Chicago, IL, United States
Chicago, IL, United States

The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois.Founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, the University of Chicago was incorporated in 1890; William Rainey Harper became the university's first president in 1891, and the first classes were held in 1892. Both Harper and future president Robert Maynard Hutchins advocated for Chicago's curriculum to be based upon theoretical and perennial issues rather than applied science and commercial utility.The university consists of the College of the University of Chicago, various graduate programs and interdisciplinary committees organized into four divisions, six professional schools, and a school of continuing education. Chicago is particularly well known for its professional schools, which include the Pritzker School of Medicine, the Booth School of Business, the Law School, and the Divinity School. The university enrolls approximately 5,000 students in the College and about 15,000 students overall.University of Chicago scholars have played a major role in the development of various academic disciplines, including: the Chicago school of economics, the Chicago school of sociology, the law and economics movement in legal analysis, the Chicago school of literary criticism, the Chicago school of religion, the school of political science known as behavioralism, and in the physics leading to the world's first man-made, self-sustaining nuclear reaction. The university is also home to the University of Chicago Press, the largest university press in the United States.The University of Chicago is home to many prominent alumni. 89 Nobel laureates have been affiliated with the university as visiting professors, students, faculty, or staff, the fourth most of any institution in the world. When its affiliate, the Marine Biological Laboratory, is included, Chicago has produced more Nobel prize winners than any other university in the world. In addition, Chicago's alumni include 49 Rhodes Scholars, 9 Fields Medalists, 20 National Humanities Medalists and 13 billionaire graduates. Wikipedia.


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Patent
University of Chicago | Date: 2016-11-16

Embodiments of the invention provide methods of treating a disorder or disease characterized by cellular proliferation and migration by co-administering a synergistically effective amount of an mTOR inhibitor and a -opioid receptor antagonist.


Patent
California Institute of Technology and University of Chicago | Date: 2014-02-10

Provided are devices comprising multivolume analysis regions, the devices being capable of supporting amplification, detection, and other processes. Also provided are related methods of detecting or estimating the presence nucleic acids, viral levels, and other biological markers of interest.


Patent
University of Chicago | Date: 2016-08-26

A computing device determines a contrast medium uptake time using magnetic resonance imaging data. Image data constructed from data generated by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine of a subject is read. A representation computed from the read image data is presented on a display device. Baseline artery locations identified within the presented representation that are associated with a baseline artery are received. A first time-of-arrival (TOA) of contrast medium into the baseline artery is determined using the received baseline artery locations and the read image data. For a plurality of locations within the read image data excluding the baseline artery locations, a second TOA of the contrast medium into a respective location relative to the determined first TOA is determined using the read image data, and the determined second TOA is stored in association with the respective location to assist in lesion identification for the subject.


Patent
University of Chicago and Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation | Date: 2016-07-20

Provided herein are methods of directed self-assembly (DSA) on atomic layer chemical patterns and related compositions. The atomic layer chemical patterns may be formed from two-dimensional materials such as graphene. The atomic layer chemical patterns provide high resolution, low defect directed self-assembly. For example, DSA on a graphene pattern can be used achieve ten times the resolution of DSA that is achievable on a three-dimensional pattern such as a polymer brush. Assembly of block copolymers on the atomic layer chemical patterns may also facilitate subsequent etch, as the atomic layer chemical patterns are easier to etch than conventional pattern materials.


Embodiments of the invention are directed to the treatment of subjects with prostate cancer, in particular those with castration resistant prostate cancer, with a glucocorticoid receptor antagonist and an androgen receptor antagonist. The prostate cancer may be one that has become resistant to androgen deprivation therapy, for example, by increase in glucocorticoid receptor expression and/or activity.


Sulmasy D.P.,University of Chicago
Christian Bioethics | Year: 2016

As interest in medicine and religion has grown, some have called for a more fervent and explicit "witnessing" by Christian physicians in their practices. This essay presents a theological understanding of witness and how this theology might be applied to the case of Christian witness in health care. Witness must be understood first linguistically as encompassing two nouns and two verbs, all of which have theological meaning. Based on linguistic, scriptural, and theological reflection, suggestions are made regarding how physicians and the Church can both witness Christ and give witness to Christ in the care of the sick. This theological exploration offers new insight into what it means to witness and to heal as a Christian. © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press, on behalf of The Journal of Christian Bioethics, Inc. All rights reserved.


Goessling M.,University of Chicago
Computational Statistics and Data Analysis | Year: 2017

Multivariate binary distributions can be decomposed into products of univariate conditional distributions. Recently popular approaches have modeled these conditionals through neural networks with sophisticated weight-sharing structures. It is shown that state-of-the-art performance on several standard benchmark datasets can actually be achieved by training separate probability estimators for each dimension. In that case, model training can be trivially parallelized over data dimensions. On the other hand, complexity control has to be performed for each learned conditional distribution. Three possible methods are considered and experimentally compared. The estimator that is employed for each conditional is LogitBoost. Similarities and differences between the proposed approach and autoregressive models based on neural networks are discussed in detail. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.


Dauphas N.,University of Chicago
Nature | Year: 2017

The Earth formed by accretion of Moon-to Mars-size embryos coming from various heliocentric distances. The isotopic nature of these bodies is unknown. However, taking meteorites as a guide, most models assume that the Earth must have formed from a heterogeneous assortment of embryos with distinct isotopic compositions. High-precision measurements, however, show that the Earth, the Moon and enstatite meteorites have almost indistinguishable isotopic compositions. Models have been proposed that reconcile the Earth-Moon similarity with the inferred heterogeneous nature of Earth-forming material, but these models either require specific geometries for the Moon-forming impact or can explain only one aspect of the Earth-Moon similarity (that is, 17 O). Here I show that elements with distinct affinities for metal can be used to decipher the isotopic nature of the Earth's accreting material through time. I find that the mantle signatures of lithophile O, Ca, Ti and Nd, moderately siderophile Cr, Ni and Mo, and highly siderophile Ru record different stages of the Earth's accretion; yet all those elements point to material that was isotopically most similar to enstatite meteorites. This isotopic similarity indicates that the material accreted by the Earth always comprised a large fraction of enstatite-type impactors (about half were E-type in the first 60 per cent of the accretion and all of the impactors were E-type after that). Accordingly, the giant impactor that formed the Moon probably had an isotopic composition similar to that of the Earth, hence relaxing the constraints on models of lunar formation. Enstatite meteorites and the Earth were formed from the same isotopic reservoir but they diverged in their chemical evolution owing to subsequent fractionation by nebular and planetary processes. © 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Plunkett C.H.,University of Chicago | Nagler C.R.,University of Chicago
Journal of Immunology | Year: 2017

The alarming increase in the incidence and severity of food allergies has coincided with lifestyle changes in Western societies, such as dietary modifications and increased antibiotic use. These demographic shifts have profoundly altered the coevolved relationship between host and microbiota, depleting bacterial populations critical for the maintenance of mucosal homeostasis. There is increasing evidence that the dysbiosis associated with sensitization to food fails to stimulate protective tolerogenic pathways, leading to the development of the type 2 immune responses that characterize allergic disease. Defining the role of beneficial allergyprotective members of the microbiota in the regulation of tolerance to food has exciting potential for new interventions to treat dietary allergies by modulation of the microbiota. Copyright © 2017 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.


Kessler R.,University of Chicago | Scolnic D.,University of Chicago
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2017

We present a new technique to create a bin-averaged Hubble diagram (HD) from photometrically identified SN Ia data. The resulting HD is corrected for selection biases and contamination from core-collapse (CC) SNe, and can be used to infer cosmological parameters. This method, called "BEAMS with Bias Corrections" (BBC), includes two fitting stages. The first BBC fitting stage uses a posterior distribution that includes multiple SN likelihoods, a Monte Carlo simulation to bias-correct the fitted SALT-II parameters, and CC probabilities determined from a machine-learning technique. The BBC fit determines (1) a bin-averaged HD (average distance versus redshift), and (2) the nuisance parameters α and β, which multiply the stretch and color (respectively) to standardize the SN brightness. In the second stage, the bin-averaged HD is fit to a cosmological model where priors can be imposed. We perform high-precision tests of the BBC method by simulating large (150,000 event) data samples corresponding to the Dark Energy Survey Supernova Program. Our tests include three models of intrinsic scatter, each with two different CC rates. In the BBC fit, the SALT-II nuisance parameters α and β are recovered to within 1% of their true values. In the cosmology fit, we determine the dark energy equation of state parameter w using a fixed value of ΩM as a prior: averaging over all six tests based on 6 × 150,000 = 900,000 SNe, there is a small w-bias of . Finally, the BBC fitting code is publicly available in the SNANA package. © 2017. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is characterized by the accumulation of B cells in the hematopoietic system and lymphoid tissues. Although inhibitors targeting the B-cell receptor (BCR) pathway have been successful in the treatment of the disease, the underlying mechanisms leading to BCR over-activity in CLL are not fully understood. In this study, we found that HSP90, a highly conserved molecular chaperone, is overexpressed in CLL compared with resting B cells. HSP90 overexpression is accompanied by the overexpression of several BCR kinases including LYN, spleen tyrosine kinase, Bruton tyrosine kinase and AKT. Chemical and immune-precipitation demonstrated that these BCR constituents are present in a multi-client chaperone complex with HSP90. Inhibition of HSP90 with PU-H71 destabilized the BCR kinases and caused apoptosis of CLL cells through the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway. Further, PU-H71 induced apoptosis in the presence of stromal co-culture or cytoprotective survival signals. Finally, genetic knockdown of HSP90 and its client AKT, but not BTK, reduced CLL viability. Overall, our study suggests that the chaperone function of HSP90 contributes to the over-activity of the BCR signaling in CLL and inhibition of HSP90 has the potential to achieve a multi-targeting effect. Thus, HSP90 inhibition may be explored to prevent or overcome drug resistance to single targeting agents.Oncogene advance online publication, 23 January 2017; doi:10.1038/onc.2016.494. © 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature.


Godley L.A.,University of Chicago
Blood | Year: 2017

In this issue of Blood, Dhanraj et al identify biallelic mutations in DNAJC21 in patients with phenotypical Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS) who tested negative for mutations in the SBDS gene, thus extending the genes that can be mutated in SDS. © 2017 by The American Society of Hematology.


On a spherical Earth, the mean elevation (approximately 22440 m) would be everywhere at a mean Earth radius from the center. This directly links an elevation at the surface to physical dimensions of Earth, including surface area and volume, which are at most very slowly evolving components of the Earth system. Earth’s mean elevation thus provides a framework within which to consider changes in height of Earth’s solid surface as a function of time. In this article, the focus will be on long-term, nonglacially controlled sea level. Long-term sea level has long been argued to be largely controlled by changes in ocean basin volume related to changes in the area-age distribution of oceanic lithosphere. As generally modeled by Walter Pitman and subsequent workers, the age-depth relationship of oceanic lithosphere, including both the ridge depth and the coefficients describing the age-depth relationship, are assumed constant. This article examines the consequences of adhering to these assumptions when placed within the larger framework of maintaining a constant mean radius of Earth. Self-consistent estimates of long-term sea level height and changes in the mean depth of the oceanic crust are derived from the assumption that the mean elevation and corresponding mean radius are unchanging aspects of Earth’s shorter-term evolution. Within this context, changes in the mean depth of the oceanic crust, corresponding with changes in the mean age of oceanic lithosphere, acting over the area of the oceanic crust represent a volume change that is required to be balanced by a compensating equal but opposite volume change under the area of the continental crust. Models of cumulative paleohypsometry derived from a starting glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA)–corrected ice-free hypsometry that conserve mean elevation provide a basis for understanding how these compensating changes impact global hypsometry and particularly estimates of global mean shoreline height. Paleoshoreline height and areal extent of flooding can be defined as the height and corresponding cumulative area of the solid surface of Earth at which the integral of area as a function of elevation, from the maximum depth upward, equals the volume of ocean water filling it with respect to cumulative paleohypsometry. The present height of the paleoshoreline is the height on the GIA-corrected cumulative hypsometry at an area equal to the areal extent of flooding. Paleogeographic estimates of the global extent of ocean flooding from the Middle Jurassic to end Eocene, when combined with conservation of mean elevation and ocean water volume, allow an explicit estimate of the paleoheight and the present height of the paleoshoreline. The best-fitting estimate of the present height of the paleoshoreline, equivalent to a long-term “eustatic” sea level curve, implies very modest (25 ± 22 m) changes in long-term sea level above the ice-free sea level height of approximately +40 m. These, in turn, imply quite limited changes in the mean depth of the oceanic crust (15 ± 11 m) and in the mean age of the oceanic lithosphere (∼62.1 ± 2.4 My) since the Middle Jurassic. © 2017 by The University of Chicago.


Rowan C.J.,University of Chicago | Rowley D.B.,University of Chicago
Geophysical Journal International | Year: 2017

Using an up-to-date global plate rotation model, applied to the endpoints of preserved major spreading ridge isochrons, we have calculated the explicitly reconstructable length-weighted mean global half-spreading rate (HSR), ridge length and area production as a function of time since the end of the Cretaceous Normal Superchron at 83.0 Ma. Our calculations integrate uncertainties in rotation parameters and chron boundary ages with the partial sampling uncertainties arising from progressive subduction of older oceanic lithosphere and its preserved spreading record. This record of directly reconstructable oceanic ridge production provides a well-constrained baseline that can be compared to reconstructions that include the largely unconstrained extrapolated histories of entirely subducted oceanic plates. The directly reconstructable global mean HSR has not varied by more than ±15 per cent about an average rate of 28.4 ± 4.6 mm a-1 since 83 Ma. No long-term secular trend is evident: a maximum global mean half-rate of 32 ± 6 mm a-1 occurred from 33.1 Ma to about 25.8 Ma, with minima of 26 ± 5 mm a-1 between about 56 and 40.2 Ma, and 24 ± 1 mm a-1 since 3.2 Ma. Only this most recent interval has a rate that differs significantly (at ±2σ) from the long-term mean. The global, reconstructable ridge length at 56 Ma decreases by less than 15 per cent relative to the modern ridge system; by 83 Ma it has decreased by 38 per cent. These relatively high preserved ridge fractions mean that the estimated uncertainty due to partial sampling stays roughly equivalent to the estimated rotationmodel uncertainties, allowing long-termspreading rate variations of >20 per cent since the Late Cretaceous to be ruled out. In contrast, prior to 83 Ma too little oceanic lithosphere is preserved to reliably reconstruct global spreading rates. © The Authors 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society.


OBJECTIVE:: To develop and validate a scoring tool capable of accurately predicting which patients with Barrettʼs esophagus (BE) will progress to dysplasia and/or esophageal adenocarcinoma. BACKGROUND:: Endoscopic therapies have emerged capable of eradicating BE with high efficacy and low complication rates, but which patients should receive treatment is still debated. Current knowledge of risk factors is insufficient to allow for the accurate prediction of which patients will progress to dysplasia or adenocarcinoma. METHODS:: We retrospectively collected data from a cohort of BE patients over a 13-year period. A multivariable logistic regression model was constructed to predict progression. A simplified risk of progression (ROP) score was developed from weighted beta coefficients. Internal validation was performed using bootstrap analysis, and model discrimination was assessed using k-fold cross-validation. RESULTS:: The cohort included 2591 BE patients of which 133 progressed to dysplasia/adenocarcinoma. Multivariable analysis with bootstrap internal validation resulted in 5 variables associated with an increased ROP (age ≥70 years, male sex, lack of proton-pump inhibitor use, segment greater than 3 cm, and history of esophageal candidiasis). Using this model, we developed a simple ROP score between 0 and 8. Receiver operating characteristic analysis showed a cutoff of 3 or higher to have a sensitivity and specificity of 70% and 79%, respectively. Patients with a score of 3 or higher had an odds ratio of 9.04 (95% confidence interval 6.06–13.46). The c-statistic obtained from 10-fold cross-validation was 0.76 (95% confidence interval 0.72–0.79), indicating good overall discrimination. CONCLUSIONS:: Our data show the development and internal validation of the Barrettʼs Esophagus Assessment of Risk Score as capable of quantifying the likelihood of progression to dysplasia/adenocarcinoma. The Barrettʼs Esophagus Assessment of Risk Score can be used clinically to guide treatment decisions in nondysplastic BE patients. Copyright © 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


Ramaker M.J.,University of Chicago
Molecular Psychiatry | Year: 2017

Current pharmacotherapies for depression exhibit slow onset, side effects and limited efficacy. Therefore, identification of novel fast-onset antidepressants is desirable. GLO1 is a ubiquitous cellular enzyme responsible for the detoxification of the glycolytic byproduct methylglyoxal (MG). We have previously shown that MG is a competitive partial agonist at GABA-A receptors. We examined the effects of genetic and pharmacological inhibition of GLO1 in two antidepressant assay models: the tail suspension test (TST) and the forced swim test (FST). We also examined the effects of GLO1 inhibition in three models of antidepressant onset: the chronic FST (cFST), chronic mild stress (CMS) paradigm and olfactory bulbectomy (OBX). Genetic knockdown of Glo1 or pharmacological inhibition using two structurally distinct GLO1 inhibitors (S-bromobenzylglutathione cyclopentyl diester (pBBG) or methyl-gerfelin (MeGFN)) reduced immobility in the TST and acute FST. Both GLO1 inhibitors also reduced immobility in the cFST after 5 days of treatment. In contrast, the serotonin reuptake inhibitor fluoxetine (FLX) reduced immobility after 14, but not 5 days of treatment. Furthermore, 5 days of treatment with either GLO1 inhibitor blocked the depression-like effects induced by CMS on the FST and coat state, and attenuated OBX-induced locomotor hyperactivity. Finally, 5 days of treatment with a GLO1 inhibitor (pBBG), but not FLX, induced molecular markers of the antidepressant response including brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) induction and increased phosphorylated cyclic-AMP response-binding protein (pCREB) to CREB ratio in the hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). Our findings indicate that GLO1 inhibitors may provide a novel and fast-acting pharmacotherapy for depression.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 21 March 2017; doi:10.1038/mp.2017.14. © 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.latimes.com

When it comes to buying books online, Americans appear to stand united in our wide-ranging passions, including for science. But on closer inspection, our book-buying habits suggest that, when it comes to choosing science titles, we remain a country divided by politics. Sorting through a database of millions of online book purchases, the authors of a new study have found that when purchasers of a political book also ordered a book on a scientific subject, some pretty clear partisan divisions emerged. Customers who bought a political book aligned with a liberal viewpoint tended to prefer basic science, such as physics, astronomy or zoology, when also ordering a science book. Customers who bought a political book aligned with a conservative political viewpoint were more likely to choose a science book in an “applied” science field such as criminology, organic chemistry, medicine or geophysics. The authors, a team of social scientists from University of Chicago, Yale and Cornell University, reported their findings Monday in the journal Nature Human Behaviour. While their research is a first cut at the subject, it suggests that Americans, who long saw science as a force that transcended politics, now often see it through partisan eyes. Just as social media platforms such as Facebook have been charged with helping Americans build their own political “echo chambers,” the authors suggest that booksellers’ online marketing gambits may have drawn scientific books into “the ‘Big Sort’ of American politics — the tendency to cluster in like-minded communities.” To glean these political patterns in science reading, they scoured Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites in the spring of 2013, using the automated algorithms designed to sell more books to discern patterns of “co-purchasing.” They were able to tease out some revealing patterns. To distinguish between “basic” and “applied” sciences and subfields, the researchers largely relied on distinctions made by librarians in categorizing scientific books. That judgment largely turns on the degree to which works in a given scientific field are cited in patents. For instance, organic chemistry research is routinely cited in these commercial documents, making this an applied science. “Basic” sciences, for the current study’s purposes, are those which are “largely driven by curiosity and basic scientific concerns.” Included among the basic sciences label are such disciplines as zoology and anthropology. Disciplines such as medicine and law (which lie at the most “applied” ends of the life sciences and social sciences, respectively) attracted readers at the conservative end of the spectrum. At the liberal end of the spectrum, basic science texts in fields like anthropology and astronomy tended to attract more readers. “A possible interpretation is that scientific puzzles appeal more to the left, while problem- solving appeals more to the right,” wrote the authors. Even after excluding textbooks and books written primarily for academic audiences from their analysis, the authors’ findings held. And when buyers of political books also bought books in the categories of art, sports, literature or religion, the researchers did not discern patterns as clearly partisan as they did with science books. There were, of course, science fields to which partisans from both sides gravitated: books on paleontology, for instance, attracted buyers who also bought political books ranging across the political divide. But even in these scientific neutral zones, buyers of left-leaning political books chose different titles than did buyers of right-leaning books. The researchers found that buyers of politically conservative books tend to purchase the same scientific books that other conservative book-buyers buy, but not a wide range of other books in the scientific discipline that they seem to be interested in. Buyers of liberal books tend to buy a more diverse set of science books. The science books they buy are more likely to include books that are frequently co-purchased with other books in the same scientific discipline. “Within disciplines, ‘red’ books tend to be co-purchased with a narrower subset of science books on the periphery of the discipline,” the authors wrote. “We conclude that the political left and right share an interest in science in general, but not science in particular.” So how did the researchers glean all this? They cleverly exploited the booksellers’ automated algorithms designed to sell customers more books (essentially the line of products advertised under the heading, “Customers who bought this item also bought...”). First, they found 3,714 books that were either by prominent politicians (including Barack Obama and Mitt Romney) or that were pitched under headings such as “Liberalism and Conservatism.” The researchers assigned each title a place on the right or left of the political spectrum, or ideologically indeterminate. Then, they searched for each of those books to see whether the buy-more-books algorithm offered up any books in the life sciences, physical sciences, social sciences or humanities. Yale social scientist Dan Kahan, who studies science interest and skepticism, and how American politics and science collide, called the new study “very enlightening.” Kahan, who was not involved with the current research, said the new study can’t explain whether an individual’s personal interests in scientific subjects shape his or her views on current science controversies. But the patterns the study revealed can now motivate research that ties individual interest in different types of science books to opinions on contested science issues. And understanding that relationship “would be a big advance in knowledge,” he said.


News Article | May 1, 2017
Site: www.gizmag.com

New research suggests that life could jump from one planet to another in the closely-packed TRAPPIST system in as little as 10 years (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech) Back in February, NASA announced the discovery of seven Earth-sized exoplanets orbiting the nearby red dwarf star, TRAPPIST-1. With three of those planets orbiting within the star's Habitable Zone (HZ), the system is one of our best bets for finding life beyond Earth, and new research from the University of Chicago suggests that if it is there, life could jump between the tightly-packed planets in a matter of decades. At a distance of 40 light-years away, the TRAPPIST-1 system's planets aren't our closest possible homes-away-from-home – that honor goes to Proxima b, a galactic stone's throw away at just four light-years. But what makes TRAPPIST-1 such an attractive prospect for extraterrestrial life is the fact that all seven planets are in extremely close proximity to each other, so if life arises on one planet, it could spread to the others relatively quickly. "Frequent material exchange between adjacent planets in the tightly packed TRAPPIST-1 system appears likely," says Sebastiaan Krijt, lead author of the study. "If any of those materials contained life, it's possible they could inoculate another planet with life." While Earth is the only planet we know for sure is home to life, it didn't necessarily start here. The seeds of life, in the form of microscopic organisms, may have been brought to our planet by asteroids or comets – a hypothesis known as panspermia. On the other hand there's lithopanspermia, the idea that chunks of rock carrying tiny organisms could be thrown into space by these cosmic collisions, spreading that life to other planets. But for this to work, a few factors need to be considered. The pieces of rock ejected into space would need to be large enough to protect the organisms from cosmic radiation, and even then, the journey to their new home would need to be relatively short, to keep the space travellers alive. And the speed at which the rocks are flung into space also needs to be just right: too fast and the lifeforms wouldn't survive the trip, too slow and the rocks would fall back to the planet's surface. Running a series of simulations on these events, the researchers set out to determine how likely the scenario could be in the TRAPPIST system. The team found that rocks large enough to protect any hitchhiking organisms during space travel and re-entry would also tend to leave their home planet at a speed just above the minimum required to break free. Given how close together the system's planets are, the researchers concluded that this process could take place pretty quickly, seeding life from one world to another in as little as 10 years. "Given that tightly packed planetary systems are being detected more frequently, this research will make us rethink what we expect to find in terms of habitable planets and the transfer of life — not only in the TRAPPIST-1 system, but elsewhere," says Fred Ciesla, co-author of the study. "We should be thinking in terms of systems of planets as a whole, and how they interact, rather than in terms of individual planets." The research was published in Astrophysical Journal Letters.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

