More than 100 people defrauded of 6 million in securities scam RCMP

first_imgLONDON, Ont. – The Royal Canadian Mounted Police say a Toronto man is charged with defrauding more than 100 people across the country of more than $6 million.The Mounties say the investigation began in April 2017 when a London, Ont., resident alerted police to an elaborate $1-million fraud scheme based on fraudulent securities and options trades.Police allege the suspect used aliases and forged sales receipts to lure the victim to invest money into non-existent trades.Investigators say they have identified more than 100 alleged victims, who each lost thousands of dollars to fake futures trades.They say some of the victims’ names were then handed over to another group of individuals, posing as asset-recovery specialists, who would entice them to send even more money in a futile attempt to recover their losses.A 72-year-old Toronto man is charged with fraud over $5,000 and possession of the proceeds of crime, and is to appear in court in London on June 18.The RCMP say the investigation is continuing.last_img read more

Sex ed to be compulsory in Quebec as of September Couillard

first_imgQUEBEC – All students in Quebec primary and secondary schools will be taught sexual education as of September, Premier Philippe Couillard told The Canadian Press on Wednesday.Education Minister Sebastien Proulx has been trying for two years to gradually introduce voluntary sex-ed courses in schools but without much success.Most schools have balked at his proposal, while teachers’ unions have been critical of the government’s approach and what they perceive as a lack of training.The September courses will be for about one million students from Grade 1 through Grade 11.The information they receive will be based on their age and will deal with sexuality, anatomy, body image, sexual assault, love, sexual relations, stereotypes and sexually transmitted infections.“I’m convinced the great majority of Quebecers want this (and) that we’re clearly there,” Couillard said in an interview, adding he is aware it is still a delicate topic that “sparks certain social tensions.”The information will be inserted into regular subjects such as French or mathematics.Proulx is expected to make an official announcement Thursday.last_img read more

Ontario court rules lawsuit can proceed against HudBay

first_imgAPTN National NewsAn Ontario judge has ruled a group from Guatemala can proceed with their lawsuit against a Canadian mining company.Their lawsuit is against HudBay Minerals that operates a mine in Guatemala.The group has held several protests in Toronto claiming beatings, rape and murder have taken place at the mine.It’s a precedent setting case as other Canadian companies could potentially be held liable for incidents that happen abroad.last_img

Saputo Q1 profit falls as various factors combine to offset higher revenue

MONTREAL — Saputo Inc. says its first-quarter profit was down from the same time last year as a result of numerous negative factors including the cost of acquisitions, operating costs, currency fluctuations and prices for some of its products.The Montreal-based company is Canada’s largest cheese maker and one of the largest in the world, with major operations in the United States and Australia.Its net income for the three months ended June 30 fell to $126 million or 32 cents per share, down from $200.3 million or 51 cents per share in last year’s fiscal first quarter.Adjusted net earnings dropped to $160.3 million or 41 cents per share after dilution, from 51 cents per share.Revenue increased to $3.27 billion from $2.89 billion, with some of the increase due to the acquisition of Australian dairy company Murray Goulburn and other acquisitions.Saputo also announced an increase to its quarterly dividend to 16.5 cents per share, payable Sept. 14, an increase of 3.1 per cent.Revenue was also positively affected by higher average cheese and butter prices, partially offset by lower prices for dairy ingredients and a $125-million negative impact from the value of Canada’s dollar against other currencies.Companies in this story: (TSX:SAP) read more

