What We Can’t Measure

first_imgDid you create value during that sales call? How much value exactly? What was your dream client’s perception of the value that you created?Did you influence the buying process? Did you create trust? How much trust?Does your dream client like you? Are you more likable than your competitors? What is the depth of your relationship? Is it as strong as it should be? What metric are you using to determine the strength of your individual relationship?Did you uncover your prospective client’s real motivations? Is the worldview they described really their view, or is it the company line? Is the buying criteria they described what will really be used to make the decision? Or is it really a price decision with the criteria serving to justify a lower price later?This list could continue on interminably.The world is ruled by invisible forces. Most of what effects our lives, including the outcome of a sales opportunity, can’t be seen. We can measure much, but what we can glean from those measurements doesn’t often reveal anything we can rely on with anything that resembles a scientific certitude.Keep Your Processes and MethodologiesBut none of this is to suggest that you shouldn’t follow a sales process and good sales methodologies. It doesn’t mean that generalizations and patterns aren’t valuable. There are many generalizations worth capturing and implementing. In fact, much of what we do in life is following patterns that work (or worked at some time).If your dream client agrees to take the next step with you, then there is some good, even if less than scientific, evidence that you created value during a your sales interaction. If you are denied that future appointment, there is some evidence that you might not have crated value.We capture this agreement to advance as proof positive that enough value was created. Scientific? No. Close enough for rock-n-roll? Absolutely.If you ask for and obtain the information you need to help your dream client, then there is some good evidence that you have established some level of trust. If you are denied the information you need, then there may be some evidence that your dream client doesn’t trust you with the information–or they don’t trust you to do anything worthwhile with the information.When you acquire information, it likely means you can close some gate in your sales process. Does this mean your dream client trusts you like their oldest friend? Well, not necessarily, but nor must it. It means that, as far as your sales process is concerned, you’ve earned enough to move forward.We can’t measure most of what’s really important. But the questions at the beginning of the post, difficult as they are to answer, are the important questions. The best we can do is capture and measure some outcomes that give us some evidence that what we are doing is working–and what we are doing that isn’t.QuestionsBecause something is difficult to measure does that make it unimportant?What are the important factors that lead to a sale that can’t be measured?What do we measure instead?How do we align what we can measure with what we can’t measure? Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

7 Tests for Your Value Proposition

first_img Get the Free eBook! Learn how to sell without a sales manager. Download my free eBook! You need to make sales. You need help now. We’ve got you covered. This eBook will help you Seize Your Sales Destiny, with or without a manager. Download Now This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.You want your value proposition to compel your dream client to take action? Here are seven questions you need to ask and answer to test the potency and effectiveness of your value proposition.(1) Is it different? If you want your value proposition to do its job for you, you need it to speak to your differentiation strategy. You need it do drive a wedge between your dream client and your competitors. Can anybody do what you do the way you do it?(2) Is it compelling? If your value proposition doesn’t speak to your dream client’s business drivers and their strategic goals, then it isn’t compelling. If it isn’t compelling, then it isn’t an effective value proposition. How does it speak to the need for change?(3) Is it tailored? You start with a very general value proposition as to how your company creates value. But as you engage with the stakeholders within your dream client company, you create a more specific value proposition tailored to their needs. If it isn’t tailored to their individual needs, it isn’t compelling.(4) Is it measurable? Your value proposition must be measurable. You may not need to get to a complex or complicated return on investment analysis, but you do need to describe how you will measure the new results you help your dream clients produce.(5) Is it time-bound? Part of what makes a value proposition compelling is that it describes a benefit against time. Without making your value proposition time-bound your dream client doesn’t have to act with any urgency. By tying it to some measure of time you can better describe the cost of inaction.(6) Is it easy to remember? Your value proposition can’t be so complex and complicated that your contacts can’t remember it. it It needs to be a simple summary of the value you create. Remember, you can support it with as much documentation and as much proof as necessary. The value prop is a summary statement.(7) Is it defendable? The contacts within your dream client company are going to have to defend the value you create within their company. The more clearly and concisely you can define that value, and the more clearly it is tied to their strategic initiatives and outcomes, the easier it is to defend. Remember, you won’t be there when these conversations take place.Did your value proposition pass these tests?last_img read more