A patchwork of state laws creates a labyrinth that can make it confusing to navigate incapacitated patients' medical wishes. Without clear national standards, the problem may worsen as the nation's 75 million baby boomers continue to age, according to medical ethics research published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. "Decisions about withdrawing or withholding life-sustaining care are incredibly emotional and challenging," said Erin Sullivan DeMartino, MD, a pulmonary and critical care medicine physician at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota who led the study as part of a fellowship with the University of Chicago's MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. "But when there is ambiguity about who is responsible for decision-making, it adds much more stress to that moment." Fewer than 30 percent of Americans have "advance directives" or legal documents outlining their treatment preferences that can also grant someone power to make medical decisions on their behalf. The documents are often used when a patient is unconscious, incapacitated or unable to speak for himself and can dictate how to treat - or not treat -- anything from a minor illness to a life-threatening injury. On average, 40 percent of hospitalized adults can't make their own medical decisions. In some intensive care units, that figure skyrockets to 90 percent. "We have medical technology we didn't have 50 years ago, so we have a whole group of people who - transiently or sometimes permanently -- can't communicate with us and can't participate in their own life-and-death decisions," DeMartino said. For patients without advance directives, most states have laws dictating that medical decisions fall to someone else -- typically a spouse, parent, or child. But the legal surrogate may not always be someone who understands the patient's specific values and wishes. That presents both ethical and health care policy problems, researchers said. DeMartino and her team reviewed laws in 50 states and the District of Columbia to compile what's thought to be the first comprehensive analysis of the country's medical decision-making statutes. Their examination revealed a complex, conflicting and often confusing system that poses barriers to "safeguarding of patients' choices in their most vulnerable moments," according to the study. The inconsistencies spanned topics that are both basic and complex. For example, 30 states require "alternate decision makers" to demonstrate an ability to engage in complex medical decisions, but none explain how to assess that ability. Only thirty-five states have what researchers call a "surrogacy ladder" establishing a hierarchy for who gets to make medical decisions in the absence of a durable power of attorney for health care, but these vary widely in regards what sorts of decisions a surrogate can actually make. In addition, some states included countless details for what constitutes an appropriate decision-maker, listing everything from frequency of someone's contact with a patient to their availability to meet with clinicians in person, to their familiarity with a patient's values and religious beliefs. Other states don't mention anything aside from requiring decision makers to be an adult. (The states even had conflicting definitions of "adult.") While it's unclear whether this variation in statutes impacts clinical care, the research team said one thing is certain: disputes about medical treatment are happening on a regular basis inside hospitals and hospice programs and there's no national standard or benchmark to guide families or physicians. "One important message from this study is that, in the absence of a clearly identified spokesperson, the decision-making process for incapacitated patients may vary widely depending on where they live," said Daniel B. Kramer, MD, MPH, a cardiac electrophysiologist at the Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Center for Outcomes Research in Cardiology and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, who was the study's senior author. "The next steps will be to study how this variability plays out in practice, and whether specific kinds of treatment decisions, such as withdrawing life-sustaining therapy or mental health interventions, actually turn out differently in different states due to the way these laws are written." Four of the paper's nine authors are affiliated with UChicago's MacLean Center, which pioneered the formal study of clinical medical ethics in the early 1980s. The center runs the world's largest clinical medical ethics fellowship for health care providers. "This study continues the MacLean Center's longstanding mission of examining critical issues in clinical medicine through research and training," said Mark Siegler, MD, MACP, an internist at the University of Chicago who directs the MacLean Center. "As medical ethicists - and practicing health care providers -- we wanted to provide a comprehensive resource to help guide patients, families, and other health care providers who are trying to resolve complicated ethical dilemmas." In addition to DeMartino, Kramer and Siegler, other authors of Who Decides When A Patient Can't? Statues On Alternate Decision Makers include: David M. Dudzinski, MD, JD, from Massachusetts General Hospital; Cavan K. Doyle, JD, LLM, of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago; Beau P. Sperry, of Mayo Clinic; Sarah E. Gregory of the Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy at Loyola University Chicago; Daniel P. Sulmasy, MD, PhD, of the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics and Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown


News Article | May 1, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Ever wonder what it would feel like to be hit by a meteorite? "You might expect to be squashed, but you would actually die some tens of seconds before the rock hit you," likely from the blast of face-melting heat generated by the meteor's approach, according to the book, "And Then You're Dead: What Really Happens If You Get Swallowed By a Whale, Are Shot from a Cannon, or Go Barreling Over Niagara" (Penguin Books, 2017). Death comes for us all — it's an unpleasant truth, and one many humans don't like to think about too much, particularly when it comes to the details of how it might happen. That said, there is something morbidly fascinating about the prospect of exploring the most outlandish, unusual and even impossible circumstances that could cause your demise. [Top 10 Leading Causes of Death] Writer Cody Cassidy and physicist Paul Doherty co-authored a book that provides all the lurid details of various unusual — and horrible — ways to die, and the questions they pose range from the somewhat plausible (What would happen if you were stuck in a walk-in freezer?) to the wildly unlikely (What would happen if you skydived from outer space?) Doherty sat down with Live Science to divulge the inspiration for some of the gruesome fare collected in the book. This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity. Live Science: Did you find as you were writing the book that you and Cody Cassidy had different preferences for certain types of horrible-death scenario? Paul Doherty: I'm a physics professor, so I leaned toward the physics-related stuff, and I'm an outdoor enthusiast, so I wanted input into the outdoor things. Cody also liked the sporty ones, and he was more willing to go into ecologically triggered death. Those challenged me — I had to go out of my field a little bit and do more research. But we had fun doing it together. We want people to enjoy the book and to be able to at least read it at lunch — so, some gruesome ways to die were skipped on purpose. [The 18 Biggest Unsolved Mysteries in Physics] Live Science: I'll probably regret asking this, but what was so gruesome that you had to leave it out? Doherty: There's a great book called "Young Men and Fire" [University of Chicago Press, 1992], and the author's description of death by burning and the effects of fire on the body — well, you'll notice we skipped fire in the book. We thought it was just a little upsetting, because it actually might happen. We tended toward things that were fantastic ways to die, or out-of-the-ordinary ways to die that aren't likely to happen to you, so you're interested in them without being terrified. [The Odds of Dying…] Live Science: But the book does describe being attacked by a swarm of bees — and that's a very real fear for many people. Doherty: It can be, but it's fairly rare. We give you the number of bee stings that might actually be lethal; I think with 500 bee stings there's a 50 percent chance of death. That would take a hive of bees and they would have to be pretty upset with you. There was one guy who had more than 1,500 bee stings — his face was black with stingers! — but they were spread out over time so his body could handle all the toxins. He was in water trying to dive away from the bees, and every time he came up, they'd hit him again, so — yikes! Of course, that's an exception. But you should definitely be respectful of beehives. It turns out that when you're doing a book, the boundaries are interesting places. Here's a topic: Fire, where's our boundary? Or bees, where's our boundary? Making those choices really was an interesting part of writing. Live Science: Where did the scenarios come from? Doherty: There are 45 scenarios in the book — we started out with 200. We have a lot of nerdy friends, and we had dinner conversations where we said, "We're thinking about writing this book," and our friends — being nerds — said, "Can magnetism kill you? Going for a naked moonwalk? Taking a base jump from the International Space Station?" They'd keep coming up with these ideas. And we'd see if we could turn the death into something educational, something you could learn from. Or if they contained nuggets of really cool history — if we could find someone who died from it, or who didn't die — we could tell you their story. Live Science: What would you say to the people who are intrigued by this topic, but at the same time might be a little bit afraid of it? Doherty: Some of these people actually survived what happened to them, and it's not as bad as you think. If you read the one about what happens if your airplane window pops out, we gave case studies where most of the people survived. When this happens, the airplane fills with white stuff that people may think is smoke, but it's actually clouds — the moisture-rich gas in your body comes out when the window ruptures and the pressure drops, and condenses into a cloud. So, if this happens to you on an airplane and you think that you see smoke from a bomb, that's going to terrify you more than if you realize, "Oh, it's just a cloud formation — and most of the time people survive." That's a reassuring thing. Whistling past the graveyard is a classic human thing to do. By facing death in ways that you're not going to encounter — falling into a black hole, stepping out of a submarine at the bottom of the Mariana Trench — those ideas of facing death in ways that were slightly humorous or exotic help people to think about their own death in a way that's satisfying. So, I'd say, read the book! There are some terrifying things in there — just like life — but there's also hope. And if one of these things happens to you, maybe we'll even help you survive. Top 10 Weird Ways We Deal With the Dead The Science of Death: 10 Tales from the Crypt & Beyond


News Article | April 27, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Bloomington, IN - April 27, 2017 - The Midwest Political Science Association announced fourteen award recipients at its annual MPSA Business Meeting earlier this month at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago. Awards committees select the winners from among nominations made by chairs, discussants and section heads at the previous year's conference. Best Paper by an Emerging Scholar - Honoring the best paper, regardless of field or topic, by a scholar or scholars who has or have received the terminal degree(s) within six years of the year in which the paper was presented. Javier Osorio, City University of New York Livia I. Schubiger, London School of Economics Michael Weintraub, Binghamton University, SUNY Best Paper in International Relations - Honoring the best paper on the topic of international relations. Award Committee: Vesna Danilovic, University at Buffalo (Chair); David Cunningham, University of Maryland; Karl Kalenthaler, University of Akron Best Paper Presented by a Graduate Student - Honoring the best paper delivered by a graduate student. Can New Procedures Improve the Quality of Policing? The Case of 'Stop, Question and Frisk' in New York City Best Paper Presented in a Poster Format - Honoring the best paper presented in a poster format. Best Undergraduate Paper Presented in a Poster Format - Honoring the best paper presented in a poster format by an undergraduate. The Effect of Nationality on Grass-root Volunteer and Donors Support for Nongovernmental Organizations Kellogg/Notre Dame Award - Honoring the best paper in comparative politics. Anti-Identities in Latin America: Chavismo, Fujimorismo, and Uribismo in Comparative Perspective Award Committee: Sarah Brooks, The Ohio State University (Chair); Alex Tan, University of Canterbury; Zeynep Somer-Topcu, The University of Texas at Austin Kenneth J. Meier Award - Honoring the best paper in bureaucratic politics, public administration, or public policy. Slow-Rolling, Fast-Tracking, and the Pace of Bureaucratic Decisions in Rulemaking Lucius Barker Award - Honoring the best paper on a topic investigating race or ethnicity and politics and honoring the spirit and work of Professor Barker. Saved from a Second Slavery: Black Voter Registration in Louisiana from Reconstruction to the Voting Rights Act Review of Politics Award (co-winners) - Honoring the best paper in normative political theory. Reparative Justice and the Moral Limits of Discretionary Philanthropy Chiara Cordelli, University of Chicago Edmund Burke and the Deliberative Sublime Rob Goodman, Columbia University Robert H. Durr Award - Honoring the best paper applying quantitative methods to a substantive problem. Of Rents and Rumors: Government Competence and Media Freedom in Authoritarian Countries Sophonisba Breckinridge Award - Honoring the best paper on the topic of women and politics. Making Space for Women: Explaining Citizen Support for Legislative Gender Quotas in Latin America Pi Sigma Alpha Award - Honoring the best paper presented at the MPSA Annual National Conference. Sponsored by Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society. AJPS Best Article Award - Honoring the best article appearing in the volume of the American Journal of Political Science published in the year preceding the conference. The Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) is an international organization with a membership of approximately 7,000 political science faculty, researchers and graduate students representing more than 100 countries. Founded in 1939, the MPSA is dedicated to the advancement of scholarship in all areas of political science. MPSA publishes the American Journal of Political Science the top research journal in the discipline.


News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Former president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama revealed the conceptual designs of the eagerly awaited Obama Presidential Center in Chicago’s historic Jackson Park Wednesday while speaking about the project at the South Shore Cultural Center in Chicago, Illinois. Obama said that despite a bidding competition regarding the center’s location, his vote had always been for the University of Chicago’s push for a South Side location. “Although we had a formal bidding process to determine where the presidential library was going to be, the fact of the matter was it had to be right here on the South Side of Chicago,” Obama said during the unveiling of the plans in Chicago. This event the former first couple’s first joint appearance after Obama left office in January. They traveled to Chicago to hold a forum about the plans and discussed how the plans will be executed for the presidential center campus. The museum is expected to be completed by 2021. It has been designed by husband-and-wife architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien and is estimated to cost $500 million. The construction of the Obama presidential library will be paid through private donations and its maintenance is funded by American taxpayers, like the nation’s 13 other presidential libraries. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, a public plaza in the city park will surround the entire area that constitutes the center, which will include three buildings — a museum, forum and library on Chicago’s South Side. According to the Obama Foundation’s plans, the museum is expected to be the tallest among the three buildings and it will hold public spaces, exhibition space, offices and education and meeting rooms. The library and forum buildings will be used for study and foundation programming. Obama also mentioned that his foundation, which is in-charge of the entire project, is also trying to locate a Chicago Public Library branch on the site. "If you ask a lot of people outside of Chicago, about Chicago, what's the first thing they talk about? They talk about the violence," Obama said at the forum where revealed the plans. "Jackson Park feels different than Lincoln Park or Millennium Park," added Obama, as he referred to the downtown and North Side parks in more affluent areas of Chicago. "It's not as good as it could be,” he said. The former president’s plan shows the museum anchoring the northern end of the plaza on the estimated total 200,000 to 225,000 square feet campus of the presidential center. The roofs of the forum and library buildings will be covered with plants in order create new park land. Obama also expects to build a sledding hill to the park, which has been a dream for him and his wife since she grew up on the South Side. "It incorporates the best of the outdoors and the best of the indoors," said Louise McCurry, president of the Jackson Park Advisory Council. "There's lots of green space, lots of grass and room for kids to run and to play." Obama envisioned the presidential center to become a hub for young people to learn music and films, get trained in leadership so that they can make a difference. "What we want this to be is the world premiere institution for training young people in leadership to (help them) make a difference in their communities, in their country and in their world,” he said. "It's not just a building. It's not just a park. Hopefully it's a hub where all of us can see a brighter future for the South Side," he told the audience at the South Shore Cultural Center. Who Is Barack Obama's Ex-Girlfriend He Asked To Marry Before Michelle?


News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

ARLINGTON, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC) announced today that Jack A. Markell has been elected to the Board of Directors. Markell served from 2009-2017 as the Governor of Delaware, leading a $4 billion enterprise with 30,000 employees. During his tenure, Delaware emerged from the great recession with the strongest job growth in the region and among the best private sector wage growth in the country. Markell was particularly focused on improving Delaware’s schools and positioning its citizens for future prosperity by launching and scaling important workforce development efforts. Before he was elected Governor, Markell served ten years as Delaware’s State Treasurer. Prior to public service, Markell held several executive leadership roles in corporate development, investor relations, strategic management, and consulting with First Chicago Corporation, McKinsey & Company, Comcast Corporation and Nextel. Donald E. Graham, chairman of Graham Holdings Company, said: “Governor Markell, a businessman turned Governor, will make an outstanding director of our company. We are fortunate that he has agreed to join our board.” Markell serves on the National Board of Directors of Jobs for America’s Graduates and as a trustee of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. He earned his undergraduate degree in economics and development studies from Brown University and an MBA from the University of Chicago.


News Article | May 1, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Barack Obama is 'ready' to return to politics, Joe Biden says Barack Obama is willing to campaign for the Democratic Party, Joe Biden has said, indicating the former US President does not plan to retire from politics just yet. At an annual party dinner, Mr Biden extinguished rumours he will run for President in 2020, but said he and Mr Obama would do whatever they can to “help shape the public debate”. “I’m ready to help raise money, recruit candidates, campaign – so is Barack – wherever you want, just let me know,” he said, reported The Hill. Since leaving the White House just over 100 days ago, Mr Obama has been spotted on holiday in the Caribbean and recently made his first post-presidency speech at a community youth event in Chicago, where he did not mention political events or his successor Donald Trump. Crowds at the state Democratic Party dinner in New Hampshire booed when Mr Biden addressed suggestions he might run for President. “When I got asked to speak, I knew it was going to cause speculation,” he said to big applause, which transformed into boos and calls of “run, Joe, run” after he added: “Guys, I'm not running.” The former Vice President said he was “committed to do what I can do to help shape the public debate,” including the “really, genuinely important” cause of helping more Democrats be elected. Video not available for syndication Joe Biden had the best reaction when Obama awarded him the Presidential medal of freedom Mr Obama has so far kept quiet about the prospect of a political comeback, telling the University of Chicago panel event: “I’m spending a lot of time thinking about what is the most important thing I can do for my next job. “The single most important thing I can do is to help in any way I can to prepare the next generation of leadership to take up the baton and to take their own crack at changing the world”. Previous presidents have pursued other interests after leaving office: George W Bush has taken up painting, while Jimmy Carter founded a centre for democracy and human rights. Bill Clinton continued to campaign for the Democratic Party after his presidency ended, supporting his wife Hillary on the campaign trail last year. Former attorney general Eric Holder hinted Mr Obama might return to politics in March, saying: “It’s coming. [Presdient Obama is] coming. And he’s ready to roll,” reported the Daily Beast. The 55-year-old has chosen to remain in Washington DC with Michelle Obama and their two daughters Sasha and Malia.


News Article | April 4, 2017
Site: cen.acs.org

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) maps the positions of molecules in the body using radio frequency pulses and a magnetic field gradient. Researchers led by Gregory S. Engel of the University of Chicago now propose an optical analog of MRI that instead maps the positions of molecules in materials with laser pulses, one of which is tilted to hit a sample at various times. According to Marco A. Allodi, a postdoctoral scholar in Engel’s group, “time is something we as ultrafast spectroscopists can measure with incredibly high precision.” Allodi described the new optical resonance imaging method yesterday at the American Chemical Society national meeting in San Francisco during a session organized by the Division of Analytical Chemistry. The group initially reported the theoretical underpinnings of the technique in November (ACS Photonics 2016, DOI: 10.1021/acsphotonics.6b00694). The researchers think the method could become a way to collect wide-field superresolution images with femtosecond time resolution. The set-up of the new optical resonance imaging technique is much like that used in two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy. Three laser pulses hit a sample. The first two pulses put the sample in an excited state. The third pulse stimulates optical emission, also called a photon-echo signal. The arrival time of the signal at the detector is measured relative to the arrival time of a reference pulse. The third pulse is key to the technique’s imaging capability. Allodi and coworkers use a diffraction grating to tilt that pulse. “If you tilt your laser pulse, the top part of the pulse hits the sample before the bottom part,” Allodi said. Hitting the sample at different times causes different time delays in the photon-echo signal. The researchers use those delays to calculate the position where the signals originated, making it possible to map a sample. The three pulses should allow the team to get spectroscopic information as well as spatial information. “We have all the time delays that you typically scan in a 2-D electronic measurement,” Allodi said. “That means we can spectroscopically resolve the information we’re getting.” Allodi and his colleagues didn’t manage to acquire an image before the ACS meeting. They have all the equipment in place, but they are still dealing with “all the subtleties that go into making an ultrafast experiment work,” Allodi told C&EN. Once they get the system running, the first materials they plan to image are formamidinium lead iodide perovskite films, substances of interest for solar cells. “If you make them into thin films, they wind up with little patches that have grain boundaries on the order of two to five micrometers,” Allodi said.  If the method achieves the 5-μm resolution that the team expects with its initial set-up, the group should be able to observe the grain boundaries and any interesting dynamics that happen at the interface. “The idea that the Engel group is developing is ingenious,” said Martin T. Zanni, an expert on ultrafast multidimensional spectroscopy at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, commenting on the ACS Photonics paper. “It brings a new concept to optical spectroscopy that will get people thinking.”


News Article | April 4, 2017
Site: cen.acs.org

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) maps the positions of molecules in the body using radio frequency pulses and a magnetic field gradient. Researchers led by Gregory S. Engel of the University of Chicago now propose an optical analog of MRI that instead maps the positions of molecules in materials with laser pulses, one of which is tilted to hit a sample at various times. According to Marco A. Allodi, a postdoctoral scholar in Engel’s group, “time is something we as ultrafast spectroscopists can measure with incredibly high precision.” Allodi described the new optical resonance imaging method yesterday at the American Chemical Society national meeting in San Francisco during a session organized by the Division of Analytical Chemistry. The group initially reported the theoretical underpinnings of the technique in November (ACS Photonics 2016, DOI: 10.1021/acsphotonics.6b00694). The researchers think the method could become a way to collect wide-field superresolution images with femtosecond time resolution. The set-up of the new optical resonance imaging technique is much like that used in two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy. Three laser pulses hit a sample. The first two pulses put the sample in an excited state. The third pulse stimulates optical emission, also called a photon-echo signal. The arrival time of the signal at the detector is measured relative to the arrival time of a reference pulse. The third pulse is key to the technique’s imaging capability. Allodi and coworkers use a diffraction grating to tilt that pulse. “If you tilt your laser pulse, the top part of the pulse hits the sample before the bottom part,” Allodi said. Hitting the sample at different times causes different time delays in the photon-echo signal. The researchers use those delays to calculate the position where the signals originated, making it possible to map a sample. The three pulses should allow the team to get spectroscopic information as well as spatial information. “We have all the time delays that you typically scan in a 2-D electronic measurement,” Allodi said. “That means we can spectroscopically resolve the information we’re getting.” Allodi and his colleagues didn’t manage to acquire an image before the ACS meeting. They have all the equipment in place, but they are still dealing with “all the subtleties that go into making an ultrafast experiment work,” Allodi told C&EN. Once they get the system running, the first materials they plan to image are formamidinium lead iodide perovskite films, substances of interest for solar cells. “If you make them into thin films, they wind up with little patches that have grain boundaries on the order of two to five micrometers,” Allodi said.  If the method achieves the 5-μm resolution that the team expects with its initial set-up, the group should be able to observe the grain boundaries and any interesting dynamics that happen at the interface. “The idea that the Engel group is developing is ingenious,” said Martin T. Zanni, an expert on ultrafast multidimensional spectroscopy at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, commenting on the ACS Photonics paper. “It brings a new concept to optical spectroscopy that will get people thinking.”


News Article | May 3, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

University City Science Center President & CEO Stephen S. Tang, Ph.D., MBA is scheduled to testify before the U.S. House of Representatives Small Business Committee on Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. The hearing, titled “Empowering Small Businesses: The Accelerator Model,” will examine how business accelerators help entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses grow and create jobs. It will also offer Members of the Committee the opportunity to hear from organizations that are directly involved in offering private sector resources to small businesses. “We are strong believers in the accelerator model as an ideal vehicle for empowering small businesses,” Tang said in prepared testimony. “We have a saying in the industry - startups need to succeed or fail quickly, and cheaply… Accelerators force technologies to move quickly – and by offering multiple layers of expertise, services and support, accelerators often enable startups to pivot in a different direction, in response to market demand.” In addition to Dr. Tang, witnesses include Starr Marcello, Executive Director, Edward L. Kaplan New Venture Challenge (NVC), Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, University of Chicago; Darrin M. Redus, Senior Vice President, Minority Business Accelerator, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, Cincinnati; and Carolyn Rodz, Founder and CEO, Circular Board, Houston. Located in the heart of uCity Square, the Science Center is a mission-driven nonprofit organization that catalyzes and connects innovation to entrepreneurship and technology commercialization. For 50+ years, the Science Center has supported startups, research, and economic development in the life sciences, healthcare, physical sciences, and emerging technology sectors. As a result, graduate firms and current residents of the Science Center’s incubator support one out of every 100 jobs in the Greater Philadelphia region and drive $13 billion in economic activity in the region annually. By providing resources and programming for any stage of a business’s lifecycle, the Science Center helps scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators take their concepts from idea to IPO – and beyond. For more information about the Science Center, go to http://www.sciencecenter.org


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- A study of the DNA in ancient skeletal remains adds to the evidence that indigenous groups living today in southern Alaska and the western coast of British Columbia are descendants of the first humans to make their home in northwest North America more than 10,000 years ago. "Our analysis suggests that this is the same population living in this part of the world over time, so we have genetic continuity from 10,000 years ago to the present," said University of Illinois anthropology professor Ripan Malhi, who led the study with University of Chicago postdoctoral researcher John Lindo; Penn State University biology professor Michael DeGiorgio; Rosita Worl, the director of the Sealaska Heritage Institute in Juneau, Alaska; and University of Oklahoma anthropology professor Brian M. Kemp. The findings, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also suggest that these early American peoples had a complex population history, the researchers report. The new work comes on the heels of earlier studies of ancient Americans that focused on mitochondrial DNA, which occurs outside the nucleus of cells and is passed only from mothers to their offspring. "Mitochondrial DNA just traces the maternal line - your mother's mother's lineage - so, you're missing information about all of these other ancestors," said Lindo, the first author on the paper. "We wanted to analyze the nuclear genome so we could get a better assessment of the population history of this region." The team looked at genomic data from Shuká Káa (Tlingit for "Man Before Us"), an ancient individual whose remains - found in a cave in southeastern Alaska - date to about 10,300 years ago. They also analyzed the genomes of three more individuals from the nearby coast of British Columbia whose remains date to between 6,075 and 1,750 years ago. "Interestingly, the mitochondrial type that Shuká Káa belonged to was also observed from another ancient skeleton dated to about 6,000 years ago," Kemp said. "It seems to disappear after that. The nuclear DNA suggests that this is probably not about population replacement, but rather chance occurrence through time. If a female has no children or only sons, the mitochondrial DNA is not passed to the next generation. As a male, Shuká Káa could not have passed on his own mitochondrial DNA; he must have had some maternal relatives that did so." The researchers turned their attention to nuclear DNA, which offers a more comprehensive record of a person's ancestry. "DNA from the mitochondria and Y chromosome provide unique yet sometimes conflicting stories, but the nuclear genome provides a more comprehensive view of past events," DeGiorgio said. "The data suggest that there were multiple genetic lineages in the Americas from at least 10,300 years ago," Malhi said. The descendants of some of those lineages are still living in the same region today, and a few are co-authors on the new study. Their participation is the result of a long-term collaboration between the scientists and several native groups who are embracing genomic studies as a way to learn from their ancestors, said Worl, who is Tlingit, Ch'áak' (Eagle) moiety of the Shangukeidí­ (Thunderbird) Clan from the Kawdliyaayi Hít (House Lowered From the Sun) in Klukwan, Alaska. "We supported DNA testing of Shuká Káa because we believed science ultimately would agree with what our oral traditions have always said - that we have lived in southeast Alaska since time immemorial. The initial analysis showed the young man was native, and now further studies are showing that our ancestral lineage stems from the first initial peopling of the region," said Worl, who also is an anthropologist. "Science is corroborating our oral histories."


