope in the approximate 1 to 1.5 years it took to resolve Odebrecht / Braskem’s FCPA scrutiny, why can’t it resolve most other instances of FCPA scrutiny in a similar fashion?JurisdictionThere is no question that the Odebrecht / Braskem enforcement action involved egregious conduct. However, both companies are foreign companies and can thus only be found in violation of the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions to the extent certain jurisdictional elements are met. For instance, the DOJ charged Odebrecht with conspiracy to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions, specifically under the dd-3 prong of the FCPA which contains the following jurisdictional element:“while in the territory of the United States, corruptly … make[s] use of the mails or any means or instrumentality of interstate commerce or to do any other act in furtherance [of an improper payment scheme.]”The DOJ’s criminal information alleges six overt acts with an explicit U.S. nexus.Five of the overt acts allege that Odebrecht caused money to be transferred from New York accounts. However, it is an open question whether such acts meet dd-3’s prefatory language of “while in the territory” of the U.S. In this regard, recall in the Africa Sting case that the DOJ’s dd-3 anti-bribery charge (premised on a defendant sending a DHL package from the U.K. to the U.S.) was dismissed by a federal court judge because there was no conduct “while in the territory” of the U.S.The only other overt act in the criminal information with an explicit U.S. nexus states that “Odebrecht Employee 4 [a citizen of Brazil] attended a meeting in Miami, Florida with the agent of a high-level government official in Antigua, and agreed to pay $4 million to the government official, if the government official refrained from providing banking records revealing illicit payments made by the Division of Structured Operations to international authorities.”However, this overt act is presumably alleged in connection with the conspiracy to obstruct justice charge that Odebrecht was also charged with, not the FCPA charge.The DOJ charged Braskem (an issuer in FCPA-speak) with conspiracy to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions, specifically under the dd-1 prong of the FCPA which contains a less demanding jurisdictional element compared to dd-3. The jurisdictional element of dd-1 as it relates to foreign issuers is:” use of the mails or any means or instrumentality of interstate commerce corruptly in furtherance [of an improper payment scheme]”Political ContributionsUnlike the DOJ’s action against Odebrecht which also contained allegations about eleven other countries, the DOJ’s action against Braskem was uniquely focused on conduct in Brazil including alleged payments to political parties, individual candidates and other government officials at the local, regional and national level in connection with political acts including seeking legislation that would advantage the company.For instance, on several occasions the DOJ alleged that Braskem made contributions to political campaigns followed with the following type of allegation:“Although the request was framed as a contribution to Brazilian Official’s campaign, Braskem employee knew that the funds were not going to be used for the campaign, [but] rather Braskem employee understood that they would be distributed after the next election for the personal benefit of various politicians.”On the issue of political donations, it is perhaps useful to remind ourselves that many corporate donations, either direct or indirect, to political parties, political parties, or political action committees are viewed by some as a form of bribery. For several examples, see the article “The Uncomfortable Truths and Double Standards of Bribery Enforcement.”Yesterday’s post highlighted various policy issues inherent in the U.S. bringing an enforcement action against a Brazilian company for its interactions with its own domestic officials, and the political contribution as a bribe aspect of the Braskem enforcement action certainly raises policy issues as well. The equivalent would be Brazil bringing an enforcement action against a U.S. company for its allegedly problematic contributions to U.S. political actors premised on the notion that the U.S. company may list certain of its securities on a Brazil exchange. FCPA Training Doesn’t Need To Be Boring Legal information presented in dozens of slides is so old-school. FCPA training doesn’t need to be this way. Make FCPA training memorable and effective by engaging learners through gaming and other active learning techniques.center_img Energize FCPA Training last_img read more

SCOTX To Orca Vague Assurances Should Have Been A Clue

first_img Password In hot pursuit of mineral leases in the frenzied 2010 Eagle Ford Shale play, Orca Assets paid $3.2 million for six leases in DeWitt County that they later discovered belonged to another company. Rather than simply accept a return of their cash, Orca sued the owner’s agent, accusing them of fraud, demanding $400 million in unrealized revenues. On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court suggested that Orca should have known better. Janet Elliott reports on the court’s reasoning in The Texas Lawbook.You must be a subscriber to The Texas Lawbook to access this content. Username Lost your password?center_img Remember me Not a subscriber? Sign up for The Texas Lawbook.last_img read more

Combination of probiotics and herbal supplement may prolong lifespan research shows

first_img Source:https://www.mcgill.ca/newsroom/channels/news/secret-longevity-microbiome-and-gut-287429 Jun 1 2018You are what you eat. Or so the saying goes. Science now tells us that we are what the bacteria living in our intestinal tract eat and this could have an influence on how well we age. Building on this, McGill University scientists fed fruit flies with a combination of probiotics and an herbal supplement called Triphala that was able to prolong the flies’ longevity by 60 % and protect them against chronic diseases associated with aging.The study, published in Scientific Reports, adds to a growing body of evidence of the influence that gut bacteria can have on health. The researchers incorporated a symbiotic – made of probiotics with a polyphenol-rich supplement – into the diet of fruit flies.The flies fed with the synbiotic lived up to 66 days old – 26 days more than the ones without the supplement. They also showed reduced traits of aging, such as mounting insulin resistance, inflammation and oxidative stress.”Probiotics dramatically change the architecture of the gut microbiota, not only in its composition but also in respect to how the foods that we eat are metabolized,” says Satya Prakash, professor of biomedical engineering in McGill’s Faculty of Medicine and senior author of the study. “This allows a single probiotic formulation to simultaneously act on several biochemical signaling pathways to elicit broad beneficial physiological effects, and explains why the single formulation we present in this paper has such a dramatic effect on so many different markers”.The fruit fly is remarkably similar to mammals with about 70 % similarity in terms of their biochemical pathways, making it a good indicator of what would happen in humans, adds Prakash.”The effects in humans would likely not be as dramatic, but our results definitely suggest that a diet specifically incorporating Triphala along with these probiotics will promote a long and healthy life.”The authors also say that the findings can be explained by the “gut-brain axis,” a bidirectional communication system between microorganisms residing in the gastrointestinal tract – the microbiota – and the brain. In the past few years, studies have shown the gut-brain axis to be involved in neuropathological changes and a variety of conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, neurodegeneration and even depression. Few studies, however, have successfully designed gut microbiota-modulating therapeutics having effects as potent or broad as the formulation presented in the new study.Related StoriesUnhealthy gut microbiome may make breast cancers more aggressive finds studyScientists develop universal FACS-based approach to heterogenous cell sorting, propelling organoid researchTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CTLearning from traditional medicineThe herbal supplement used in the study, Triphala, is a formulation made from amalaki, bibhitaki and haritaki, fruits used as medicinal plants in Ayurveda, a form of traditional Indian medicine.Susan Westfall, a former PhD student at McGill and lead author of the study, says the idea of combining Triphala and probiotics comes from her long-standing interest in studying natural products derived from traditional Indian medicine and their impact on neurodegenerative diseases.”At the onset of this study, we were hopeful that combining Triphala with probiotics would be at least a little better than their individual components in terms of physiological benefit, but we did not imagine how successful this formulation would be,” says Westfall, who is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, USA.The new study, which includes data filed in a US provisional patent through a company cofounded by the authors, has the potential to impact the field of the microbiome, probiotics and human health.Considering the broad physiological effects of this formulation shown in the fruit fly, Prakash hopes their formulation could have interesting applications in a number of human disorders such as diabetes, obesity, neurodegeneration, chronic inflammation, depression, irritable bowel syndrome and even cancer.last_img read more