The Hustler’s Playbook: Hustlers Control Their State

first_imgThe hustler exercises control over their attitude. They control their mental state, ensuring that they are in the right frame of mind to produce the results they need (at work or at play). The hustler is optimistic and empowered. The hustler chooses their attitude; they don’t allow their attitude to choose them.The non-hustler, on the hand, doesn’t control their attitude. Instead, they let their attitude control them. They allow themselves to become frustrated. They soak up negativity like a sponge until they are either negative or cynical or both. The non-hustler’s attitude controls them, disempowering them and preventing them from producing the results that hustlers produce.Hustlers also control their energy level. They control their energy by developing healthy habits, like good sleep, good diet, and good exercise. They willing give up a little time to take care of their energy level so they have more of it to apply to producing. You need a strong power plant to hustle.Non-hustlers lack the energy to get things done. Their power sources are weak, and they are tired and run down. They don’t even have the energy to walk at a pace that indicates that they have somewhere to be and something important to do. Ever see a hustler walk? It looks like their racing to reach some imagined finish line.Hustlers are passionate and enthusiastic. They can easily will themselves into a mental state of excitement. One of the reasons hustlers produce outsized results is because they bring outsized passion and enthusiasm to what they do. That passion infects others.But the non-hustler is dispassionate. Being passionate would betray their too-cool-for-school cynicism. The non-hustler believes approaching anything with enthusiasm would betray the fact that they actually care about something or that they drank the Kool-Aid. Sadly, the non-hustler can infect others with their lack of passion, too.Hustlers control their state. Non-hustlers let their state control them. Get the Free eBook! Want to master cold calling? Download my free eBook! Many would have you believe that cold calling is dead, but the successful have no fear of the phone; they use it to outproduce their competitors. Download Nowlast_img read more

Velocity and Your Speed to Results

first_imgIn sales, fast is slow and slow is fast. This means the more time you take to to be present, create value, and help your dream client, the faster things move forward. The faster you try to go and the more you try to “cram” relationships, trust-building, and moving through your process before serving your buyer’s needs, the slower things go.There is a serious exception to this general principle: prospecting. When it comes to opening new relationships and creating opportunities, velocity matters a great deal, especially when many salespeople and sales organizations are opportunity starved.The ListImagine that someone provides you with a list. This list includes the name and phone number of 1,000 prospects. The person providing you that list tells you that there is no less than $5,000,000 in new sales in this list, all that revenue coming from prospects that are right in your sweet spot. All you have to do is accept the list, and start prospecting to collect the $5,000,000 in revenue.How long does it take you to make the calls and find the $5,000,000 in revenue?Slow DialingIf you made 10 calls a day, or 50 calls a week, it would take you 20 weeks to make your first contact with every person on the list. Minus holidays and vacation, that’s about half a year.Making 20 calls a day cuts your time in half. By making 100 calls a week, you make your calls in 10 weeks, less than a quarter of the year.But we are looking at “dials” here, “attempted” calls, not actually conversations. The reality is that most of your calls are going to go to voicemail. Even if you leave an excellent message, you aren’t likely to get a lot of calls back.If you were to dial 40 numbers a day, you’d be through your first attempt in 5 weeks. You’d have reached some percentage of the people you dialed and, depending on how effective you are on the phone, you’d have found opportunities, more if you’ve got chops, less if you don’t.Your Real MathLet’s assume you have a targeted list of 200 dream clients that are qualified, not some random list of 1,000 leads full of hidden opportunities. How long does it take you make it through that list?The speed at which you prospect is the speed you open new relationships and create new opportunities. The slower you go, the less likely you are to have a killer pipeline, and the longer it takes you to build your book of business.Fast is slow and slow is fast in human relationships. But faster is better when it comes to prospecting. In prospecting, you want velocity.How long it takes you to succeed is a personal decision.last_img read more

Chhota Rajan gang member nabbed in Pune

first_imgPune: The city police nabbed Swapnil Kulkarni (27), a criminal of the Chhota Rajan gang, from Sahakarnagar area on Thursday evening.Kulkarni, a history-sheeter, has been associated with the Chhota Rajan gang since 2010.Police sources said Kulkarni is wanted in several cases of murder, attempt to murder and dacoity.According to the Sahakarnagar police, a carbine, three country-made revolvers and 21 cartridges of different bores were seized from him. The cartridges were purportedly from the ammunition factory in the city’s Khadki area.The police are attempting to ascertain how they came in Kulkarni’s possession.According to the police, Kulkarni is believed to be plotting a murder with these arms, which he allegedly obtained from a dealer in Nashik district.In 2012, he was involved in a firing near the Shivajinagar Sessions Court, while in 2015, he was briefly arrested. The Rajan gang have a history of crimes in the city.Indoesian police intercepted Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje alias Chotta Rajan on October 25, 2015, based on a tip off by the Australian authorities from Canberra, after he landed at Denpasar airport in Bali. His arrest was on the basis of an Interpol red-corner notice issued against him in 1995 for committing criminal acts such as murder, running an organised crime syndicate, conspiracy etc.Rajan is currently awaiting trial in CBI custody. He was wanted in the shooting of Shiv Sena leader Ajay Bhosale during an Assembly election campaign in Pune’s Koregaon Park area in October 2009. While Bhosale was unhurt, his driver was injured in the shooting. Rajan is also a suspect in the 2003 murder of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) corporator Satish Misal. The gangster had also allegedly demanded extortion money from a hotelier in the city’s posh Salisbury Park in 1996.last_img read more