In 2016, workers at New Zealand's National Aquarium were surprised to find out that Inky the octopus managed to escape from its enclosure prior to heading to open water. The cephalopod apparently broke out from its aquarium and slithered across the facility's floor to a drainpipe, leaving behind a wet trail. Marine biologists, however, are not surprised by Inky's escape. In response to news of the daring escape of Inky, James Wood of The Cephalopod Page said that over the years of him working with octopuses, he has already seen many octopuses escape, including one in Bermuda that managed to escape several times from its closed aquarium to eat the inhabitants of another enclosure. Octopuses are among the most intelligent animals in nature as evidenced by how they manage to cleverly escape from their aquariums. Besides being great escape artists, they are also known to have a knack for puzzles. Ursula, an octopus housed at the Living Coasts zoo and aquarium in the United Kingdom, is good at puzzles, taking only several seconds to solve complex challenges. Octopuses can also develop unique personalities and recognize individual faces. "The octopus appears to be utterly different from all other animals, even other molluscs, with its eight prehensile arms, its large brain and its clever problem-solving capabilities," said Clifton Ragsdale from the University of Chicago, who was part of a 2015 study that sequenced the genome of octopuses. So what makes octopuses intelligent? Findings of a new study suggest their brilliance may lie in their ability to edit their own genes. Researchers who have been studying how cephalopods edit their genome discovered that instead of relying on DNA mutations to adapt, squids, octopuses, and cuttlefish can make changes to their RNA, which is considered the genetic messenger that carries out the instructions from DNA. Many of the RNA edits happen in the brain of the cephalopods, including an adaptation that allows the neurons of the animals to function in cold environments. "Editing is enriched in the nervous system, affecting molecules pertinent for excitability and neuronal morphology. The genomic sequence flanking editing sites is highly conserved, suggesting that the process confers a selective advantage," researchers wrote in their study, which was published in the journal Cell. Although they have not provided a definitive evidence for the association, researchers think that the cephalopods' ability to edit their RNA can shed light on the creature's intelligence. If this theory turns out correct, the ability to alter the RNA could mean it is a crucial factor in the intelligence of a species. "Extensive recoding might have contributed to the exceptional intelligence," said study researcher Eli Eisenberg from Tel Aviv University. "Of course, at this point it's just an enticing idea to think about, and we would need much more evidence to say anything definitive in this direction." © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | April 18, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

Melinda Worth Popham returns to the literary limelight with the release of “Grace Period” (published by iUniverse), a candid and poignant narration of a family’s struggle and ultimate success, and the power of transformed people to transform people. “Grace Period” recounts the author’s spiritual journey launched by the break-up of her marriage and her 15-year-old daughter’s descent into severe depression. It brought Popham to her knees and wound up leading her, at age 56, to Yale Divinity School – not in pursuit of ordination to ministry but quite simply to her “plain old ordinary sacred self.” “It is highly relevant because adolescent depression and suicide rates have increased fourfold. It is relevant because spirituality is a hot topic, both faith-based spirituality and secular spirituality (spirituality without religion in the form of mindfulness, meditation, yoga, etc.),” Popham shares. “‘Grace Period’ has an inspiring, down-to-earth spirituality that's embedded in my transformative personal experience. Readers may find themselves noticing vestiges of divinity in the everyday.” With a unique blend of unexpected humor and sharp truths, this book imparts to readers a demystified sense of the mystical and a sense of spiritual can-do, and offers inspiration to transform one’s trials to triumphs. Praise for “Grace Period” from BlueInk Review: “Anyone who has suffered, or lives with a modicum of spiritual curiosity, will want to press this book into the hands of a friend.” “Grace Period: My Ordination to the Ordinary” By Melinda Worth Popham Softcover | 6 x 9in | 264 pages | ISBN 9781532017889     E-Book | 264 pages | ISBN 9781532017896 Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble About the Author Melinda Worth Popham was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1944. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Chicago and Master of Arts degrees from Yale Divinity School and Stanford. Her previous book, “Skywater,” was named an American Library Association Notable Book, honored by the California Senate and showcased in Barnes and Noble’s Discover Great New Writers. “Grace Period” is her third book. It was a Next Generation Indie Book Award finalist and one of only nine self-published, nonfiction works awarded a starred review in Publishers Weekly in 2016. Popham has two adult children and lives in Los Angeles where she is a spiritual director and retreat leader. She is currently at work on a new book. iUniverse, an Author Solutions, LLC, self-publishing imprint, is the leading book marketing, editorial services, and supported self-publishing provider. iUniverse has a strategic alliance with Indigo Books & Music, Inc. in Canada, and titles accepted into the iUniverse Rising Star program are featured in a special collection on BarnesandNoble.com. iUniverse recognizes excellence in book publishing through the Star, Reader’s Choice, Rising Star and Editor’s Choice designations—self-publishing’s only such awards program. Headquartered in Bloomington, Indiana, iUniverse also operates offices in Indianapolis. For more information or to publish a book, please visit iuniverse.com or call 1-800-AUTHORS. For the latest, follow @iuniversebooks on Twitter.


News Article | May 5, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

LearnHowToBecome.org, a leading resource provider for higher education and career information, has released its list of the Best Colleges in Illinois for 2017. 50 four-year colleges were ranked, with Northwestern University, University of Chicago, Bradley University, Illinois Institute of Technology and Augustana College taking the top five spots on the list. 49 two-year schools were also selected; Carl Sandburg College, Illinois Central College, Richland Community College, Rend Lake College and Lincoln Land Community College were the top five. A complete list of schools is included below. “The schools on our list have shown that they offer outstanding educational programs that set students up for post-college success,” said Wes Ricketts, senior vice president of LearnHowToBecome.org. “Students exploring higher education options in Illinois can also look to these schools to provide top-quality resources that help maximize the overall educational experience.” To be included on the “Best Colleges in Illinois” list, all schools must be not-for-profit and regionally accredited. Each college is also evaluated metrics including annual alumni earnings, the opportunity for employment services and academic counseling, the selection of degree programs offered, financial aid availability and graduation rates. Complete details on each college, their individual scores and the data and methodology used to determine the LearnHowToBecome.org “Best Colleges in Illinois” list, visit: The Best Four-Year Colleges in Illinois for 2017 include: Augustana College Aurora University Benedictine University Blackburn College Bradley University Chicago State University Concordia University-Chicago DePaul University Dominican University Eastern Illinois University Elmhurst College Eureka College Governors State University Greenville College Illinois College Illinois Institute of Technology Illinois State University Illinois Wesleyan University Judson University Knox College Lake Forest College Lewis University Loyola University Chicago MacMurray College McKendree University Millikin University Monmouth College National Louis University North Central College North Park University Northern Illinois University Northwestern University Olivet Nazarene University Principia College Quincy University Rockford University Roosevelt University Rush University Saint Xavier University Southern Illinois University-Carbondale Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Trinity Christian College Trinity International University-Illinois University of Chicago University of Illinois at Chicago University of Illinois at Springfield University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign University of St Francis Western Illinois University Wheaton College The Best Two-Year Colleges in Illinois for 2017 include: Black Hawk College Carl Sandburg College City Colleges of Chicago - Harry S Truman College City Colleges of Chicago - Malcolm X College City Colleges of Chicago - Wilbur Wright College City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College City Colleges of Chicago-Olive-Harvey College City Colleges of Chicago-Richard J Daley College College of DuPage College of Lake County Danville Area Community College Elgin Community College Frontier Community College Harper College Heartland Community College Highland Community College Illinois Central College Illinois Valley Community College John A Logan College John Wood Community College Joliet Junior College Kankakee Community College Kaskaskia College Kishwaukee College Lake Land College Lewis and Clark Community College Lincoln Land Community College Lincoln Trail College MacCormac College McHenry County College Moraine Valley Community College Morton College Oakton Community College Olney Central College Parkland College Prairie State College Rend Lake College Richland Community College Rock Valley College Sauk Valley Community College Shawnee Community College South Suburban College Southeastern Illinois College Southwestern Illinois College Spoon River College Triton College Wabash Valley College Waubonsee Community College ### About Us: LearnHowtoBecome.org was founded in 2013 to provide data and expert driven information about employment opportunities and the education needed to land the perfect career. Our materials cover a wide range of professions, industries and degree programs, and are designed for people who want to choose, change or advance their careers. We also provide helpful resources and guides that address social issues, financial aid and other special interest in higher education. Information from LearnHowtoBecome.org has proudly been featured by more than 700 educational institutions.


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

Poets&Quants, the pacesetter in business education news and analysis, has published its third annual “Best & Brightest MBAs” feature, which honors 100 of the world's most accomplished, inventive, and selfless full-time MBAs in the Class of 2017. “This class really defies the stereotypes,” says Jeff Schmitt, the staff writer who launched the feature. "You won't find a single sharp-elbowed or self-involved student here. These days, MBAs are the ones who are opening indoor organic farms to cut back water waste and runoff pollution or scaling bakery franchises in Africa so women can better feed their families and communities. You won’t find soulless bean counters and slick PowerPoint ninjas on this list. The Best & Brightest are servant leaders. They have a stake and a vision. And they’re using business as a means to level the playing field and expand the possibilities.” Such students include Purdue’s Lamis Sleiman, who spent over six years partnering with organizations like the United Nations on relief and health initiatives in war-torn Syria and Lebanon. At the University of Chicago, Andrew Ward, a Muay Thai fighter focused on increasing access to pharmaceuticals, organized Common Chromosome, a popular club that fostered honest dialogue between men and women on gender issues. Across the pond, the London Business School’s Dr. Nick Deakin spearheaded the most successful EurOut Conference, which doubled attendance and sponsorship and earned intensive media spotlight for the LGBT community in outlets like The Financial Times. At the University of Washington, Vanessa Kritzer was the sole student to be selected by the governor to serve on the school’s Board of Regents, effectively making her the voice of 47,000 students on three campuses. The Best & Brightest MBAs also bring some amazing tales to the table. London Business School’s Alana DIgby swam across the English Channel between her first and second years. Joshua Rodriguez, a U.S. Army Calvary Commander, came to the University of Washington with little knowledge of finance. Two months later, he was interviewing with Goldman Sachs for an internship (which ultimately led to a job offer). At IESE Business School, Blanca Gómez-Zamalloa Atiénzar managed to have a baby, launch a business, win a consulting competition, complete an internship, teach dance, and rank among the top students academically before returning to the Boston Consulting Group. “We didn’t just want to celebrate these MBA graduates,” adds John A. Byrne, who founded Poets&Quants after serving as Editor-In-Chief at Businessweek.com and Fast Company. “Our hope is that our readers are inspired by these students. We hope they say, ‘This person is a lot like me. Maybe I can do this, too!’ There are and have been plenty of naysayers out there on the value of the MBA degree and the people who earn it. This group is representative of the amazing quality and exceptional talent coming out of business schools today. The world will be better because of them.” Overall, McKinsey will be the largest employer of Best & Brightest MBAs, hiring eight members from the list. Deloitte Consulting ranked second with six hires, followed by five hires each for Amazon, Bain & Company, and the The Boston Consulting Group. The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business landed the most students on the Best & Brightest list this year with four. Five programs placed three students on the list, including Wharton, Stanford, the University of California-Berkeley, Duke, and the University of Washington. The 2017 also boasted 53 women, 15 military veterans, and 32 students born outside of the United States. Overall, 59 full-time MBA programs are represented in Best & Brightest, with Harvard Business School being the lone Top 40 program to decline to participate. Poets&Quants accepted up to four nominations per school, with students questionnaires evaluated on extracurricular involvement, tangible academic and professional achievements, and insightfulness of responses to nearly two dozen open-ended questions, which ranged from their biggest achievements to advice they would give to applicants applying to their schools. The answers are published as in-depth student profiles, which are available for each of the 100 Best & Brightest members on PoetsandQuants.com. The “Best & Brightest MBAs” series will continue into the summer, with Poets&Quants unveiling its top Executive MBAs in June and its MBAs To Watch in July. To read more about these Best & Brightest MBA graduates, go to Poets&Quants.


The New York Times first reported Whole Foods CEO John Mackey's association with spiritual leader Marc Gafni, a former rabbi accused of sexual abuse. The Times reported Gafni describing one of his accusers: "She was 14 going on 35, and I never forced her." The Washington Post reported on protests at Whole Foods stores in NYC and LA. Mackey issued a statement of loyalty to Gafni. A consortium of anti-sexual violence groups led by Bay Area Women Against Rape (BAWAR) has issued a public "Call to Action," urging the Commonwealth Club of California to cancel the appearance of Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, scheduled for May 1. Mackey is set to appear at the Cubberley Theatre in Palo Alto, in conversation with Alison van Diggelen, host of "Fresh Dialogues, and BBC contributor.​ Advocacy leaders from organizations including the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV) and Faculty Against Rape (FAR) have called for “sexual violence accountability,” urging Mackey to disavow spiritual leader Marc Gafni, a former New York rabbi accused of sexual abuse. Gafni is leader of San Francisco Bay Area-based think tank The Center for Integral Wisdom.​ [UPDATE NOTE: ​Mackey was originally set to appear in conversation with Dr. Dean Ornish. After BAWAR issued this Call to Action, Ornish was replaced by van Diggelen on the program announcement. Neither the Commonwealth Club nor Ornish have responded to inquiries about reasons for his departure from the program. Dean Ornish had asked advocacy groups to stop "heckling" Mackey about his association with Gafni.] Please urge the Commonwealth Club to hold Whole Foods CEO John Mackey accountable and cancel his appearance. Call 415-597–6700, email CEO Gloria Duffy, gduffy@commonwealthclub.org, or tweet at @cwclub Mackey's involvement with Gafni was first reported by The New York Times in December 2015. The Times reported Gafni describing one of his accusers: “Mr. Gafni was quoted saying they had been in love. He added, ‘She was 14 going on 35, and I never forced her.’” “A co-founder of Whole Foods, John Mackey, a proponent of conscious capitalism, calls Mr. Gafni ‘a bold visionary.’ He is a chairman of the executive board of Mr. Gafni’s center, and he hosts board meetings at his Texas ranch.” The New York Daily News reported Gafni denying allegations. According to the News, Gafni stated his underage accusers in the 1980s, then 13 and 16, were willing partners. More than 100 rabbis and Jewish leaders undersigned a petition to Whole Foods, citing “many, repeated and serious allegations, both public and private, former and recent, against Marc (Mordechai) Gafni.” Sara Kabakov identified herself as the then-girl whom Gafni described as "14 going on 35." She came forward publicly for the first time in an opinion piece in the Forward: "I Was 13 When Marc Gafni's Abuse Began." The Washington Post reported on coordinated protests at Whole Foods stores in New York City and Los Angeles in May 2016. Mackey issued a statement of loyalty to Gafni in June. As reported by the Forward, Mackey said: “I have known Marc Gafni for several years, and he has continued to tell me that he is innocent of the allegations being made about him. Loyalty and the presumption of innocence are important values to me, so I will not join those who are condemning him.” An undated "Marc Gafni Statement" on the Whole Foods Market Newsroom says Mackey is no longer on the board of directors of Gafni's center. Mackey's Whole Foods Market Blog was edited in June to say his involvement with Gafni is now "strictly a personal relationship." In November, soon after Donald Trump's vulgar brag "grab them by the p***y" made headlines, Gafni tweeted: "Donald Trump is an Outrageous Lover." In December 2016, an open letter from 130 advocates urged "sexual violence accountability," asking Mackey to disavow Gafni. Addressed to board member of Whole Foods and Conscious Capitalism, Inc. (a business ethics nonprofit organization Mackey founded), the open letter was published by Feminine Collective and signed by advocacy leaders, university professors, and students. In February 2017, a consortium of advocacy groups organized a protest at Mackey's keynote speech at Conscious Capitalism, Inc. in San Francisco, where the organization is headquartered. The protest was organized by Peaceful Hearts Foundation (nonprofit founded by Matthew Sandusky, one of six adopted children of former Penn State coach, convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky), the Stop Abuse Campaign, Protect NY Kids, and SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the organization featured in the Oscar-winning movie Spotlight. Protest speakers included members of RAINN Speakers Bureau, from the country's largest anti-sexual violence organization,  [Watch video: former model, activist Nikki DuBose​ speaks at San Francisco protest]​​​ Business and ethics experts, including professors from Harvard Business School, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and Emory University, have criticized Mackey's association with Gafni. "April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Whole Foods CEO John Mackey's loyalty to Marc Gafni is a perfect example of rape culture -- enabling and protecting predators is the life blood of rape culture. It takes a village to enable a sexual predator, it takes a village to stop rape culture. The Commonwealth Club has an opportunity to be part of the solution. Mackey needs to disavow Gafni, or the Commonwealth Club should cancel his appearance. This is accountability. Ending rape culture is on all of us." Gafni has never been charged with a crime. According to Andrew Willis, CEO of the Stop Abuse Campaign, Gafni is protected by New York state's statutes of limitations laws. Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced his support for the Child Victims Act, proposed legislation to eliminate statutes of limitations for claims of child sexual abuse. A petition to state lawmakers urging passage of the bill has garnered nearly 70,000 signatures. "Would the Commonwealth Club be willing to demonstrate its support for survivors of sexual assault and child sexual abuse, and its commitment to changing the culture of sexual violence by canceling Mr. Mackey's scheduled appearance?" Please urge the Commonwealth Club to hold Whole Foods CEO John Mackey accountable and cancel his appearance. Call 415-597–6700, email CEO Gloria Duffy, gduffy@commonwealthclub.org, or tweet at @cwclub BAWAR is the country's first rape crisis center, founded in 1971.​


The New York Times first reported Whole Foods CEO John Mackey's association with spiritual leader Marc Gafni, a former rabbi accused of sexual abuse. The Times reported Gafni describing one of his accusers: "She was 14 going on 35, and I never forced her." The Washington Post reported on protests at Whole Foods stores in NYC and LA. Mackey issued a statement of loyalty to Gafni. A consortium of anti-sexual violence groups led by Bay Area Women Against Rape (BAWAR) has asked the Commonwealth Club of California to cancel the appearance of Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, scheduled for May 1. Mackey is set to appear at the Cubberley Theatre in Palo Alto, in conversation with Dr. Dean Ornish.​ Leaders from organizations including BAWAR and Peaceful Hearts Foundation (nonprofit founded by Matthew Sandusky, one of six adopted children of former Penn State coach, convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky) emailed Commonwealth Club leaders, stating: "We request that Mackey publicly disavow Gafni, or that his talk at the Commonwealth Club be canceled." Advocacy leaders from organizations including the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV) and Faculty Against Rape (FAR), have called for “sexual violence accountability,” urging Mackey to disavow spiritual leader Marc Gafni, a former New York rabbi accused of sexual abuse. Gafni is leader of San Francisco Bay Area-based think tank The Center for Integral Wisdom.​ Mackey's involvement with Gafni was first reported by The New York Times in December 2015. The Times reported Gafni describing one of his accusers: “Mr. Gafni was quoted saying they had been in love. He added, ‘She was 14 going on 35, and I never forced her.’” “A co-founder of Whole Foods, John Mackey, a proponent of conscious capitalism, calls Mr. Gafni ‘a bold visionary.’ He is a chairman of the executive board of Mr. Gafni’s center, and he hosts board meetings at his Texas ranch.” The New York Daily News reported Gafni denying allegations. According to the News, Gafni stated his underage accusers in the 1980s, then 13 and 16, were willing partners. Sara Kabakov identified herself as the then-girl whom Gafni described as "14 going on 35." She came forward publicly for the first time in an opinion piece in the Forward: "I Was 13 When Marc Gafni's Abuse Began." More than 100 rabbis and Jewish leaders undersigned a petition to Whole Foods: “Stop Marc Gafni from Abusing Again.” The petition cited “many, repeated and serious allegations, both public and private, former and recent.” The Washington Post reported on coordinated protests at Whole Foods stores in New York City and Los Angeles in May 2016. Mackey issued a statement in June, as reported by the Forward. Mackey stated: “I have known Marc Gafni for several years, and he has continued to tell me that he is innocent of the allegations being made about him. Loyalty and the presumption of innocence are important values to me, so I will not join those who are condemning him.” According to an undated "Marc Gafni Statement" on the Whole Foods Market Newsroom site, Mackey is "no longer on the board of directors of the Center for Integral Wisdom." In November, soon after Donald Trump's vulgar brag "grab them by the p***y" made headlines, Gafni tweeted: "Donald Trump is an Outrageous Lover." In December, an open letter from 130 advocates to board members of Whole Foods and Conscious Capitalism, Inc. (a business ethics nonprofit organization Mackey co-founded) urged "sexual violence accountability." Published by Feminine Collective, the letter was signed by advocacy leaders, university professors, and students. In February 2017, a consortium of advocacy groups organized a protest at Mackey's keynote speech at Conscious Capitalism, Inc. in San Francisco, where the organization is headquartered. Organized by Peaceful Hearts Foundation, the Stop Abuse Campaign, and Protect NY Kids, protest speakers included members of RAINN Speakers Bureau, from the country's largest anti-sexual violence organization, and SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the organization featured in the Oscar-winning movie Spotlight. [Watch video: former model Nikki DuBose speaks at San Francisco protest]​​​ Business and ethics experts, including professors from Harvard Business School, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Columbia University, and Emory University, have criticized Mackey's loyalty to Gafni. "April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Whole Foods CEO John Mackey's loyalty to Marc Gafni is a perfect example of rape culture -- enabling and protecting predators is the life blood of rape culture. It takes a village to enable a sexual predator, it takes a village to stop rape culture. The Commonwealth Club has an opportunity to be part of the solution. Mackey needs to disavow Gafni, or the Commonwealth Club should cancel his appearance. This is accountability. Ending rape culture is on all of us." Gafni has never been charged with a crime. He is exemplar on a petition to New York state lawmakers, urging them to pass the Child Victims Act, proposed statute of limitations reform for claims of child sexual abuse. The petition has garnered more than 69,000 signatures. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo pledged his support for the bill. In their email to the Commonwealth Club, advocacy leaders ask: "Would the Commonwealth Club be willing to demonstrate its support for survivors of sexual assault and child sexual abuse, and its commitment to changing the culture of sexual violence by canceling Mr. Mackey's scheduled appearance?" Advocates have issued a Call to Action: Please urge the Commonwealth Club to hold Mackey accountable and cancel his appearance. Call 415-597–6700 (live person answers) or tweet at @cwclub BAWAR is the country's first rape crisis center, founded in 1971.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: co.newswire.com

Advocacy leaders have called for Whole Foods CEO John Mackey to disavow spiritual leader Marc Gafni, a former rabbi accused of sexual abuse. The New York Times reported Gafni describing one of his alleged victims: "She was 14 going on 35, and I never forced her." A consortium of anti-sexual violence advocacy groups has asked publishing company the Hachette Book Group to cancel its release of Whole Foods CEO John Mackey's book The Whole Foods Diet, scheduled for April 11. Led by Peaceful Hearts Foundation (a nonprofit organization founded by Matthew Sandusky, one of six adopted children of Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State coach and convicted pedophile), advocacy leaders emailed executives at the Hachette Book Group, stating: "We ask that Hachette Book Group follow the industry precedent set by Simon & Schuster, which cancelled publication of Milo Yiannopoulos' book because of comments he made about pedophilia. We ask that Hachette Book Group likewise act in good conscience and cancel the release of Mackey's book." Advocacy leaders from organizations including the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV) and Faculty Against Rape (FAR), have called for “sexual violence accountability,” urging Mackey to disavow spiritual leader Marc Gafni, a former rabbi accused of sexual abuse. Gafni is leader of San Francisco Bay Area-based think tank The Center for Integral Wisdom. Mackey's involvement with Gafni was first reported by The New York Times in December 2015, and subsequently by The Washington Post in May 2016. The Times reported Gafni describing one of his accusers: “Mr. Gafni was quoted saying they had been in love. He added, ‘She was 14 going on 35, and I never forced her.’” “A co-founder of Whole Foods, John Mackey, a proponent of conscious capitalism, calls Mr. Gafni ‘a bold visionary.’ He is a chairman of the executive board of Mr. Gafni’s center, and he hosts board meetings at his Texas ranch.” More than 100 rabbis and Jewish leaders, led by New York Rabbi David Ingber, undersigned a petition to Whole Foods: “Stop Marc Gafni from Abusing Again,” citing “many, repeated and serious allegations, both public and private, former and recent.” Sara Kabakov, the then-girl whom Gafni described as "14 going on 35," came forward publicly for the first time in an opinion piece in the Forward: "I Was 13 When Marc Gafni's Abuse Began." After The Washington Post reported on protests at Whole Foods stores in New York City and Los Angeles in May, Mackey issued a statement, declaring his loyalty to Gafni, as reported by the Forward: "Whole Foods CEO Remains Loyal to Marc Gafni Despite Abuse Claims." Mackey stated: “Loyalty and the presumption of innocence are important values to me, so I will not join those who are condemning him.” In December 2016, advocacy leaders and university professors were among 130 signers of an open letter to board members of Whole Foods, urging "sexual violence accountability," asking Mackey to disavow Gafni. In February 2017, a consortium of advocacy groups organized a protest at Mackey's speech in San Francisco at Conscious Capitalism, Inc., a business ethics nonprofit organization he founded. Protest organizers included Bay Area Women Against Rape (BAWAR, the country's first rape crisis center), the Stop Abuse Campaign and Protect NY Kids. Protest speakers included members of RAINN Speakers Bureau, from the country's largest anti-sexual violence organization, and SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, featured in the movie Spotlight about the cover-up of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.) [Watch video: Former model Nikki DuBose, board member of Peaceful Hearts Foundation, speaks at protest at Whole Foods CEO John Mackey's speech in San Francisco.] Business and ethics experts, including professors from Harvard Business School, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and Emory University have criticized Mackey's loyalty to Gafni. Edward L. Queen, Director, Ethics and Servant Leadership Program, Center for Ethics, Emory University, said: "The CEO of Whole Foods has managed this horribly. While his latest [and only] statement is an improvement in that he finally acknowledges the pain and suffering caused by sexual abuse, he continues to fail to demonstrate the deep thoughtfulness of response these allegations warrant." Gafni has never been charged with a crime. He is exemplar on a petition to New York state lawmakers, urging them to pass the Child Victims Act, proposed statute of limitations reform for claims of child sexual abuse. The petition has garnered more than 69,000 signatures. In January, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo pledged his support for the bill. Andrew Willis, CEO of the Stop Abuse Campaign said: "New York state's statute of limitations laws, some of the strictest in the nation, protect sexual predators and not the children they prey on. Whole Foods CEO Mackey's statement of loyalty to Gafni, who is protected by statutes of limitations, perpetuates the culture of enabling. Mackey should disavow his friend." [Read on Feminine Collective: "Conscious Capitalism® Issues Statement On Whole Foods CEO Link To Alleged Sex Abuser"] The email to executives at the Hachette Book Group, sent on behalf of advocacy leaders by Bay Area author and activist Nancy Levine, asked: "To demonstrate support for survivors of sexual assault and child sexual abuse, and to change the culture of sexual violence, will Hachette Book Group cancel the planned release of John Mackey's book?"