European Space Agency picks finalists for next science mission

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Email The finalists announced yesterday for the fourth medium-sized mission include the Atmospheric Remote-Sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey (Ariel), which will help planetary scientists understand how our solar system differs from others by studying the chemistry and physical conditions of exoplanet atmospheres. The Turbulence Heating ObserveR (Thor) will examine how the sun warms its plasma and so dissipates heat through the solar system via the solar wind. And the X-ray Imaging Polarimetry Explorer (Xipe) will look at x-rays from the more violent denizens of the universe—supernovas, galaxy jets, black holes, and neutron stars—and for the first time measure their polarization in high resolution to understand how matter behaves under extreme conditions. 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 Zimbabwecenter_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) The European Space Agency (ESA) has narrowed a field of 27 proposals down to three in a search for its next medium-sized mission. The finalists include projects to study the atmospheres of planets around nearby stars, the characteristics of distant high-energy objects, and how the sun heats the solar wind and planetary atmospheres. The three teams will receive funding to develop their concepts for several years before a final decision is made. The winning mission will get a budget up to €450 million and will launch in 2025.ESA’s current science program, known as Cosmic Vision 2015-2025, periodically chooses large- and medium-sized missions in open competitions. (Small missions are usually funded by individual nations on their own or in small collaborations.) Two large missions are now in development and the selection of a third will begin next year; three medium-sized missions are also in the works.last_img read more

Which movies get artificial intelligence right

first_imgTake Science’s quiz and test your knowledge of AI in the movies!In the opening scene of the 1982 film Blade Runner, an interrogator asks an android named Leon questions “designed to provoke an emotional response.” According to the movie, empathy is one of the few features that distinguish humans from artificial intelligence (AI). When the test shifts to questions about his mother, Leon stands up, draws a gun, and shoots his interviewer to death. It’s not a happy ending for the human, but when Hollywood portrays AI, it rarely is. Writers and directors have been pitting man against machine on the silver screen for decades, but just how scientifically plausible are these plots? We consulted a group of AI experts and asked them to weigh in on 10 different films in the genre. We’ve ranked them least to most plausible. (Danger, Will Robinson: Spoilers ahead.)  ALPHA CORE/COLUMBIA PICTURES/GENRE FILMS/OLIN STUDIO/SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT / THE KOBAL COLLECTION 4. Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)Summary: An American supercomputer designed to prevent nuclear war teams up with its Russian counterpart and together, with control over most of the world’s nukes, they hold humanity at ransom unless humans relinquish control of society to their new computer overlords. What it gets right: In Hollywood there seems to be a misconception that a machine must acquire sentience or free will to oppose humans. But according to Russell, “It’s completely unnecessary. It’s completely nonscientific.” Whether the supercomputers are sentient in this film is debatable, but they wouldn’t need to be to oppose humanity. All the machine needs is programming that contradicts with our own wants. “If we give these machines goals and we’re not very careful about it, they’ll do what we asked them to, but we may not like the results,” Russell says. Hutter goes so far as to say that he might not mind being ruled by a sentient machine. Humans are greedy and prone to pursue self-interest even at the expense of others, he notes. A completely rational computer, with intelligence far beyond our own, might actually be able to create a more fair society for everyone. He agrees with Colossus when, at the film’s conclusion, the AI states, “You will say you lose your freedom. Freedom is an illusion. All you lose is the emotion of pride.”What it gets wrong: Aside from the idea that a computer operating on punch cards would have enough computational power to outwit and subjugate humanity, there isn’t too much wrong with Colossus. In a 2001 publication, computer scientist Rodney Brooks pointed out that the progression of any technology happens in incremental steps. If we ever create a robot that we can’t control, we will most likely have already created many robots that we almost couldn’t control or a robot that we occasionally lost control of. He thinks there will be plenty of warning if we ever get close. Considering IBM’s Watson didn’t even know it was playing Jeopardy when it bested Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter in 2011, it seems likely that we have some time. Realism score: 7/10 ANNAPURNA PICTURES / THE KOBAL COLLECTION 20TH CENTURY FOX / THE KOBAL COLLECTION 7. Ex Machina (2015)Summary: A young programmer (Caleb) wins a trip to visit a computer genius’s (Nathan) compound where he will get to administer a Turing test (designed to test whether a machine is capable of humanlike intelligence) to a potentially sentient robot (Ava). What it gets right: Nathan doesn’t suddenly “crack the AI problem.” He’s not sure if Ava is sentient or not; she needs to be tested. Although Hutter thinks the movie bungled the accuracy on the Turing test, he praises it for its sophisticated treatment of consciousness and for avoiding over-the-top action scenes. Consciousness is one of the biggest themes in all of these films, and Hutter thinks that if consciousness is ever achieved, it’s likely to be an emergent property of advanced AI rather than something that was explicitly programmed or activated: “In general I would say that if I have a system which is sufficiently complicated … if they display behavior we would interpret as emotions as humans, then there’s a reasonable chance that it has emotions.” Ex Machina at least treats the subject as complicated—something that needs to be tested.   Russell is less optimistic that such a test will ever be needed. “I don’t think anyone’s going to crack consciousness—at least not absent a major conceptual breakthrough,” he says. “It’s not going to come from programming; it’s going to come from a complete philosophical conception of what we’re talking about.” The problem, Russell says, is that we don’t understand the origins of our own consciousness well enough to program one. “Nobody in AI is working on building conscious machines because we just have nothing to go on,” he says. “We just don’t have a clue about what to do.”What it gets wrong: Yet again we see the “isolated genius” trope. Though Nathan runs the massive internet company BlueBook, it appears most of his work on AI has been done solo—alone in a high-tech house in the woods. The film also has a particularly poor explanation of the technology behind Ava’s (maybe) sentient brain. (This is somewhat forgivable considering we don’t know how to create AI in the first place.) In the scene in question, Nathan shows Caleb the various pieces of hardware inside of Ava. When they get to the brain, Nathan mentions it’s not hardware, but “wetware” implying a biological component. But the software behind Ava’s intelligence is apparently derived from compiling the massive amount of data in Internet searches. How search queries equate to sentience is never explained in any detail. The lack of specifics is especially surprising given how excited Nathan is to expound upon the ins and outs of the tech behind Ava’s genitals.Realism score: 5/10 UNIVERSAL / THE KOBAL COLLECTION Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) 5. I, Robot (2004)Summary: After an executive (Alfred Lanning) at USR robotics corporation is murdered, detective Del Spooner suspects a one of the company’s own robots is the perpetrator. What it gets right: Of any film on the list, I, Robot addresses Isaac Asimov’s three laws of robotics most directly: 1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm; 2) A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law; 3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law. On their own, the laws might be a fairly good starting point for creating safe AIs. Sonny, the film’s main robotic character, appears to have somehow defied his programming and gone rogue. According to the experts, this is something that could never happen, but I, Robot provides a very reasonable explanation for the machines’ sudden change of behavior when it is revealed that an AI named VIKI has introduced the “Zeroth law” which states: “A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.” Like in many of the other films on the list, this directive is taken to the extreme when the robots decide that humanity is a danger to itself and must be pacified. Unpredicted and unwanted consequences could become a reality if we aren’t careful about how we program advanced AIs. Plus, Spooner’s Audi is totally rad. What it gets wrong: Adding the Zeroth law or any other overriding directive to the robots’ programming could certainly allow them the change their behavior and violate the traditional Three Laws of Robotics, but this doesn’t explain why or how VIKI came to the decision to implement the Zeroth law to begin with. All the experts