Indian Consul in U.S. to monitor probe into missing Goan sailor

first_imgPanaji – Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar informed the Assembly on Wednesday that an official at the Indian Consulate in San Francisco has been appointed to oversee the investigation into the disappearance of a sailor aboard a cruise vessel last month.Mr. Parrikar said, “The Consul General has assigned consul K. Venkata Ramana to investigate the matter. The investigation is ongoing and the final report is awaited.” Mr. Parikkar was responding to a question from Congress MLA Aleixo Reginaldo during the question hour on the first day of the winter session of the Assembly.Symron Almeida, who hails from Cuncolim village in South Goa, went missing on November 9 while working on board Carnival Cruise Line’s Inspiration vessel, which was travelling from Mexico to Los Angeles.Airport to remain openMr. Parrikar also said that the Dabolim international airport, a military facility operating from an Indian Navy base in South Goa, would continue to operate civilian flights when the Mopa International airport in North Goa becomes operational in 2020. Mr. Parrikar was replying to a question tabled by Congress MLA Francisco Silveira. In response to another question by BJP MLA Rajesh Patnekar, Mr. Parrikar said the first phase of the Mopa greenfield project would be commissioned by September 2020. “GMR Goa International Airport Limited has started pre-construction work,” Mr. Parrikar said in a written reply.’Curbs on hawkersMeanwhile, Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar said the State government would restrict the movement of Lamanis, members of a nomadic tribe, vagabonds and hawkers on beaches frequented by tourists.last_img read more

Ian Botham is contesting Meghalaya elections, so is Kennedy

first_imgIan Botham is contesting the Meghalaya Assembly polls. So are Frankenstein, Kennedy and Nehru.If you are thinking cricket — or monster, or global leaders of the last century — think again.Ian Botham K. Sangma is the National People’s Party (NPP) candidate for the Salmanpara seat. He is being billed as the prime challenger to the Congress incumbent who lived up to his name — Winnerson D. Sangma — in 2013.NPP, which former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno Agitok Sangma had acquired from a Manipur-based regional party, is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party-helmed North East Democratic Alliance.If Ian Botham Sangma is a newcomer, fellow-party leader Frankenstein W. Momin is a veteran contesting the Mendipathar seat. Mr. Momin had last won the seat as a Congress leader in 2008.Miles away, to the east of Mendipathar, is the Mawphlang constituency which another veteran — Kennedy Cornelius Khyriem — seeks to retain for the Congress. Not far away in the Pynursla seat is Nehru Suting of the regional United Democratic Party (UDP), who has a formidable opponent in sitting Congress MLA Prestone Tynsong.Mr. Suting is not the only Nehru contesting the polls. There’s Nehru D. Sangma, an independent for the Gambegre seat.“Many in Meghalaya have fancy names, perhaps to sound different,” said former bureaucrat Toki Blah, agreeing the names some candidates have are attributes often not associated with politicians.Instances are Innocent Shadap, the regional Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement candidate for the Nartiang seat; Rightious N Sangma of the Nationalist Congress Party, contesting the Salmanpara seat; and Probety Nongpluh of NPP, contesting from Pynthorumkhrah.Some candidates flaunt the names of major cities around the globe. They include Boston Marak of People’s Democratic Front (Salmanpara), Holando Lamin of Congress (Amlarem), Polanding Sohphoh of BJP (Mawkyrwat), Chris Kabul A. Sangma of UDP and Dilliram G Marak, an independent (both Selsella).Some candidates exude lineage in their names. Examples are Wellborn Bynnud, an independent (Shella), Hispreaching Son Shylla of NPP (Nongkrem), Good Leaderson Nongsiej of PDF (Nongstoin).A few are strength personified, such as Sounder Strong Cajee of NPP (South Shillong) and Pillarson G. Momin of PDF (Mawshynrut).Others radiate confidence or are at ease with the poll process. Just ask Comingone Ymbon, NPP’s candidate for Raliang, Hopeful Bamon (NPP, Sutnga-Saipung) and Comfort Dolloi, an independent whose rivals in Jirang include Witness Day Sancley of the Congress.Then there are the seemingly dangerous Bomber Sing Hynniewta (Independent, Mylliem) and Mafiara T Sangma of Garo National Council (Mahendraganj).Also in the fray are Couple Stone Shllya, Moonlight Pariat, Firstborn Nongtdu, Highlander Kharmalki, Predecessor Rumong, Process T Sawkmie, Firstborn Nongtdu, Eureka FP Lyngdoh, Councellor Singh Wahlang, Blandingstar Warjri and Morningstar Mawsor.If you find some of these hilarious, you have probably never heard of Hilarius Pochchen, the PDF candidate for the Nongkrem seat.last_img read more

