Adams rib revisited Evolutionary divergence of mammalian sex chromosomes

first_img The increased imbalance of X/Y chromosomal loci led to the emergence of loci-specific X chromosome inactivation, which has been seen as compensating for differential gene dosage (the number of copies of a given gene present in a cell or nucleus) by making expression of X-linked genes similar in males and females. Recently, using RNA sequencing, or RNA-seq, data (more precise than previously-analyzed microarray data), scientists in the Laboratoire de Biométrie et Biologie Évolutive, Université Lyon, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, in Villeurbanne, France, found support for the hypothesis that XCI acts as a dosage-compensation mechanism. At the same time, the scientists explored the contribution of dosage-sensitive genes to phenotype expression in X aneuploidy – a condition, relatively common in humans, in which one or more extra or missing chromosomes leads to an unbalanced chromosome complement, resulting in conditions such as Turner (X0) and Klinefelter (XXY) syndromes. Associate Professor Gabriel A. B. Marais, PhD student Eugénie Pessia and other researchers faced a number of challenges in designing and implementing research to determine how and why female somatic X-chromosome inactivation evolved in mammals – especially given that it has been poorly understood. “When X-chromosome inactivation, or XCI, was first described in the 1960s, Susumu Ohno suggested that XCI evolved as part of a dosage compensation mechanism involving X chromosome hyperexpression in both sexes coupled with inactivation of one of the X chromosomes in females,” Marais tells Phys.org. “However, the X hyperexpression part of Ohno’s scenario has remained completely speculative for a very long time. Only recently, several studies have tried to compare the global X versus autosomal expression – the so-called X/A expression ratio – using microarray or RNA-seq data. Some found an X/A close to 1, others close to 0.5 – but the most recent studies from 2011 found a ratio of 0.7, which was difficult to interpret. We thought that maybe only some of X-linked genes need to be hypertranscribed and dosage-compensated, which would explain the X/A of 0.7 when all X-linked genes – that is, some with an X/A of 1 and some with an X/A of 0.5 – are analyzed together. We thought that it would make perfect sense if only the dosage-sensitive genes on the X chromosome would have an X/A of 1, as they’re the ones that need a precise dosage.” Explore further X expression and autosomal expression in large protein complexes versus others. For each tissue, the ratio of the medians of X gene expression of large complexes and of X gene expression of other protein complexes was computed (the XL/XO ratio, in red). The ratio of the medians of autosomal gene expression of large complexes and of autosomal gene expression of other protein complexes—the AL/AO ratio (blue)—was computed similarly. The two green dashed lines indicate expectations with a twofold increase of expression (ratio of 2) and without any change in expression (ratio of 1). Image Copyright © PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1116763109 Citation: Adam’s rib, revisited: Evolutionary divergence of mammalian sex chromosomes (2012, April 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-04-adam-rib-revisited-evolutionary-divergence.html The research team addressed these issues by studying gene expression of dosage-sensitive genes on the X chromosome – but since those are not very well known. “Based on studies in plants, yeasts and also in humans, we thought we should focus on protein-complex genes,” Marais explains. “Protein complexes require a precise stochiometry to be functional, which means that if one protein is much more abundant than the other proteins of the complex, it is likely to be nonfunctional, which may be harmful for the cell.” They used the data on human complexes from the HPRD database to get our list of protein-complex genes on the X chromosome.”For large complexes,” Marais continues, “we found that the expression levels estimated by RNA-seq are similar for X-linked and autosomal genes of a same complex. This is quite striking because both in male and female, only one X is present or expressed, whereas both autosomes are expressed. The X-linked genes have only one expressed copy and the autosomal two, so the expression of the X-linked genes should be half that of the autosomal ones, but we found it to be the same, which means the X-linked genes are hyperexpressed. How this hyperexpression is achieved remains an open question, but recent data in mice suggests that RNA polymerase II could be more abundant on these X-linked genes, probably because of epigenetic marks.”Looking ahead, Marais notes, “We’d like to study the other dosage-sensitive genes on the X chromosome, as we know that protein-complex genes are not the only ones. Genes involved in regulatory networks are probably dosage-sensitive. However, we need better characterization of these networks in humans before extending our analysis to these other dosage-sensitive genes.”Marais adds that the team would like to understand how XCI originated. “We showed that XCI is part of a dosage compensation mechanism for dosage-sensitive X-linked genes, because XCI downregulates their expression to get a balanced X and autosomal expression, and thereby