are quick to point out that robots do not change their programming, and the notion that they could spontaneously develop new agendas is pure fiction. Hutter says the underlying goals programmed into the machine are “static.” “There are mathematical theories that prove a perfectly rational goal-achieving agent has no motivation to change its own goals.” Realism score: 6.5/10 DNA FILMS/FILM4 / THE KOBAL COLLECTION 3. Bicentennial Man (1999)Summary: A robot butler becomes human over several generations, even replacing his mechanical pieces with lab-grown organs. What it gets right: For the first time in our list, we have nonviolent AI. Although it doesn’t make for a very compelling story, most of the experts are optimistic that humanity will be able to peacefully coexist alongside AI. “As far as accuracy, there aren’t any things that are outrageous,” Goebel says. “The fear or anxiety that Hollywood portrays  … is maybe the most serious thing that’s mistreated.”What it gets wrong: Hutter says the notion that a robot as advanced as Andrew would have any desire to become human is probably “somewhat egocentric.” Like in Transcendence, sufficiently advanced machines may recognize the benefits or their inorganic circuitry. Perhaps it’s missing the entire point of the film, but it seems unlikely that AI as smart as Andrew would think relish the opportunity to become fragile or breakable. And, as always, there’s the issue that Andrew has inexplicably obtained goals and wants outside of his original programming. Realism score: 7.5/10 Summary: A robot police warrior gains self-awareness after a programmer cracks the code for true AI.What it gets right: Chappie is “born” with a very basic understanding of the world and his surroundings, but it learns through experience. Although the film might not be the most realistic portrayal of machine learning, it is accurate in the sense that many of our most advanced AI algorithms today require the robot to undergo a trial-and-error learning phase. “Certainly the fact that he learns very quickly is potentially quite realistic,” says Stuart Russell, a computer scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach. What it gets wrong: There are a lot of problems with this movie, according to the experts. For one, there’s a single rogue programmer who writes a program for AI by himself in his apartment. The experts agree this sort of breakthrough is highly unrealistic, and that the first true AI will be developed slowly over time by a large team of scientists.  Another issue: brain/consciousness uploading—the idea that somehow human consciousness can be extracted from a human brain and replicated on a chip—which is a major theme in the movie. “It’s pure speculation that has no basis in fact whatsoever,” Russell says. “It’s nonsense.” That strikes a blow to the idea, popularized by futurist Ray Kurzweil, that we’ll one day be able to upload our consciousness into computers, granting us immortality, adds Randy Goebel, a computer scientist at the University of Alberta in Canada who studies the theory and application of intelligent systems. “Kurzweil is just plain wrong.”  Realism score: 1/10 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 MGM/STANLEY KUBRICK PRODUCTIONS / THE KOBAL COLLECTION center_img ALCON ENTERTAINMENT / THE KOBAL COLLECTION 6. Transcendence (2014)Summary: Computer scientist Will Caster becomes the first world’s first AI specimen when his consciousness is uploaded to a quantum computer after he dies. What it gets right: Until the very end, Will Caster’s AI self is confined entirely to the digital world; he exists solely as a computer program. The experts agree that shrugging off a physical body could allow an AI considerable freedoms and safety. “Once you have the ability to change the mind or the brain you can also get rid of a lot of evolutionary artifacts,” Hutter says. “I don’t think they’ll care so much about becoming like humans.”What it gets wrong: The whole brain uploading/downloading thing. (See #10.) Realism score: 6/10 10. Chappie (2015) Email LADD COMPANY/WARNER BROS / THE KOBAL COLLECTION AMBLIN/DREAMWORKS/WB / THE KOBAL COLLECTION / JAMES, DAVID Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country 9. A.I. (2001)Summary: After their son must be put into a hibernationlike stasis to save his life, a family adopts a robotic boy, David, which is programmed to love. What it gets right: Throughout the film, David has one unchanging objective that is the direct result of his programming—to love and be loved. He never goes rogue or changes his goals. “This robot boy wants to be loved. If you design this robot child in such a way, it will have these desires and it will act in such a way,” says Marcus Hutter, a computer scientist at the Australian National University who studies mathematical approaches to AI.  “Since the aim of the company was to produce artificial children, it makes a lot of sense that this AI behaved as it did.” What it gets wrong: Like in Chappie, we see a single team of scientists create AI over a very short period of time. “I cringe when I watch that, starting from scratch in 18 months, they achieve a conscious robot,” Hutter says. “And then there’s a button you press to turn on the consciousness module.” Then there’s the matter of David and his kin’s integration into the larger world. “I thought the robots in A.I. were too well accepted into society,” Russell says. Realism score: 3/10 2. Her (2013)Summary: A recently divorced writer (Theodore Twombly) installs a new sentient operating system (Samantha) on his computer and the two begin dating. What it gets right: Samantha doesn’t have a body, but she does have a voice. Her shows the risks of becoming emotionally attached to machines, and does so without the need to package AI into a humanoid frame. Russell, in particular, warns of designing humanoid AIs. “People are going to become emotionally attached,” he says. “You’re less likely to ascribe consciousness to a grey box. That’s one reason I think it’s a bad reason to have humanoid robots. Imagine how difficult that [would be] for a child growing up.” And furthermore, AI may have different interests than its human creators. In the film, Theodore Twombly may grow as a result of his relationship with Samantha, but the two were clearly never an ideal pair. Samantha was free to roam the Internet and the world, carrying out hundreds of conversations at once. Twombly is confined to the limitations of his body and brain. “Machines don’t have to experience the world at the same rate at humans,” Russell says. That makes them great for performing millions of computations per second, but pretty lousy companions. What it gets wrong: There’s no explanation for how Samantha works or what it means to evolve beyond the need for matter. Also, considering how advanced AI has become, the rest of civilization appears strangely unchanged. Realism score: 8/10 *See Science’s special section on artificial intelligence. 1. 2001: A Space Odyssey Summary: While investigating a strange signal emanating from a large black monolith on the moon, the crew of Discovery One discover that their onboard AI (HAL 9000) is malfunctioning. What it gets right: The experts seem to agree that 2001’s treatment of AI is the most accurate of any of the movies on the list. HAL seems certainly seems sentient, but when asked whether the computer has feelings or emotions, one of the astronauts (Dave) responds that there’s really no way to know. When asked if he would believe a computer that claimed to have feelings, Russell says something similar: “It could be that we end up just shrugging our shoulders.” HAL seems to express fear as Dave slowly deactivates him, but the desperate pleading could just be one final attempt to carry out his mission. HAL also sticks to his programming. Like Colossus, HAL never strays from his original goals. All of his seemingly nefarious actions are carried out simply because he believes it is the best way to complete the mission. It’s not a survival instinct or emotion that makes HAL into a villain, just simple programming. 2001 makes it clear that consciousness is not a requirement for AI opposition. What it gets wrong: Not too much. You don’t get to the top of this list by messing up too royally. We took a point off because there’s no explanation of how HAL works, but again, since we don’t know how to build an advanced AI, no explanation might be better than some vague science jargon. Realism score: 9/10  8. Blade Runner (1982)Summary: In the future, humanity’s genetic engineering technology allows for the creation organic life in a form completely indistinguishable from humans, but these “replicants” only live for 4 years and aren’t allowed on Earth.What it gets right: By opting for organic AI over mechanical, Blade Runner asks if consciousness can be grown in a lab. “How do I know that you have feelings?” Hutter asks. “I have no way of really knowing that. I just assume that because you are built up similarly to me and I know that I have emotions.” By being “built up similarly,” the replicants muddy the waters of defining consciousness even further, he says. What it gets wrong: The experts were somewhat divided on Ridley Scott’s critically acclaimed foray into film noire. Hutter rated it as his “least favorite” with respect to realism whereas some of his colleagues placed it more in the middle of the pack. The replicants’ sentienceseems to be derived, at least in part, from their implanted memories. Now, no genetic engineering technique can implant complex memories into humans. Realism score: 4/10last_img read more