Raj Thackeray to begin Maharashtra tour on May 1

first_imgMumbai: With no organisational structure to escalate the party’s electoral performance and lack of second rank leadership, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray is set to begin a State-wide tour from May 1 to overcome his party’s shortcomings. In the first leg of the tour, from May 1 to 5, Mr. Thackeray will be travelling to Palghar and Thane. According to party sources, Mr. Thackeray will be addressing only one public rally in his tour which will be in Vasai on Tuesday evening. “He will focus more on meeting local leaders of the party, and also meet individuals from different walks of life to understand their view about the MNS and improvements required in the party functioning,” said an MNS leader. On Monday Mr. Thackeray made his Twitter debut with official handle @RajThackeray. Few months ago he had launched his official Facebook page where he has been sharing his cartoons and comments on political developments.Mr. Thackeray has been a vocal critic of the bullet train project between Ahmedabad and Bandra. He has planned his visit along the proposed rail route and is likely to raise the issue during the tour. Mr Thackeray will be visiting Palghar, Boisar and Wada on May 2. On May 3, he will visit Bhiwandi and Shahapur, on May 4 he will visit Murbad and Ulhasnagar and will spend last day in Badlapur. “In the next leg he will visit Konkan. All regions will be covered phase-wise,” said the leader.last_img read more

Farmer commits suicide ahead of 10-day stir in M.P.

first_imgA day before the 10-day ‘Gaon Bandh’ called by farmers’ groups in Madhya Pradesh from June 1, a farmer committed suicide in Raisen district, the third such incident in a week. The earlier two suicides were reported from the State’s tribal-dominated Betul district on Friday and Saturday.The Raisen district police said Dilip Dhakad (50), a resident of Nayagaon Kala village, Bareli tehsil, consumed some pesticide in the intervening night of May 28-29. He was rushed to Bareli Community Health Centre and later to a hospital in the State capital where he died on May 29.Loan burdenOfficials said Dilip had taken a loan of ₹3 lakh. However, he received only ₹20,000, as ₹50,000 was deducted as loan repayment. “My father wanted to sell a piece of our farm to repay the debts. For this he has approached several potential buyers too, ” said Ramesh, Dilip’s son. The suicide is expected to have a huge impact on the ‘gaon bandh’ agitation from June 1 to 10. During the 10 days, villages will not supply agricultural produce to urban areas.Fearing shortage of vegetables, milk and other farm produce during the agitation, people are stocking perishable items in Mandsaur, Neemuch, Indore, Ujjain, Ratlam, Shajapur, Bhopal, Sehore and several other districts.Request to farmersDistrict officials are requesting the farmers to supply their produce to the cities as in absence of proper cold storage, their perishable items may rot.According to Bhopal District Collector Sudam Khade, officials have been instructed to keep the mandis open on Sunday and communicate with the farmers to maintain supply.Ahead of the stir, the Bhopal Milk Federation has geared up to meet any short supply. It has already stored 2,000 tonnes of milk powder and 2,200 tonnes of butter. The federation supplies 3.30 lakh litres of milk and other products daily to 11 districts surrounding Bhopal, said a senior official here.”I have spoken to collectors of nearby districts to ensure milk supply in the coming 10 days,” said Abhishek Singh, CEO, Bhopal Milk Federation.During last year’s agitation, the farmers had dumped tonnes of their produce on the roads and drained several litres of milk, affecting the supply of perishable item to the urban areas. They were demanding appropriate price for their produce and loan waiver. The agitation took an ugly turn when six protesting farmers were shot dead by the police during violence in Mandsaur, the epicentre of the 2017 protests.Precautionary measuresAs this year’s agitation is on similar lines, the State government has taken several precautionary measures to deal with any untoward situation. According to Makrand Deuskar, IG (Intelligence), additional force has been deployed in 35 districts of the State in the wake of the farmers’ agitation. Nearly, 10,000 canes, chest guards and additional vehicles have also been sent to the districts.The Mandsaur and Neemuch district administrations have identified troublemakers and asked them to sign a “peace bond” promising not to create any nuisance during the 10-day agitation. “Nearly 1,200 possible troublemakers have been told to sign the peace bond,” said Amit Singh, Superintendent of Police, Mandsaur district. .last_img read more