Uranium core transport first stage of reactor decommissioning

Once the truck reached the border, it was handed over to U.S. Department of Energy officials and transported to the Savannah River Site, a nuclear facility in South Carolina where, according to Crabtree, the core will be repurposed.De-fuelling the reactor was the first step toward its eventual decommissioning, a lengthy process that is expected to take between six and nine months and cost SRC up to $7.5 million. This time next year, the reactor will be entirely gone.Built into the floor of a nondescript Innovation Place building and shielded by more than a foot of concrete, the Safe LOW Power Kritical Experiment (SLOWPOKE) reactor was one of seven commissioned across the country.While the reactor uses the same nuclear fission process as a utility-scale reactor like the one Bruce Power proposed for Saskatchewan a decade ago, it is tiny — roughly 1/10,000 the size, producing around 20 kilowatts of power.During its 37-year operational life, it performed more than a quarter-million tests. The reactor was used primarily for neutron activation analysis, a process aimed at determining the concentration of various elements in various samples.Over the last few years, new, non-radiological methods of performing many of the same tests have been developed, leading Crabtree to say that in terms of its “overall raison d’être, it was no longer operationally viable, commercially or technically.” A control unit for the Saskatchewan Research Council’s now-defuelled SLOWPOKE-2 nuclear reactor. Saskatchewan Research Council / Saskatoon Saskatchewan Research Council / Saskatoon The operation was conducted in near-total secrecy.Only those who absolutely needed to know were aware of the truck’s load when it pulled away from the University of Saskatchewan and headed for the American border one day early last month.While the Saskatchewan Research Council, which oversaw the journey, won’t say much about other security precautions, its chief executive officer acknowledged that secrecy was of paramount importance “for obvious reasons.”That’s because the truck was carrying the core of a nuclear reactor, a paint can-sized assembly of uranium fuel rods and beryllium control structures immersed in water and sealed in an 8,000-pound lead-lined transport container.“When you get down to it, it’s a few kilograms of material,” Mike Crabtree said of the core, which has provided a steady stream of neutrons for SRC’s SLOWPOKE-2 research reactor since it was commissioned in 1981.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.“If you were to look at it — you wouldn’t, but if you were — it’s a grey, lead-ish colour metal. The amount of uranium that was in our reactor would fit comfortably in a gallon pail, a paint-sized can,” Crabtree added. Under its Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission operating licence, SRC began socking away money for the decommissioning around a decade ago. That licence also covers the defuelling, which required experts — SNC-Lavalin subsidiary Candu Energy Inc.“Whilst we are experts at the operation of the SLOWPOKE-2 nuclear reactor, we are not experts at decommissioning reactors. This is not something you do every day,” Crabtree said of the decision to bring in outside experts.SNC-Lavalin referred a request for comment back to SRC. The U.S. Department of Energy did not respond to requests for comment.Earlier this summer, Candu Energy and SRC workers clad in radiation suits used a hoist to lift the water-immersed core out of the reactor and place it in a specially-designed transport vessel, one that won’t break if it falls off the back of a truck.After it sat in the reactor room to “cool” for around two weeks, the core was loaded on the back of a truck and began the first leg of its journey to the sprawling Savannah River Facility south of Augusta, Georgia. But that is only half of the process.This week, SRC officials including Crabtree were in Ottawa to apply to the CNSC for a decommissioning licence, which will allow the remnants of the reactor to be disassembled and any radioactive material taken to Chalk River Laboratories in Ontario for storage.Once CNSC grants the licence, a process Crabtree expects will take a few months, the work will take up to half a year. Once the water is purified and disposed of and the gaping hole in the floor filled with cement, it will be like the reactor was never there, he said.It will be the end of an era for what one SRC scientist, speaking to the Saskatoon StarPhoenix a decade ago, called “one of Saskatchewan’s best-kept secrets” — a reactor most had no idea existed until it was already Inside the now-de-fuelled Saskatchewan Research Council SLOWPOKE-2 nuclear reactor. ‘There is life after remediation’: Gunnar mine reclamation forging ahead despite legal battle New Orano CEO to spend more time making the case for nuclear power Uncertainty remains but Cameco ‘pleased’ with Trump’s uranium decision read more

Canadian customers set record for Amazon

Canadian customers set record for Amazon AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email STOCK PHOTO/FREEIMAGES.COM had the busiest holiday season yet.The online company says a record amount of packages were shipped within Canada, and worldwide, they delivered to 185 different countries.Some of the bestsellers included: the Harry Potter Official Colouring Book #1, Jurassic World, and Adele’s album, 25.Another in demand item was Lego: customers purchased enough of the bricks to reach the top of the CN Tower 27 times.There was a surge in ugly Christmas sweater purchases: enough were bought to clothe each Canadian Olympic medalist in the Summer and Winter Games since 1900, five users also purchased more pairs of jeans than there are cities, towns and villages in the country. by Kaitlin Lee Posted Dec 28, 2015 9:19 am MDT read more

North Korea Time to talk human rights says UN expert

“As recently as just several months ago, the world was fearing a prospect of a nuclear war”, said the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) – commonly referred to as North Korea – Tomás Ojea Quintana.“While still in its infancy, the world is now witnessing a peace process that may bring real results”, he added, commending the governments of the north and south, for their resolve that there will be no more war and that there will be a new era of peace between the two Koreas.He said, however, that North Korea has so far refused to engage with him, calling on the Government to begin a dialogue “as a concrete sign of their commitment, which will only serve to reinforce the ongoing process”.Mr. Ojea Quintana’s appeal followed his eight-day visit to Seoul, the capital of South Korea, where he conducted interviews with people who have recently left the DPRK.The expert said the worsening humanitarian crisis in the North underlined the importance of putting the lives of all North Koreans on the agenda, expressing concern that human rights terminology had failed to appear in any documents following talks between the two Koreas, and the US-DPRK summit in Singapore on 12 June.He said it was not the first time that human rights concerns had been “seen as an inconvenience at a delicate moment. However, our experience as the UN has shown that there can be no genuine, peaceful and sustainable transition without it.”The Special Rapporteur said that “while the difficulties that the recent arrivals from the DPRK alluded to were mostly economic and social, they all displayed a fear of expressing any opinion that could be considered as political, or a criticism of the Government or the leader”.“Although none of them had a first-hand experience of detention, they all cited knowing someone, or some family, who were reportedly sent to political prison camps (kwanliso), and there is widespread fear of being sent to them,” Mr. Ojea Quintana added.Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work. read more