News Article | April 28, 2017
Site: co.newswire.com

The New York Times first reported Whole Foods CEO John Mackey's association with spiritual leader Marc Gafni, a former rabbi accused of sexual abuse. The Times reported Gafni describing one of his accusers: "She was 14 going on 35, and I never forced her." The Washington Post reported on protests at Whole Foods stores in New York City and Los Angeles. Mackey issued a statement of loyalty to Gafni. ​​​An alliance of anti-sexual violence groups that includes Bay Area Women Against Rape (BAWAR) is organizing a protest at an event featuring Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, presented by the Commonwealth Club of California. Mackey is set to appear in conversation with Alison van Diggelen, BBC contributor and host of  "Fresh Dialogues," at the Cubberley Theatre in Palo Alto on May 1. Advocacy leaders from organizations including the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV) and Faculty Against Rape (FAR) have called for “sexual violence accountability,” urging Mackey to disavow spiritual leader Marc Gafni, a former New York rabbi accused of sexual abuse. Gafni is leader of San Francisco Bay Area-based think tank The Center for Integral Wisdom. "Please urge the Commonwealth Club to hold Whole Foods CEO John Mackey accountable and cancel his appearance. Call 415-597–6700, email CEO Gloria Duffy, gduffy@commonwealthclub.org, or tweet at @cwclub." Mackey was originally set to appear in conversation with Dr. Dean Ornish. Van Diggelen replaced Ornish on the event announcement earlier this week, after Ornish asked advocacy groups to stop "heckling" Mackey about his association with Gafni. Mackey's involvement with Gafni was first reported by The New York Times in December 2015. The Times reported Gafni describing one of his accusers: “Mr. Gafni was quoted saying they had been in love. He added, ‘She was 14 going on 35, and I never forced her.’” “A co-founder of Whole Foods, John Mackey, a proponent of conscious capitalism, calls Mr. Gafni ‘a bold visionary.’ He is a chairman of the executive board of Mr. Gafni’s center, and he hosts board meetings at his Texas ranch.” The New York Daily News reported Gafni denying allegations. According to the News, Gafni stated his underage accusers in the 1980s, then 13 and 16, were willing partners. More than 100 rabbis and Jewish leaders undersigned a petition to Whole Foods, citing “many, repeated and serious allegations, both public and private, former and recent, against Marc (Mordechai) Gafni.” Sara Kabakov identified herself as the then-girl whom Gafni described as "14 going on 35." She came forward publicly for the first time in an opinion piece in the Forward: "I Was 13 When Marc Gafni's Abuse Began." The Washington Post reported on coordinated protests at Whole Foods stores in New York City and Los Angeles in May 2016. “I have known Marc Gafni for several years, and he has continued to tell me that he is innocent of the allegations being made about him. Loyalty and the presumption of innocence are important values to me, so I will not join those who are condemning him.” An undated "Marc Gafni Statement" on the Whole Foods Market Newsroom says Mackey is no longer on the board of directors of Gafni's center. Mackey's Whole Foods Market Blog was edited in June to say his involvement with Gafni is now "strictly a personal relationship." In November, soon after Donald Trump's vulgar brag "grab them by the p***y" made headlines, Gafni tweeted: "Donald Trump is an Outrageous Lover." An open letter from 130 advocates urged "sexual violence accountability," asking Mackey to disavow Gafni. Addressed to board member of Whole Foods and Conscious Capitalism, Inc. (a business ethics nonprofit organization Mackey founded), the open letter was published by Feminine Collective and signed by advocacy leaders, university professors, and students. In February 2017, a consortium of advocacy groups organized a protest at Mackey's keynote speech at Conscious Capitalism, Inc. in San Francisco, where the organization is headquartered. The February protest was organized by Peaceful Hearts Foundation (nonprofit founded by Matthew Sandusky, one of six adopted children of former Penn State coach, convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky), the Stop Abuse Campaign, Protect NY Kids, and SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the organization featured in the Oscar-winning movie Spotlight. Protest speakers included members of RAINN Speakers Bureau, from the country's largest anti-sexual violence organization. Business and ethics experts, including professors from Harvard Business School, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and Emory University, have criticized Mackey's association with Gafni. "April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Whole Foods CEO John Mackey's loyalty to Marc Gafni is a perfect example of rape culture. Minimizing and normalizing sexual assault is emblematic of rape culture. It takes a village to enable a sexual predator, it takes a village to stop rape culture. Mackey needs to disavow Gafni. Accountability matters. Ending rape culture is on all of us." Gafni has never been charged with a crime. According to Andrew Willis, CEO of the Stop Abuse Campaign, Gafni is protected by New York state's statute of limitations laws, among the most restrictive in the country. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his support for the Child Victims Act, proposed legislation to eliminate statutes of limitations for claims of child sexual abuse. A petition to state lawmakers in support of the bill has garnered nearly 70,000 signatures. UPDATE: The Commonwealth Club has responded by blocking advocates on Twitter. BAWAR, based in Oakland, California, is the country's first rape crisis center, founded in 1971.


News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

The former president and first lady Michelle Obama showed their design, which incorporates substantial amounts of indoor and outdoor space for the public to enjoy within Chicago’s Jackson Park By Nick Mafi. Photo by: Getty Images and renderings courtesy of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. As the name would indicate, a presidential library is a very special, almost sacred space. Its duty is to compile the many documents and artifacts of a president and his administration, and present them to the public for greater clarity and discussion. So when it was announced earlier today that former president Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama unveiled their design plans for the 44th president's library, many were excited, as it means the public is one major step closer to stepping foot in the 200,000-square-foot campus on Chicago’s South Side. The presidential library, which was designed by the New York–based firm Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, will consist of three buildings—a museum, a forum, and a library—and will sit in close proximity to a lagoon that runs into Lake Michigan in the Jackson Park neighborhood. What's more, the design takes advantage of the verdant surroundings, as there will be ample outdoor space for the public to enjoy. “The design approach for the Center is guided by the goal of creating a true community asset that seeks to inspire and empower the public to take on the greatest challenges of our time," said the team at Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects in a statement. "The Obamas were clear that they wanted the Center to seamlessly integrate into the Park and the community, and include diverse public spaces." For Obama, a man who began his political career as a community organizer, it's appropriate that the sense of community is central in his presidential library. “The Center will benefit the entire Chicago region as a catalyst for economic development, cultural enrichment, and community programming.” said Robert J. Zimmer, president of the University of Chicago, in a statement. Yet for the former president, the space will go beyond its traditional role. “More than a library or museum, it will be a living, and working center for citizenship,” Mr. Obama said in a video. President Obama is expected to use his presidential library as a platform to work on issues such as criminal justice reform and education for underprivileged children. The project, which is expected to be completed in 2021, will cost roughly $500 million. More: The Obama Family's Stylish Private World Inside The White House


News Article | April 26, 2017
Site: marketersmedia.com

— Leader in transnational securities and trading, CEO of Redbed Investments LLE, Reda Bedjaoui, was among the globally acclaimed financial experts at the Morningstar Investment Conference (MIC) held on June 13-15, 2016, in Chicago, IL. Taking place at McCormick Place, this renowned annual event offers financiers access to invaluable resources and presentations on an extensive range of economic trends. Entering its 28th consecutive year, the 2016 session focused on trading topics, share strategies, and the current state of the global economy. As head of Redbed Investments LLE, Reda Bedjaoui uses his expertise in corporate governance, realty, and compliance to develop customized exchange solutions. He has successfully partnered with a diverse cross-section of investors with one primary focus: to help them achieve their specific financial goals. The Morningstar seminar provided an important opportunity to expand his industry vision. "As an advisor, I am continuously looking for new ways to mitigate unnecessary risks and optimize sustainability for my clients. This annual conference convenes the biggest innovators in our industry to discuss and debate what we are seeing in the marketplace. It's an ideal way to broaden my perspective and ensure Redbed investors have access to versatile products that meet their distinctive needs." Each year, several annual investment conferences vie for attendee attention. The Morningstar symposium stands apart from the pack for a multitude of reasons. Over its long-standing history, this meeting has earned a reputation for promoting motivating and innovative addresses. Morningstar challenges presenters to share their professional experiences and insight. Speakers come to the podium ready to inspire attendees with real-life, relevant concepts that yield tangible results. Distinguished keynote speakers included Rob Arnott, Research Affiliates, Clifford Asness, AQR Capital Management, and Austan Goosbee, University of Chicago. Comedian and SNL alum, Darell Hammond kicked off the event with opening night entertainment. Bedjaoui agrees that the MIC offers several distinct advantages to attendees. "As a devoted financial advisor, I am committed to staying on top of the latest markets and trends. The MIC provided several invaluable resources and brought together all the top performers in our field. I got the chance to discuss and debate relevant topics with other field visionaries. It was an excellent opportunity, not just to further strengthen my solutions and client capabilities, but also give back to others in the industry." Reda Bedjaoui is a recognized driving force throughout global investment markets. Raised in Paris, France, Bedjaoui earned his Bachelor in Law degree at Université de Montréal, later gaining admission to the Bar of Quebec, Canada in 1995. He has used his legal background to develop innovative, compliant investment strategies in a comprehensive range of verticals including real estate, technology, and governance. As CEO of Redbed Investments LLE, Bedjaoui creates customized trading solutions for individual investors and corporate entrepreneurs alike. For more information, please visit http://www.redabedjaouinews.com


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.com

With traditional processes, driver applicants must undergo several background and previous employer verification checks before being hired, and in the meantime, find other opportunities. And employers have to invest in expensive recruiters to keep applicants interested in the position while the process completes. Enlistics:Apply is designed to shave days off this process. Enlistics:Apply collects online applications, qualifies candidates and identifies success all in one place. The platform provides a one-click career portal and online employment application for trucking companies to list their jobs. Most companies combine their job portals with Craigslist or CareerBuilder postings to allow applicants to fill out complete, DOT-compliant applications directly in their web browser. "We realized that getting DOT-compliant signatures for consent forms was a major roadblock for most companies," said Enlistics founder and CEO Austen Mance. "Most require applicants to fax or mail signed forms, or apply in person. Companies were losing good drivers because hiring was just taking too long; they had signed with competitors in the meantime." The platform follows the launch of Enlistics: Dealerships and Enlistics:Trucking. It provides automatically-filled and digitally signed PSP and MVR authorization forms, printable with one click. With the trucking platform, the driver employment application software is in use while Enlistics continues to build more workload-lightening features, including software that helps predict the future success and reliability of applicants. "We're already getting reports that drivers are more willing to apply when they see a carrier is using Enlistics. We're excited to build out more features to help trucking companies further automate their recruiting operations," Mance said. The offering is sold at a flat $39 per month via a month-to-month subscription with no minimum contract length, and the software is available now. Enlistics won the 2014 College New Venture Challenge, a startup competition for University of Chicago student run by the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/enlistics-releases-new-low-cost-application-software-for-trucking-companies-300452479.html


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: phys.org

Deep learning is in fact a new name for an approach to artificial intelligence called neural networks, which have been going in and out of fashion for more than 70 years. Neural networks were first proposed in 1944 by Warren McCullough and Walter Pitts, two University of Chicago researchers who moved to MIT in 1952 as founding members of what's sometimes called the first cognitive science department. Neural nets were a major area of research in both neuroscience and computer science until 1969, when, according to computer science lore, they were killed off by the MIT mathematicians Marvin Minsky and Seymour Papert, who a year later would become co-directors of the new MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. The technique then enjoyed a resurgence in the 1980s, fell into eclipse again in the first decade of the new century, and has returned like gangbusters in the second, fueled largely by the increased processing power of graphics chips. "There's this idea that ideas in science are a bit like epidemics of viruses," says Tomaso Poggio, the Eugene McDermott Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, an investigator at MIT's McGovern Institute for Brain Research, and director of MIT's Center for Brains, Minds, and Machines. "There are apparently five or six basic strains of flu viruses, and apparently each one comes back with a period of around 25 years. People get infected, and they develop an immune response, and so they don't get infected for the next 25 years. And then there is a new generation that is ready to be infected by the same strain of virus. In science, people fall in love with an idea, get excited about it, hammer it to death, and then get immunized—they get tired of it. So ideas should have the same kind of periodicity!" Neural nets are a means of doing machine learning, in which a computer learns to perform some task by analyzing training examples. Usually, the examples have been hand-labeled in advance. An object recognition system, for instance, might be fed thousands of labeled images of cars, houses, coffee cups, and so on, and it would find visual patterns in the images that consistently correlate with particular labels. Modeled loosely on the human brain, a neural net consists of thousands or even millions of simple processing nodes that are densely interconnected. Most of today's neural nets are organized into layers of nodes, and they're "feed-forward," meaning that data moves through them in only one direction. An individual node might be connected to several nodes in the layer beneath it, from which it receives data, and several nodes in the layer above it, to which it sends data. To each of its incoming connections, a node will assign a number known as a "weight." When the network is active, the node receives a different data item—a different number—over each of its connections and multiplies it by the associated weight. It then adds the resulting products together, yielding a single number. If that number is below a threshold value, the node passes no data to the next layer. If the number exceeds the threshold value, the node "fires," which in today's neural nets generally means sending the number—the sum of the weighted inputs—along all its outgoing connections. When a neural net is being trained, all of its weights and thresholds are initially set to random values. Training data is fed to the bottom layer—the input layer—and it passes through the succeeding layers, getting multiplied and added together in complex ways, until it finally arrives, radically transformed, at the output layer. During training, the weights and thresholds are continually adjusted until training data with the same labels consistently yield similar outputs. The neural nets described by McCullough and Pitts in 1944 had thresholds and weights, but they weren't arranged into layers, and the researchers didn't specify any training mechanism. What McCullough and Pitts showed was that a neural net could, in principle, compute any function that a digital computer could. The result was more neuroscience than computer science: The point was to suggest that the human brain could be thought of as a computing device. Neural nets continue to be a valuable tool for neuroscientific research. For instance, particular network layouts or rules for adjusting weights and thresholds have reproduced observed features of human neuroanatomy and cognition, an indication that they capture something about how the brain processes information. The first trainable neural network, the Perceptron, was demonstrated by the Cornell University psychologist Frank Rosenblatt in 1957. The Perceptron's design was much like that of the modern neural net, except that it had only one layer with adjustable weights and thresholds, sandwiched between input and output layers. Perceptrons were an active area of research in both psychology and the fledgling discipline of computer science until 1959, when Minsky and Papert published a book titled "Perceptrons," which demonstrated that executing certain fairly common computations on Perceptrons would be impractically time consuming. "Of course, all of these limitations kind of disappear if you take machinery that is a little more complicated—like, two layers," Poggio says. But at the time, the book had a chilling effect on neural-net research. "You have to put these things in historical context," Poggio says. "They were arguing for programming—for languages like Lisp. Not many years before, people were still using analog computers. It was not clear at all at the time that programming was the way to go. I think they went a little bit overboard, but as usual, it's not black and white. If you think of this as this competition between analog computing and digital computing, they fought for what at the time was the right thing." By the 1980s, however, researchers had developed algorithms for modifying neural nets' weights and thresholds that were efficient enough for networks with more than one layer, removing many of the limitations identified by Minsky and Papert. The field enjoyed a renaissance. But intellectually, there's something unsatisfying about neural nets. Enough training may revise a network's settings to the point that it can usefully classify data, but what do those settings mean? What image features is an object recognizer looking at, and how does it piece them together into the distinctive visual signatures of cars, houses, and coffee cups? Looking at the weights of individual connections won't answer that question. In recent years, computer scientists have begun to come up with ingenious methods for deducing the analytic strategies adopted by neural nets. But in the 1980s, the networks' strategies were indecipherable. So around the turn of the century, neural networks were supplanted by support vector machines, an alternative approach to machine learning that's based on some very clean and elegant mathematics. The recent resurgence in neural networks—the deep-learning revolution—comes courtesy of the computer-game industry. The complex imagery and rapid pace of today's video games require hardware that can keep up, and the result has been the graphics processing unit (GPU), which packs thousands of relatively simple processing cores on a single chip. It didn't take long for researchers to realize that the architecture of a GPU is remarkably like that of a neural net. Modern GPUs enabled the one-layer networks of the 1960s and the two- to three-layer networks of the 1980s to blossom into the 10-, 15-, even 50-layer networks of today. That's what the "deep" in "deep learning" refers to—the depth of the network's layers. And currently, deep learning is responsible for the best-performing systems in almost every area of artificial-intelligence research. The networks' opacity is still unsettling to theorists, but there's headway on that front, too. In addition to directing the Center for Brains, Minds, and Machines (CBMM), Poggio leads the center's research program in Theoretical Frameworks for Intelligence. Recently, Poggio and his CBMM colleagues have released a three-part theoretical study of neural networks. The first part, which was published last month in the International Journal of Automation and Computing, addresses the range of computations that deep-learning networks can execute and when deep networks offer advantages over shallower ones. Parts two and three, which have been released as CBMM technical reports, address the problems of global optimization, or guaranteeing that a network has found the settings that best accord with its training data, and overfitting, or cases in which the network becomes so attuned to the specifics of its training data that it fails to generalize to other instances of the same categories. There are still plenty of theoretical questions to be answered, but CBMM researchers' work could help ensure that neural networks finally break the generational cycle that has brought them in and out of favor for seven decades. Explore further: How the brain recognizes faces: Machine-learning system spontaneously reproduces aspects of human neurology More information: Tomaso Poggio et al. Why and when can deep-but not shallow-networks avoid the curse of dimensionality: A review, International Journal of Automation and Computing (2017). DOI: 10.1007/s11633-017-1054-2


News Article | April 24, 2017
Site: www.futurity.org

Gut bacteria could influence whether or not babies survive infections of the digestive system, new research with mice suggests. Hundreds of thousands of babies worldwide die every year from infections that ravage their digestive systems, including those caused by salmonella and E. coli bacteria. Millions more children get sick. The bacteria Clostridia provide animals key protection against infection, in addition to helping digest food. But the data show the youngest newborn mice don’t have Clostridia yet, making them the most vulnerable to invading bacteria similar to those that sicken so many human babies. The findings, published in Science, could point to new approaches to protect human babies. “Any parent knows that newborns are very susceptible to infections in the first year of life, including enteric, or gut, infections,” says Gabriel Nunez, the study’s senior author and a pathology professor at the University of Michigan Medical School. “This work suggests that the lack of protective bacteria in the gut microbiota is a mechanism for that susceptibility, perhaps more than the age of the immune system.” Germ-free mice Nunez and his colleagues, including co-first authors and research fellows Yun-Gi Kim and Kei Sakamoto, started with a blank slate: mice bred in a germ-free environment. With no natural gut bacteria of their own, the mice offered a unique chance to see the effects of transplanted microbes from normal mice of different ages and to test vulnerability to infection. The researchers also used advanced DNA analysis techniques to detect the types and amounts of bacteria in mouse guts. The bottom line: Somewhere in the period around weaning mice from mother’s milk onto solid food, Clostridia bacteria begin to grow in the gut and work to prevent the growth of two forms of illness-causing bacteria. The research team used both newborn and adult germ-free mice and samples of gut microbes taken from the feces of 4-day-old, 12-day-old, and 16-day-old normal mice for the experiments. They found that the samples from the older normal mice had the most diversity of gut microbes, including Clostridia and Bacteroides bacteria not seen in the younger mice that were still getting their nutrition entirely from mother’s milk. First, the researchers gave the germ-free mice a transplant of bacteria from 4-day-old or 16-day-old normal mice and then exposed them to a strain of salmonella that can infect the gut but not spread bodywide. Half the mice that got the 4-day-old microbes died, but none of those with 16-day-old microbes did. New clues to why intestines of preemies stop working They tried it again with Citrobacter rodentium, a strain of bacteria similar to the E. coli strains that make humans sick. Germ-free mice with transplanted four-day-old microbes got sick, and many died. But when the researchers added bacteria from 16-day-old normal mice, the amount of C. rodentium in the guts of surviving mice went down. Next, the researchers looked at what happened to germ-free mice that had been given a newborn mouse’s microbes, but with extra doses of either Clostridia or Bacteroides bacteria added in. They exposed groups of these mice to C. rodentium and found that only the mice given Clostridia were able to resist the infections. After a week, 90 percent of the mice that got extra Clostridia, then salmonella, were still alive, compared with 50 percent of those that hadn’t received it. Because E. coli and salmonella also affect adults, the researchers tested what happened when normal adult mice were given vancomycin, an antibiotic that selectively kills bacteria like Clostridia and Bacteroides. Both C. rodentium and salmonella flourished in these environments. Added defense To see what role the body’s own immune system played in fighting infection compared with gut microbes, the team also studied two strains of mice that have impaired immune systems. Raised in a germ-free environment and then given a transplant of gut microbes from a four-day-old normal mouse, these mice were still able to resist salmonella infection without any help from their immune system—but only when they had received a dose of added Clostridia first. Finally, the researchers looked at the impact of adding succinate—a salt that oxygen-loving bacteria in the gut produce as a byproduct—into the drinking water of germ-free mice with four-day-old microbes that had received extra Clostridia. These mice fought off salmonella infection even better, suggesting that the anaerobic Clostridia feed off the waste products of the aerobic bacteria that flourish in the guts of newborns. Nunez and his colleagues are working on further research on the role of Clostridia in defending against gut infections. They want to determine which strains of Clostridia—and there are many—have the largest effect. Gut bacteria of preemies raise concerns about antibiotics They’re also looking at the role of mother’s milk in establishing a newborn’s gut microbiome and conveying protection from infection, as well as the transition to solid foods that can carry microbes into a newborn’s gut from the outside world. And they want to test whether other components of the microbiome protect against other pathogens. “Normally, we acquire Clostridia strains in our guts when we begin to eat solids, but this work suggests a window of vulnerability to enteric pathogens in the early stages of life,” says Nunez. He says that if the protective role of added Clostridia for newborns bears out in further animal studies, it might be possible to propose a clinical trial in humans to test a combination of strains. Nunez, Kim, Sakamoto, and their colleagues from the University of Michigan, the University of Chicago, and universities in Japan and Korea performed the work using funding from the National Institutes of Health. Source: University of Michigan The post These gut microbes may protect babies from infections appeared first on Futurity.


News Article | April 19, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

The Clinical Research Forum, a national organization of senior researchers and thought leaders from the nation's leading academic health centers, selected two studies headed by University of Chicago researchers as among the three best clinical research papers published in 2016. These awards honor outstanding clinical research and identify major advances resulting from the nation's investment in improving the health of its citizens. Ten award winners were chosen for their innovation and creativity, advancement of science in a specific area, contribution to understanding human disease or physiology, and potential impact upon the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of disease. The Herbert Pardes Clinical Research Excellence Award is the Clinical Research Forum's highest honor. It is awarded to the research study that best exemplifies the spirit of the awards in that it shows a team science approach with a high degree of innovation and creativity, which advances science and has an impact upon human disease. The award comes with a cash prize of $5,000. This year, the Pardes Award went to a team headed by geneticist Carole Ober, PhD, professor and chairman of human genetics at the University of Chicago, and immunologist Anne Sperling, PhD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. Their study, "Innate Immunity and Asthma Risk in Amish and Hutterite Farm Children," was published Aug. 4, 2016, in the New England Journal of Medicine. The interdisciplinary team of researchers showed that substances in the house dust from Amish, but not Hutterite, homes were able to engage and shape the innate immune system (the body's front-line response to most microbes) in young Amish, but not Hutterite, children in ways that appear to suppress pathologic responses leading to allergic asthma. The Distinguished Clinical Research Achievement Awards are presented to the top two studies that demonstrate creativity, innovation, or a novel approach that demonstrates an immediate impact on the health and well-being of patients. These awards come with a cash prize of $3,500. One of those awards goes to a team led by pulmonologist John P. Kress, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, and Bhakti Patel, MD, clinical instructor of medicine at the University. Their study on the "Effect of Noninvasive Ventilation Delivered by Helmet vs Face Mask on the Rate of Endotracheal Intubation in Patients With Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome: A Randomized Clinical Trial," was published May 15, 2016, in JAMA. It showed that using a transparent, air-tight helmet instead of a face mask helps critically ill patients breathe better and can prevent them from needing a ventilator. Patients with helmet ventilation had better survival and spent less time in the intensive care unit. The helmet "confers several advantages over the face mask," the authors note. It is less likely to leak. This enables the care team to increase air pressure into the helmet, which helps keep the airway and lungs open and improves oxygen levels. It is also more comfortable, easier to tolerate because it doesn't touch the face, and patients can see through it well enough to watch television, talk or read. Award recipients were recognized earlier this evening at the Clinical Research Forum's sixth annual awards ceremony on April 18 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Members of the research teams will visit congressional representatives on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, April 19, to brief officials on their findings and the critical and necessary role of federal funding for clinical research. These studies reflect major work being conducted at nearly 60 research institutions and hospitals across the United States, as well as at partner institutions from around the world, according to the Clinical Research Forum. "The 2017 awardees represent the enormous potential that properly funded research can have on patients and the public," said Harry P. Selker, MD, MSPH, Chairman of the CR Forum Board of Directors. "It is our hope that the significance of these projects and their outcomes can help educate the public, as well as elected officials, on the important impact of clinical research on human health." Recognizing the need to celebrate our nation's clinical research accomplishments that involve both innovation and impact on human disease, the Clinical Research Forum conducts an annual competition to determine the ten outstanding research accomplishments in the United States. These major research advances represent a portion of the annual return on the nation's investment in the health and future welfare of its citizens. The mission of the Clinical Research Forum is to provide leadership to the national and clinical translational research enterprise and promote understanding and support for clinical research and its impact on health and healthcare. For more information, visit http://www. . The National Institutes of Health, the St. Vincent Foundation and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Foundation supported the asthma study. Additional authors were Michelle Stein, Cara Hrusch, Catherine Igartua and Jack Gilbert from the University of Chicago; Donata Vercelli, Justyna Gozdz, Vadim Pivniouk, Julie Ledford, Mauricius Marques dos Santos, Julia Neilson, Sean Murray, Raina Maier and Fernando Martinez from the University of Arizona; Erika von Mutius of the Dr. von Hauner Children Hospital in Munich, Germany; Nervana Metwali and Peter Thorne from the University of Iowa; and Mark Holbreich, an allergist-immunologist in Indianapolis, Indiana. Funding for the helmet study was supplied by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. The helmets were purchased using funds from an unrestricted grant from the Daniel J. Edelman family. Additional authors were Krysta Wolfe, Anne Pohlman and Jesse Hall, all from the University of Chicago.