Ad hoc teachers facing insecurity

first_imgForty classes a month for an in-hand monthly salary of just ₹25,000 — or just about a third of the salary of a regular college teacher at the beginning level —in a Central university after having a PhD degree under one’s belt.Strange as it may sound, this is the condition of guest teachers at Allahabad University, a Central university now on the decline but boasting a glorious past.While Teachers’ Day is celebrated each year on September 5 amid usual words of praise for the teaching profession, Allahabad offers a peek into what is wrong with the education system.“Guest lecturers are hired for a year after a proper interview and the contract is generally renewed for another year. After two years, there are often fresh interviews to fill these guest posts,” said a faculty member of Allahabad University.These teachers do not get any additional benefits that regular teachers get. They have no annual increments either. Significantly, about 64% of the teaching posts at Allahabad University are vacant, as low-paid ad hoc teachers make up for regular faculty.But the problem is not limited to the university.Delhi University also has an acute problem, with about 4,500 ad hoc teachers amid about 47% regular vacancies.“If you count the university departments and colleges, there would be around 5,000 vacancies in Delhi University. In many colleges, ad hoc teachers far outnumber regular faculty,” says Rajesh Jha, member of the executive council of DU. Beginners’ salaryAn ad hoc teacher in DU colleges gets the beginners’ salary with no annual increments. After the recent pay revision, the gross salary is about ₹82,000 a month, though the in-hand salary varies. as some colleges deduct taxes at different times of the year. The only hike they have is when the Dearness Allowance is hiked. “We are appointed for 120 days at a time. We get a letter in June-July and another in November, for a month. We again get a letter in January, valid till about May, after which we do summer duties for which we are paid with a time lag,” said a teacher who has taught ad hoc in DU colleges for well over a decade. “There is persistent insecurity, as it is always possible that a college does not re-employ you. There are people who don’t marry or don’t plan children because of this insecurity,” The ad hocs do not get maternity leave. For a female ad hoc teacher, motherhood may well mean a loss of employment, unless she returns to the job soon after childbirth.last_img read more

Arunachal violence victim’s family declines compensation

first_imgThe family of one of the three men killed during mob violence in Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar last month has declined the compensation offered by the State government and demanded punishment of the “killers” according to tribal customary law.A 48-hour shutdown against the government’s move to grant permanent resident certificates to six non-tribal groups had taken an ugly turn on February 22. Risso Tari, 22, was killed that day while Biji Ruja, 20, and Tsering Wangdi, 34, were killed in police firing near Chief Minister Pema Khandu’s private residence on February 24.Mr. Khandu later announced compensation of ₹20 lakh and a government job for the next of kin of each of the deceased and up to ₹10 lakh for the injured. “My brother Tari’s death was cold-blooded murder by the security personnel since Home Minister Kumar Waii said he did not order the security forces to open fire. Instead of money and job, we want his murderers to be handed over to us for trial under Nyishi [tribe] customary law,” Risso Kiagung told newspersons in Itanagar on Saturday.Call for compensationCustomary laws, often in conflict with the judicial system, prescribe punishments according to the degree of seriousness of a crime. They range from caging a culprit and pouring itching powder on him to death by lynching.Mr. Risso also sought action against the organisations that called the “illegal” shutdown that led to the death of his brother and two others. The Khandu government, meanwhile, has been flooded with demand for compensation from shops and business establishments that were razed or plundered by mobs during the violent agitation. Assam and Nagaland-based musicians and suppliers of equipment for the vandalised Itanagar International Film Festival have sought compensation for their losses, too. “People of the city and the agitators looted almost everything we had on display. If we don’t get compensation for the goods stolen and property damaged, we might have to shut down,” the local manager of a shopping mall chain said. The affected malls have assured to pay their employees for at least two months, by which time they expect a compensation package for rebuilding. “We are staring at job cuts for at least 200 local youth,” he said.last_img read more

Mamata to attend united Opposition rally in Andhra

first_imgTrinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee will campaign for Telugu Desam Party chief N. Chandrababu Naidu as a part of the united Opposition’s plan to counter the BJP. She will reach Visakhapatnam on March 31 to meet Mr. Naidu and other leaders of the united Opposition. The show of strength will see participation from former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav, National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah and Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar. On April 5, Ms. Banerjee is scheduled to fly to Assam for campaigning. She will then return to Bengal to commence the campaigning for her party candidates in the first phase of the seven-phase election. Ms. Banerjee’s support for her Andhra counterpart is being interpreted as a reciprocal gesture for the former during her three-day dharna after the Central Bureau of Investigation officials tried to raid the house of Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar in February. Mr. Naidu was also a prime presence in the TMC mega rally at the Brigade Parade grounds in Kolkata on January 19. Mr. Naidu had previously called Ms. Banerjee the “main pillar of the Opposition”.TMC manifesto However, before embarking on her election campaign in the southern and the eastern States, Ms. Banerjee will release her party’s manifesto on Wednesday.last_img read more

Denied ticket, Vijay Sampla says BJP committed ‘cow slaughter’

first_imgAs the BJP on Tuesday announced its candidates for Lok Sabha election in Punjab, sitting Hoshiarpur MP and Union Minister Vijay Sampla, who has been denied ticket this time, expressed his displeasure by stating that his party has committed “cow slaughter”. Venting his ire on Twitter, soon after the party announced Som Parkash as its candidate from Hoshiarpur, Mr. Sampla wrote: “It’s very sad, the BJP has committed cow slaughter.” Mr. Sampla posted his “credentials” on Twitter and asked the BJP to explain the grounds on which it denied him a renomination.“There’s no corruption charge on me. No one can point a finger on my conduct. I brought airport to my constituency, improved rail and road network. If all this is my fault, then I will tell my coming generations that they should not repeat such mistakes,” he tweeted.The BJP has announced actor Sunny Deol as its candidate from Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat and renominated sitting MP Kirron Kher from Chandigarh.Mr. Deol will take on Punjab Congress chief and sitting Congress MP Sunil Jakhar from Gurdaspur, while Ms. Kher will face Pawan Bansal of the Congress in Chandigarh.last_img read more