Jameis Winston Florida State Rout Blue Devils

Jameis Winston and No. 1 Florida State University had no problems defeating No. 20 Duke on Saturday night in the ACC championship game. In result, the Seminoles are headed to the VIZIO BCS National Championship.“This whole week has been very high emotion,” Winston said. “We wanted to win this championship so bad. We were looking forward to having an undefeated season.”FSU (13-0) are expected to play No. 3 Auburn in Pasadena, CA, on Jan. 6 after No. 2 Ohio State lost to Michigan State Saturday night. Winston threw three touchdown passes and ran one in, as the Seminoles routed the Blue Devils 45-7.The Heisman Trophy favorite, Winston, was 19 of 32 for 330 yards and threw two touchdown passes to 6-foot-5, 234-pound receiver Kelvin Benjamin.“The football field is our sanctuary,” Winston said. “Every time I stepped on the field, every time we stepped on that field, everything that happened outside of our family, it was just zoned out.”Remaining humble, Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher told the media, “We’re not champs yet,” in response to “We Are the Champions” being played after their win.The Vizio BCS National Championship takes place on January 6 at Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, CA. read more

Steve Jobs voulait créer un opérateur téléphonique audessus des autres

first_imgSteve Jobs voulait créer un opérateur téléphonique au-dessus des autresLe fondateur d’Apple avait imaginé s’affranchir du joug des opérateurs téléphoniques. Sa solution : passer par le WiFi pour créer un réseau Apple. John Stanton, président de la société de capital-risque Trilogy Partnership, a révélé qu’il avait eu avant 2007 de nombreuses conversations avec Steve Jobs. En cette époque de conception de l’iPhone premier du nom, Jobs aurait préféré se passer des opérateurs téléphoniques classiques. « Lui et moi avons passé beaucoup de temps à parler de la façon de créer un opérateur en utilisant le spectre WiFi, a raconté John Stanton lundi au  Law Seminar International Event à Seattle. Cela faisait partie de sa vision ».À lire aussiSurface Pro 3 vs MacBook Air : Microsoft attaque Apple, mais qui est le meilleur ?Il s’agissait d’utiliser les fréquences du WiFi, libre de droits, plutôt que celles de la téléphonie, attribuées par l’état. Pour rappel, le téléphone cellulaire commence vers 800 MHz et la 3G peut monter jusqu’à 2GHz. Le WiFi se trouve entre 2.4 et 5GHz.Mais la technique n’était pas encore prête pour mener le WiFi à de tels niveaux. Le projet fut abandonné en 2007. Jobs se rabattit sur un dictat féroce à l’encontre des opérateurs téléphoniques. Il signa une exclusivité avec AT&T et lui imposa ses règles du jeu, devenant le premier constructeur à contrôler l’expérience utilisateur. Une bénédiction, quand on voit comment les constructeurs gâchent encore bien souvent nos mobiles Android en rajoutant une surcouche lente et peu pratique. Le 18 novembre 2011 à 11:20 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Scientists Find Mesmerizing MirrorLike Pools in the Pacific Ocean

first_img Watch: Dolphin Leaps Feet Away From Unsuspecting SurferNASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This Weekend Stay on target Scientists aboard a Schmidt Ocean Institute research vessel recently found a hydrothermal field 2,000 meters below the Gulf of California, where tall mineral structures teeming with biodiversity feature “mirror-like flanges” that serve as pooling sites for discharged fluids.Dr. Mandy Joye of the University of Georgia and her team discovered these large venting mineral towers, which are up to 23 meters tall and 10 meters wide. Each tower featured many volcanic flanges that create a mirror optical illusion when observing the hot hydrothermal fluids under them, said a Schmidt Ocean Institute press release. Even though the towering mineral structures were very hot, the team was surprised to find that these otherworldly sites acted as biological hotspots for marine life.“We discovered remarkable towers where every surface was occupied by some type of life. The vibrant colors found on the ‘living rocks’ was striking, and reflects a diversity in biological composition as well as mineral distributions,” Dr. Joye said in the press release. “This is an amazing natural laboratory to document incredible organisms and better understand how they survive in extremely challenging environments.”This oil-saturated chimney contains pink nematodes, microscopic animals that are hard to spot with the naked eye. (Photo Credit: ROV SuBastian/Schmidt Ocean Institute)The aim of the underwater expedition was to analyze hydrothermal and gas plumes and how they impact other forms of life on the ocean floor. Using 4K deep-sea underwater cameras, radiation tracking devices, and sediment and fluid samplers via a remotely operated vehicle dubbed the ROV SuBastian, the team studied these otherworldly areas underwater. The team also obtained some methane samples with an osmo sampler, a device that sucks up hydrothermal fluids into small tubing that’s placed on the ROV.ROV SuBastian collecting samples from a chimney in a small smoker field (ORP-2) underwater. (Photo Credit: ROV SuBastian/Schmidt Ocean Institute)According to the scientists, hydrothermal fluids and gas plume samples all had highly-elevated concentrations of methane and surface-breaching methane hydrate mounds. Methane, which is a smelly atmospheric greenhouse gas, has 30 times the strength of carbon dioxide. The scientists aim to continue researching hydrothermal fluids and gas plumes to better understand how biological storage for methane in water column and sediment systems works.Next, the team will spend a couple of months studying the samples and will publicly share the results soon. By analyzing the different data sets, scientists hope to learn more about the Gulf of California system and how hydrothermal fluids and gas plumes could impact marine life deep in the ocean.“The complex layers of data we’ve collected aboard Falkor during this expedition will help tell the story of this remote place and bring it to public attention. Witnessing these remarkable oceanscapes, we are reminded that although they are out of our everyday sight, they are hardly immune from human impact,” Wendy Schmidt, Schmidt Ocean Institute’s co-founder, said in the press release. Our hope is to inspire people to learn more and care more about our ocean.”More on Discover (And Climb) World’s Tallest Tropical TreeScientists Outline How to Protect 1/3 of World’s Oceans by 2030This Ancient Four-Legged Whale Could Have Moved Like an Otter, Study Findslast_img read more