avoid an X/A of 2, in females. However,” he acknowledges, “our study does not provide insights on how XCI evolved in the first place. X-inactivation is found in placentals and marsupials – and in marsupials and in some tissues of some placentals, it is the paternal X that is always inactivated. David Haig has proposed that X-inactivation might originally be a form of genetic imprinting, which evolved because of parental conflicts. We’d like to test this idea.”Marais also points out that it might well be possible to transition to in silico modeling. “Actually, there’s very little theoretical work on the evolution of dosage compensation. The hypothesis proposed by David Haig has not been modeled at all,” he notes, “and it would be important to show by simulation that his scenario can work.”Regarding research, technology and applications might benefit from their findings, Marais notes that in humans, most aneuploidies (aberrant number of chromosomes) are lethal. “Trisomy 21 is an exception, but there are strong effects on the phenotype known as Down syndrome. The X chromosome is another exception, and X aneuploidies have surprisingly mild effects given the size of this chromosome and the number of genes it contains compared to chromosome 21 – one of the smallest chromosomes in our genome. This is because all the supernumerary X chromosomes are inactivated by XCI, so in XXY individuals or X0 individuals, only one X is expressed just like in XX or XY individuals. However, about 15% of the genes located on the human X chromosome escape XCI, and for these ones X aneuploidies will have consequences on gene dosage. Our results suggest that the consequences will be stronger for the dosage-sensitive genes.” Marais concludes. He suggests that genes being both dosage-sensitive and XCI-escapees are probably the best candidates for underlying X aneuploidy syndromes such as Turner (X0), Klinefelter (XXY) and Triple-X. “The identification and characterization of such genes would of course help develop treatments that some patients affected by these very frequent syndromes need.” Study confirms males and females have at least one thing in common: Upregulating Xcenter_img More information: Mammalian X chromosome inactivation evolved as a dosage-compensation mechanism for dosage-sensitive genes on the X chromosome, Published online before print March 5 2012, PNAS April 3 2012 vol. 109 no. 14 5346-5351, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1116763109 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. (Phys.org)—Males and females… Mars and Venus… XY and XX chromosomes—all are common memes. At the same time, the evolution of therian (placental and marsupial) sex chromosomes is less widely understood. More to the point, these arose some 150 million years ago from a pair of autosomes, or non-sex chromosomes. Having appeared, the X and Y chromosomes – both with the same ancestral genes – began diverging, with the Y chromosome evolving into a state in which (except for two small autosomal regions) it never recombines. As a result, the Y chromosome has degenerated, losing most of its genes in the process. On the other hand, the X chromosome does recombine, retains many ancestral genes – and has gained new genes, and evolved new expression patterns, as well. Copyright 2012 Phys.Org All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com.last_img read more

New phase of water could dominate the interiors of Uranus and Neptune

first_img Explore further Mysterious planetsAlthough superionic ice doesn’t exist under normal conditions on Earth, the high pressures and temperatures where it is thought to exist are very similar to the predicted conditions in the interiors of Uranus and Neptune. “Uranus and Neptune are called ice giants because their interiors consist primarily of water, along with ammonia and methane,” Wilson said. “Since the pressure and temperature conditions of the predicted new phase just happen to line up with the pressure and temperature conditions of the interiors of these planets, our new fcc superionic phase may very well be the single most prevalent component of these planets.”The researchers predict that understanding superionic ice—particularly the stable fcc phase—will offer insight into these ice giants.”Uranus and Neptune remain very poorly understood at this stage, and their interiors are deeply mysterious,” Wilson said. “The observations we have are very limited—every other planet in the solar system we’ve visited multiple times, but Uranus and Neptune we’ve just done brief flybys with Voyager 2. What we do know is that they have bizarre non-axisymmetric non-dipolar magnetic fields, totally unlike any other planet in our solar system. We also know that they’re extremely similar in mass, density and composition, yet somehow fundamentally different, because Neptune has a significant internal heat source and Uranus hardly emits any heat at all.”It’s possible that the predicted bcc-to-fcc phase transition may explain the planets’ unusual magnetic fields, although more research is needed in this area.”Our results imply that Uranus’s and Neptune’s interiors are a bit denser and have an electrical conductivity that is slightly reduced compared to previous models,” Militzer added.Understanding Uranus and Neptune’s interiors could have implications far beyond our solar system, as well.”One thing we’re learning from the Kepler