Critics of H5N1 Studies Lobby European Commission

first_imgThe European Commission needs to take an interest in the controversy over so-called gain-of-function studies with dangerous viruses and should initiate a risk-benefit analysis for this line of research, 56 scientists from more than a dozen countries write in a letter sent to commission President José Manuel Barroso. The 18 December letter accuses the European Society for Virology (ESV) of making “misleading scientific statements” when it lobbied Barroso in support of the hotly debated studies 2 months ago.At issue are studies to find out which mutations might make dangerous viruses like the H5N1 avian influenza strain more easily transmissible between humans. Critics of such research argue that its risks, such as an accidental escape from the lab, don’t outweigh the potential benefits.ESV urged Barroso, who heads the European Union’s executive arm, to get involved after a Dutch court ruled that virologist Ron Fouchier of Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, can’t publish such studies with the H5N1 virus without first asking the Dutch government for permission. (Fouchier has appealed that decision.) In its 16 October letter, ESV argued that the ruling could lead to delays in the dissemination of scientific information and inequality between scientists from different European countries.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)In their own letter to Barroso and several other members of the European Commission, Fouchier’s critics charge there are “misstatements” in the ESV letter; for instance, it’s not true that the research was used only “to reproduce what nature already selected,” the group writes, because Fouchier’s studies turned up viruses never seen before. The group offers to hold a scientific briefing for the commission and calls on Barroso to organize a rigorous risk-benefit analysis for “decision makers in Europe and worldwide.”Among the signatories—some of whom are ESV members—are German virologist and Nobel laureate Harald zur Hausen; Roel Coutinho, the former head of the Centre for Infectious Disease Control in the Netherlands; and Adel Mahmoud, a former Merck Vaccines president now at Princeton University.last_img read more

Alleging ‘Malpractice’ With Climate Skeptic Papers, Publisher Kills Journal

first_imgA European publisher today terminated a journal edited by climate change skeptics. The journal, Pattern Recognition in Physics, was started less than a year ago. The editors-in-chief were Nils-Axel Mörner, a retired geophysicist from Stockholm University, and Sid-Ali Ouadfeul, a geophysicist at the Algerian Petroleum Institute.Copernicus Publications, based in Göttingen, Germany, publishes 25 peer-reviewed open-access journals. It specializes in “[s]trict, but fair and transparent peer-review.” The publisher considers proposals for new journals, and, according to a note on its website:The journal idea was brought to Copernicus’ attention and was taken rather critically in the beginning, since the designated Editors-in-Chief were mentioned in the context of the debates of climate skeptics. However, the initiators asserted that the aim of the journal was to publish articles about patterns recognized in the full spectrum of physical disciplines rather than to focus on climate-research-related topics.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Problems cropped up soon afterward. In July, Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado, Denver, noted “serious concerns” with Pattern Recognition in Physics. As he wrote on his blog about open-access publishing, Beall found self-plagiarism by Ouadfeul in the first paper published by the journal, which Ouadfeul co-authored. “Is this the kind of ‘pattern recognition’ the journal is talking about?” Beall quipped. The first five articles in the journal consisted of a pair by Ouadfeul, another two by climate skeptics, and the fifth article had “a significant amount of self-plagiarism.”Managing Director Martin Rasmussen, who could not be reached for comment, noted on the Pattern Recognition in Physics website that he was concerned by a special issue in December in which the editors concluded that they “doubt the continued, even accelerated, warming as claimed by the IPCC project.” Rasmussen went on to write: “In addition, the editors selected the referees on a nepotistic basis, which we regard as malpractice in scientific publishing.”In a reply, which Mörner provided to ScienceInsider, he disputes that charge. “All papers were excellently reviewe[d] with very constructive comments,” he wrote to Rasmussen. The termination, he wrote, “is taken on completely wrong and unfair grounds.”last_img read more