Google Folds Paid Content Service One Pass

first_imgBonnier signed on as one of Google One Pass’s launch partners, and vice president/group publisher of the technology group Steven Grune shared some details of the experience with FOLIO:, “The concept was to provide a Google newsstand for Android tablets and offer a subscription service to consumers. Since the initial concept, nothing tangible ever happened and no specific offerings were implemented. To our knowledge, no consumer product ever launched.” Grune then said in an email Google appears to have changed direction, and a new newsstand service was created last summer. Anticipated launch for the service is this summer, and Bonnier’s Popular Science is already inked into a contract with the newsstand.UPDATE: RR Donnelley’s e-commerce service Press+ will offer a “grandfather clause” to any publishers currently signed on with One Pass. “We will maintain subscriber accounts for whichever publishers might have signed on with Google without charging our usual revenue share,” says Press+ co-founder Steven Brill in a prepared statement. “We’ll only charge for all the new customers we generate going forward once our seamless transition is completed.” Brill then says, “We know that Google tried hard to compete with us and we are gratified that the marketplace has spoken.” After only a year and some change, Google folded its paid content platform One Pass. According to reports, Google made the decision public on its blog.One Pass launched in early 2011, shortly after Apple announced its subscription model. The service appeared to be another option for publishers who did not want to play by Apple’s subscription rules; One Pass promised participating publishers the freedom to set their own prices and terms of sale for digital content on Android platforms.Another draw of the service was the pay cut: publishers kept 90 percent of their sales, while Google only had claim to 10 percent. Despite a revamp in February 2012, the company announced on April 20 that the service folded, “We are working with existing partners to make the transition from One Pass to other platforms, including Google Consumer Surveys. While One Pass is going away, we will continue working with publishers to build new tools.”last_img read more

Bank threatens to sue the state for 28M over LIO move

first_imgThe sign outside the Anchorage Legislative Information Office. Photo: Megan AhlemanIn a letter sent Tuesday to the state’s Legislative Affairs Agency, lawyers for the bank handling a $28.6 million loan to finance renovations of the Legislative Information Office say they will sue the state if it doesn’t honor its lease agreement.Download AudioThe letter is signed by Robert H. Hume Jr. of the law firm Landye, Bennett, Blumstein, which represents EverBank, the company holding the debt taken on by the building’s developers.“EverBank demands that the LAA reaffirm and establish that the Tenant Lease is in full force and effect,” the letter reads, “and cease any and all efforts to invalidate the tenant lease, vacate the property, or secure alternate lease premises.”If lawmaker’s abandon the lease or opt not to purchase of the 4th Avenue building, EverBank will go after damages of up to $27.5 million, not including additional expenses from litigation.In March, a state judge ruled the lease agreement over the LIO was invalid because it violated state rules for competitive bidding. The decision left lawmakers with the option to buy the building outright for $32.5 million under threat of veto from Governor Bill Walker, move the LIO to the state-owned Atwood building, or look for an alternate space.But lawyers for EverBank write that the invalidation doesn’t mean the state is off the hook for honoring a lease agreement it originally signed off on. Citing a Subordination, Non-disturbance and Attornment agreement from December 22nd, 2014, the letter says EverBank only agreed to lend funds after the state made promises to uphold its lease agreement. If the lease is invalid, the letter says, “then each of the express representations made by the LAA…were false.”The letter solidifies what many have wondered for months about whether the state could open itself up to a financial liability worth as much or more than the option to buy the LIO building.In a separate action on Tuesday night, the Anchorage Assembly voted 7 to 4 on a resolution asking lawmakers to keep the LIO building downtown, rather than move it to the Wells Fargo in the Spenard neighborhood.The measure’s sponsor, downtown Assembly Member Patrick Flynn, said the switch in location goes against the city’s long-term comprehensive development plan.Wednesday afternoon, the Senate Finance Committee advanced a capital budget leaving $12.5 million dollars in place for the Wells Fargo building. That version of the capital budget goes before the Senate Finance standing committee at 10 a.m. Thursday.As of Wednesday afternoon, Legislative Council chair Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, had not returned a request for comment.Correction: an earlier version of this story stated the capital budget was to be heard by the full senate.last_img read more