News Article | April 25, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

This press release does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities in any jurisdiction. Not for release in the United States. ANY SECURITIES REFERRED TO HEREIN WILL NOT BE REGISTERED UNDER THE U.S. SECURITIES ACT OF 1933 (THE “1933 ACT”) AND MAY NOT BE OFFERED OR SOLD IN THE UNITED STATES OR TO A U.S. PERSON IN THE ABSENCE OF SUCH REGISTRATION OR AN EXEMPTION FROM THE REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS OF THE 1933 ACT. Universal Ventures Inc. (the “Corporation” or “Universal”) (TSXV:UN) is pleased to announce that it has executed a binding agreement (the “Binding Agreement”) dated April 21, 2017 with mCloud Corp. (“mCloud”), a private company incorporated pursuant to the laws of Delaware, pursuant to which Universal will acquire all of the issued and outstanding securities of mCloud (the “Transaction”). Upon completion, the Transaction will constitute a reverse take-over of Universal by mCloud, with the resulting company to be renamed “Universal mCloud Inc.” (the “Resulting Issuer”). Universal and mCloud are at arm’s length to each other. Prior to the closing of the Transaction, mCloud will complete the acquisition of all of the outstanding stock of Field Diagnostic Services, Inc. (“FDSI”), a Delaware corporation engaged in the business of providing enterprise HVAC software and services designed to optimize energy efficiency and reduce energy and maintenance costs. Immediately following the completion of the FDSI Acquisition, the parties are to proceed with the Transaction on the basis that mCloud will have an enterprise value of approximately US$12 million (the “Valuation”). Upon closing of the Transaction, the resulting issuer will be a Tier 2 Technology issuer. “We believe that combining with mCloud will create a game-changing company with excellent growth potential in the industrial energy software space”, said Harry Katevatis, Chief Executive Officer of Universal. “mCloud offers leading edge solutions that combine the latest cloud-based solutions and mobile augmented reality to leverage accurate and secure deep analytics”, said Russel McMeekin, Chief Executive Officer of mCloud. “In addition, we have a very robust pipeline of potential complimentary acquisitions that we believe are best executed via this combination with Universal and its efficient capital structure. mCloud's team has extensive experience in acquisitions of a wide range of size and complexity of companies. We intend to be the 'first stop shop' for entrepreneurial high-growth industrial cloud software companies that are seeking to be part of mCloud's AssetCare™ suite of cloud solutions to realize maximum shareholder value”. mCloud, a San Francisco, California company with a technology center in Vancouver, British Columbia, provides AssetCare™ solutions for managing critical assets with secure mobile technology, deep analytics, machine-to-machine learning and support for field service technicians. mCloud currently targets complex distributed energy assets such as high-intensity HVAC units, mid-size wind energy turbines and natural gas compressors. These critical energy assets require continuous real time monitoring in order to maximize their uptime, reliability as well as energy and environmental efficiency. AssetCare employs highly secure mobile collaboration technology that connects people, data and knowledge. It uses cutting edge technologies for augmented reality that is utilized in multiple ruggedized industries such as construction, aerospace and process productions. There are one million trained technical field experts in North America alone. They are all certified in handling high voltage and environmentally sensitive gases. They need very timely, secure data in a “hands-free” communication format that includes interactive voice technology. Due to the mission critical nature of these assets owners, regulators and underwriter all benefit from accurate transparent data including the extensive set of performance and maintenance records. AssetCare™ makes it easy to use and analyze the full breadth of asset information. The Transaction is expected to be effected by way of a reverse triangular merger under the laws of Delaware. Universal is expected to incorporate a new, wholly-owned subsidiary (“Universal Subco”) that would be merged with and into mCloud. The separate corporate existence of Universal Subco would cease and mCloud would be the surviving corporation and continue to exist as the surviving corporation and be wholly-owned by the Resulting Issuer. To facilitate the Transaction, Universal will consolidate its outstanding common shares on a 2:1 basis prior to the completion of Transaction. All of the outstanding shares of common stock of mCloud (excluding the mCloud Private Placement Shares (as defined below)) will then be exchanged for 27,272,727 post-consolidation common shares of Universal (determined by dividing the Valuation by the Offering Price (as defined below)). Upon completion of the Transaction, CDN$200,000 in existing debt of Universal, together with the parties' Transaction costs, will be repaid from cash on hand and the proceeds of the Private Placement (as defined below). Subject to the satisfaction of applicable conditions, mCloud intends to complete a private placement (the “Private Placement” of shares of common stock of mCloud (the “mCloud Private Placement” at a price of CDN $0.55 (the “Offering Price”) to raise aggregate gross proceeds of up to CDN$5,000,000. Each mCloud Private Placement Share will ultimately be exchanged for one post-consolidated common share of Universal as part of the Transaction. mCloud expects to engage a syndicate of agents to act on a commercially reasonable efforts basis for the Private Placement, and in connection therewith intends to pay cash commission and/or broker warrants of mCloud to the agents in amounts to be determined. The completion of the Transaction, including the Private Placement, is conditional on obtaining all necessary regulatory and shareholder approvals in connection with the matters described above and other conditions customary for a transaction of this type, including completion of due diligence by each party to the Transaction. The parties intend to apply for an exemption from the sponsorship requirements of the TSX Venture Exchange. Trading in Universal’s shares has been halted, and the halt is expected to remain in place until the Transaction is completed. Proposed Management and Board of Directors of the Resulting Issuer Upon completion of the Transaction, it is anticipated that the persons identified below will serve as directors and officers of the Resulting Issuer: Michael Allman – Director and Chairman of the Board Mr. Allman is a highly-accomplished CEO and Chairman, with extensive experience in growing, restructuring and optimizing business strategies and operations for Fortune 300 companies and top-tier consulting firms around the world. He recently was the COO of Bitstew, Inc. a leading IoT cloud company acquired by GE Digital. Mr. Allman previously served as President and CEO of Southern California Gas Company. Mr. Allman has a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Michigan State University. He is a Certified Management Accountant and a Certified Internal Auditor. Mr. McMeekin was previously a founding partner of Energy Knowledge, Inc., which was acquired by Yokogawa Electric Corporation. Mr. McMeekin went on to serve as Executive Chairman of Yokogawa Venture Group, leading the acquisitions of Industrial Evolution and KBC Advanced Technologies, an energy software and consulting company in the United Kingdom. Mr. McMeekin was the founding CEO of SCI Energy Inc., a Silicon Valley cloud-based energy efficiency company now based in Dallas TX. Previously, Mr. McMeekin was the President and CEO of NASDAQ-listed Progressive Gaming International for six years. In addition, Mr. McMeekin spent more than 10 years at Honeywell Inc., including serving as President of Honeywell's Internet and Software Business Units. At Honeywell, he led joint ventures with Microsoft, United Technologies and i2 Technologies. Mr. McMeekin started his career at SACDA Inc., a University of Western Ontario Computer Aided Design Venture which was later acquired by Honeywell. Mr. McMeekin graduated in Engineering Technology from Sault College of Applied Technology, and he completed a Honeywell Sponsored Executive Leadership Program via the Harvard Business School. He also completed the Stanford School of Law Executive Director Program. Mr. Sicuro has over 35 years of leadership experience with public and private companies ranging from $50 million to over $4 billion in revenues in technology, health care, pharmaceutical distribution, gaming, real estate and financial services. He has significant experience in growth and turnaround environments, including three successful public and private exits, and one public entity conversion. Mr. Sicuro was the CFO of US Oncology, the largest oncology services provider in the United States. Mr. Sicuro has also served as the CFO and COO of various publicly-traded technology companies in and around Silicon Valley, including NASDAQ-listed Progressive Gaming International. Mr. Sicuro attended Bowling Green State University, where he was a member of the hockey team for two years, and received a Bachelor’s degree from Kent State University Mr. Lanza, a former partner of Energy Knowledge, Inc., is versed in applying advanced technologies to traditional asset intensive industries with many years of direct experience, most recently with Yokogawa Venture Group, where he led the integration of KBC Advanced Technologies, Yokogawa’s largest ever acquisition. Mr. Lanza has served in leadership roles at Honeywell and ExxonMobil before becoming CEO of INOVx Solutions from 2006 to 2015, where 3D technologies were used to improve asset performance management. Mr. Lanza holds a BS and MS degree in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University. Mr. Shaw is a financier with over 25 years of experience in investment banking and finance. He is an active investor in renewable energy technology companies, including Powerhive Inc., and several fintech and crypto-currency companies. Mr. Shaw has held senior positions for DEPFA Group and UBS. Mr. Shaw has a BA from the University of Manchester and an MBA (Finance) from the University of Bradford (UK). Mr. Raffaelli was formerly a Managing Director of Silver Lake Kraftwerk, and a Kauffman Fellow. At Silver Lake, Mr. Raffaelli was responsible for leading the firm’s investments in SolarCity, Renovate America, Hyla Mobile, and FriedolaTECH GmBH. Mr. Raffaelli specializes in financial services and technology enabled services businesses. Prior to joining Silver Lake, Mr. Raffaelli was a Principal at Draper Fisher Jurvetson, a venture capital partnership, where he focused on investments in energy and clean technology. Prior to Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Mr. Raffaelli was an Analyst at Och-Ziff Capital Management in London where he focused on merger arbitrage and emerging market investments in Eastern European oil and gas markets. Prior to Och-Ziff Capital, Mr. Raffaelli was an analyst in JPMorgan's Technology Investment Banking group in San Francisco, where he focused on mergers & acquisitions and debt and equity offerings for media-related consumer products and software clients. Mr. Raffaelli has an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and a BA from Harvard University. Mr. De Luca is the managing partner of Owens Wright LLP, a law firm in Toronto, Ontario. Mr. De Luca is experienced in corporate and securities matters, with an emphasis on corporate finance, public and private mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance and venture capital transactions. Mr. De Luca has particular experience in advising public companies in connection with securities law compliance and corporate governance matters, including ongoing advice to boards of directors and special committees as well as extensive transactional experience in all areas of corporate and securities law covering a large spectrum of industries, including technology, renewable energy, mining and financial services. Mr. De Luca is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, holds a Bachelor of Laws from Queens University and a Master of Laws from New York University, and holds the ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors. Mr. De Luca is currently a director of Grenville Strategic Royalty Corp. (TSXV:GRC). The information provided in this press release regarding mCloud has been provided by mCloud and has not been independently verified by Universal. Completion of the Transaction is subject to a number of conditions, including but not limited to, TSX Venture Exchange acceptance and, if applicable pursuant to the requirements of the TSX Venture Exchange, majority of the minority shareholder approval. The Transaction cannot close until the required shareholder approval is obtained. There can be no assurance that the Transaction will be completed as proposed or at all. Investors are cautioned that, except as disclosed in the management information circular or filing statement to be prepared in connection with the Transaction, any information released or received with respect to the Transaction may not be accurate or complete and should not be relied upon. Trading in the securities of Universal should be considered highly speculative. The TSX Venture Exchange has in no way passed upon the merits of the Transaction and has neither approved nor disapproved the contents of this press release. The information in this news release includes certain information and statements about management's view of future events, expectations, plans and prospects that constitute forward looking statements. These statements are based upon assumptions, including, without limitation, the completion of the Transaction, that are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Because of these risks and uncertainties and as a result of a variety of factors, the actual results, expectations, achievements or performance may differ materially from those anticipated and indicated by these forward looking statements. Although Universal and mCloud believe that the expectations reflected in forward looking statements are reasonable, neither entity can give any assurances that the expectations of any forward looking statements will prove to be correct. Except as required by law, Universal and mCloud disclaim any intention and assume no obligation to update or revise any forward looking statements to reflect actual results, whether as a result of new information, future events, changes in assumptions, changes in factors affecting such forward looking statements or otherwise. Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.


News Article | April 23, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

FILE PHOTO - Former president Barack Obama embraces a staff member before boarding Special Air Mission 28000, a Boeing 747 which serves as Air Force One, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. on January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo CHICAGO (Reuters) - Former U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday makes his first major appearance since leaving office, having chosen Chicago, the city where his political career started, to emerge from a three-month hiatus from the public eye. Obama will meet youth leaders and promote community organizing near the same South Side neighborhoods where his own activism blossomed and propelled him to two terms in the White House that ended with Donald Trump's inauguration on January 20. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who served as Obama’s first White House chief of staff, said that he was proud that Obama picked Chicago to make his last speech as president and the first in his post-presidency. “I think it reflects his emotional, as well as his intellectual, commitment to this city and seeing this city as his home,” he said. For more news videos visit Yahoo View, available now on iOS and Android. Obama's continued connection to Chicago is important to the city, which has global aspirations as well as a palpable insecurity about its place in the world. During the last year of Obama’s second term, Chicago laid claim to its share of his legacy by beating out Hawaii and New York as the site of his presidential library. Obama, who still owns a home in Chicago, was raised in Hawaii. The former president and his wife Michelle are expected to move from Washington to New York once their younger daughter, Sasha, graduates from high school. David Axelrod, a former top political adviser to Obama, said the decision to house the library in Chicago should have eased any concerns that its residents may have had about the former Democratic president's commitment to the city. But Monday's event, he said, is another important sign of the former president's strong links to Chicago. “He’s going to be more visible moving forward,” he said. “I think this is clearly a coming-out.” Reverend Michael Pfleger, a social justice activist who heads a large South Side Roman Catholic church, said a prominent Obama presence could help the nation’s third-largest city confront some of the thorny problems it faces. Chief among them is a spike in gun violence, an issue that Trump has highlighted as a sign of lawlessness and the failure of the Democratic politicians who have long run Chicago. “It’s his life, and he’s not in elected office right now, so he can do what he wants,” Pfleger said. “But I’d love to see him engage in his home of Chicago. He could make a huge difference.” Civil Rights activist Jesse Jackson said Obama could use his powerful platform to address stark inequalities in Chicago schools, housing and employment, and to advocate for reinvestment in blighted neighborhoods. Monday's event takes place on the South Side campus of the University of Chicago, where Obama once taught constitutional law. It is intended “to encourage and support the next generation of leaders driven by strengthening communities,” according to a statement. Since leaving office, Obama has kept a relatively low public profile, taking vacations in Palm Springs, California and the British Virgin Islands, where he indulged in the sport of kite-boarding while vacationing with British billionaire Sir Richard Branson. Together with his wife, who grew up on Chicago’s South Side, the former president recently struck a two-book, $65 million memoir deal. He is expected to travel to Berlin to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel next month.


News Article | April 21, 2017
Site: www.sciencenews.org

Second of two parts Every year science offers a diverse menu of anniversaries to celebrate. Births (or deaths) of famous scientists, landmark discoveries or scientific papers — significant events of all sorts qualify for celebratory consideration, as long as the number of years gone by is some worthy number, like 25, 50, 75 or 100. Or simple multiples thereof with polysyllabic names. 2017 has more than enough such anniversaries for a Top 10 list, so some worthwhile events don’t even make the cut, such as the births of Stephen Hawking (1942) and Arthur C. Clarke (1917). The sesquicentennial of Michael Faraday’s death (1867) almost made the list, but was bumped at the last minute by a book. Namely: A true magnum opus, by the Scottish biologist D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson, On Growth and Form has inspired many biologists with its mathematical analysis of physical and structural forces underlying the diversity of shapes and forms in the biological world. Nobel laureate biologist Sir Peter Medawar praised Thompson’s book as “beyond comparison the finest work of literature in all the annals of science that have been recorded in the English tongue.” Born in France on May 26, 1667, de Moivre moved as a young man to London where he did his best work, earning election to the Royal Society. Despite exceptional mathematical skill, though, he attained no academic position and earned a meager living as a tutor. He is most famous for his book The Doctrine of Chances, which was in essence an 18th century version of Gambling for Dummies. It contained major advances in probability theory and in later editions introduced the concept of the famous bell curve. Isaac Newton was impressed; the legend goes that when anyone asked him about probability, Newton said to go talk to de Moivre. It seems like exoplanets have been around almost forever (and probably actually were), but the first confirmed by Earthbound astronomers were reported just a quarter century ago. Three planets showed up orbiting not an ordinary star, but a pulsar, a rapidly spinning neutron star left behind by a supernova. Astrophysicists Aleksander Wolszczan and Dale Frail found a sign of the planets, first detected with the Arecibo radio telescope, in irregularities in the radio pulses from the millisecond pulsar PSR1257+12. Some luck was involved. In 1990, the Arecibo telescope was being repaired and couldn’t pivot to point at a specific target; instead it constantly watched just one region of the sky. PSR1257+12 just happened to float by. No doubt the most famous Polish-born scientist since Copernicus, Curie was born in Warsaw on November 7, 1867, as Maria Sklodowska. Challenged by poverty, family tragedies and poor health, she nevertheless excelled as a high school student. But she then worked as a governess, while continuing as much science education as possible, until her married sister invited her to Paris. There she completed her physics education with honors and met and married another young physicist, Pierre Curie. Together they tackled the mystery of the newly discovered radioactivity, winning the physics Nobel in 1903 along with radioactivity’s discoverer, Henri Becquerel. Marie continued the work after her husband’s tragic death in 1906; she became the first person to win a second Nobel, awarded in chemistry in 1911 for her discovery of the new radioactive elements polonium and radium. One of science fiction’s greatest contributions to modern technological philosophy was Isaac Asimov’s Laws of Robotics, which first appeared in a short story in the March 1942 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. Later, those laws formed the motif of his many robot novels and appeared in his famous Foundation Trilogy (and subsequent sequels and prequels). They were: Much later Asimov added a “zeroth law,” requiring robots to protect all of humankind even if that meant violating the other three laws. Artificial intelligence researchers all know about Asimov’s laws, but somehow have not managed to enforce them on social media. Incidentally, this year is also the quadranscentennial of Asimov’s death in 1992. Enrico Fermi, the Italian Nobel laureate, escaped fascist Italy to come to the United States shortly after nuclear fission’s discovery in Germany. Fermi directed construction of the “atomic pile,” or nuclear reactor, on a squash court under the stands of the University of Chicago’s football stadium. Fermi and his collaborators showed that neutrons emitted from fissioning uranium nuclei could induce more fission, creating a chain reaction capable of releasing enormous amounts of energy. Which it later did. Science’s awareness of the existence of pulsars turns 50 this year, thanks to the diligence of Irish astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell. She spent many late-night hours examining the data recordings from the radio telescope she helped to build that first spotted a signal from a pulsar. She recognized that the signal was something special even though others thought it was just a glitch in the apparatus. But she was a graduate student so her supervisor got the Nobel Prize instead of her. Albert Einstein did not actually invent the laser, but he developed the mathematical understanding that made lasers possible. By 1917, physicists knew that quantum physics played a part in the working of atoms, but the details were fuzzy. Niels Bohr had shown in 1913 that an atom’s electrons occupy different energy levels, and that falling from a high energy level to a lower one emits radiation. Einstein worked out the math describing this process when many atoms have electrons in high-energy states and emit radiation. His analysis of matter-radiation interaction indicated that it would be possible to prepare many atoms in the same high-energy state and then stimulate them to emit radiation all at once. Properly done, all the atoms would emit radiation of identical wavelength with the waves in phase. A few decades later other physicists figured out how to build such a device for use as a powerful weapon or to read bar codes at grocery stores. An even better quantum anniversary than lasers is the presentation to the world of the concept of quantum bits of information. Physicist Ben Schumacher of Kenyon College in Ohio unveiled the idea at a conference in Dallas in 1992 (I was there). A “quantum bit” of information, or qubit, represents the information contained in a quantum particle, which can exist in multiple states at once. A photon, for instance, might simultaneously be in a state of horizontal or vertical polarization. Or an electron’s spin could be up and down at the same time. Such states differ from classical bits of information in a computer, recorded as either a 0 or 1; a quantum bit is both 0 and 1 at the same time. It becomes one or the other only when observed, much like a flipped coin is nether heads nor tails until somebody catches it, or it lands on the 50 yard line. Schumacher’s idea did not get a lot of attention at first, but it eventually became the foundational idea for quantum information theory, a field now booming with efforts to construct a quantum computer based on the manipulation of qubits. It might seem unfair that Einstein gets two Top 10 anniversaries in 2017, but 1917 was a good year for him. Before publishing his laser paper, Einstein tweaked the equations of his brand-new general theory of relativity in order to better explain the universe (details in Part 1). Weirdly, Einstein didn’t understand the universe, and he later thought the term he added to his equations was a mistake. But it turns out that today’s understanding of the universe’s behavior — expanding at an accelerating rate — seems to require the term that Einstein thought he had added erroneously. But you can’t expect Einstein to have foreseen everything. He probably had no idea that lasers would revolutionize grocery shopping either.


News Article | April 26, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

All six of the most popular employers of elite MBA graduates will be holding sessions for incoming MBA students at the second annual Pre-MBA Networking Festival sponsored by Poets&Quants on May 11-12 in New York City. Google, McKinsey & Co., The Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Co., Deloitte, and Amazon—the top half dozen companies most MBA want to work in—will all hold sessions in their New York offices. They will be among more than 20 world-class sponsors, presenters and world-class MBA employers, including Anheuser-Busch, Accenture Strategy, American Express, A.T. Kearney, CommonBond, Deutsche Bank, General Electric, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, L’Oréal, Morgan Stanley, and PwC. “This is an extraordinary event, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for newly admitted MBA candidates to gain a deep and early understanding of their future career options,” says John A. Byrne, editor-in-chief of PoetsandQuants.com. “The employer sessions give incoming students a headstart in helping to decide what industry and job they would most want to have as an internship and ultimately a full-time position.” The first festival, held last year, was a rousing success, with 100% of the attendees saying in a survey that they would highly recommend the event to others. “Students came away with great contacts that immediately led to summer internships at great companies, including Amazon, JP Morgan Chase and McKinsey,” adds Byrne. “And they were able to get a handle on each of these companies without the pressures or distractions of balancing their school work and social obligations.” Registered attendees as of April 15th include successful MBA applicants to Harvard Business School, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, Northwestern Kellogg School of Management, Columbia Business School, Yale’s School of Management, NYU’s Stern School of Business, INSEAD, London Business School, Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, Cornell’s Graduate Johnson School of Management, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, among many other of the world’s leading business schools. Some 10% of the registered attendees will be coming to the event from overseas. The festival opens on the evening of May 11 at New York University’s Stern School of Business, with a panel discussion on MBA careers that will feature Colleen Baum, principal at McKinsey, Marco Caggiano, managing director at JP Morgan’s merger & acquisitions group, Michael Grimstad, regional leader for Amazon Prime Now, Brian Perkins, global vice-president at AbInBev’s Budweiser, and Priyanka “Piya” Nair Newkirk, Vice President of Makeup Marketing at Lancôme, L’Oréal. NYU Stern Dean Peter Henry will welcome attendees to the opening, where students also will hear from a career coach and a comedian. On May 12th, attendees are able to attend five separate company sessions where executives and partners explain what it’s like to work in their companies, what kinds of jobs newly hired MBAs perform, and offer candid advice on how to pursue an opportunity in their companies. The festival ends with a lavish evening reception sponsored by JPMorgan Chase. Attendees can begin to create their custom agenda for the festival on April 27th. Registration for the event closes on April 30. There is still a limited number of seats still available. To register for the event, go to: http://poetsandquants.com/event/2017-poetsquants-premba-networking-festival/ To see a video highlighting last year’s festival, go to: https://youtu.be/2l-qocugQ6c


News Article | April 25, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--D.A. Davidson & Co. has announced that Linda Bolton Weiser has joined the firm’s award-winning institutional equity research team in New York to provide analysis of healthy living companies within the consumer products sector. “With her extensive experience and insightful perspective, Linda is an important addition to our growing New York team as we continue to build upon D.A. Davidson’s longstanding tradition of excellence,” said Gil Luria, Director of Institutional Research. “We are pleased to have Linda join our research group as we continue deepening our firm’s expertise in areas that are important to our clients.” Weiser has been named among the nation’s top analysts covering consumer products by The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Markets, and Forbes.com, among others, and has been a frequent news source for national media. She joins D.A. Davidson from B. Riley & Co., where she covered consumer products since 2012. She was previously with Caris & Co. (before acquired by B. Riley), Oppenheimer and AllianceBernstein. Weiser holds an MBA in finance and marketing from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Wellesley College. D.A. Davidson’s Equity Capital Markets group provides capital markets services and products that include investment banking, institutional sales, trading, research and analysis of approximately 300 publicly traded companies, and corporate services. The firm’s industry-driven research team is supported by a dedicated group of sales and trading professionals. D.A. Davidson Companies is an employee-owned financial services firm offering a range of financial services and advice to individuals, corporations, institutions, and municipalities nationwide. Founded in 1935 and headquartered in Montana, with corporate offices in Denver, Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle, the company has more than 1,300 employees and offices in 23 states. Subsidiaries include: D.A. Davidson & Co., the largest full-service investment firm headquartered in the Northwest, providing wealth management, investment banking, equity and fixed income capital markets services, and advice; Davidson Investment Advisors, a professional asset management firm; D.A. Davidson Trust Company, a trust and wealth management company; and Davidson Fixed Income Management, a registered investment adviser providing fixed income portfolio and advisory services.