Harper Unveils New Fund for Canadian Research Excellence

first_imgAlthough a federal election is more than a year off and the goodies weren’t expected to flow until then, Canadian researchers got a sneak peak yesterday of their campaign sugar.On Tuesday, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty unveiled a fiscal plan for 2014 to ’15 that includes a promise to shell out $1.36 billion over 10 years to create a Canada First Research Excellence Fund. According to the budget document, the fund will “position Canada’s post-secondary institutions to compete with the best in the world for talent and breakthrough discoveries.” Flaherty said it would “help [institutions] excel globally in research areas that create long-term economic advantages for Canada.”The new fund is the latest example of a large research program to serve national goals that is created outside the regular channel of competitive grants to individual scientists. The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) has supported research infrastructure projects since 1997, and in 2000 the Canada Research Chairs program was launched to enable leading universities to attract leading academics from around the world as well as building up homegrown talent.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Exactly where the new fund fits won’t be known until the government provides more details. In particular, it’s unclear the extent to which Flaherty’s emphasis on economic advantages means that the program will ultimately focus on industrial collaborations aimed at economic development, an approach consistent with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s view of the role of science.What is known is that funding won’t begin to flow until fiscal 2015 to ’16, and the first tranche will be a modest $45 million. That amount will grow each year until it reaches a “steady state” level of $182 million in fiscal 2018 to ’19.At first blush, the new fund resembles a proposal last fall from Canada’s 15 research-intensive universities for a pot of money to “improve partnerships with industry to create research industry clusters, attract and retain the best talent from around the world, stimulate the rate of ground-breaking discoveries, and enhance our international competitiveness.” But finance officials, who speak on condition of anonymity, said it’s premature to conclude that the new fund will have a commercialization focus.For now, all that’s been established is that the new fund will involve peer-reviewed competitions; that it will be administered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), which oversees the research chairs program; and that there will be a prohibition on using the monies for capital investments, as that falls under the purview of CFI.The government’s new fiscal plan also provides an additional $41 million divided among the nation’s three granting councils, raising their combined budgets to approximately $2.5 billion. (In addition to SSHRC, there are the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research [CIHR]). Paul Davidson, president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, was elated that the increases were “untargeted,” but Flaherty indicated that an unspecified portion of the CIHR allocation is ticketed for the establishment of a Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging.Whatever the exact amount, it falls well short of the government’s pledge to significantly ramp up dementia research as part of a global bid to find a cure by 2025. It’s also a far cry from the multibillion dollar pool that CIHR President Alain Beaudet once envisioned as part of a comprehensive national dementia strategy.Flaherty’s budget also extended the Conservative government’s practice of ticketing specific universities and institutes for strategic largesse. This year’s winner was the University of Waterloo, which will receive $13.6 million over 3 years for its Institute for Quantum Computing and $2.7 million to create an Open Data Institute. In other science measures, funding to support the indirect costs of research will also rise by $8 million, to $310 million annually.Overall spending in Flaherty’s 2014 to ’15 blueprint is projected to decline by $1.18 billion to $253.5 billion. That would leave the government with a deficit of $2.63 billion and the debt load rising to $562.1 billion.Flaherty was unabashed in presenting what amounts to a status quo budget. “What we will do—what we have always done—is stay the course,” he said.last_img read more

Scientist Quits Effort to Live-Blog STAP Cell Replication

first_imgA scientist who has been trying to reproduce STAP cells—a new type of stem cells—and has been regularly blogging about his progress has given up. “I don’t think STAP cells exist and it will be a waste of manpower and research funding to carry on with this experiment any further,” wrote Kenneth Ka-Ho Lee, an embryologist and stem cell researcher at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, on his ResearchGate page yesterday. Though he is giving up, he hopes others will continue to investigate whether the new approach—which has been dogged by controversy and claims of research misconduct—can really lead to stem cells.Two papers that appeared online in Nature on 29 January described how subjecting cells from newborn mice to a mildly acidic solution and then tweaking culture conditions turned them into pluripotent stem cells that can differentiate into all of a body’s cell types. The authors—Haruko Obokata of the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan, and colleagues at other institutions in Japan and at Harvard Medical School in Boston—dubbed the process stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency, or STAP.Whether STAP cells exist is yet to be proven. But the controversy surrounding them shows how scientists are embracing the latest social media tools. Immediately after the Nature papers appeared, stem cell scientist Paul Knoepfler raised questions about STAP cells on his blog. He later started weekly polls, asking how many scientists believed in the existence of STAP cells. He also ran a tally of groups trying to reproduce the results. (So far, none have.) The PubPeer website, for open postpublication review of published papers, set up two webpages—one for each paper. Contributors soon started raising questions about images and text in the Obokata papers.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Lee joined these online efforts on 30 January when he asked if anyone had tried making STAP cells in a post on his page on ResearchGate, a networking site for scientists. ResearchGate operators later asked him to review the papers. He then tried—but failed—to reproduce the results following the methods described in the Nature papers. On 20 March, Charles Vacanti, a senior author of the papers who is an anesthesiologist and tissue engineering researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, posted his lab’s STAP technique, which involves forcing the mature cells through very small pipettes before exposing them to the acid solution.Lee took up the challenge and decided to live-blog his efforts. He reported setting up a four-person team, preparing the cells, and making the pipettes, and the process of forcing cells through the pipettes and then subjecting some of them to an acid bath while keeping others as controls. He posted images captured by a confocal microscope. And on 1 April, he reported surprising results. Cells forced through the pipettes showed some expression of genes associated with pluripotency, but not the cells bathed in acid. “I am shocked and amazed” by the results, he wrote. He had to reassure commentators that this was not an April Fools’ joke. In a phone interview, Lee said this put him in a quandary. He thought these unexpected and unusual results needed to be confirmed; but he had also stated he would blog about his progress. He felt bound to share this “little bit of a hint that [the process] might work,” he said.He was suddenly overwhelmed with the attention. Some papers reported that Lee had validated the technique and that he was now in the Vacanti camp. Over the next couple days, he explained that the results had to be validated and that the signals could be byproducts of cell death. Lee wrote that he never claimed that STAP cells exist: “Please, don’t hype up this data!” He finally decided to bow out of the race. Despite skepticism about their existence, Lee said he hopes other groups are trying to work with the “glimmer of hope” he found in Vacanti’s STAP cells technique.The live-blogging “was good fun,” Lee said in a thick Scottish accent. Though born in and now working in Hong Kong, he grew up in Scotland and still considers that home. He believes the live-blogging was “quite educational for the public” giving a glimpse into the research process. He has also been thrilled by the e-mails he has gotten from budding scientists, including one from a 15-year-old Japanese girl who wanted more details.He is adamant about getting back to his own work. In his most recent post, he asked, “Anyone want to collaborate with me to look at the function of the BRE gene which is a component of the BRCA1 and BRISC complex?”Pressed, he admits that he is still curious about STAP cells. But he said that if he gives making them one more try, “I’m not going to live-blog it.”last_img read more