UA president Flat funding limits education training and economic development

first_imgThe University of Alaska’s budget and enrollment have been in decline since 2014. (Graph courtesy University of Alaska)Gov. Bill Walker is proposing flat funding for Alaska’s university system for the budget year that begins in July.University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen said in a statement Friday, “A status quo budget will compound the impact of four straight years of budget cuts, and limits our ability to make much needed investments in student education, training programs and the economic development our state needs.”The university’s annual budget has declined by more than $60 million since 2014, forcing cutbacks. The university employs 1,183 fewer people than it did three years ago. Student enrollment has declined 15 percent.The University of Alaska Board of Regents had requested a $341 million budget. Walker’s proposal is for $317 million.The regents also requested $50 million for a maintenance backlog of more than $1 billion. The governor proposed $70 million.In November, the regents approved a 10 percent tuition increase for most campuses over the next two academic years.last_img read more

Railways plan to execute 491 projects in northeast

first_imgAgartala: The Railway Ministry will execute 491 projects in seven northeastern states at a cost of Rs 6.48 lakh crore, Lok Sabha member from Tripura Pratima Bhowmik said on Thursday quoting Railway Minister Piyush Goyal. Bhowmik in a statement from New Delhi said that Goyal in his reply to her question in Parliament on Wednesday said that 189 new railway lines, 55 gauge conversion and 247 doubling projects are in different stages of planning, approval, execution in the states. Also Read – Dehydrated elephant being given treatment Advertise With Us The total length of these projects is 48,861 km. The total expenditure on the projects up to March this year is Rs 1.43 lakh crore and length commissioned is 9,113 km, Bhowmik quoted Goyal as saying. Goyal said that by 2021-22 fiscal, all the railway lines in the seven northeastern states — Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura – would be electrified. Also Read – CBI carrying out surprise checks at 150 government departments Advertise With Us The Minister said that the timely completion of any railway project depends on various factors like a quick land acquisition by the state government, forest clearance, shifting of infringing utilities (both underground and overground) and statutory clearances from various authorities, among others. “In the overall interest of the nation and to ensure that projects are completed in time without cost overrun, a lot of monitoring is done in railways at various levels.” Advertise With Us “To ensure that projects are completed even before time, railways has adopted the concept of incentives to the contractor in the form of a bonus,” the Railway Minister said. The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), one among the 17 railway zones in India, is responsible for extending the railway lines and maintaining train services in seven districts of West Bengal and five districts in north Bihar, besides the eight northeastern states, including Sikkim. An official of NFR said that the railway authority has been trying to extend the railway lines in three remaining capital cities of northeast India – Imphal (Manipur), Aizawl (Mizoram) and Kohima (Nagaland) — excluding Meghalaya’s Shillong and Sikkim’s Gangtok, by 2020. Assam’s main city of Guwahati, Tripura’s capital Agartala and Arunachal’s capital Itanagar already linked with the railway network.last_img read more

Biman aircraft makes emergency landing

first_imgBiman Bangladesh. File PhotoAn airplane of Biman Bangladesh Airlines made an emergency landing at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport of Dhaka on Friday due to technical glitches.The plane took off from Sylhet Osmani International Airport with 61 passengers on board. Soon after take off, the pilot detected a glitch in the aircraft’s tyre. However, the plane landed safely at Dhaka airport around 4:00pm, Biman general manager Shakil Meraj told Prothom Alo.All the passengers and crews alighted safely from the plane, Shakil added.last_img read more