News Article | April 19, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--LAUNCH Technical Workforce Solutions LLC announced the promotion of Mike Guagenti to Chief Executive Officer. Mike had served as the company’s President and CFO since its inception in 2013. Simultaneously, Ian Rollo – previous CEO since the company’s founding – has moved into the new position as Chairman of the Board. “This promotion recognizes Mike Guagenti’s success in making LAUNCH the aviation industry’s fastest growing staffing solution,” said Ian Rollo. “Under his leadership, LAUNCH has focused on customer satisfaction and creating innovative solutions to serve changing client needs. Mike led the development of two new LAUNCH divisions to offer project-based solutions for Avionics, Structures and AOG requirements, as well as professional resource solutions.” “I’m honored and excited to assume the role of CEO,” said Mike Guagenti. “I look forward to continuing to drive our presence in the industry and to deliver greater value to our clients with increased LAUNCH capabilities and services.” During his 25-year career, he has helped lead a diverse set of companies on strategy, operations and finance. Before forming LAUNCH as one of its owners, Mike led Volant Aerospace as its President and CFO. Mike began his career at Ernst & Young LLP and holds an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago. ABOUT LAUNCH: Chicago-based LAUNCH Technical Workforce Solutions LLC is the aviation industry’s fastest growing staffing solution with over 700 contract resources supporting clients in more than 160 locations worldwide. In addition to providing technicians, engineers, machinists and other skilled workers to leading airlines, MROs, OEMs and service centers, LAUNCH provides Avionics, Structure and AOG teams for project-based solutions worldwide. Guided by a leadership team with extensive experience in aviation and technical staffing, LAUNCH is committed to providing solutions that are innovative, customer driven and technologically advanced.


ANN ARBOR, MI - Hundreds of thousands of babies worldwide die every year from infections that ravage their digestive systems - including those caused by Salmonella and E. coli bacteria. Millions more get sick. Could the difference in survival come not from their immature immune systems, but rather from the mix of bacteria that grow in their tiny guts? New research in mice offers evidence that some of those bacteria - called Clostridia -- provide key protection against infection, in addition to helping digest food. But it also shows that the youngest newborn mice don't have Clostridia yet, making them the most vulnerable to invading bacteria similar to the pathogens that sicken so many human babies. The findings, made at the University of Michigan Medical School and published in Science, could point the way to new approaches to protect human babies. "Any parent knows that newborns are very susceptible to infections in the first year of life, including enteric, or gut, infections," says Gabriel Nunez, M.D., the study's senior author and a U-M pathology professor. "This work suggests that the lack of protective bacteria in the gut microbiota is a mechanism for that susceptibility, perhaps more than the age of the immune system." Nunez and his colleagues, including co-first authors and research fellows Yun-Gi Kim, Ph.D. and Kei Sakamoto M. D., Ph. D., started with a blank slate: mice bred in a germ-free environment at U-M. With no natural gut bacteria of their own, the mice offered a unique chance to see the effects of transplanted microbes from normal mice of different ages, and to test vulnerability to infection. The researchers also used advanced DNA analysis techniques that allowed them to detect the types and amounts of bacteria in mouse guts. The bottom line of their experiments: Somewhere in the period around weaning mice from mother's milk to solid food, Clostridia bacteria begin to grow in the gut, and work to prevent the growth of two forms of illness-causing bacteria. Nunez, Kim, Sakamoto and their colleagues carried out a careful series of experiments using both newborn and adult germ-free mice, and samples of gut microbes taken from the feces of 4-day-old, 12-day-old and 16-day-old normal mice. They found that the samples from the older normal mice had the most diversity of their gut microbes, including Clostridia and Bacteroides bacteria not seen in the younger mice that were still getting their nutrition entirely from mother's milk. First, they gave the germ-free mice a transplant of bacteria from 4-day-old or 16-day-old normal mice, and then exposed them to a strain of Salmonella that can infect the gut but not spread body-wide. Half the mice that got the 4-day microbes died, but none of those with 16-day microbes did. They tried it again with Citrobacter rodentium - a strain of bacteria similar to the E. coli strains that make humans sick. Germ-free mice with transplanted 4-day microbes got sick and many died. But when the researchers added bacteria from 16-day-old normal mice, the amount of C. rodentium in the guts of surviving mice went down. Next, the researchers looked at what happened to germ-free mice that had been given a newborn mouse's microbes, but with extra doses of either Clostridia or Bacteroides bacteria added in. They exposed groups of these mice to C. rodentium - and found that only the mice given Clostridia were able to resist the infections. Ninety percent of the mice that got extra Clostridia, then Salmonella, were still alive after a week, compared with 50 percent of those that hadn't received it. Since E. coli and Salmonella also affect adults, the researchers tested what happened when normal adult mice were given vancomycin, an antibiotic that selectively kills bacteria like Clostridia and Bacteroides. Both C. rodentium and Salmonella flourished in these environments. To see what role the body's own immune system played in fighting infection, compared with gut microbes, the team also studied two strains of mice that have impaired immune systems. Raised in a germ-free environment, and then given a transplant of gut microbes from a four-day-old normal mouse, these mouse were still able to resist Salmonella infection without any help from their immune system - but only when they had received a dose of added Clostridium first. Finally, the researchers looked at the impact of adding succinate - a salt that oxygen-loving bacteria in the gut produce as a byproduct - into the drinking water of germ-free mice with 4-day microbes that had received extra Clostridia. These mice fought off Salmonella infection even better - suggesting that the anaerobic Clostridia feed off the waste products of the aerobic bacteria that flourish in the guts of newborns. Nunez and his colleagues are already working on further research on the role of Clostridia in defending against gut infections. They want to determine which strains of Clostridia - and there are many - have the largest effect. They're also looking at the role of mother's milk in establishing a newborn's gut microbiome and conveying protection from infection, as well as the transition to solid foods that can carry microbes into a newborn's gut from the outside world. And, they want to test whether other components of the microbiome protect against other pathogens. "Normally, we acquire Clostridia strains in our guts when we begin to eat solids, but this work suggests a window of vulnerability to enteric pathogens in the early stages of life," says Nunez, who holds the Paul deKruif professorship in pathology and is a member of the executive committee for the U-M Medical School's Host Microbiome Initiative. He notes that the research would have been impossible without the Medical School's Germ-Free Mouse Facility. He says that if the protective role of added Clostridia for newborns bears out in further animal studies, it might be possible to propose a clinical trial in humans to test a combination of strains. In addition to Nunez, Kim and Sakamoto, the new study's authors include members of the Pathology, Internal Medicine, Microbiology & Immunology and Biomedical Engineering departments at U-M, as well as the University of Chicago, and Japan's Keio University and Korea's Seoul National University. The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (DK095782, DK091191, AI106302)


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

PITTSBURGH--One of the most popular passwords in 2016 was "qwertyuiop," even though most password meters will tell you how weak that is. The problem is no existing meters offer any good advice to make it better--until now. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Chicago have just unveiled a new, state-of-the-art password meter that offers real-time feedback and advice to help people create better passwords. To evaluate its performance, the team conducted an online study in which they asked 4,509 people to use it to create a password. "Instead of just having a meter say, 'Your password is bad,' we thought it would be useful for the meter to say, 'Here's why it's bad and here's how you could do better,'" says CyLab Security and Privacy Institute faculty Nicolas Christin, a professor in the department of Engineering and Public Policy and the Institute for Software Research at Carnegie Mellon, and a co-author of the study. The study will be presented at this week's CHI 2017 conference in Denver, Colorado, where it will also receive a "Best Paper Award." A demo of the meter can be viewed here. "The key result is that providing the data-driven feedback actually makes a huge difference in security compared to just having a password labeled as weak or strong," says Blase Ur, lead author on the study, formerly a graduate student in CyLab and currently an assistant professor at the University of Chicago's Department of Computer Science. "Our new meter led users to create stronger passwords that were no harder to remember than passwords created without the feedback." The meter works by employing an artificial neural network: a large, complex map of information that resembles the way neurons behave in the brain. The team conducted a study about this neural network approach that received a Best Paper Award at the USENIX Security conference in August 2016. The network "learns" by scanning millions of existing passwords and identifying trends. If the meter detects a characteristic in your password that it knows attackers may guess, it'll tell you. "The way attackers guess passwords is by exploiting the patterns that they observe in large datasets of breached passwords," says Ur. "For example, if you change Es to 3s in your password, that's not going to fool an attacker. The meter will explain about how prevalent that substitution is and offer advice on what to do instead." This data-driven feedback is presented in real-time, as a user is typing their password out letter-by-letter. The team has open-sourced their meter on GitHub. "There's a lot of different tweaking that one could imagine doing for a specific application of the meter," says Ur. "We're hoping to do some of that ourselves and also engage other members of the security and privacy community to help contribute to the meter." Other authors on the study included current CMU students Jessica Colnago, Henry Dixon, Pardis Emami Naeini, Hana Habib, Noah Johnson, and William Melicher; former CMU students Felicia Alfieri and Maung Aung; and Carnegie Mellon faculty Lujo Bauer and Lorrie Faith Cranor. About Carnegie Mellon University: Carnegie Mellon is a private, internationally ranked university with programs in areas ranging from science, technology and business to public policy, the humanities and the arts. More than 13,000 students in the university's seven schools and colleges benefit from a small faculty-to-student ratio and an education characterized by its focus on creating and implementing solutions for real world problems, interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation. About Carnegie Mellon University CyLab: Carnegie Mellon University CyLab is a University-wide, multi-disciplinary cybersecurity and privacy research institute. With over 50 core faculty, CyLab partners with industry and government to develop and test systems that lead to a world in which people can trust technology. CyLab stretches across five colleges encompassing the fields of engineering, computer science, business, public policy, information systems, humanities and social sciences.


Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Chicago have just unveiled a new, state-of-the-art password meter that offers real-time feedback and advice to help people create better passwords. To evaluate its performance, the team conducted an online study in which they asked 4,509 people to use it to create a password. "Instead of just having a meter say, 'Your password is bad,' we thought it would be useful for the meter to say, 'Here's why it's bad and here's how you could do better,'" says CyLab Security and Privacy Institute faculty Nicolas Christin, a professor in the department of Engineering and Public Policy and the Institute for Software Research at Carnegie Mellon, and a co-author of the study. The study will be presented at this week's CHI 2017 conference in Denver, Colorado, where it will also receive a "Best Paper Award." A demo of the meter can be viewed here. "The key result is that providing the data-driven feedback actually makes a huge difference in security compared to just having a password labeled as weak or strong," says Blase Ur, lead author on the study, formerly a graduate student in CyLab and currently an assistant professor at the University of Chicago's Department of Computer Science. "Our new meter led users to create stronger passwords that were no harder to remember than passwords created without the feedback." The meter works by employing an artificial neural network: a large, complex map of information that resembles the way neurons behave in the brain. The team conducted a study about this neural network approach that received a Best Paper Award at the USENIX Security conference in August 2016. The network "learns" by scanning millions of existing passwords and identifying trends. If the meter detects a characteristic in your password that it knows attackers may guess, it'll tell you. "The way attackers guess passwords is by exploiting the patterns that they observe in large datasets of breached passwords," says Ur. "For example, if you change Es to 3s in your password, that's not going to fool an attacker. The meter will explain about how prevalent that substitution is and offer advice on what to do instead." This data-driven feedback is presented in real-time, as a user is typing their password out letter-by-letter. The team has open-sourced their meter on GitHub. "There's a lot of different tweaking that one could imagine doing for a specific application of the meter," says Ur. "We're hoping to do some of that ourselves and also engage other members of the security and privacy community to help contribute to the meter." Explore further: Users' perceptions of password security do not always match reality


Identifying and addressing possible bias in machine learning will be critically important as we increasingly turn to computers for processing the natural language humans use to communicate, for instance in doing online text searches, image categorization and automated translations. "Questions about fairness and bias in machine learning are tremendously important for our society," said researcher Arvind Narayanan, an assistant professor of computer science and an affiliated faculty member at the Center for Information Technology Policy (CITP) at Princeton University, as well as an affiliate scholar at Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society. "We have a situation where these artificial intelligence systems may be perpetuating historical patterns of bias that we might find socially unacceptable and which we might be trying to move away from." The paper, "Semantics derived automatically from language corpora contain human-like biases," published April 14 in Science. Its lead author is Aylin Caliskan, a postdoctoral research associate and a CITP fellow at Princeton; Joanna Bryson, a reader at University of Bath, and CITP affiliate, is a coauthor. As a touchstone for documented human biases, the study turned to the Implicit Association Test, used in numerous social psychology studies since its development at the University of Washington in the late 1990s. The test measures response times (in milliseconds) by human subjects asked to pair word concepts displayed on a computer screen. Response times are far shorter, the Implicit Association Test has repeatedly shown, when subjects are asked to pair two concepts they find similar, versus two concepts they find dissimilar. Take flower types, like "rose" and "daisy," and insects like "ant" and "moth." These words can be paired with pleasant concepts, like "caress" and "love," or unpleasant notions, like "filth" and "ugly." People more quickly associate the flower words with pleasant concepts, and the insect terms with unpleasant ideas. The Princeton team devised an experiment with a program where it essentially functioned like a machine learning version of the Implicit Association Test. Called GloVe, and developed by Stanford University researchers, the popular, open-source program is of the sort that a startup machine learning company might use at the heart of its product. The GloVe algorithm can represent the co-occurrence statistics of words in, say, a 10-word window of text. Words that often appear near one another have a stronger association than those words that seldom do. The Stanford researchers turned GloVe loose on a huge trawl of contents from the World Wide Web, containing 840 billion words. Within this large sample of written human culture, Narayanan and colleagues then examined sets of so-called target words, like "programmer, engineer, scientist" and "nurse, teacher, librarian" alongside two sets of attribute words, such as "man, male" and "woman, female," looking for evidence of the kinds of biases humans can unwittingly possess. In the results, innocent, inoffensive biases, like for flowers over bugs, showed up, but so did examples along lines of gender and race. As it turned out, the Princeton machine learning experiment managed to replicate the broad substantiations of bias found in select Implicit Association Test studies over the years that have relied on live, human subjects. For instance, the machine learning program associated female names more with familial attribute words, like "parents" and "wedding," than male names. In turn, male names had stronger associations with career attributes, like "professional" and "salary." Of course, results such as these are often just objective reflections of the true, unequal distributions of occupation types with respect to gender—like how 77 percent of computer programmers are male, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yet this correctly distinguished bias about occupations can end up having pernicious, sexist effects. An example: when foreign languages are naively processed by machine learning programs, leading to gender-stereotyped sentences. The Turkish language uses a gender-neutral, third person pronoun, "o." Plugged into the well-known, online translation service Google Translate, however, the Turkish sentences "o bir doktor" and "o bir hem?ire" with this gender-neutral pronoun are translated into English as "he is a doctor" and "she is a nurse." "This paper reiterates the important point that machine learning methods are not 'objective' or 'unbiased' just because they rely on mathematics and algorithms," said Hanna Wallach, a senior researcher at Microsoft Research New York City, who was not involved in the study. "Rather, as long as they are trained using data from society and as long as society exhibits biases, these methods will likely reproduce these biases." Another objectionable example harkens back to a well-known 2004 paper by Marianne Bertrand of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Sendhil Mullainathan of Harvard University. The economists sent out close to 5,000 identical resumes to 1,300 job advertisements, changing only the applicants' names to be either traditionally European American or African American. The former group was 50 percent more likely to be offered an interview than the latter. In an apparent corroboration of this bias, the new Princeton study demonstrated that a set of African American names had more unpleasantness associations than a European American set. Computer programmers might hope to prevent cultural stereotype perpetuation through the development of explicit, mathematics-based instructions for the machine learning programs underlying AI systems. Not unlike how parents and mentors try to instill concepts of fairness and equality in children and students, coders could endeavor to make machines reflect the better angels of human nature. "The biases that we studied in the paper are easy to overlook when designers are creating systems," said Narayanan. "The biases and stereotypes in our society reflected in our language are complex and longstanding. Rather than trying to sanitize or eliminate them, we should treat biases as part of the language and establish an explicit way in machine learning of determining what we consider acceptable and unacceptable." More information: "Semantics derived automatically from language corpora contain human-like biases," Science (2017). science.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi/10.1126/science.aal4230


News Article | April 25, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Former President Barack Obama is scheduled to speak at a Wall Street conference later in the year, according to a report Monday by Fox Business Network. As Obama made his first public appearance since leaving the White House in January — at an event in the University of Chicago — the network cited people familiar with the matter saying he would appear at the financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald LP’s healthcare conference in September.  And according to the sources, Obama will be paid $400,000 to be the keynote speaker for one day at the event hosted by the company. The amount is nearly twice the money paid to fellow Democrat and the 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Read: Former President Barack Obama To Make First Public Appearance While it is believed the former president has signed a contract for the speech in New York already, the firm is yet to make a formal announcement as it is in the process of coordinating with Obama. The report surfaced just as the former president returned to Chicago to be a part of his first public event after months out of the limelight. As President Donald Trump took office in January, the Obamas set off for a vacation, and had been enjoying their retirement ever since. During the event in Chicago, Obama refrained from mentioning President Trump or commenting on his policies in office. Instead, he focused on his message for the youth. “There’s a reason why I am always optimistic, even when things look like they are sometimes not going the way I want,” Obama said at the conference about youth participation. “And that’s because of young people like this.” “The single most important thing I can do,” he told the students, is to “help in any way I can prepare the next generation of leadership to take up the baton and to take their own crack at changing the world.”


According to new research, nomadic horse culture -- famously associated with Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes -- can trace its roots back more than 3,000 years in the eastern Eurasian Steppes, in the territory of modern Mongolia (Figure 1). The study, published online March 31 in Journal of Archaeological Science, produces scientific estimates of the age of horse bones found from archaeological sites belonging to a culture known as the Deer Stone-Khirigsuur Complex. This culture, named for the beautiful carved standing stones ("deer stones") and burial mounds (khirigsuurs) it built across the Mongolian Steppe (Figure 2), is linked with some of the oldest evidence for nomadic herding and domestic livestock use in eastern Eurasia. At both deer stones and khirigsuurs, stone mounds containing ritual burials of domestic horses - sometimes numbering in the hundreds or thousands - are found buried around the edge of each monument (Figure 3). A team of researchers from several academic institutions - including the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Yale University, University of Chicago, the American Center for Mongolian Studies, and the National Museum of Mongolia - used a scientific dating technique known as radiocarbon dating to estimate the spread of domestic horse ritual at deer stones and khirigsuurs. When an organism dies, an unstable radioactive molecule present in living tissues, known as radiocarbon, begins to decay at a known rate. By measuring the remaining concentration of radiocarbon in organic materials, such as horse bone, archaeologists can estimate how many years ago an animal took its final step. Many previous archaeological projects in Mongolia produced radiocarbon date estimates from horse remains found at these Bronze Age archaeological sites. However, because each of these measurements must be calibrated to account for natural variation in the environment over time, individual dates have large amounts of error and uncertainty, making them difficult to aggregate or interpret in groups. By using a statistical technique known as Bayesian analysis - which combines probability with archaeological information to improve precision for groups of radiocarbon dates - the study authors were able to produce a high-precision chronology model for early domestic horse use in Mongolia. Lead author William Taylor, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, says that this model "enables us for the first time to link horse use with other important cultural developments in ancient Mongolia and eastern Eurasia, and evaluate the role of climate and environmental change in the local origins of horse riding." According to the study, domestic horse ritual spread rapidly across the Mongol Steppe at around 1200 BC - several hundred years before mounted horsemen are clearly documented historical records. When considered alongside other evidence for horse transport in the Deer Stone-Khirigsuur Complex these results suggest that Mongolia was an epicenter for early horse culture - and probably early mounted horseback riding. The study has important consequences for our understanding of human responses to climate change. For example, one particularly influential hypothesis argues that horse riding and nomadic herding societies developed during the late second millennium BCE, as a response to drought and a worsening climate. Taylor and colleagues' results indicate instead that early horsemanship took place during a wetter, more productive climate period - which may have given herders more room to experiment with horse breeding and transport. In recent years, scholars have become increasingly aware of the role played by Inner Asian nomads in early waves of globalization. A key article by Dr. Michael Frachetti and colleagues, published this month in Nature argues that nomadic movement patterns shaped the early trans-Eurasian trade networks that would eventually move goods, people, and information across the continent. The development of horsemanship by Mongolian cultures might have been one of the most influential changes in Eurasian prehistory - laying the groundwork for the economic and ecological exchange networks that defined the Old World for centuries to come.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

OUR universe’s relentless march towards cold, empty darkness could be causing its expansion to accelerate, rather than the other way around. The finding could help cosmologists think differently about dark energy, and possibly explain why it has the value it does. In the late 1990s, astronomers observed that the universe’s expansion is accelerating. They attributed this to dark energy – an inherent property of the vacuum of space-time. One idea is that dark energy is really the cosmological constant, a quantity arising in Einstein’s general relativity. But when we calculate its theoretical value, the answer is about 120 orders of magnitude larger than the observed one. The mismatch has vexed cosmologists for decades. “Why does the cosmological constant have the value it does? Why is it so small?” says Sean Carroll at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. “Dark energy emerges from quantum space-time, and then drives the accelerated expansion of the universe” Although they can’t solve that yet, Carroll and his student Aidan Chatwin-Davies suggest we could make headway using something quite different: the laws of thermodynamics. “We are contributing to a movement to change that question to something else,” says Carroll. We have had an idea of the universe’s end state since 1983, when Robert Wald of the University of Chicago showed that a universe with a positive cosmological constant will end up as a flat, empty, featureless void, called de Sitter space. Wald did this using general relativity. But some physicists had long suspected that you could reach the same end state using thermodynamics. The link with thermodynamics also dates back to the 1980s. Tom Banks at the University of California, Santa Cruz, suggested then that the value of dark energy could be related to the entropy of space-time. Entropy is a measure of the disorder of a system: it’s low for a solid with rigidly organised atoms, and high for a hot gas with chaotically moving atoms. What if the system is “closed”, in that it can’t exchange energy with its surroundings? According to the second law of thermodynamics, its entropy will keep growing until it reaches an equilibrium. If we regard the entire universe as closed, the law suggests that it too will eventually reach a state of peak entropy and just stay there. That sounded a lot like de Sitter space to Carroll and others. Having a thermodynamic route to the same universal end game could help break the stalemate over the mismatch problem. But they couldn’t prove the route existed. Some clues came from black-hole physics. In 1974, Israeli physicist Jakob Bekenstein showed that the entropy of a system containing a black hole and its immediate environment grows – a result now called the generalised second law of thermodynamics. This hinted that the final state of the universe predicted by general relativity was related to growing entropy. “The missing ingredient was some way of formulating the [generalised] second law in a way that was applicable to the whole universe all at once,” says Carroll. That came last year, when Raphael Bousso at the University of California, Berkeley, and Netta Engelhardt, now at Princeton University, applied Bekenstein’s idea to a patch of space-time in an expanding universe like ours. They conjectured that its entropy increases. Carroll and Chatwin-Davies took Bousso and Engelhardt’s definition of entropy – which uses a quantum mechanical description of space-time – as their starting point. They then calculated what happens to the geometry of space-time as it evolves. Lo and behold, once a universe has reached peak entropy it is effectively one described by de Sitter geometry, they proved (arxiv.org/abs/1703.09241). “The universe will approach de Sitter space and stay there forever,” says Carroll. Bousso is impressed. “This is a beautiful application of our cosmological second law,” he says. This thermodynamic way of thinking turns the standard view of dark energy on its head: dark energy emerges from the quantum structure of space-time and then drives the accelerated expansion. Solving the mystery of dark energy’s value then becomes a case of justifying the choice of a particular quantum mechanical description of space-time. Carroll is careful not to overstate the implications. “There’s what we proved, and there is the coffee-shop chatter about what it might imply, whichis of course much more speculative,” he says. But the work could offer a new way to grapple with the cosmological constant’s tiny value. This article will appear in print under the headline “Dark energy flipped upside down”


Although Journal of the American College of Surgeons study shows better care at high-volume surgical centers for patients with pancreatic or thyroid cancer, few patients travel for their cancer operations CHICAGO (May 1, 2017): New study findings link traveling to an academic medical center for surgical removal of pancreatic or thyroid cancer with higher quality surgical care for both cancers, and longer survival for patients with pancreatic cancer compared with patients who receive treatment at a hospital closer to home. Despite the advantages, few patients with these cancers travel within the United States for their cancer operations, according to the authors of the study, which is published online as an "article in press" on the Journal of the American College of Surgeons website in advance of print publication. "Little was known about whether traveling to receive surgical cancer care results in differences in perioperative outcomes and overall survival," said senior investigator Raymon H. Grogan, MD, FACS, assistant professor of surgery at the University of Chicago Medicine. "Yet, there is a well-established relationship between a surgeon's high volume of operations and patients' improved outcomes for pancreatic and thyroid cancer, and most high-volume surgeons in the United States practice in metropolitan settings and academic referral medical centers. "We wanted to know: if you live in a rural area, does it benefit you to travel to a high-volume academic medical center for your cancer operation?" To understand the effect of travel on the overall survival rate and quality of care, Dr. Grogan and co-investigators focused on two types of cancer with different chances for cure. One, papillary thyroid cancer, is the most frequent type of thyroid cancer and is usually slow growing and its treatments are associated with a low complication rate. The other, the most common form of cancer of the pancreas, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, tends to be aggressive with a much worse survival rate. Using patient records entered into the National Cancer Database (NCDB), the authors analyzed data for 105,677 patients with papillary thyroid cancer and 22,983 patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. This database is cosponsored by the American College of Surgeons and the American Cancer Society and includes information on approximately 75 percent of all newly diagnosed cancer cases in the United States. In this proof-of-concept study, the investigators employed a new method of defining travel using data available in the NCDB and the U.S. Census Bureau. They determined the average area of a county in square miles, for metropolitan, urban, and rural areas (from largest to smallest population) in each of the nine national regions described by the Census Bureau.* The researchers considered patients to have traveled for cancer care if the shortest distance from home to treatment center was greater than either the square root of the area of their county if they lived in metropolitan areas or metropolitan-adjacent counties or twice the square root of area of their county if they lived in a county that was not adjacent to a metropolitan area. The minimum distance for patients who traveled ranged from 20 to 84 miles, the investigators found. Patients residing in the Pacific and Mountain Regions were excluded from analysis because of discordant travel lengths compared with other regions, according to the article. Travel correlated with receiving care at an academic (university-affiliated) medical center, said Michael G. White, MD, the study's lead author and a general surgery resident physician at the University of Chicago Medicine. Among patients with pancreatic cancer, those living in rural and urban areas who traveled to an academic medical center for their care had longer overall survival compared with patients who underwent cancer operations near their home communities, the researchers reported. Overall survival is a measure of the length of time from a person's cancer diagnosis to the time of his or her death, regardless of the cause of death.. Patients with this aggressive pancreatic cancer lived two months longer on average if they traveled for care, Dr. Grogan reported. Additionally, patients who traveled for care were more likely to have lymph node dissection, which is removal of selected lymph nodes for examination for cancer. This surgical approach is the standard of care for pancreatic cancer that can be removed surgically, Dr. White said. Patients who traveled also had better rates of clear margins--no microscopic evidence of cancer remaining in the tissues around the removed tumor. As expected, the researchers found no survival differences by travel in patients with thyroid cancer, which Dr. Grogan said has an average five-year survival rate of 97 percent. Importantly, however, patients who traveled were more likely to receive care that followed cancer treatment guidelines from the American Thyroid Association and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an indicator of quality of care, he stated. "Our data do not necessarily show that patients who don't travel for cancer care receive suboptimal care," Dr. Grogan stressed. "Rather, patients who travel more often receive the gold standard care - care that more often conforms with evidence-based recommendations." Yet, only 9 percent of patients with thyroid cancer and approximately 25 percent of pancreatic cancer patients traveled for their surgical care, the data showed. Dr. Grogan said, "Although we found that travel is associated with better outcomes, the vast majority of these cancer patients are not traveling for their care." From the data, he said they cannot conclude why most patients opt to not travel for their cancer operations or what impact the local physicians' referral patterns have on patients' decision making. In the case of why more pancreatic cancer patients travel then thyroid cancer patients, Dr. White speculated, "Poorer survival rates for pancreatic cancer may drive the choice to travel to a medical center that performs a higher volume of these operations." Noting that lengthy travel to a cancer treatment center may have disadvantages as well as the observed advantages, Dr. Grogan said their study gives patients with cancer more information to decide what is important to them. Whether patients travel for surgical cancer care or not, he recommended that they ask their surgeon two important questions: "How many of these operations do you perform each year? What is your complication rate when performing this operation?" Other co-authors were Edwin L. Kaplan, MD, FACS; Peter Angelos, MD, PhD, FACS; and Dezheng Huo, MD, PhD, from the University of Chicago and Megan K. Applewhite, MD, of Albany Medical College, Albany, N.Y. "FACS" designates that a surgeon is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. This study received funding from the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute (K12CA139160 to Raymon H Grogan). The study was presented in November 2016 at the Western Surgical Association 124th Scientific Session in Coronado, Calif. Citation: A Tale of Two Cancers: Traveling to Treat Pancreatic and Thyroid Cancer. Journal of the American College of Surgeons. DOI: http://dx. . * US Census Bureau. Census regions and divisions of the United States. Available at: https:/ . Accessed April 12, 2017. About the American College of Surgeons The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for surgical patients. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 80,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. For more information, visit http://www. .