Sugar industry shaped NIH agenda on dental research

first_imgThe sugar industry convinced the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) that studies that might persuade people to cut back on sugary foods should not be part of a national plan to fight childhood tooth decay, a new study of historical documents argues. The authors say the industry’s activities, which occurred more than 40 years ago, are reminiscent of the tobacco companies’ efforts to minimize the risks of smoking.University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), health policy postdoc Cristin Kearns came across the 319 letters, meeting minutes, and other documents dating from 1959 to 1971 in the papers of Roger Adams, an organic chemist at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, who consulted for sugar industry–funded research organizations. Kearns found that sugar companies acknowledged as far back as 1950 that consuming sugar contributed to tooth decay. Yet the industry “adopted a strategy to deflect attention” away from reducing sugar consumption and toward ways of reducing its harms, she and her co-authors write.For example, sugar and food companies funded research on a vaccine to prevent tooth decay and on adding an enzyme to foods to break up dental plaque. (A 1968 newspaper article headlined “These monkeys may save your teeth” described a monkey lab that was studying the idea of mixing the enzyme with raw sugar.)Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)In addition, the membership of a sugar industry expert panel was nearly identical to that of a committee at the National Institute of Dental Research (NIDR) working on the 1971 National Caries Program. After gathering the industry group’s input, NIDR included 78% of its recommendations in its first request for research proposals, the UCSF team found in their analysis, published online today in PLOS Medicine. “What didn’t get done is [research on] developing objective tests to categorize foods as to whether they are safe or harmful to teeth,” Kearns says. That lack of information has limited the ability of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to label certain foods as cavity-promoting, she says.UCSF co-author Stanton Glantz compares the sugar industry’s tactics with what tobacco companies did in persuading the National Cancer Institute not to fund smoking cessation programs. “Our findings are a wake-up call for government officials charged with protecting the public health, as well as public health advocates, to understand that the sugar industry, like the tobacco industry, seeks to protect profits over public health,” Glantz said in a press release. Glantz uncovered tobacco industry documents in the 1990s that led to multibillion-dollar settlements with dozens of state governments.Lillian Shum, director of extramural research at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (the former NIDR), says she can’t comment on the PLOS Medicine study because “that was 40 years ago and there’s nobody still here who was involved.” But the institute’s current research agenda on dental caries includes the role of eating sugary foods, she notes. And the need to limit sugar consumption “is a message that we deliver,” Shum adds.The Sugar Association, which grew out of one of the industry groups analyzed in the paper, says its staff could not comment directly on the period discussed in the paper. But its statement attacks the paper’s authors for their “use of attention-grabbing headlines and scare tactics that liken consumption of all-natural sugar … to a known carcinogen,” calling it “a ‘textbook’ play from the activist agenda.” The association notes that U.S. dietary guidelines advise the public to lower their risk of cavities by reducing the amount of time that sugars and starches are in contact with teeth before brushing.last_img read more

Haryana shooter creates history, is youngest Indian to win World Cup gold

first_imgManu Bhaker, 16, etched her name in the history books by clinching women’s 10m air pistol gold at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Sunday. She became India’s youngest and probably world’s third youngest shooter to win a World Cup gold. Rifle shooter Gagan Narang and pistol shooter Rahi Sarnobat were India’s previous youngest World Cup gold medallists at 23 in 2006 and 2013 respectively. Singapore’s rifle shooter Lindsay Veloso and USA’s shotgunner Vincent Hancock, both aged 15, had won World Cup gold.Read it at Times of India Related Itemslast_img read more