Trump Names Former Drug Executive As New Health Secretary

first_imgTwitter User @NewsweekTurning to an industry he’s rebuked, President Donald Trump on Monday picked a former top pharmaceutical and government executive to be his health and human services secretary, overseeing a $1 trillion department responsible for major health insurance programs, medical research, food and drug safety, and public health.The nomination of Alex Azar is unusual because HHS secretaries have tended to come from the ranks of elected officials such as governors, leaders in academia and medicine, or top executive branch managers — not industries regulated by the department.“He will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices!” Trump tweeted in announcing the nomination Monday morning. Trump has a track record of making industry-friendly nominations, such as tapping former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state and wealthy investor Wilbur Ross as secretary of commerce.But Trump also has been a scathing critic of the pharmaceutical industry, both as a candidate and as president.Azar, 50, a lawyer by training, has spent most of the last 10 years with pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, rising to president of its key U.S. affiliate before leaving in January to start his own consulting firm. He’s seen as an expert on government health care regulation.As secretary, Azar would be returning to HHS after serving in senior department posts in the George W. Bush administration. Now he would have to scrupulously avoid conflicts with Lilly’s far-reaching interests, from drug approval to Medicare reimbursement. The drugmaker has drawn criticism from patient advocacy groups for price increases to one of its biggest products: insulin.Azar’s nominations to HHS in the Bush era sailed through the Senate. This time, he’ll face Democrats wary of the administration’s unyielding quest to repeal the Affordable Care Act.“The Trump administration’s track record on health care to date is objectively abysmal,” said Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, senior Democrat on the Finance Committee, which would send Azar’s nomination to the full Senate. “I will closely scrutinize Mr. Azar’s record.”Sen. Patty Patty Murray, D-Wash., flagged a potential conflict of interest. “I am … interested in how, given Mr. Azar’s professional background, he believes he can fairly execute any significant effort to lower drug prices for patients,” she said in a statement. Murray is the senior Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which will also hold hearings.Americans consistently rank the high cost of prescription drugs as one of their top health care priorities, putting it ahead of divisive issues like repealing “Obamacare” in public opinion polls.Trump has been a sharp critic of the industry. “The drug companies, frankly, are getting away with murder,” he said at a Cabinet meeting this fall. Prices are “out of control” and “have gone through the roof,” Trump said.In the spring, a Trump tweet sent drug stocks tumbling after the president said he was working on a new system that would foster competition and lead to much lower prices. In meetings with industry executives, however, Trump has focused on speeding up drug approvals, a cost-reducing tactic they would back.Professionally, Azar has another set of skills that may be valuable to the president. In his previous service at HHS, the Yale law graduate developed an insider’s familiarity with the complex world of federal health care regulation, serving first as the department’s chief lawyer and later as deputy secretary.Frustrated by fruitless efforts to overturn the Obama-era health law in Congress, Trump might see the regulatory route as his best chance to make a mark on health care.Congressional Democrats are likely to pounce on Azar’s drug ties, reminding Trump of his promise to “drain the swamp” of Washington influence peddling.If confirmed, Azar would join the club of Trump administration officials from big business. Ross was chairman of a private equity firm he founded and later sold. Last year Forbes estimated his net worth at about $2.9 billion, but Forbes’ latest estimate is about $700 million, based on financial disclosure filings. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was a former Goldman Sachs executive and hedge fund manager. Tillerson came from the oil industry, starting as an engineer and rising to CEO of ExxonMobil.Admirers say Azar’s drug industry experience should be considered an asset, not a liability.“To the extent that the Trump administration has talked about lowering drug prices, here’s a guy who understands how it works,” said Tevi Troy, who served with Azar in the Bush administration and now leads the American Health Policy Institute, a think tank focused on employer health insurance.“Would (Azar) have been better off if he had been meditating in an ashram after serving as deputy secretary?” asked Troy.Azar spent his formative years in Maryland. He got his bachelor’s degree in government and economics from another Ivy League institution, Dartmouth. He once clerked for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a revered figure for conservatives. During the Bill Clinton years, he served a stint with independent counsel Kenneth Starr.If confirmed, Azar would be Trump’s second HHS secretary, replacing former Georgia congressman Tom Price, who stepped down after just seven months, when his use of private charter planes for government travel created a public controversy that displeased the president. Sharelast_img read more

How We Localize Surround Sound

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. The ability of humans and other animals to pinpoint the location of sound sources is remarkably good, scientists say. Since the early 1900s, many studies have been performed on the underlying physical mechanisms of how animals’ ears can determine “directional sound.” In a recent study and review, scientists Axel Michelsen and Ole Naesbye Larsen from the University of Southern Denmark have offered a quantitative analysis of how animals like insects and small birds can localize the direction to sound sources. These animals are too small to take advantage of the directional cues used by humans (changes with direction of the sound pressure and time of arrival of sound at the ears). However, the results of the study, which is published in a recent issue of Bioinspiration and Biomimetics, could have important implications for humans, as well.“We now have an understanding of the physics of these hearing systems, and can make quantitative predictions that can be tested in experiments,” Michelsen told order to determine where a sound is coming from, animals can use information based on the differences between two ears (called “binaural” cues) or information, such as from the shape, of a single ear (called “monaural” cues). Michelsen and Larsen explain that many smaller non-mammalian animals compute the azimuth (horizontal plane) of sound sources using binaural cues with ears that receive sound at both the outer and inner surface of the eardrum, which is called “pressure difference reception.”Birds and grasshoppers are some of the small animals that can use pressure difference reception, which is characterized by having two ears that are connected by an air tunnel through the animal’s body. As the sound travels between ears through the animal’s body, each eardrum is activated by different sounds at its outer and inner surface that help the animal determine the source of the sound. For example, the ear facing more toward the sound source vibrates with a larger amplitude than the eardrum facing away. As the researchers emphasize, both sound transmission through the body and binaural cues help the animal localize sound. Although scientists know the general mechanisms responsible for sound localization, the difficulty of performing experiments with animals in non-interfering environments makes a detailed model elusive. Michelsen and Larsen explain that scientists are still far from understanding certain components of directional hearing, such as the physics of sound transmission through channels in the body, and how an animal’s habitat influences its hearing mechanisms. “What is needed now is to get a much better understanding of directional hearing in the natural habitats, where thick vegetation, etc., degrade sounds,” Michelsen said.Humans, on the other hand, use a different type of sound receiver, one that uses simply “pressure reception.” In human ears, only the outer surface is exposed to sound, and an opening (the Eustachian tube) allows an equalization of pressure, but doesn’t allow sound to enter the middle ear. While humans with normal hearing have a surprisingly good ability to determine sound origins, individuals who use hearing aids often have only a very limited ability to localize sounds.But, as Michelsen and Larsen explain, using techniques from pressure difference reception, like the birds and grasshoppers have, may improve the sound localization ability of human hearing aids. One possibility is to let the hearing aids in the two ears exchange information by means of radio signals, which enhances the binaural and time cues in both ears, and thereby helps a user determine the direction of a sound. As Michelsen explains, the ability to determine the source of sound is not just a luxury, but often a necessary survival skill.“Praying mantids flying at night can hear the cries of hunting bats, but not determine the direction to the bats,” Michelsen said. “It probably means that more mantids get eaten by bats than would have been the case if their hearing system had been equipped with pressure difference reception.”Much more information remains to be learned about directional hearing in different animals. From frogs, which hear with their lungs and mouth, to crickets, which have ears on their front legs just below the knee, the ability to hear is complex and can offer a deeper understanding of nature’s remarkable acoustic abilities.More information: Michelsen, Axel, and Larsen, Ole Naesbye. “Pressure difference receiving ears.” Bioinsp. Biomim. 3 (2008) 011001 (18pp).Copyright 2007 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of The cricket’s ears are located on its front legs, and have four acoustic inputs. Sound first reaches the outer eardrum, which is connected to an acoustic trachea, a transverse trachea, and an acoustic trachea on the opposite side, allowing the sound to pass all the way through the cricket’s body. Credit: Michelsen and Larsen Citation: How We Localize Surround Sound (2008, January 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Genetic hearing loss may be reversible without gene therapy You’re walking down a busy street, with cars and buses driving past and bits of conversations reaching your ears, when you hear someone call your name. You turn about 60 degrees to your left and look up to the second floor window of a building about 100 meters away, to exactly the spot where a friend is waving. Explore furtherlast_img read more