Update Ill workers rescued from South Pole in daring winter flight

first_img Email 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 planes are based year-round in Canada because they are used during the summer months to transport scientists working in the Arctic, says Kelly Falkner, head of NSF’s Division of Polar Programs in Arlington, Virginia. NSF doesn’t own its own aircraft, and “the program’s demand for the planes is almost nil” during the austral winter, she says. In recent decades, Kenn Borek’s Twin Otters have conducted perhaps a handful of emergency rescues.The plight of overwintering researchers garnered national attention in 1999, when South Pole physician Jerri Nielsen learned she had breast cancer in late May. The only medical professional on hand, she enlisted untrained technicians to help her perform a biopsy and remained on station until her evacuation in October. And in August 2011, when 58-year-old Renee-Nicole Douceur, winter manager at the station, suffered a stroke, NSF deemed it unsafe to send in a rescue plane. Despite pleas from family members, a petition to the White House, and numerous media stories, Douceur remained at the South Pole for 2 months until she finally caught a ride out on a scheduled cargo plane.NSF officials have not identified or released any information about the medical condition of the crew member, who is employed by Lockheed Martin Antarctic Support Contract (ASC). ASC is the prime contract for operations and research support contractor to NSF for the U.S. Antarctic Program.*Update, 15 June, 4:47 p.m.: You can track the progress of the rescue mission here. 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 Two sick workers were evacuated from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) Amundsen-Scott South Pole research station today and taken to the British Antarctic Survey’s Rothera station on the Antarctic Peninsula. They are now awaiting transport off the continent to receive medical care, either today or tomorrow, depending on weather conditions. NSF is not releasing the workers’ identities and medical conditions, citing privacy.Here is our previous coverage, from 15 June:Two propeller-driven planes took off today from Calgary, Canada, on a perilous rescue mission to the U.S. research station at the South Pole. If all goes well, one of the planes will arrive in 6 days to pick up a member of the winter-over crew suffering from an unspecified medical emergency that requires treatment at a hospital. Every February, after the scientists have left, a few dozen people hunker down to spend the long, dark austral winter at the Amundsen–Scott South Pole research station operated by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Medical problems do occur, but most can be handled with medical personnel on site or in consultations with stateside doctors. The decision to evacuate someone is not made lightly because such a rescue operation is both dangerous and elaborate. Medevacs require planes that can operate in the extreme cold and are equipped with skis. The South Pole station has no tarmac, so the planes must land in the dark on compact snow.The Twin Otter aircraft are operated by the Canadian firm Kenn Borek Air, Ltd., which contracts with NSF to provide logistical support to the U.S. Antarctic Program. The aircraft will fly via South America to the British Antarctic Survey’s Rothera Research Station on the Antarctic Peninsula. One will remain there as a backup for search-and-rescue operations; the other will travel another 2400 kilometers to the South Pole.last_img read more