mission is that Uranus-like or Neptune-like exoplanets are extremely common,” Wilson said. “They appear to be more common than Jupiter-like gas giants. So understanding our local ice giants is important, because they’re an archetypal example for a huge class of planets out there in the universe.” Future experimentsIn the future, the researchers plan to investigate the possible existence of a third superionic phase, as well as attempt to detect the predicted transition between the bcc and fcc phases. “Shock wave experiments combined with X-ray diffraction techniques will enable one to detect the predicted bcc-to-fcc transition,” Militzer said. “Shock waves allow one to reach megabar pressure and heat the sample to thousands of Kelvin at the same time. X-ray diffraction measurements allow one to determine whether the oxygen atoms reside on bcc or fcc positions. This leads to an obvious change in the X-ray diffraction pattern. Shock waves and X-ray diffraction have rarely been combined so far, but Dr. Jon Eggert at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is in the process of preparing such experiments.” Citation: New phase of water could dominate the interiors of Uranus and Neptune (2013, April 25) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-04-phase-dominate-interiors-uranus-neptune.html Copyright 2013 Phys.org All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of Phys.org. Pounding particles to create Neptune’s water in the lab Journal information: Physical Review Letters More information: Hugh F. Wilson, et al. “Superionic to Superionic Phase Change in Water: Consequences for the Interiors of Uranus and Neptune.” PRL 110, 151102 (2013). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.151102 (Phys.org) —While everyone is familiar with water in the liquid, ice, and gas phases, water can also exist in many other phases over a vast range of temperature and pressure conditions. One lesser known phase of water is the superionic phase, which is considered an “ice” but exists somewhere between a solid and a liquid: while the oxygen atoms occupy fixed lattice positions as in a solid, the hydrogen atoms migrate through the lattice as in a fluid. Until now, scientists have thought that there was only one phase of superionic ice, but scientists in a new study have discovered a second phase that is more stable than the original. The new phase of superionic ice could make up a large component of the interiors of giant icy planets such as Uranus and Neptune. Phase diagram of water showing the fully fluid, solid, and superionic regimes. The superionic regime is shaded to show the transition from bcc (red) to fcc (yellow) phase stability as pressure increases. Credit: Hugh F. Wilson, et al. ©2013 American Physical Society Structure of superionic ice in (left) the bcc phase and (right) the newly discovered and more stable fcc phase. Credit: Hugh F. Wilson, et al. ©2013 American Physical Society The scientists, Hugh F. Wilson (now at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation [CSIRO] in Australia), Michael L. Wong, and Burkhard Militzer at the University of California, Berkeley, have published a paper on the new phase of superionic ice in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters. Exotic waterAs the scientists explain, water has an unusually rich phase diagram, with 15 crystalline phases observed in laboratory experiments and eight additional phases predicted theoretically. “Superionic water is a fairly exotic sort of substance,” Wilson told Phys.org. “The phases of water we’re familiar with all consist of water molecules in various arrangements, but superionic water is a non-molecular form of ice, where hydrogen atoms are shared between oxygens. It’s somewhere between a solid and a liquid—the hydrogen atoms move around freely like in a liquid, while the oxygens stay rigidly fixed in place. It would probably flow more like a liquid, though, since the planes of oxygen atoms can slide quite freely against one another, lubricated by the hydrogens.”The original phase of superionic ice, called the body centered cubic (bcc) phase, was first predicted with ab initio computer simulations in 1999 by Carlo Cavazzoni, et al. Scientists predict that the bcc phase exists at pressures in excess of 0.5 Mbar (500,000 times greater than atmospheric pressure) and temperatures of a few thousand Kelvin. The bcc phase derives its name from the fact that the oxygen atoms occupy body centered cubic lattice sites. Hints of the bcc phase’s instability have been previously observed, but the new study shows for the first time that the bcc phase is less stable than the new phase where the oxygen atoms occupy sites on a face centered cubic (fcc) lattice. The scientists predict that the fcc phase exists at pressures in excess of 1.0 Mbar, even higher than the pressure for the bcc phase. The scientists’ ab initio molecular dynamics simulations also show that the fcc phase has a higher density and lower hydrogen mobility than the bcc phase. That is, the hydrogen atoms in the fcc structure move less frequently to nearby voids between the oxygen atoms, while in the bcc structure, they migrate more freely between different sites. This difference affects the water’s thermal and electrical conductivity. In addition, the simulations show that a phase transition between the bcc and fcc phases may exist at pressures of 1.0 ± 0.5 Mbar. 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.last_img read more