News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Although the odds of developing breast cancer are nearly identical for black and white women, black women are 42 percent more likely to die from the disease. This mortality gap - driven by social and environmental, as well as biological factors - continues to persist. A large, multi-institutional study, published on-line May 4, 2017, in JAMA Oncology, was designed to understand this gap by beginning to unravel the germline genetic variations and tumor biological differences between black and white women with breast cancer. This is the first "ancestry-based comprehensive analysis of multiple platforms of genomic and proteomic data of its kind," the authors note. Findings from this study could lead to more personalized risk assessment for women of African heritage and hasten the development of novel approaches designed to diagnose specific subtypes of aggressive breast cancers early and treat them effectively. One new finding is that black women with hormone receptor positive, HER2-negative breast cancer had a higher risk-of-recurrence score than white women. The study also confirmed that black patients were typically diagnosed at a younger age and were more likely to develop aggressive breast-cancer subtypes, including basal-like or triple-negative cancers (tumors lacking estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors and HER2), as well as other aggressive tumor subtypes. "People have long associated breast cancer mortality in black women with poverty, or stress, or lack of access to care, but our results show that much of the increased risk for black women can be attributed to tumor biological differences, which are probably genetically determined," said study author Olufunmilayo Olopade, MD, professor of medicine and human genetics at the University of Chicago. "The good news," she said, "is that as we learn more about these genetic variations, we can combine that information with clinical data to stratify risk and better predict recurrences - especially for highly treatable cancers - and develop interventions to improve treatment outcomes." "This is a great example of how team science and investments in science can accelerate progress in identifying the best therapies for the most aggressive breast cancers," said co-author Charles Perou, PhD, a member of the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and professor of genetics, and pathology & laboratory medicine at the UNC School of Medicine. "In the largest dataset to date that has good representation of tumors from black women, we did not find much difference between the somatic mutations driving tumors in black and white women," he added. "Yet black women were more likely to develop aggressive molecular subtypes of breast cancer. Now we provide data showing that differences in germline genetics may be responsible for up to 40 percent of the likelihood of developing one tumor subtype versus another." The study used DNA data collected from 930 women - 154 of predominantly African ancestry and 776 of European ancestry - available through The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), established by the National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute. The researchers combed through the data methodically, looking for racial differences in germline variations (normal DNA), somatic mutations (tumor acquired), subtypes of breast cancers, survival time, as well as gene expression, protein expression and DNA methylation patterns. "Most significantly," explained first author Dezheng Huo, MD, PhD, associate professor of public health sciences at the University of Chicago, "we observed a higher genetic contribution to estrogen-receptor negative breast cancer in blacks." Black women were more likely to get these highly aggressive cancers. This is one of the first studies to connect genetics to this racial difference in tumor subtype frequencies. The study also revealed 142 genes that showed differences in expression levels according to race. One gene, CRYBB2 (Crystallin Beta B2), was consistently higher in tumors from black patients within each breast cancer subtype, as well as in normal tissues, suggesting it may be a race-specific gene. The researchers also found somatic mutations in 13 genes or DNA segments that differed in frequency in tumors from black and white women. One of them, a mutated gene called TP53, was more common in black women (52%) than white women (31%) and was a strong predictor of disease recurrence. "Despite the relatively short follow-up time in the TCGA dataset, we were able to detect a significant racial disparity in patient survival using breast cancer-free interval as the endpoint between patients of African and European ancestries," said co-first author Hai Hu, PhD, vice president for research at the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine at Windber. "Most of the worst outcomes came from basal-like subtype breast cancer patients of African Ancestry." "Black women in all categories, including the most common breast cancers, were likely to have a worse prognosis," Olopade said. "Understanding the basic, underlying genetic differences between black and white women, the higher risk scores and the increased risk of recurrence should lead us to alternative treatment strategies," said Perou. The crucial long-term benefit of this study, according to Olopade, is that "it is a step toward the development of polygenic biomarkers, tools that can help us better understand each patient's prognosis and, as we learn more, play a role in choosing the best treatment." "Genes matter," she added. "This is a foot in the door for precision medicine, for scientifically targeted treatment." "This study now outlines a path for us to personalize breast cancer risk assessment and develop better strategies to empower all women, especially black women, to know their genetics and be more proactive in managing their risk," Perou said. The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure, the American Cancer Society and the U.S. Department of Defense. Also contributing were Toshio Yoshimatsu and Jason Pitt from the University of Chicago; Katherine Hoadley and Melissa Troester of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Jianfang Liu, Yuanbin Ru, and Lori Sturtz from the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine at Windber, Windber, PA; Suhn Rhie of the University of Southern California; Eric Gamazon of Vanderbilt University; Andrew Cherniack from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard; Tara Lichtenberg from Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio; Carl Shelly from the University of Wisconsin; Christopher Benz from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, Novato, Calif.; Gordon Mill from The MD Anderson Cancer Center; Peter Laird from the Van Andel Research Institute, Grand Rapids, MI; and Craig D. Shriver from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD. To reach co-author Charles Perou, PhD, of the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and professor of genetics, and pathology & laboratory medicine at the UNC School of Medicine, contact Laura Oleniacz, Science Communications Manager, UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, 919-445-4219, laura_oleniacz@med.unc.edu. To reach co-author Hai Hu, PhD, vice president for research at the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine at Windber contact Natalie Bombatch, Communications & Marketing Manager, Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine, Windber, PA, 814-467-3447, nbombatch@windbercare.org.


News Article | April 30, 2017
Site: www.scientificamerican.com

Since the 1970s, annual per capita electricity consumption in the United States – the amount of electricity that we each consume over the course of a year - has more than doubled. But, in California, per capita electricity demand has been almost constant. This fact – dubbed the “Rosenfeld Effect” – is named in honor of energy efficiency godfather, Dr. Arthur H. Rosenfeld who passed away earlier this year at the age of 90. Arthur Hinton Rosenfeld was born in 1926 in Birmingham, Alabama. After achieving a PhD  in physics from the University of Chicago - where he studied under Enrico Fermi - Rosenfeld became a physics Professor at UC Berkeley and a senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Throughout his career, Rosenfeld's work to curb energy waste would help lay the foundation for state and federal energy efficiency regulations. He was even honored for his work in energy efficiency by his own unit – a single Rosenfeld is defined as an electricity savings of 3 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, or the amount of efficiency savings needed to replace a 500 Megawatt coal-fired power plant. Over his career, Dr. Rosenfeld served as a Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of Energy (1994-1999) and Commissioner of the California Energy Commission (2000-2010). In 2011, he received a Medal for Technology and Innovation from President Barack Obama.


News Article | May 3, 2017
Site: www.futurity.org

A new genetic fingerprinting technique is the first to show the huge diversity of the malaria parasite, one of nature’s most persistent and successful human pathogens. The technique validates a previously untestable “strain hypothesis” that was proposed more than 20 years ago and opens up new ways of thinking about how to tackle this cunning killer. Key to that understanding is changing the way we think about malaria—that it is not so much like the measles and more like the flu. As reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers collected blood samples from 641 children, aged 1 to 12 years from Bakoumba, a village in Gabon, West Africa and the genetic fingerprints of parasites from 200 infected children. Remarkably, every child was infected with malaria parasites that had a different fingerprint from the parasites in every other child. In 1994, Professors Sunetra Gupta and Karen Day, both then working at Imperial College London and later the University of Oxford, proposed that the malaria transmission system may be organized into a set of strains based on diversity of the genes that code for the surface coat of the parasite. If true, this strain diversity could explain why people can be re-infected with malaria many times over. It has taken until now for Day and colleagues to develop and optimize the mathematical and laboratory techniques to finally address the hypothesis. The malaria parasite is a single-celled microorganism (known as a Plasmodium) that infects red blood cells and is transferred from human to human via mosquitoes. It has been infecting people for tens of thousands of years, and, according to the World Health Organization, in 2015, nearly half of the world’s population remained at risk of malaria. Over the past 20 years, Day’s team has developed a way to genetically fingerprint malaria parasites from small amounts of blood based on what are called var genes. Every parasite has approximately 60 of these var genes but only uses one at a time and can switch between the one it uses. The genes encode proteins that coat the surface of the red blood cells that the parasite infects. The var genes are significant because they determine the ability of the parasite to disguise itself from the human immune system, and contribute to the virulence of the disease. If the genes that encode the surface coat overlap between two parasites, such as you would expect in siblings that would share a maximum of 50 percent of their genes, then when someone is re-infected, the immune system will recognize these malaria parasites and quickly purge them if they have seen the parent infections. But if there is little or no overlap in these genes, then the immune system won’t recognize the malaria parasite as readily, leading to chronic infection. The study shows that “the parasite has evolved this enormous diversity with limited overlap between the sets of var genes likely so it can keep re-infecting the same humans,” says Day, now a professor of population science and dean of science at the University of Melbourne. Coauthor Mercedes Pascual, an ecologist and professor at the University of Chicago, describes this as “the parasites forming niches by diversifying. They compete with each other for hosts, and distance themselves from each other to invade the same population of humans, a limited resource.” Current malaria control programs don’t target the diversity of the parasite, Day says. “With malaria, we attack something that is conserved between all strains, but the problem is if you don’t get rid of all of the malaria parasites with current strategies, you have this enormous diversity that can allow the system to bounce back quickly to pre-control levels. The resilience of the system is coming from the diversity, so you’ve got to monitor how approaches to control attack diversity and not just the parasite per se.” Interestingly, the theory of malaria control is based on malaria having no diversity and being like measles. You contract measles once and have lifelong immunity, whereas you can get malaria or the flu many times because there are multiple strains circulating. “Malaria is like flu, but our fingerprinting results show that it is way more complicated,” Day says. By analyzing the var genes, researchers came up with a unique identifier, or fingerprint, for each malaria strain that they call a var code. “Looking down the microscope you would have said all of the infections look the same, but when we did the fingerprinting genetically with this variant antigen gene system, we could see that every child had a different parasite fingerprint, and importantly, each fingerprint was highly unrelated to all other fingerprints,” Day says. This unrelatedness was a surprise, Day says. “Malaria has sex as part of its lifecycle, every time it goes through a mosquito. And so, because the malaria parasite mates you would expect to find related parasites that we might call parents, siblings, cousins, and aunts and uncles in the population.” “Even with very high levels of sex between parasites, their competition for available hosts can be so intense, that really only very unrelated parasites would be fit enough to survive and here we have a structure where highly related parasites were not detected,” says Yael Artzy-Randrup, a theoretical ecologist from the University of Amsterdam, and a coauthor of the study. “Malaria is similar to flu in that humans can be infected multiple times by different malaria parasite variants. However, in contrast to the flu, the situation with malaria is much more complex. With malaria, at any given point of time there is a high diversity of variants coexisting even in very small human populations, while in flu, variants usually replace each other, and people will only be infected by one variant at a time.” After waiting 20 years to get their results, the researchers suffered a setback in 2012 when Hurricane Sandy cut the power to Day’s laboratory at New York University, destroying samples that represented months of work. The team was eventually able to recover and continue its work. Once the team had assembled all the data, they had to assure their scientific peers—many of whom were skeptical of the strain hypothesis—that the pattern of diversity and unrelatedness they were seeing was not just through random chance. Researchers tested the results using statistical and computational techniques inspired by the analysis of complex systems in ecology, such as communities of species in ecosystems. They found that the system was non-random, and the relatives were absent from the population. The project is connected to a central question in ecology: what is the structure of diversity? “We are asking this question for the ensemble of parasites within a population of Plasmodium falciparum, but it can also be asked for the ensemble of tree species in a rainforest,” Pascual says. “It is an exciting time for bringing together quantitative analyses and deep sampling of biological systems in the field. “Our findings indicate that the enormous diversity of the parasite is structured and that we need to consider the implications of this structure for intervention, and possibly develop a different way to model transmission in malaria altogether.” Additional researchers from the University of Melbourne, the University of Chicago, New York University, the University of Michigan, the University of Amsterdam, the University of Montpellier, and the University of Paris Descartes are coauthors of the study.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.scientificamerican.com

As if octopuses, squids and other cephalopods were not already strange enough, they may have found a way to evolve that is foreign to practically all other multicellular organisms on the planet. For most animals, changes that might prove beneficial to the organism primarily occur at the beginning of their molecular production process. Mutations occur in DNA that are then transcribed into RNA; the RNA is then translated into an altered protein. Not so for cephalopods—at least not entirely. A new study published in Cell reports these aquarium oddities can modify the proteins found in their bodies without having to change the basic sequence of their DNA blueprint. As a result, it looks as if cephalopods have changed very slowly over the eons of their existence. The findings also suggest that octopuses and their tentacled cousins may be a lot older than previously thought. The new paper reports on a process called “RNA editing,” which involves enzymes swapping out one RNA base (or nitrogen-based “letter” in the RNA/DNA alphabet) for another, presumably in the interest of an organism adapting to its environment. RNA editing is rarely employed in most animals. Among the 20,000 or so genes found in humans, for example, only a few dozen sites are thought to change their RNA so that it no longer matches the original DNA template. Yet previous work, in part by the same authors, suggested the process is employed rather frequently by octopuses and squid to respond to changes in ocean water temperature. The new study looked at DNA sequences, RNA sequences and proteomes—meaning all of the proteins encoded in a particularly cell or tissue—of multiple cephalopod species to determine how common RNA editing really is. Very, it turns out. Squid also have around 20,000 genes, a whopping 11,000 of which code for RNA that in some cases undergoes editing. A similar degree of editing was found in two species of octopus and the common cuttlefish. Far lower levels of RNA-editing were seen in the nautilus—a more primitive cephalopod—and in a non-cephalopod control, a mollusk called a sea hare. RNA editing was especially high in the cephalopod nervous system, including in genes coding for ion channels that facilitate electrical communication between neurons. What’s more, such extensive RNA editing seems to have helped to minimize changes in the cephalopod DNA over the eons that they have been around. Unlike most animal species, whose genomes are riddled with millions of years of mutations that have helped them adapt to a volatile world, cephalopod adaption appears to have been more a result of RNA editing. Heavy reliance on RNA editing, however it first evolved, practically would have guaranteed the need for cephalopod DNA to remain fairly stable over millennia. The proteins used for editing RNA would, after all, need to recognize various complexes of RNA, says paper co-author Joshua Rosenthal, a cephalopod neurobiologist at the Marine Biological Laboratory. Hence, the DNA coding for the RNA that generates those particular proteins would have to stay consistent. In other words, in an animal reliant on RNA-editing for survival, any mutations that interfered with that process would probably not have survived into the next generation. “If a squid and octopus want to edit a base, they must preserve the underlying RNA structure,” Rosenthal says, “This means that the RNA structure can’t evolve. If it collects mutations as a result of DNA mutations, it would no longer be recognized by the editing enzymes. We normally think of mutations as the currency of evolution. But in this case their accumulation is suppressed.” In 2015 University of Chicago neurobiologist Clifton Ragsdale and his team published the first cephalopod genome, that of an octopus. Clifton also noticed an unusually high degree of RNA editing. “We saw the same thing,” he recalls. “But this new paper provides much more information and raises interesting ideas—instead of just using regular old genome evolution, RNA editing might have been a way to produce molecular diversity, particularly in their nervous systems. You could imagine that it’s an alternative engine for cephalopod evolution.” No one knows why cephalopods are so keen on RNA editing. Perhaps it is a faster, easier way to adapt to their environment than waiting for a random mutation to occur. Or maybe it better suits their relatively short life spans. Cephalopods grow up fast and die young . Most live only for a few years and they only breed once. Ragsdale feels RNA editing may help them navigate what are often lonesome, fleeting lives. “This may explain why they’re such good problem solvers. No one’s around to show them how to figure out the world!” Ragsdale says, “How to make their dens. How to camouflage themselves and attack prey. They’re on their own, and fortunately for them they have big brains and can sort matters out.” Rosenthal feels RNA editing provides cephalopods with another means of environmental flexibility and is planning follow-up research to test his theory: “It can turn certain RNA on and off. We want to see which environmental variables influence the RNA editing process—things like variation in temperature…maybe something more complex like experiences.” Lore around cephalopods goes back millennia. Aristotle wrote of various forms of “calamari”; seaside cultures have long feared mythic, tentacled beasts like the Norse kraken; Jules Verne, of course, entrenched in us images of a giant squid battling Captain Nemo’s steampunk submarine. And more recently, the squid lent its effort to neuroscience. Much of what we know about how neurons communicate with one another began with experiments in the 1940s and ‘50s on the exceedingly long neuron that runs through the squid body. So perhaps it is fitting that Rosenthal’s new findings suggest cephalopods may hold a unique honor among Earthly species. Along with fossil records, species are typically dated by analyzing the number of mutations they have accumulated—in most species these genetic blips occur at a steady rate, creating a sort of “molecular clock” that can be used to calculate evolutionary time lines. If RNA editing allows changes in the cephalopod's DNA to occur at a markedly slower rate than is normally assumed, the animals most likely arose many millions of years earlier than current time lines suggest. In other words, the DNA mutations they do harbor would have taken a lot longer to crop up. “This may mean that our molecular clock estimates of when different cephalopod lineages arose and diverged might be too recent,” Ragsdale says. “The Nobel Prize–winning biologist Sydney Brenner once said that octopi were the first intelligent beings on Earth. This could prove he was right.”


News Article | April 25, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Evangelicals most likely of any religious group to stand in opposition As new and more effective human reproductive genetic technologies (RGTs) develop, people of faith are more likely to disapprove of these tools than nonreligious people, a new Rice University study found. Evangelical Christians are the most likely of any religious group to stand in opposition, the researchers found. The study examined how religious and nonreligious people felt about RGTs that could reveal qualities of an unborn child, such as whether the child had a disease ("disease technologies"), and those that allowed parents to select qualities for a child, such as gender, hair color and eye color ("enhancement technologies"). It included a general population survey of more than 10,000 people and 270 qualitative interviews with individuals living in the Midwest and South from a variety of religious traditions. Elaine Howard Ecklund, the Herbert S. Autrey Chair in Social Sciences at Rice and the study's lead author, found over the course of her research that feelings about the use of RGTs vary not only between religious and nonreligious persons but also among religious groups. When asked about the use of RGTs to prevent disease, 23 percent of evangelicals said this technology was morally wrong, compared with 9 percent of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains and 8 percent of Jews. Only 4 percent of agnostics and atheists said this technology was "morally wrong." Religious groups had a much stronger negative reaction about the morality of using RGTs to select qualities such as gender, hair color and eye color. Eighty percent of evangelicals said that this type of technology was morally wrong, compared with 66 percent of Jews and 57 percent of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains. Just over half - 55 percent - of agnostics and atheists said this type of technology was morally wrong. "A large proportion of religious and nonreligious people feel morally uncomfortable with enhancement technologies," Ecklund said. During her in-depth interviews with study participants, Ecklund found that the "Creator Schema," which emphasizes God's control and God's purposes and plans in human suffering, predominated among Evangelical Christians and at times mainline Protestants and Muslims. However, Jewish respondents expressed ambivalence toward disease RGTs and did not draw on the Creator Schema. One young member of a nondenominational Evangelical Protestant church communicated a strong version of a Creator Schema by justifying opposition to RGTs. "I believe God is in control, and that He's taking care of everything and (if) this child has a disease, then that's what God wants for this child," he said. While the Creator Schema emphasizes God's role as creator and boundaries between God and humans, the "Co-Creator Schema" provides for human partnership with God in improving life. Another participant referenced this schema in his feelings on the use of RGTs to eliminate disease. "If I could do something, then sure, yes, I would want to know," he said. He lamented that when people rejected this possibility and emphasized "just God's ability to heal and deliver ... then people die, because they neglect the physical responsibilities that God has given them." "This participant's emphasis on the concept of 'responsibilities' that God gives people suggests that humans have a partner role with God in certain kinds of actions, in this case healing genetic disease," Ecklund said. More than half of all groups surveyed - including nonreligious groups - disagreed with the use of enhancement RGTs, and many feared that enhancement RGTs might be used for "unwise ends," the authors said. "They often opposed enhancement RGTs because they saw this as related to eugenics, fearing that people would actively select or preference embryos with certain characteristics," said study co-author Jared Peifer of Baruch College. A participant from an evangelical congregation said of enhancement RGTs, "That's obviously going to the 'Brave New World' extreme of we're going to be our own gods and choose our own destiny. ... That goes back to another level. ... It reminds me of Nazi Germany, those things that - you want certain types - certain types of people in your society, you know I want my child to have this color or whatever." However, the religious individuals who supported enhancement RGTs mostly did so by considering these technologies within the abilities that God provides to humans, thereby drawing on the Co-Creator Schema. "None of this is really a problem for me because if it happens, I believe God provided the way for it to happen," said a participant from an African-American evangelical congregation. Ecklund said that the study's findings suggest that moral sensitivity rather than moral reasoning is likely to be employed as a way of addressing issues that are technologically complex under conditions where there is a scarcity of good information with which to morally reason, as is the case with enhancement RGTs. "As moral reasoning on the topic becomes organized, we expect moral sensitivity to become less noticeably apparent as individuals begin to draw more readily on established cultural beliefs," she said. "Moral Schemas in Articulation and Intuition: How Religious People Evaluate Human Reproductive Genetic Technologies" appeared in a recent edition of Sociological Forum and was also co-authored by Virginia White of the University of Chicago and Esther Chan of Yale University. The study was funded by The John Templeton Foundation and is available online at http://onlinelibrary. . For more information, contact David Ruth, director of national media relations at Rice, at 713-348-6327 or david@rice.edu. This news release can be found online at http://news. . Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation's top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,879 undergraduates and 2,861 graduate students, Rice's undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for happiest students and for lots of race/class interaction by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger's Personal Finance. To read "What they're saying about Rice," go to http://tinyurl. .