Is health care ready for routine DNA screening A massive new trial

first_img 417People who were found to have 420 mutations spanning 36 genes. RICK WENNER United States 166,772People who have agreed to have their DNA screened (all data as of 1 October). CREDITS: (GRAPHIC) K. SUTLIFF/SCIENCE; (DATA) GEISINGER HEALTH SYSTEM For some families, news of a potentially harmful genetic variation cascades beyond the Geisinger system, across state and national boundaries. Coal Township resident Patrice Molesevich, a nurse–turned–health plan case manager for Geisinger, joined GenomeFIRST in March 2015. A year later, a study coordinator called her about a mutation in the BRCA2 gene.”I knew there was going to be cancer,” Molesevich says, because her brother died at 37 from pancreatic cancer, her father died from prostate cancer, and her family tree was speckled with other cancers, including colon, lung, and throat. But the actual mutation surprised her because, as far as she knew, there was no history of breast or ovarian tumors, which are more often linked to BRCA2.She met with a Geisinger genetic counselor, who estimated, based on the pattern of cancers in her family tree, that she had an 85% chance of developing breast cancer and a 7% chance of pancreatic cancer. An MRI then revealed early-stage cancer in Molesevich’s left breast. Molesevich chose to have a double mastectomy and reconstruction. She was also prescribed a breast cancer treatment, anastrozole, for the next 10 years to further curb her risk.The genetic counselor advised that her two children and her brother’s should have their BRCA2 checked. Molesevich’s daughter didn’t have any obvious mutations; her son is resisting the test.Molesevich then contacted her sister-in-law, Kerry Georgeadis, who had been left to raise three young girls, one a baby, when her husband, Molesevich’s brother, died in 1992. Georgeadis was stalwart. “I never dreamt that we would still be dealing with cancer-related issues all these years later,” she says, “but we are, and we are going to do everything that we can to proactively and positively fight this dreaded disease.”First, Georgeadis told 30-year-old Lynsey Towne, her middle daughter, who was living in New York City. Towne’s OB-GYN helped her get tested, and good news followed: She had not inherited the mutation.Ashley Meskill, 33, Georgeadis’s eldest child, had a more harrowing experience. Her doctor on Long Island in New York wasn’t familiar with genetic testing, and sent her to a small, local cancer center. When she learned she had the mutation, a counselor there simply rattled off the odds of developing various cancers and made her feel as if she had gotten “a death sentence,” Meskill says. “That sent me into a ball of anxiety.” Now she’s seeing physicians at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and she says she is slowly coming to terms with the news and what it means for her and her family.Georgeadis’s youngest daughter, 25-year-old Cydney Engle, chose to go to Sloan Kettering for her BRCA2 test. In March, she got the bad news. Now that the initial shock has worn off, she is considering a double mastectomy. For Engle and Meskill, the test results have sparked a healthier lifestyle—and activism. They are now training for marathons and started an Instagram account, @brca_sisterhood, to connect with others who carry this variation.Some believe Geisinger actually returns too little genomic information to patients. It started with a list of 56 genes that the American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) in 2013 concluded were sufficiently linked to diseases that had medical interventions for people to be told about a mutation. After consulting clinical geneticists at Geisinger and other institutions around the country, Murray and his colleagues added three genes for two conditions—ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency and hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia—and 17 additional genes that are known to cause cardiovascular diseases, bringing the total to 76. “I’ve seen the list and nothing jumped out as radical or aggressive,” says David Miller, a medical geneticist at Boston Children’s Hospital and co-chairperson of an ACMG working group that tracks this issue.But to Stanford’s Snyder, Geisinger is “not aggressive enough.” In a recent exome sequencing study of 70 individuals, he found 12 with variations in genes that he considers “medically actionable.” Half of these genes aren’t included on ACMG’s current list of 59 disease genes, nor are they part of Geisinger’s return of results. Geisinger also does not inform patients about recessive mutations, which are relatively harmless to the carrier but could cause diseases such as cystic fibrosis in offspring if they inherit a second copy of the mutation from their other parent. In Snyder’s view, people have the right to know about such genetic findings, as well as about mutations that confer elevated risk of Alzheimer’s disease.”Treatability may not be the only consideration people have regarding such information,” says Lisa Parker, who directs the Center for Bioethics & Health Law at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.But James Evans, a physician and director of Adult and Cancer Clinical Genetics Services at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, warns that physicians and the public “shouldn’t be seduced by the occasional cherry-picked case reports” into thinking that broadly screening the DNA of healthy populations for clinical use is always a good idea. He calls that a “dicey proposition” and “dangerous.”Only a few population-based screening procedures, he notes, have proved beneficial over time: colorectal center screening, pap smears, and mammograms (although that has been contested for younger women). “When you start doing tests in people who you don’t understand adequately, you risk putting those people at great harm” from invasive follow-up tests, Evans cautions.Even if patients aren’t harmed, the cost may be unsustainable, says Leslie Biesecker, who leads the Medical Genomics and Metabolic Genetics Branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. For example, people who learn they have mutations that cause Lynch syndrome are advised to get screened more frequently for colon cancer, which could catch a tumor in an earlier, and more treatable, form. But, Biesecker asks, how many patients had to be sequenced, at what cost, to discover the one with a possibly harmful gene?Current estimates place the actual cost of genome sequencing in the low thousands of dollars per person, but that’s just the beginning of the tab. How much does the additional colon cancer screening cost, and how accurate is it? False positives, Biesecker says, can lead to unnecessary surgery or follow-up tests, and additional costs. Is health care ready for routine DNA screening? A massive new trial will find out Other In the early 1800s, iron and coal mines dotted the rolling green hills of northeastern Pennsylvania, where this ambitious medical experiment is unfolding. By the mid–19th century, iron mills dominated Danville’s economy. The widow of iron magnate George Geisinger, Abigail, used her fortune to open Geisinger Hospital in 1915, during a typhoid outbreak. Over the decades, Geisinger has become the region’s main health care provider with 13 hospitals, including its flagship here and two research centers. Today, its physicians battle health issues very different from typhoid. Type II diabetes, obesity, and opioid addiction are at crisis levels.In 2001, Geisinger lured Glenn Steele, then the dean of biological sciences at the University of Chicago in Illinois, and now chairman of xG Health Solutions in Columbia, Maryland, to its helm. A member of the National Academy of Medicine, Steele had a stellar record as a surgeon and researcher focusing on liver and colorectal cancer. His decision to go to the rural health system stunned colleagues, in part because he had spent years building one of the country’s top human genetics programs at the university. He tried to coax some of the faculty to follow him to Pennsylvania, but they declined. What Steele saw—that his colleagues didn’t—was that Geisinger was a potential gold mine for genetic data. It began using electronic health records very early, in 1990, and because this region maintains a relatively stable population, it has gathered data on the health of grandparents, parents, and children. This type of generational information is extremely valuable for tracking the roots of genetic disease—and Steele thought it could potentially allow Geisinger to reengineer medical care. “[In this area] you could look at multiple generations of outcomes and that’s something that, outside of Iceland and a few other places in the world, just wasn’t available,” he says.Once there, Steele quickly launched a “center for population health” to study disease incidence among the people in the region. In 2006, hoping to speed the hunt for disease genes, three Geisinger researchers—epidemiologist Walter “Buzz” Stewart, molecular biologist David Carey, and pathologist Glenn Gerhard—successfully lobbied for a biobank with blood and tissue samples volunteered by Geisinger’s 3-millionpatient network. In 2007, the MyCode initiative enrolled its first volunteers. At the time Geisinger wasn’t telling its patients whether their DNA revealed a disease mutation. Patients only gave Geisinger permission to analyze their samples and DNA for research. But that changed in 2013, with the launch of GenomeFIRST. Participants were offered a consent form explaining that Geisinger would tell them, and their physicians, of genetic findings relevant to their health.As the number of enrollees grew rapidly, Geisinger partnered in 2014 with Regeneron to use its growing DNA-sequencing capability for free. The company mines both DNA data and a version of the electronic health records stripped of patient identity for links between genetic variations and diseases, clues that could identify targets for new pharmaceuticals. If the effort leads to successful drug development, Geisinger will receive royalties that will be reinvested in the nonprofit’s health care system.For now, GenomeFIRST tells patients about mutations in 76 genes that have been linked to 27 conditions, ranging from breast cancer to heart disease. All the conditions can be treated through surgery, pharmaceuticals, or lifestyle changes, or prevented altogether, says Michael Murray, Geisinger’s head of clinical genomics. Disease gene variants with no clear-cut medical treatments, such as APOE4, which raises the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, are not disclosed. Early indications are that about 3.5% of study participants will discover that their genomes harbor a disease-linked DNA variant, so Murray expects the impact of the population-wide scanning to be “profound.”Once a second DNA sequencing confirms a patient has such a variant, their primary care physician receives a message through a secure medical portal, and a copy of the genetic test report is embedded in the patient’s record. The note also provides the physician with a link to an educational slideshow that describes the potential consequences of the risk variant and guides the doctor through talking to the patient. Stephanie Cabello, Atkinson’s internist, initially thought counseling a patient about a mutation would prove daunting. “But [Geisinger] made it really quite easy,” she says.About a week after the physician is notified, the patient receives an electronic note through the Geisinger health portal—or a letter in the mail, or a call—that says, “We found important information in your DNA sample. This information may guide your healthcare and your family’s healthcare now and in the future.”The note doesn’t say what the mutation is. Rather, it asks the patient to call Geisinger. On that call, a research coordinator begins a scripted conversation explaining the genetic finding and the implications for disease risk. The patient is also encouraged to complete a family history and to discuss the news with relatives by sharing a letter Geisinger has prepared. It explains the result and advises how they can pursue testing.The coordinator then tells the patient they can meet with their physician or a genetic counselor to further discuss the result. Not all the follow-ups go as expected. In 2016, one of Cabello’s male patients learned he had a BRCA2 mutation. Although best known for causing breast and ovarian cancers in women, the gene can also raise the risk of many cancers in men. Cabello was excited by the chance to offer aggressive cancer screening that could save the man’s life, but his reaction startled her. “He actually wasn’t interested in knowing more about it, which was terrible,” she says. He said he would let her know when he was ready to hear more. Fourteen months later, he still hasn’t contacted Cabello. Danville,Pennsylvania 92,456People whose protein-coding DNA, or exome, has been sequenced. By Bijal P. TrivediOct. 26, 2017 , 9:00 AM Marshall Islands Cardiovascular risk genesGrouped by condition or symptoms RYR1GLA When you start doing tests in people who you don’t understand adequately, you risk putting those people at great harm [from invasive follow-up tests]. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country After learning of a heritable cancer mutation, Patrice Molesevich (back row, left) had sister-in-law Kerry Georgeadis (back row, right) encourage genetic screening for her daughters Cydney Engle, Ashley Meskill, and Lynsey Towne (front row, left to right). Aruba Liechtenstein Virgin Islands, British Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan Da Cunha Jersey Anguilla Saint Martin (French Part) Guernsey San Marino Bermuda Nauru Gibraltar Pitcairn Monaco Holy See (Vatican City State) Isle of Man Guamcenter_img DAVID STELLFOX/GEISINGER Georgia France Indonesia Yemen Madagascar Bolivia, Plurinational State of Serbia Taiwan, Province of China Mexico United Arab Emirates Belize Brazil Sierra Leone Italy Somalia Bangladesh Dominican Republic Guinea-Bissau Sweden Turkey Mozambique Japan New Zealand Cuba Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Portugal Mauritania Angola Germany Thailand Australia Papua New Guinea Croatia Greenland Denmark Myanmar Finland Solomon Islands Oman Panama Argentina United Kingdom Guinea Ireland Nigeria Tunisia Tanzania, United Republic of Saudi Arabia Viet Nam Russian Federation Haiti India China Canada Equatorial Guinea Azerbaijan Iran, Islamic Republic of Malaysia Philippines Montenegro Estonia Spain Gabon Cambodia Korea, Republic of Honduras Chile Netherlands Sri Lanka Greece Ecuador Norway Moldova, Republic of Lebanon Eritrea United States Kazakhstan French Southern Territories Swaziland Uzbekistan New Caledonia Kuwait Timor-Leste Bahamas Vanuatu Falkland Islands (Malvinas) South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands Gambia Qatar Jamaica Cyprus Puerto Rico Palestine, State of Brunei Darussalam Trinidad and Tobago Cape Verde Luxembourg Comoros Mauritius Faroe Islands Sao Tome and Principe Virgin Islands, U.S. Curacao Sint Maarten (Dutch Part) Dominica Micronesia, Federated States of Bahrain Andorra Northern Mariana Islands Palau Seychelles Antigua and Barbuda Barbados Turks and Caicos Islands Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Saint Lucia Grenada Malta Maldives Cayman Islands Saint Kitts and Nevis Montserrat Saint Barthelemy Saint Pierre and Miquelon DANVILLE, PENNSYLVANIA—Dana Atkinson begins to cry as she recalls the January phone call that cast a pall over her future and that of her children. “I’m just still processing. It’s a lot. Especially when your kids are involved,” says the 38-year-old nurse, who works at the Geisinger Medical Center here near the banks of the Susquehanna River. (She asked that Science not use her real name.)Months earlier, during a routine medical checkup, a lab technician had drawn a vial of Atkinson’s blood. With her consent, some of the sample went off to Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, a biotech company in Tarrytown, New York, where the stretches of her DNA that encode proteins were sequenced. Atkinson forgot about her donation until the phone rang at home this winter. The caller, a research coordinator at Geisinger, told the mother of three that she carried a rare mutation linked to Long QT syndrome—a heart rhythm disorder that can cause the organ’s electrical activity to suddenly go haywire, triggering fainting, seizures, and even death.The caller provided few details, but advised Atkinson to come in soon for a consultation. “Though I have a medical background, I barely understood what I was positive for,” she recalls. But the nurse understood enough to worry about her own health and that of her children, who might have inherited the mutation. And she also wondered about her mother’s death 38 years before. She had died in her sleep, just 6 weeks after giving birth to her only child. An autopsy revealed nothing—but Long QT is a syndrome that leaves no obvious clues. James Evans, University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill Pennsylvania’s pioneering genomic medicine program Geisinger informs patients ofmutations in 76 genes solidlyconnected to various diseases. Cancer risk genesGrouped by types of cancer or syndrome MEN1TP53PTENTSC2APC APOB, LDLRMYH7, MYBPC3, TPM1, TNNI3, TNNT2, MYL3SCN5A, KCNQ1, KCNE1, KCNH2DSP, PKP2, DSG2FBN1ACTA2 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 BRCA2, BRCA1PMS2, MSH6, MSH2, MLH1RETSDHB, SDHC, SDHD Geisinger Medical Center genetic counselor Heather Rocha works with patient Jeffrey Mowery. During Atkinson’s follow-up at a medical center in Forty Fort, Pennsylvania, a genetic counselor told her that although she carried the disease-linked gene variant, she didn’t necessarily have the syndrome. And if she did, her doctor could help her reduce her risk of developing problems. The counselor then had Atkinson diagram her family tree, to pinpoint other relatives who might also carry the dangerous variant. Atkinson’s children have had their DNA screened, but their mother has not yet shared her news or their results with her extended family. She’s still not ready.Ready or not, more than 400 other Pennsylvanians have received similar calls, letters, or electronic messages over the past 2 years as part of the world’s largest clinical genome sequencing effort, the first available to average Americans as part of standard primary medical care. Known broadly as the MyCode Community Health Initiative and run by the Danville-based Geisinger Health System, the effort has so far sequenced the protein-coding DNA, or exomes, of more than 92,400 people. More than 166,000 have enrolled in the study, and the goal is to ultimately enlist half a million of the nonprofit’s 3.3 million patients. Geisinger asks each participant whether they are willing to be contacted if the sequencing reveals a DNA variant that puts them at risk for disease—and roughly 85% have agreed to be part of the experimental program called GenomeFIRST Return of Results.In addition to using the sequencing results to prevent and treat diseases, Geisinger hopes to answer myriad questions, from how primary care physicians with little genetics knowledge cope with advising patients informed of disease mutations, to the challenges of “cascade testing”—the follow-up with relatives who could also be at risk. The project will inform ongoing debates, including how much people should be told about what their genomes reveal. “This is the future of health care,” predicts Michael Snyder, director of Stanford Medicine’s Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine in Palo Alto, California. “Incorporating a person’s genome sequence information into disease risk assessment is a no-brainer.”Beyond the ethical, medical, and scientific issues being explored by Geisinger is the crucial question of whether widespread genomic screening as a preventive medical measure is cost-effective. Regeneron is paying for each patient’s initial DNA sequencing, in return for access to those data and Geisinger’s health records, but that isn’t likely to be practical nationwide.The cost of widespread genomic testing in the United States would fall mainly to insurance companies—and they will want to be sure that testing does not open the door to unsustainable health care costs, says David Veenstra of the University of Washington in Seattle, who studies the implications of using genomic information in health care. Veenstra, who is working with Geisinger researchers to assess GenomeFIRST’s cost effectiveness, adds: “In about 5 years I think we are going to have a very serious discussion about whether this is something that should be implemented in almost a public health sense.” Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) A half-million of Geisinger Health System’spatients may have their DNA analyzedfor disease mutations. Health economists commonly measure changes in population health using “quality-adjusted life years” (QALYs), shorthand for a year of perfect health. The current consensus in the United States is that interventions that add a QALY to a person’s life span for less than $100,000 are cost-effective. So far, says health economist James Buchanan of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, no one knows whether using sequencing to screen for disease variants in a low-risk population beats that threshold.Jason Vassy, a primary care physician at Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues recently provided some rare data on the economic question, following 50 healthy adults receiving normal medical care and 50 who also had 4600 genes analyzed, at a cost of $5000. Physicians ordered twice as many follow-up tests for the people with DNA information, leading the group to conclude, in the 1 August issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, that such an aggressive sequencing approach is not yet cost-effective.However, Vassy notes that Geisinger’s approach may make more financial sense as it’s more targeted, limited to conditions for which treatments exist. “It’s a top-down approach to identifying high-risk individuals in a large population for whom they can provide a medical intervention,” he says.Hard-to-predict human behavior also muddles cost-effectiveness calculations. Medical statistician Glenn Palomaki of Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School, who studies the consequences of prenatal screening and genetic testing, notes that there is no health benefit to learning about a mutation if a carrier doesn’t do anything—and the cost of DNA sequencing is wasted. In contrast, if a person overreacts out of fear, they might consume too many health care services. And will those who find out that they don’t carry a mutation in the BRCA genes assume they are protected from breast cancer and neglect regular mammograms, endangering their lives and racking up more medical costs in the long run? Geisinger’s researchers will try to analyze all those questions as Genome-FIRST amasses data.Many have argued that adults who consider themselves healthy are afraid of genetic testing and will be depressed and anxious if they receive news they carry a disease-linked DNA variant. Biesecker suggests that Geisinger’s recruitment success in a “middle-America swath of the population” contradicts the first concern. “People are eager and interested in this,” he says, “If there is a way you can improve their health care with genomics and sequencing, they’re up for it.”As for how they handle any bad news, the numbers present a more mixed message. About half the people told of a disease mutation meet with a genetic counselor; another quarter go to their primary care provider. One quarter don’t do anything right away, says genetic counselor Adam Buchanan, who co-leads GenomeFIRST.Patients support the program’s research goals, says Mark Speake, a doctor who’s been working with Geisinger since 1990. “[They] just seem pleased to participate. … That’s their contribution to the next generation.” He thinks this is particularly important for many who suffer from obesity, diabetes, hypertension, lipid disorders, and thyroid disease. “These things run in families and they are very common in our population.” Three of Speake’s patients have received news of mutations, results that he says didn’t come as a total surprise, and didn’t overly disturb them. “A light bulb goes off and the family history makes sense to them now.”Health care systems in Israel and Singapore, as well as others in the United States such as Kaiser Permanente, are watching Geisinger to inform their own genome-based medicine. But Speake isn’t optimistic about implementing a similar program in other health care systems or as part of a government program. “I think it is a good start and good that it is voluntary. I think a lot of folks are worried about 1984, George Orwell and all that,” he laughs. “[But] our patients trust us … they don’t think we are prying into their background. We are just trying to take good care of them.”One GenomeFIRST element that is still a work in progress involves children. Between 2% and 3% of the participants enrolled are children; one couple even signed up their baby immediately after birth. Murray and his colleagues are working on a counseling system that provides extra support to families when parents are told a child has a mutation.Atkinson’s experience underscores the need to support such parents. In May, a blood test showed that her daughter has not inherited the Long QT mutation, but both her sports-playing sons, who are 9 and 12, have. For boys with this syndrome, sudden death is most likely to strike during adolescence—and during intense exercise. (Girls are at high risk in their early 20s.)Atkinson’s older son has now seen a pediatric cardiologist, had an electrocardiogram, and worn a heart monitor for 2 weeks. The results suggest that he has Long QT syndrome. A cardiologist has recommended he begin taking β-blockers to reduce the risk of his heart going haywire. Atkinson also purchased a $2500 automatic external defibrillator to jump-start his heart if it stops. The cost of the device was not covered by her insurance—even with a Long QT diagnosis.According to the medical tests so far, Atkinson herself is a borderline case. But given her family history, she is taking β-blockers. Her younger son will be monitored regularly. Though it may take many years for others to resolve whether Geisinger’s genomic approach is the future of medicine, she’s a believer. “I thank God for this program, that this [mutation] was found and I’m not burying one of my kids.”last_img read more