PHD Comics hits the big screen

first_img © 2011 Explore further For the last year, grad students around the world have found themselves missing their regular comics, it now appears that creator Jorge Cham had a very good reason for the comic going MIA. He has been working with a team of grad students from California Institute of Technology, or Caltech, to create a live-action film where the characters of his comic strip come spoke with Jorge Cham and learned that the movie was produced and directed by real-life graduate students from Caltech and the comic characters have been brought to life, not by professional actors, but grad students as well. The movie also features cameos by top scientists and professors including two MacArthur “Genius” Award winners.For those of you not familiar with the comic, it focuses on the lives of Cecilia, Mike Slakenerny, Tajel and the Nameless Grad Student. The comic and now the film, looks at the everyday life of a grad student. From research and more research to teaching, friendships and love, the movie presents young scientists as interesting characters and introduces the average person into what life is really like for a grad student.PHD Movie TrailerTelevision shows like the Big Bang Theory have increased the popularity of the scientist in recent years. While the Big Bang Theory is not completely true to life, the hopes of shows like this and of the new PhD Comic movie is to break the old stereotypical view of scientists. Starting September 15, the PhD Comic movie, “Piled Higher and Deeper” The Movie, is being screened worldwide on hundreds of academic campuses and Cham says they plan to send the movie to numerous film festivals as well. To see if the movie will be playing at a campus near you, check out his website for times and locations. ( — If you are a graduate student, you are more than likely aware of the popular Piled Higher and Deeper, or PHD, Comics created by Jorge Cham. These comics cover the everyday struggles that scientists face while in grad school in a humorous and accurate depiction. Citation: PHD Comics hits the big screen (2011, September 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Facebook founder fodder for animated film (c) Jorge Chamlast_img read more

Using an SN1 reaction to make quaternary stereocenters

first_img As the researchers note, up until now, there has been no good method to make quaternary stereocenters. Current methods, they note, tend to be based on pro-chiral substrates, which are themselves a challenge to make. In this new effort, the team at Harvard came up with a new approach—one based on the SN1 reaction.SN1 reactions are a mainstay of introductory organic chemistry courses, but they notoriously cause havoc with stereochemistry. In spite of that, the researchers believed they could use the flat carbocation intermediate produced in such reactions as a substrate. To that end, they came up with an SN1 reaction that converted a mixture propargyl acetate (with equal amounts of left and right-handed enantiomers-a racemic) to a mixture with a quaternary center. A hydrogen-bond donor was used as a catalyst to remove the acetoxy materials which were replaced with an allyl mix—the result was a single enantiomer. The end products were interesting, Morack and Gilmour note, because the carbon stereocenters had a wide range of electron orbitals. This means that they have different physical geometries and thus react differently. This opens up the door to using them to produce a wide variety of molecules that could be used in various reactions for synthesizing new chemicals.The researchers note that they are not done with the work—they plan to try the same approach with compounds that are not as stable. Doing so, they acknowledge, will require the use of a catalyst that is even more reactive. They also plan to look into conducting the reaction with different nucleophiles. Reaction adds chiral groups to nitrogen rings without first installing reactive groups Explore further Citation: Using an SN1 reaction to make quaternary stereocenters (2018, April 30) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Journal information: Nature This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.center_img © 2018 More information: Alison E. Wendlandt et al. Quaternary stereocentres via an enantioconvergent catalytic SN1 reaction, Nature (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0042-1AbstractThe unimolecular nucleophilic substitution (SN1) mechanism features prominently in every introductory organic chemistry course. In principle, stepwise displacement of a leaving group by a nucleophile via a carbocationic intermediate enables the construction of highly congested carbon centres. However, the intrinsic instability and high reactivity of the carbocationic intermediates make it very difficult to control product distributions and stereoselectivity in reactions that proceed via SN1 pathways. Here we report asymmetric catalysis of an SN1-type reaction mechanism that results in the enantioselective construction of quaternary stereocentres from racemic precursors. The transformation relies on the synergistic action of a chiral hydrogen-bond-donor catalyst with a strong Lewis-acid promoter to mediate the formation of tertiary carbocationic intermediates at low temperature and to achieve high levels of control over reaction enantioselectivity and product distribution. This work provides a foundation for the enantioconvergent synthesis of other fully substituted carbon stereocentres. Mirror-image selectivity in substitution reactions. a, In an SN2 reaction, a reactant called a nucleophile (Nu; dots indicate a lone pair of electrons) attacks a carbon atom in an organic molecule from the side opposite to a ‘leaving’ group (LG). A, B and C can be any atom or group. In the transition state, the bond between the carbon atom and the LG is partly broken, and a bond between Nu and the carbon atom is partly formed (partly broken and partly formed bonds are shown as dashed lines). The bond to the LG then breaks, and a single product is formed. b, In the SN1 reaction, the LG is released first, and a planar, charged intermediate called a carbocation forms. Because the Nu can attack the carbocation equally easily from either side, the product forms as a 1:1 ratio of mirror-image isomers (enantiomers). c, Wendlandt et al.1 report an SN1 reaction in which a small-molecule catalyst and a triflate ion (–OTf) bind to one side of the carbocation, directing the nucleophile to the other side. One enantiomer is therefore produced preferentially. Credit: Nature (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0042-1 A team of researchers at Harvard University in the U.S. has developed a way to us an SN1 reaction to make quaternary carbon stereocenters. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the team describes overcoming the tendency of SN1 reactions to destroy stereochemistry to make the carbon-centered material. Tobias Morack and Ryan Gilmour from the University of Münster in Germany, offer a News & Views piece on the study in the same journal issue.last_img read more