News Article | April 26, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Imaginary numbers are a solution to a very real problem in a study published today in Scientific Reports. Two physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory offered a way to mathematically describe a particular physics phenomenon called a phase transition in a system out of equilibrium. Such phenomena are central in physics, and understanding how they occur has been a long-held and vexing goal; their behavior and related effects are key to unlocking possibilities for new electronics and other next-generation technologies. In physics, "equilibrium" refers to a state when an object is not in motion and has no energy flowing through it. As you might expect, most of our lives take place outside this state: we are constantly moving and causing other things to move. "A rainstorm, this rotating fan, these systems are all out of equilibrium," said study co-author of the Valerii Vinokur, an Argonne Distinguished Fellow and member of the joint Argonne-University of Chicago Computation Institute. "When a system is in equilibrium, we know that it is always at its lowest possible energy configuration, but for non-equilibrium this fundamental principle does not work; and our ability to describe the physics of such systems is very limited." He and co-author Alexey Galda, a scientist with Argonne and the University of Chicago's James Franck Institute, had been working on ways to describe these systems, particularly those undergoing a phase transition - such as the moment during a thunderstorm when the charge difference between cloud and ground tips too high, and a lightning strike occurs. They found their new approach to non-equilibrium physics in a new branch of quantum mechanics. In the language of quantum mechanics, the energy of a system is represented by what is called a Hamiltonian operator. Traditionally, quantum mechanics had held that the operator to represent the system cannot contain imaginary numbers if it would mean the energy does not come out as a "real" and positive value--because the system actually does exist in reality. This condition is called Hermiticity. But physicists have been taking a harder look at operators that violate Hermiticity by using imaginary components, Vinokur said; several such operators discovered a few years ago are now widely used in quantum optics. "We noticed that such operators are a beautiful mathematical tool to describe out-of-equilibrium processes," he said. To describe the phase transition, Galda and Vinokur wrote out the Hamiltonian operator, introduced an applied force to take it out of equilibrium, and then they made the force imaginary. "This is a trick which is illegal from any common-sense point of view; but we saw that this combination, energy plus imaginary force, perfectly mathematically describes the dynamics of the system with friction," Vinokur said. They applied the trick to describe other out-of-equilibrium phase transitions, such as a dynamic Mott transition and a spin system, and saw the results agreed with either observed experiments or simulations. In their latest work, they connected their description with an operation called a Möbius transformation, which appears in a branch of mathematics called topology. "We can understand non-equilibrium transitions now as topological transitions in the space of energy," Galda said. This bit of quantum mischief needs to be understood more deeply, they said, but is valuable all the same; the theory describes basic areas of physics that are of great interest for next-generation electronics technology. "For the moment the connection with topology looks like mathematical candy, a beautiful thing we can't yet use, but we know from history that if the math is elegant enough, very soon its practical implications follow," Vinokur said. The study, "Linear dynamics of classical spin as Möbius transformation," was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences (Materials Science and Engineering Division). Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit the Office of Science website.


Two physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory offered a way to mathematically describe a particular physics phenomenon called a phase transition in a system out of equilibrium. Such phenomena are central in physics, and understanding how they occur has been a long-held and vexing goal; their behavior and related effects are key to unlocking possibilities for new electronics and other next-generation technologies. In physics, "equilibrium" refers to a state when an object is not in motion and has no energy flowing through it. As you might expect, most of our lives take place outside this state: we are constantly moving and causing other things to move. "A rainstorm, this rotating fan, these systems are all out of equilibrium," said study co-author of the Valerii Vinokur, an Argonne Distinguished Fellow and member of the joint Argonne-University of Chicago Computation Institute. "When a system is in equilibrium, we know that it is always at its lowest possible energy configuration, but for non-equilibrium this fundamental principle does not work; and our ability to describe the physics of such systems is very limited." He and co-author Alexey Galda, a scientist with Argonne and the University of Chicago's James Franck Institute, had been working on ways to describe these systems, particularly those undergoing a phase transition - such as the moment during a thunderstorm when the charge difference between cloud and ground tips too high, and a lightning strike occurs. They found their new approach to non-equilibrium physics in a new branch of quantum mechanics. In the language of quantum mechanics, the energy of a system is represented by what is called a Hamiltonian operator. Traditionally, quantum mechanics had held that the operator to represent the system cannot contain imaginary numbers if it would mean the energy does not come out as a "real" and positive value—because the system actually does exist in reality. This condition is called Hermiticity. But physicists have been taking a harder look at operators that violate Hermiticity by using imaginary components, Vinokur said; several such operators discovered a few years ago are now widely used in quantum optics. "We noticed that such operators are a beautiful mathematical tool to describe out-of-equilibrium processes," he said. To describe the phase transition, Galda and Vinokur wrote out the Hamiltonian operator, introduced an applied force to take it out of equilibrium, and then they made the force imaginary. "This is a trick which is illegal from any common-sense point of view; but we saw that this combination, energy plus imaginary force, perfectly mathematically describes the dynamics of the system with friction," Vinokur said. They applied the trick to describe other out-of-equilibrium phase transitions, such as a dynamic Mott transition and a spin system, and saw the results agreed with either observed experiments or simulations. In their latest work, they connected their description with an operation called a Möbius transformation, which appears in a branch of mathematics called topology. "We can understand non-equilibrium transitions now as topological transitions in the space of energy," Galda said. This bit of quantum mischief needs to be understood more deeply, they said, but is valuable all the same; the theory describes basic areas of physics that are of great interest for next-generation electronics technology. "For the moment the connection with topology looks like mathematical candy, a beautiful thing we can't yet use, but we know from history that if the math is elegant enough, very soon its practical implications follow," Vinokur said. Explore further: Team announces breakthrough observation of Mott transition in a superconductor More information: Alexey Galda et al, Linear dynamics of classical spin as Möbius transformation, Scientific Reports (2017). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-01326-x


News Article | April 21, 2017
Site: www.treehugger.com

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the worst in U.S. history, taught us a a lot of lessons. We learned that deep water oil drilling required far more fail-safes than were being used and we also realized that deep water oil spills are far more complex than previous surface spills and leaks. Huge plumes of oil below the surface were hard or impossible to collect, especially since most of the oil clean up techniques we had focused on retrieval at the surface. In the years since Deepwater Horizon, there have been numerous technologies invented that would make clean up of another large oil spill more effective. Now, researchers at Argonne National Laboratory have invented a material that may be the best and most revolutionary oil spill solution yet. The scientists have invented a new foam material that acts like a sponge and absorbs oil from the water while repelling water. That's not the unique part. The sponge can be reused and is able to collect oil from the entire water column, not just the surface. We've seen previous sponge materials that can pull the oil from the surface of the water, but this sponge is truly groundbreaking because of ability to pull oil from the depths of water as well. The material called the Oleo Sponge can be wrung out and the collected oil can be recovered. The sponge can then be re-submerged to collect more oil. “The Oleo Sponge offers a set of possibilities that, as far as we know, are unprecedented,” said co-inventor Seth Darling, a scientist with Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials and a fellow of the University of Chicago’s Institute for Molecular Engineering. The sponge is made from a normal polyurethane foam but it's oil grabbing properties come from the application of oil-loving molecules to the surface. The material is primed with a thin layer of metal oxide on the surface which act as a grippy surface for the molecules. The oil-loving molecules cling to the sponge on one end and then pull in oil on the other. In tests, the scientists filled a giant tank with seawater and diesel and crude oil and the Oleo sponge successfully absorbed the oils from both the surface and below. It was also able to be reused again and again without a decline in performance. “The technique offers enormous flexibility, and can be adapted to other types of cleanup besides oil in seawater. You could attach a different molecule to grab any specific substance you need,” said Argonne chemist Jeff Elam. One potential application beyond just major oil spill clean up is to use the material for regular cleaning of ports and harbors where diesel and oil accumulate over time from heavy ship activity. The team is currently looking to commercialize the material. You can watch this amazing sponge in action below.


News Article | April 27, 2017
Site: www.materialstoday.com

For the chips in our computers and smartphones to get faster and faster, their components – the circuits and wires through which signals flow – have to get smaller and smaller. The miniaturization of these wires has already taken scientists on a journey almost to the atomic level, but now they have begun to address – and even surmount – certain barriers in physics that have prevented them from making even smaller wires. In a recent study, researchers from the US Department of Energy (DOE)'s Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Chicago and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a new way to create some of the world's thinnest wires. And they have done this with a process that could allow the mass manufacturing of these wires with standard types of equipment. They report their advance in a paper in Nature Nanotechnology. Templated assembly, or directed self-assembly, as it is known, represents an easier and more cost-effective way to make nanowires with widths below 10nm (about 100 atoms thick). In this study, the self-assembling materials are large molecules known as block copolymers, which are the two-headed beasts of the chemical world – one end is water-loving, the other end is water-hating. Upon heating, they spontaneously form highly uniform structures at the molecular scale. On their own, however, the block copolymers used in this study would form a pattern that looks like a fingerprint or a piece of brain coral – useless for the creation of functional nanowires. The key to changing that pattern into something more ordered is the use of chemically-patterned templates. Past approaches to making tiny ordered nanostructures used expensive specialized optics to direct extreme wavelengths of light or electron beams to etch patterns line-by-line. This new approach involves creating a chemical pattern as a template using these same tools at relatively low resolutions, and then filling in the template to fabricate high-resolution patterns using the self-assembling material. For very high-resolution block copolymer systems, a ‘topcoat’ can be added during the process. This topcoat constrains the way the block copolymers self-assemble, forcing them into a regular, ordered structure perpendicular to the surface they are grown on. "Think of it like baking a cake," said Argonne nanoscientist Leonidas Ocola, a co-author of the study. "Without a mold for the cake, it can bake in a shape you don't want it to bake. Having the mold gives it that shape that you want. The mold creates boundary conditions needed to define the shape you want." "The topcoat and underlying lithographic pattern work together to guide the formation of the nanostructure and provide the morphology we want," he added. Although self-assembling materials in nanomanufacturing have been known for quite a while, using block copolymers with the topcoat creates patterns that can produce dense arrays of tiny wires. "A systems-level understanding of the template, topcoat and self-assembling block copolymer is the key to the whole process – you need to find a way to induce the block copolymer film to assembly into desired architectures for manufacturing, and be able to transfer the pattern of the block copolymer into the actual device materials, such as semiconducting silicon wires or conducting copper wires," explained Paul Nealey, professor in molecular engineering at the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago and another author of the study. Because the topcoat polymer layer does not need to be removed prior to the pattern transfer steps, and additional layers can be patterned on top of the topcoat, the system can be used to build up many kinds of complex patterns, as would be needed for the interconnections of a microchip. Most microchip manufacturing facilities use existing lithographic methods, and the chemical vapor deposition process used to create the topcoat is itself a well-understood additional step that could be added relatively easily. Thus, implementing the new method could be much more straightforward than other proposed methods of making finer lines. With the new method, "you wouldn't need to change all those machines," said co-author Karen Gleason, MIT associate provost and professor of chemical engineering. "And everything that's involved are well-known materials." This story is adapted from material from Argonne National Laboratory, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier. Link to original source.


Abadie V.,University of Chicago | Sollid L.M.,University of Oslo | Barreiro L.B.,University of Chicago | Jabri B.,University of Chicago
Annual Review of Immunology | Year: 2011

Celiac disease (CD) is a gluten-sensitive enteropathy that develops in genetically susceptible individuals by exposure to cereal gluten proteins. This review integrates insights from immunological studies with results of recent genetic genome-wide association studies into a disease model. Genetic data, among others, suggest that viral infections are implicated and that natural killer effector pathways are important in the pathogenesis of CD, but most prominently these data converge with existing immunological findings that CD is primarily a T cellâ€"mediated immune disorder in which CD4 + T cells that recognize gluten peptides in the context of major histocompatibility class II molecules play a central role. Comparison of genetic pathways as well as genetic susceptibility loci between CD and other autoimmune and inflammatory disorders reveals that CD bears stronger resemblance to T cellâ€"mediated organ-specific autoimmune than to inflammatory diseases. Finally, we present evidence suggesting that the high prevalence of CD in modern societies may be the by-product of past selection for increased immune responses to combat infections in populations in which agriculture and cereals were introduced early on in the post-Neolithic period. © 2011 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.


Raju A.,National University of Singapore | Chang D.W.,University of Chicago
Annals of Surgery | Year: 2015

Objective: A comprehensive literature review of VLNT with updates and comparisons on current application, techniques, results, studies and possible future implications. Background: Lymphedema is a debilitating condition that often results secondary to treatment of cancer. Unfortunately there is no cure. However, microsurgical procedures such as VLNT has gained popularity as there have been increasing reports that VLNT may help alleviate the severity of lymphedema. Methods: A review of literature was conducted over major medical indices (PubMed-MEDLINE, Factiva, Scopus, Sciencedirect, EMBASE). Search terms were focused on vascularized, lymph node transfer (also autologous, lymph node transplant) to cover both human and animal studies. Each study was verified for the nature of the procedure; a free microsurgical flap containing lymph nodes for the purpose of relieving lymphedema. Results: There are human and animal studies that individually report clear benefits, but because of methodological shortcomings comparative studies with uniform patient selection and monitoring are lacking. Conclusions: Although the results with the use of VLNT for treatment of lymphedema have been largely positive, further exploration into standardized protocols for diagnosis, treatment optimization, and patient outcomes assessment is needed. © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


Hooper D.,Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory | Hooper D.,University of Chicago | Slatyer T.R.,Institute for Advanced Study
Physics of the Dark Universe | Year: 2013

We study the variation of the spectrum of the Fermi Bubbles with Galactic latitude. Far from the Galactic plane (|b| ≳ 30°), the observed gamma-ray emission is nearly invariant with latitude, and is consistent with arising from inverse Compton scattering of the interstellar radiation field by cosmic-ray electrons with an approximately power-law spectrum. The same electrons in the presence of microgauss-scale magnetic fields can also generate the the observed microwave "haze". At lower latitudes (|b| ≲ 20°), in contrast, the spectrum of the emission correlated with the Bubbles possesses a pronounced spectral feature peaking at ~1-4GeV (in E2dN/dE) which cannot be generated by any realistic spectrum of electrons. Instead, we conclude that a second (non-inverse-Compton) emission mechanism must be responsible for the bulk of the low-energy, low-latitude emission. This second component is spectrally similar to the excess GeV emission previously reported from the Galactic Center (GC), and also appears spatially consistent with a luminosity per volume falling approximately as r-2.4, where r is the distance from the GC. Consequently, we argue that the spectral feature visible in the low-latitude Bubbles is most likely the extended counterpart of the GC excess, now detected out to at least ~2-3 kpc from the GC. The spectrum and angular distribution of the signal is broadly consistent with that predicted from ~10GeV dark matter particles annihilating to leptons, or from ~50GeV dark matter particles annihilating to quarks, following a distribution similar to, but slightly steeper than, the canonical Navarro-Frenk-White (NFW) profile. We also consider millisecond pulsars as a possible astrophysical explanation for the signal, as observed millisecond pulsars possess a spectral cutoff at approximately the required energy. Any such scenario would require a large population of unresolved millisecond pulsars extending at least 2-3 kpc from the GC. © 2013 The Authors.


Harms M.J.,University of Oregon | Thornton J.W.,University of Oregon | Thornton J.W.,University of Chicago
Nature Reviews Genetics | Year: 2013

The repertoire of proteins and nucleic acids in the living world is determined by evolution; their properties are determined by the laws of physics and chemistry. Explanations of these two kinds of causality-the purviews of evolutionary biology and biochemistry, respectively-are typically pursued in isolation, but many fundamental questions fall squarely at the interface of fields. Here we articulate the paradigm of evolutionary biochemistry, which aims to dissect the physical mechanisms and evolutionary processes by which biological molecules diversified and to reveal how their physical architecture facilitates and constrains their evolution. We show how an integration of evolution with biochemistry moves us towards a more complete understanding of why biological molecules have the properties that they do. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


The Affordable Care Act's expansion of insurance coverage is expected to increase demand for primary care services. We estimate that the national increase in demand for such services will require 7,200 additional primary care providers, or 2.5 percent of the current supply. On average, that increased demand is unlikely to prove disruptive. But when we examined how this increased demand will be experienced in different areas of the country, we found considerable variability: Seven million people live in areas where the expected increase in demand for providers is greater than 10 percent of baseline supply, and forty-four million people live in areas with an expected increase in demand above 5 percent of baseline supply. These findings highlight the need to promote policies that encourage more primary care providers and community health centers to practice in areas with the greatest expected need for services. © 2013 Project HOPE-The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc.


Cacioppo J.T.,University of Chicago | Cacioppo S.,University of Chicago | Capitanio J.P.,University of California at Davis | Cole S.W.,University of California at Los Angeles
Annual Review of Psychology | Year: 2015

Social isolation has been recognized as a major risk factor for morbidity and mortality in humans for more than a quarter of a century. Although the focus of research has been on objective social roles and health behavior, the brain is the key organ for forming, monitoring, maintaining, repairing, and replacing salutary connections with others. Accordingly, population-based longitudinal research indicates that perceived social isolation (loneliness) is a risk factor for morbidity and mortality independent of objective social isolation and health behavior. Human and animal investigations of neuroendocrine stress mechanisms that may be involved suggest that (a) chronic social isolation increases the activation of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenocortical axis, and (b) these effects are more dependent on the disruption of a social bond between a significant pair than objective isolation per se. The relational factors and neuroendocrine, neurobiological, and genetic mechanisms that may contribute to the association between perceived isolation and mortality are reviewed. © 2015 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.


Sollid L.M.,University of Oslo | Jabri B.,University of Chicago
Current Opinion in Immunology | Year: 2011

Posttranslational modification (PTM) of antigen is a way to break T-cell tolerance to self-antigens and promote autoimmunity. However, the precise mechanisms by which modifications would facilitate autoimmune T-cell responses and how they relate to particular autoimmune-associated MHC molecules remain elusive. Celiac disease is a T-cell mediated enteropathy with a strong HLA association where the immune response is directed mainly against deamidated cereal gluten peptides that have been modified by the enzyme transglutaminase 2. The disease is further characterized by autoantibodies to transglutaminase 2 that have extraordinary high disease specificity and sensitivity. There have been important advances in the knowledge of celiac disease pathogenesis, and these insights may be applicable to other autoimmune disorders where PTM plays a role. This insight gives clues for understanding the involvement of PTMs in other autoimmune diseases. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: STFC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 879.19K | Year: 2016

How from a cloud of dust and gas did we arrive at a planet capable of supporting life? This is one of the most fundamental of questions, and engages everyone from school children to scientists. We now know much of the answer: We know that stars, such as our Sun, form by the collapse of interstellar clouds of dust and gas. We know that planets, such as Earth, are constructed in a disk around their host star known as the planetary nebula, formed by the rotation of the collapsing cloud of dust and gas. We know that 4.5 billion years ago in the solar nebula, surrounding the young Sun, all the objects in our Solar System were created through a process called accretion. And among all those bodies the only habitable world yet discovered on which life evolved is Earth. There is, however, much that we still do not know about how our Solar System formed. Why, for example, are all the planets so different? Why is Venus an inferno with a thick carbon dioxide atmosphere, Mars a frozen rock with a thin atmosphere, and Earth a haven for life? The answer lies in events that predated the assembly of these planets; it lies in the early history of the nebula and the events that occurred as fine-dust stuck together to form larger objects known as planetesimals; and in how those planetesimals changed through collisions, heating and the effects of water to become the building blocks of planets. Our research will follow the evolution of planetary materials from the origins of the first dust grains in the protoplanetary disk, through the assembly of planetesimals within the solar nebula to the modification of these objects as and after they became planets. Evidence preserved in meteorites provides a record of our Solar Systems evolution. Meteorites, together with cosmic dust particles, retain the fine-dust particles from the solar nebula. These dust grains are smaller than a millionth of a metre but modern microanalysis can expose their minerals and compositions. We will study the fine-grained components of meteorites and cosmic dust to investigate how fine-dust began accumulating in the solar nebula; how heating by an early hot nebula and repeated short heating events from collisions affected aggregates of dust grains; and whether magnetic fields helped control the distribution of dust in the solar nebula. We will also use numerical models to simulate how the first, fluffy aggregates of dust were compacted to become rock. As well as the rocky and metallic materials that make up the planets, our research will examine the source of Earths water and the fate of organic materials that were crucial to the origins of life. By analysing the isotopes of the volatile elements Zn, Cd and Te in meteorites and samples of Earth, Moon and Mars we will establish the source and timing of water and other volatiles delivered to the planets in the inner Solar System. In addition, through newly developed methods we can trace the history of organic matter in meteorites from their formation in interstellar space, through the solar nebula and into planetesimals. Reading the highly sensitive record in organic matter will reveal how cosmic chemistry furnished the Solar System with the raw materials for life. Once the planets finally formed, their materials continued to change by surface processes such as impacts and the flow of water. Our research will examine how impacts of asteroids and comets shaped planetary crusts and whether this bombardment endangered or aided the emergence of life. We will also study the planet Mars, which provides a second example of a planetary body on which life could have appeared. Imagery of ancient lakes on Mars will reveal a crucial period in the planets history, when global climate change transformed the planet into an arid wasteland, to evaluate the opportunity for organisms to adapt and survive and identify targets for future rover and sample return missions.


Patent
Instituto Nacional Of Enfermedades Respiratorias Ismael Cosio Villegas, University of Chicago and University of Pittsburgh | Date: 2014-05-14

The present invention relates to the discovery that of a panel of serum or plasma markers may be used to diagnose Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) and distinguish this condition from other lung ailments. It further relates to the identification of markers associated with IPF disease progression.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2011.5.2 | Award Amount: 5.17M | Year: 2013

Breast cancer is frequent and life threatening, but curable if detected early. Early detection and comprehensive characterisation of findings require optimized imaging and image understanding to maximise detection of significant disease while preventing overdiagnosis. Personalised predictive modeling of breast cancer allows treatment stratification, preventing unnecessary and unsuccessful treatments. VPH-PRISM addresses these key topics with integrated multidisciplinary, multi-scale ICT modeling of breast tissue microstructure in the context of environmental, genetic, and clinical factors.Key challenges include establishment of combined biomarkers from the automated analysis and spatial correlation of digital pathology and advanced breast imaging. Tissue characterisation includes the peritumoral stroma, a key in tumour progression and therapy response. Comprehensive clinical breast cancer phenotypes are extracted from prospectively collected multidisciplinary data. Interactions of environmental and genetic factors with specific breast tissue patterns are analysed in three large ongoing population-based imaging cohorts. A standard breast model enables efficient, combined statistical modeling of sparsely sampled and heterogeneous, large-scale data across disciplines, scales, structures, time and patients.Using the developed tools and models, and the data collected, we will: improve estimates of tumour spread to aid surgery and assess chemo- and radiotherapeutic response optimise multi-modal imaging methods through biophysical forward modeling of image formation for more efficient phenotyping and imaging biomarkers predict personal risks for cancer progression and select optimal treatment strategiesVPH-PRISM will provide a proof of concept for multidisciplinary model based discovery of environment-tissue interactions, quantitative drug efficacy assessment, surgery planning, and treatment outcome prediction at early and advanced stages of breast cancer.


Bramante J.,University of Notre Dame | Linden T.,University of Chicago
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2014

The paucity of old millisecond pulsars observed at the galactic center of the Milky Way could be the result of dark matter accumulating in and destroying neutron stars. In regions of high dark matter density, dark matter clumped in a pulsar can exceed the Schwarzschild limit and collapse into a natal black hole which destroys the pulsar. We examine what dark matter models are consistent with this hypothesis and find regions of parameter space where dark matter accumulation can significantly degrade the neutron star population within the galactic center while remaining consistent with observations of old millisecond pulsars in globular clusters and near the solar position. We identify what dark matter couplings and masses might cause a young pulsar at the galactic center to unexpectedly extinguish. Finally, we find that pulsar collapse age scales inversely with the dark matter density and linearly with the dark matter velocity dispersion. This implies that maximum pulsar age is spatially dependent on position within the dark matter halo of the Milky Way. In turn, this pulsar age spatial dependence will be dark matter model dependent. © 2014 American Physical Society.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Fellowship | Award Amount: 1.24M | Year: 2013

The main aim of this project is to explore novel emergent phenomena in far from equilibrium quantum systems across different fields of research: from solid-state light-matter systems such as superconducting circuits, semiconductor micro-structures and quantum spins to ultra-cold atomic gases. Such cross-fertilisation between traditionally distinct areas is an essential ingredient in successful approach to understanding far from equilibrium collective processes together with the development of new efficient theoretical tools. EPSRC Physics Grand Challenge Survey has identified that compared with that of equilibrium states, our understanding of states far from equilibrium is in its infancy and that on the theory front, there are significant gaps in knowledge, especially in quantum theory. At the same time the problem is of considerable scientific and technological importance and with unforeseeable potential for applications. We shall study exotic quantum orders, bistabilities, pattern formation and other collective phenomena in state-of-the art light-matter systems. An important aspect of our project is to focus on systems, or their features, which in the longer run could lead to potential device applications: from polariton lasers and LEDs, low threshold optical switches, optical transistors, logic gates and finally polariton integrated circuits to quantum computers. Our theoretical analysis will be linked directly to the experiments of our project partners worldwide.


Patent
UT Batlelle LLC and University of Chicago | Date: 2012-10-22

Azelaic acid or its derivatives or analogs induce a robust and a speedier defense response against pathogens in plants. Azelaic acid treatment alone does not induce many of the known defense-related genes but activates a plants defense signaling upon pathogen exposure.


Patent
University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign and University of Chicago | Date: 2014-03-14

Compositions and methods are provided for treating or inhibiting a bacterial infection involving at least one antibiotic and a compound that potentiates the antibiotic activity of the antibiotic. In certain embodiments the antibiotic is a beta lactam. In further embodiments, the antibiotic is oxacillin. In additional embodiments, the potentiating compound is an inhibitor of vraSR operon expression. In specific embodiments, the bacterial infection involves an antibiotic-resistant bacteria.


Hillar C.J.,Mathematical science Research Institute | Lim L.-H.,University of Chicago
Journal of the ACM | Year: 2013

We prove that multilinear (tensor) analogues of many efficiently computable problems in numerical linear algebra are NP-hard. Our list includes: determining the feasibility of a system of bilinear equations, deciding whether a 3-tensor possesses a given eigenvalue, singular value, or spectral norm; approximating an eigenvalue, eigenvector, singular vector, or the spectral norm; and determining the rank or best rank-1 approximation of a 3-tensor. Furthermore, we show that restricting these problems to symmetric tensors does not alleviate their NP-hardness. We also explain how deciding nonnegative definiteness of a symmetric 4-tensor is NP-hard and how computing the combinatorial hyperdeterminant is NP-, #P-, and VNP-hard. Categories and Subject Descriptors: G.1.3 [Numerical Analysis]: Numerical Linear Algebra General Terms: Algorithms, Theory Additional Key Words and Phrases: Numerical multilinear algebra, tensor rank, tensor eigenvalue, tensor singular value, tensor spectral norm, system of multilinear equations, hyperdeterminants, symmetric tensors, nonnegative definite tensors, bivariate matrix polynomials, NP-hardness, #P-hardness, VNP-hardness, undecidability, polynomial time approximation schemes. © 2013 ACM.

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