Indonesian earthquake broke a geologic speed limit

first_imgThe magnitude-7.5 earthquake that devastated Palu, Indonesia, in September 2018, razing buildings in the nearby village of Perumnas Balaroa, traveled at rare “supershear” speed, potentially heightening its damage. 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 Paul VoosenFeb. 4, 2019 , 11:00 AM Email Indonesian earthquake broke a geologic speed limitcenter_img Geology seemed to impose the speed limit: The rupture point chews up energy as it pulverizes rock, and seismologists thought a supershear rupture would consume too much energy to be sustained. Whereas most earthquakes are content to obey this speed limit, scientists have clocked a handful that broke the supershear barrier, beginning with two 1999 earthquakes in Turkey. Meng says the ground shaking is generally much stronger in these cases. That’s because, as the rupture gathers speed, the earthquake shear waves begin to overlap, increasing in strength like overlapping waves in the ocean.These quakes all seemed to take place on long, linear, and smooth strike-slip faults—geological runways where the sliding allows the rupture to gather speed and leap past the forbidden zone. But the Palu quake broke that rule. Meng and his co-authors tracked the speed of the rupture using variations in the arrival times of seismic waves at a dense array of sensors in Australia. They also analyzed satellite radar observations of the Palu region before and after the earthquake to learn how the rupture displaced the ground—a clue to the fault’s geometry. Rather than being a straight runway, the fault had big kinks. Yet the rupture still went supershear, traveling more than a kilometer per second faster than a typical earthquake.The Palu quake holds other puzzles, Meng adds. Although it traveled at high speeds, it did not go quite as fast as previous supershear earthquakes, which typically run as fast as their leading pressure waves, at 6 kilometers per second. One factor may be the age of the Palu fault; it has likely hosted thousands of earthquakes, leaving shattered rocks that slowed the rupture’s progression. Also, rather than gradually building up speed like earlier supershear quakes, this one hit top speed immediately, like a jet going supersonic at takeoff. “Even in these complicated and rough faults, it can go supershear and it can go supershear right away,” Meng says.A second study, using only satellite imagery of one segment of the rupture, supports the notion that the Palu earthquake went supershear. “We were immediately struck by the sharpness of the rupture at the surface,” says Anne Socquet, the study’s lead author and a geophysicist at the University of Grenoble in France. The ground seemed to slip almost seamlessly north and south, with little vertical motion, and the quake had no aftershocks—features consistent with past supershear earthquakes. Unpublished 3D computer models of the earthquake, designed to diagnose the tsunami’s cause, suggest only a supershear event can explain these observations, Madden adds.Martin Vallée, a seismologist at the Institute of Earth Physics in Paris, says the evidence is convincing—and disturbing. By showing that even tortuous faults can break the speed limit, the finding means “it is difficult to exclude supershear behavior on most faults,” he says. Such quakes are still uncommon. But Meng says hazard assessments for strike-slip faults worldwide now need to reckon with the chance of intense supershear shaking.As a resident of Los Angeles, perched above the San Andreas, perhaps the world’s most famous strike-slip fault, the threat is personal to Meng. “I don’t want to say that the San Andreas would go like that,” he says, but some believe it may have gone supershear in the past—in the 1906 earthquake that leveled San Francisco, California. “There’s definitely a possibility for this to happen.” Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country The geological rupture responsible for the devastating magnitude-7.5 earthquake that struck Palu, Indonesia, in September 2018 ripped through Earth’s crust at rare high speed, two teams of scientists reported this week. This “supershear” behavior likely intensified the shaking in the quake, which triggered a tsunami and killed more than 2000 people. And the setting, on a fault not expected to sustain such a rupture, raises fears that far more regions could be at risk of high-speed quakes than once thought.The Palu earthquake took place on a strike-slip fault, where two blocks of continental crust slide past each other laterally. From the start it stood out as unusual, says Lingsen Meng, a seismologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a co-author of one of the new papers, which appear in Nature Geoscience. Its shaking, for its magnitude, seemed especially powerful, causing widespread soil liquefaction and landslides. And, as satellite imagery rolled in, it became clear that the rupture had traveled some 150 kilometers, despite lasting only 35 seconds. “This was a very fast earthquake,” says Elizabeth Madden, a geophysicist at the University of Brasília.Like rips in a piece of paper, earthquake ruptures don’t happen all at once. A rupture typically unzips a fault at a uniform rate of about 3 kilometers per second, below the speed of an earthquake’s damaging side-to-side waves, called shear waves, which spread out from the rupture tip. MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images last_img read more

The Black Death may have transformed medieval societies in subSaharan Africa

first_img In the 14th century, the Black Death swept across Europe, Asia, and North Africa, killing up to 50% of the population in some cities. But archaeologists and historians have assumed that the plague bacterium Yersinia pestis, carried by fleas infesting rodents, didn’t make it across the Sahara Desert. Medieval sub-Saharan Africa’s few written records make no mention of plague, and the region lacks mass graves resembling the “plague pits” of Europe. Nor did European explorers of the 15th and 16th centuries record any sign of the disease, even though outbreaks continued to beset Europe.Now, some researchers point to new evidence from archaeology, history, and genetics to argue that the Black Death likely did sow devastation in medieval sub-Saharan Africa. “It’s entirely possible that [plague] would have headed south,” says Anne Stone, an anthropological geneticist who studies ancient pathogens at Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe. If proved, the presence of plague would put renewed attention on the medieval trade routes that linked sub-Saharan Africa to other continents. But Stone and others caution that the evidence so far is circumstantial; researchers need ancient DNA from Africa to clinch their case. The new finds, to be presented this week at a conference at the University of Paris, may spur more scientists to search for it.Plague is endemic in parts of Africa now; most historians have assumed it arrived in the 19th century from India or China. But Gérard Chouin, an archaeologist and historian at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and a team leader in the French National Research Agency’s GLOBAFRICA research program, first started to wonder whether plague had a longer history in sub-Saharan Africa while excavating the site of Akrokrowa in Ghana. Founded around 700 C.E., Akrokrowa was a farming community surrounded by an elliptical ditch and high earthen banks, one of dozens of similar “earthwork” settlements in southern Ghana at the time. But sometime in the late 1300s, Akrokrowa and all the other earthwork settlements were abandoned. “There was a deep, structural change in settlement patterns,” Chouin says, just as the Black Death ravaged Eurasia and North Africa. With GLOBAFRICA funding, he has since documented a similar 14th century abandonment of Ife, Nigeria, the homeland of the Yoruba people, although that site was later reoccupied. The Black Death may have transformed medieval societies in sub-Saharan Africa Medieval Ethiopians adopted European plague saints, including St. Sebastian, shown here in a 17th century mural from a church in Ethiopia. Email 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 Claire Bosc Tiesse and Anaïs Wion By Lizzie WadeMar. 6, 2019 , 12:00 PM Events in the 14th century also transformed the site of Kirikongo in Burkina Faso, where Daphne Gallagher and Stephen Dueppen, archaeologists at the University of Oregon in Eugene, recently excavated. Starting around 100 C.E., people there farmed, herded cattle, and worked iron. The settlement steadily grew for more than 1000 years. Then, sometime in the second half of the 14th century, it suddenly shrank by half. There’s no evidence of food stress, conflict, or migration. “We don’t see it coming,” Gallagher says. Stone says the sudden changes at Kirikongo and Akrokrowa resemble those seen in the British Isles during the Justinian Plague in the sixth to the eighth centuries C.E.New hints are also turning up in historical records. Historians have found previously unknown mentions of epidemics in Ethiopian texts from the 13th to the 15th centuries, including one that killed “such a large number of people that no one was left to bury the dead.” It’s not clear what the disease was, but historian Marie-Laure Derat of the French National Center for Scientific Research in Paris found that by the 15th century, Ethiopians had adopted two European saints associated with plague, St. Roch and St. Sebastian.Some genetic evidence supports the idea, too. A 2016 study in Cell Host & Microbe revealed a distinct subgroup of Y. pestis now found only in East and Central Africa is a cousin of one of the strains that devastated Europe in the 14th century. “It’s the closest living relative to the Black Death strain,” says Monica Green, an ASU historian of plague who analyzed this and other previously published plague phylogenies in the journal Afriques. “We [historians] have no story that fits with this evidence that the genetics is screaming about.” She thinks this Black Death relative likely arrived in East Africa in the 15th or 16th centuries—after another, now-extinct Y. pestis strain had already burned through West Africa and perhaps beyond.”[Green’s] analysis is very strong,” says Javier Pizarro-Cerda, a microbiologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris who studies Y. pestis. It’s intriguing, agrees Benjamin Adisa Ogunfolakan, an archaeologist and director of the Museum of Natural History at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ife, but the evidence so far isn’t strong enough to rewrite centuries of African history.”The silver bullet I dream of,” Chouin says, is ancient Y. pestis DNA from human remains in sub-Saharan Africa. Although the region’s heat and humidity quickly degrade DNA, Stone hopes researchers will begin to look for DNA in human teeth, where Y. pestis DNA is most likely to be preserved.Whatever calamity struck medieval sub-Saharan Africa, its impact was lasting. Akrokrowa was abandoned by about 1365, and Kirikongo was never the same. The settlement stayed small, the ceramics got much simpler, and the culture changed to more closely resemble that of the nearby Mali Empire. “It does seem to be a break,” Dueppen says. He hopes more archaeologists will start to focus on the 14th century in Africa, looking for hints of plague—or evidence that rules it out. “This is just the beginning of the story,” Dueppen says. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)last_img read more