5 questions for a Costa Rican jewelry designer

first_imgRelated posts:5 questions for Costa Rican artist Ulillo 5 questions for Costa Rican sculptor José Sancho 5 questions for a Costa Rican photographer 5 question for a Costa Rican painter Daniella Baltodano’s jewelry line brings an unusual mix of disciplines to the table. Baltodano, 35, studied biology and landscape architecture at the University of Costa Rica, then worked for four years as a landscape architect at Urban Design South. When, two years ago, she ventured into the jewelry world with her own business, Elha, she incorporated both architectural aesthetics and her love of biology. Her work is characterized by the merging of semiprecious stones, silver and a clean, pleasing look.On a sunny, warm morning, The Tico Times sat down at Café Miel in Barrio Otoya and spoke with Baltodano about her process. Excerpts follow.How you choose the semiprecious stones?The stones I use represent the architectural axes, both in the faceted stones and in their cuts and gloss. My favorite stone is the sapphire due to its resistance to heat and its infinite colors. It’s wonderful. I love the stones in their natural state because you can see their organic crystallization. I find it amazing that the earth can create this. I also love pearls, but the ones that are in their natural state. Most of the time I choose the stones because of the use of color and color theory, rather than the stone itself.There are many stones with different meanings. For me, the sapphire means that luxury is accessible. There are also stones such as the pink quartz that contain an energetic component; everyone associates it with love. Most of the time [the stone choice by a wearer] is due to the person’s skin color.What do the stones’ colors mean for you when creating a piece?I love color theory, so I notice it quite a lot, and the contrasts it creates. My jewelry is made to be worn on a daily basis, so there are colors that work quite well and others not so much. Finding that perfect tone for the user and managing to catch that person’s attention at that moment is part of the process. There’s a theory that says that sometimes you have an energy shortage, and you’re drawn toward certain colors. There are times when you only want to dress in black or blue, and it’s because each color represents a certain mood. I believe that when people choose their jewelry it has to do with that. They’re searching for their favorite color, or a certain color clicked with them at that moment. In the Elha line, Baltodano plays with both architectural and biological aesthetics. (Courtesy of Daniella Baltodano)Why are you so drawn to geometric figures?I guess it all has to do with the eight years of architecture. I’ve tried to regain the biological part, so I’ve incorporated a lot of textures and aspects of the forest. When my husband and I go to the forest we find tons of treasures along the way. I take them back home to my atelier and try to incorporate them. I try to clean everything so that it’s perfectly aligned with its axes.What pieces have been most difficult to create?The most difficult are the engagement rings. I make them because it’s a personal challenge. It requires a lot of perfection, precision and accuracy compared to the other jewels I do; these other jewels are more contemporary and less perfect and accurate. However, I love being able to tell a story through an engagement ring. When I hand over the ring to a guy, the fact that he’ll propose marriage with it is such a big symbol of love, independently of the piece’s value. I love that.How do you define elegance?I believe in the idea of less is more. Simplicity is part of sophistication. In my family we’ve always been very minimalist when it comes to dressing and decorating, so I like my jewelry to be a detail rather than a statement. It has to be delicate and embellish the person and his or her clothing. It’s a detail that accompanies you and, one way or another, you feel identified with it because of the shape or color.Our “Weekend Arts Spotlight” presents Sunday interviews with artists who are from, working in, or inspired by Costa Rica, ranging from writers and actors to dancers and musicians. Do you know of an artist we should consider, whether a long-time favorite or an up-and-comer? Email us at Facebook Commentslast_img read more