Networks of sponges could capture DNA to track ocean health

first_imgAt the University of Salford in the United Kingdom, marine ecologist Stefano Mariani had focused his eDNA efforts on the marine environment. But he always found the processing of samples to be “fiddly, cumbersome, stressful, and wasteful.”So he decided to see whether animals that filter seawater to get their food might also be reservoirs of eDNA. First, he tried shrimp guts, but because these invertebrates are picky eaters, he decided the eDNA they sucked in was not reflective of what was out there. But sponges don’t discriminate. “A sponge the size of a football can filter nearly a swimming pool worth of water in a day,” he explains. Mariani got DNA from nine sponges previously collected from the Mediterranean and Antarctica, and used them as his test cases. To see how the process might work for species conservationists are most concerned about, he tried to isolate any vertebrate DNA inside using special molecular probes. DNA could be in the sponge tissue, or on particles trapped in its channels.The results were even better than Mariani expected. He and colleagues isolated DNA from 31 types of organisms, including Weddell seals, chinstrap penguins, and rock cod, the team reports today in Current Biology. What’s more, the Antarctic and Mediterranean sponges contained DNA from different sets of creatures, reflecting the different species that lived in the two different places. So it was easy to tell where the sponge—and the eDNA—came from.Mariani says scientists might one day use these DNA-capturing sponges along with robots and autonomous underwater vehicles to filter water and extract DNA. The robots and vehicles are promising, says Mariani, “but they are also big, expensive, and not the easiest to handle, transport, and maintain.” If sponges could be used instead, even a citizen scientist could retrieve DNA data by simply clipping off a small piece of a sponge, he predicts.Paul Hebert, a biodiversity scientist at the University of Guelph in Canada, sees limited application for sponges as biodiversity sensors, because the bottom-dwelling creatures don’t live in the open ocean, where it’s really hard to survey creatures by other means. He also notes that because all sponges filter water at different rates, it might be hard to compare eDNA collections from different ones.Still, Hebert thinks the new work is inspiring. “Forget natural sponges,” he explains. “I like the idea of a techno-sponge,” a humanmade version that would mimic the techniques of real sponges to capture eDNA. He says he can envision schools of techno-sponges plying the seas or sitting on the sea floor collecting valuable data. And even if such sponges—or their natural cousins—prove impractical, Hebert adds, “It was fun to consider the possibility that the ocean bottom is littered with autonomous DNA samplers.” A. Riesgo 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 As these sponges filter water for food, they collect DNA that can be used for biodiversity surveys. 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 Networks of sponges could capture DNA to track ocean health By Elizabeth PennisiJun. 3, 2019 , 11:00 AM Email To track the biological health of oceans, researchers use cameras, satellite images, and, increasingly, DNA shed directly into the water. But capturing genetic material in the sea is a tough task: Scientists must sift through massive amounts of water to dredge up their samples. Now, marine biologists have discovered that sponges are very good at “sponging” up DNA. More research is needed, but eventually a network of sponges planted throughout the oceans could provide an easy readout of how the diversity of plants and animals nearby is doing.“It’s a clever idea,” says Eske Willeslev, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Copenhagen who was not involved with the work. “It could make studies of biodiversity easier and more consistent.”Across the planet, biologists are scrambling to catalog all the world’s plants and animals before they disappear. Traditionally, that meant going out and collecting samples of every species. In the past 20 years, however, researchers have been collecting and sequencing DNA from soil, water, air, and even the guts of other organisms. This so-called environmental DNA, or eDNA, can tell what plants, animals, or microbes are present in a given environment.last_img read more

20 tons of cocaine found on vessel owned by JP Morgan Chase

first_imgShareTweetSharePinApproximately 20 tons of cocaine, one of the largest drug busts in US history, was found aboard the MSC Gayane, a liberian registered vessel owned by a fund managed by JP Morgan ChaseAuthorities in the US State of Philadelphia had seized 20 tons of cocaine from a vessel in June this year. The ship is owned by a fund run by Mega Bank JP Morgan Chase according to a CNN Business report.The report claims that a source close to the situation informed CNN on Wednesday that the ship ,MSC Gayane, is part of a transportation strategy fund run for the bank’s asset management unit.The report further explains that this means JP Morgan Chase had no operational management of the Vessel which is run by the Swiss-based Mediterranean Shipping Company.JP Morgan Chase is the largest bank in the US and the world’s sixth largest bank according to S&P global. Read Full Storylast_img read more

All you need to know about the EU parliamentary election in United

first_img More Explained Aegean lessons How will the election work, when will we get results and what were the results last time?When does voting start?Polling stations open at 0600 GMT on Thursday and close at 2100 GMT.Who can vote?Around 46.8 million people in the United Kingdom. Any adult who is a British citizen, an Irish, EU or qualifying Commonwealth citizen can register to vote in the election. British citizens living overseas who are registered as overseas electors within the last 15 years can also take part. Post Comment(s) Chandrayaan-2 gets new launch date days after being called off Advertising Nigel Farage, Brexit, German right-wing election rally, anti-immigration Alternative for Germany, India news, National news, latest news, India news Nigel Farage, ex-leader of Britain’s anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP), speaks at a press conference of the Germany’s far-right Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) party in Berlin, Germany. (Source: Reuters)Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party is on course to win Thursday’s European parliamentary election in the United Kingdom while pro-European Union parties remain divided. Advertising Advertising What do voters need to do?In Britain, voters put one cross against the party or independent candidate they wish to vote for. Parties are listed first on the ballot paper, alphabetically, followed by individual candidates who are standing as independents.In Northern Ireland, the single transferable vote (STV) system is used so voters mark 1, 2, 3 and so on against candidates in order of preference.Who gets elected?The United Kingdom is divided into 12 electoral regions – nine in England, and one each for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In total it will elect 73 MEPs (Members of the European Parliament).What system is used?In Britain, parties submit a list of candidates for each region and voters select a party rather than an individual candidate, unless they are backing an independent. Taking stock of monsoon rain UK economy probably shrank for first time in seven years Ayodhya dispute: Mediation to continue till July 31, SC hearing likely from August 2 Counting will begin in England and Wales before 2100 and results will come soon after that time.Counting in some parts of Scotland will begin after 2100 but the Western Isles of Scotland do not count on Sundays so the result will not be declared until Monday. Counting in Northern Ireland will start on Monday 27 May and is expected to take 1-2 days.Is there an exit poll?No.Who will win?Farage’s Brexit Party has maintained a big lead over both the Conservatives and Labour in polls on voting intentions.On the “remain” side however, the vote will be splintered between several strongly pro-EU parties: the Liberal Democrats, Change UK and the Green Party.Who are the most famous candidates?– Nigel Farage, Brexit Party, South East– Daniel Hannan, Conservative (ECR), South East– Syed Kamall, Conservative (ECR), London– Gerard Batten, UKIP (ENF), London– Rachel Johnson, Change UK (N/A), South West– Ann Widdecombe, Brexit Party (N/A), South West– Annunziata Rees-Mogg, Brexit Party (N/A), East Midlands– Richard Tice, Brexit Party (N/A), East England– Tommy Robinson, North WestWhat were the results in 2014?Turnout: 35.6 percentMEPs % votes As the seats are allocated to a party, they in turn allocate them to candidates starting from the top of their list.In Northern Ireland, as votes are counted the candidate with the least votes in eliminated and their votes redistributed. This is repeated until there are only the required number of candidates left for the number of seats available.Isn’t the UK leaving the EU?Britain is taking part in the elections because it delayed the date of its exit from the EU, but its MEPs will leave the parliament when Brexit happens.When will results come?No results are allowed to be published before 2100 GMT on Sunday – when polls close across other parts of the EU. By Reuters |London | Updated: May 22, 2019 8:03:39 pm Related News P Rajagopal, Saravana Bhavan founder sentenced to life for murder, dies UK’s Boris Johnson declines to comment on plan to facilitate a no-deal Brexit UK Independence Party (24) – 26.77%Labour (20) – 24.74%Conservative (19) – 23.31%Green (3) – 7.67%Scottish National Party (2) – 2.4%Liberal Democrat (1) – 6.69%Sinn Féin (1) – 0.66%Democratic Unionist Party (1) – 0.54%Plaid Cymru (1) – 0.69%Ulster Unionist Party (1) – 0.35% Best Of Express last_img read more

1 2 3 156