Antibiotics 20 The atomic structure and mechanism of mammalian hostdefense peptides

first_imgCrystal structure and surface characteristics of the human dermcidin channel. (A) X-ray structure of the hexameric DCD channel shown in cartoon representation from the side and top (Middle and Right), and as surface representation (Left). The different orientations of the individual peptides relative to the membrane normal are marked in orange and dark blue, and termini are marked (NT, N terminus; CT, C terminus). Arrows combined with tilt angle and axes give the relative orientation. Residues involved in Zn binding are shown in stick representation and Zn ions are marked in gray. The symmetry axis of the channel is marked with C2 (for the side view) and C3 (for the top view). Two interfaces of different surface area are formed after trimerization and named IF1 and IF2. (B) Close-up into the Zn-binding site S1. Four residues (Glu5 and Asp11 from one peptide and Asp41 and His38 from the second) form each Zn-binding site. The distance between the Zn ions is marked by arrows. (C) Electrostatic surface representation of the channel with two monomers marked in ribbon representation. The channel comprises five alternating patches of elongated negative (red) and ring-like positive (blue) charge. (D) Side view of DCD (hydrophobic residues in magenta). (E) Ribbon model of DCD. The pore diameter is represented by spheres. The lateral entry points are marked with circles. (F) Hydrophilic residues on the trimeric interface (negatively charged residues in red, positively charged residues in blue, polar residues in green). Nonpolar residues are shown in white. (G) The hydrophilic channel interior. For clarity, the front dimer is omitted; colors as in F. (H) Channel radius along the pore axis. Copyright © PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1214739110 Frogs skin gives researchers the hop on bacteria (Phys.org) —While the natural world is replete with compounds that form the basis of many disease-fighting pharmaceuticals, it is also the case that humans and other mammals produce their own host-defense peptide-derived broad-spectrum antibiotics to combat bacterial and fungal infections. By attacking microbial cell membranes, these peptides prevent bacteria from developing rapid antibiotic resistance. While over 1,700 of these peptides are known, the structural and mechanical aspects of their functional activity have remained an unanswered question. Recently, however, scientists at Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, The University of Edinburgh, and other instiutions1 determined the X-ray crystal structure as well as solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, electrophysiology, and molecular dynamic (MD) simulations of human dermcidin (DCD), revealing its mechanism at atomic scale. The researchers conclude that their results may lead to the peptide structure-based design of second-generation antibiotics. PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreen , Nature Prof. Kornelius Zeth spoke with Phys.org about the challenges that he, Dr. Ulrich Zachariae, Dr. Chen Song, Dr. Bert de Groot, and his other colleagues encountered in conducted their research. “For crystallography it was very difficult to find a proper peptide source. In fact, we had to use five different peptides from different companies until we found a company, Peptide 2.0 Inc., which produced the peptide in the correct way,” Zeth recalls. “However, I can’t say they’ve modified their process – and luck also a factor, as are and several parameters which are influential aside from the peptide, such as who conducts the robotic screening, local climate and so on.”Moreover, the simulations that revealed the antibiotic mechanism of human dermcidin had their own complications. “Simulations require time and experience in order to capture the correct lipidic environment,” Zeth adds. “Also, the choice of the proper MD method was critical to tracing the mechanism by which ions passed through the channel.” The simulations went on for many months, he illustrates, depending on the system studied, to get a complete picture of the membrane channels. More specifically, Song notes that the production simulations took more than a year – roughly 650 days – in real time using 48 CPUs.”Several consistency checks were carried out to ensure the validity of the MD simulations,” de Groot points out. “First, the simulation parameters and setup were carefully selected to mimic the bacterial conditions as closely as possible. Second, to ensure convergence the simulations were carried out multiple times, from different starting conditions. Third, the conductance derived from the electrophysiology simulations were directly compared to measured values, showing quantitative agreement.”Another challenge, Zeth says, was conducting electrophysiology experiments in which the scientists characterized the activity of dermcidin in membranes under various conditions. “Methods applied to solve this problem are typically based on recent developments in electrophysiology. One general problem of DCD is that the peptide is very soluble in water and does not easily enter artificial membranes.” in fact, this finding has also caused NMR problems when trying to verify the tilting of the channel in membranes as predicted by MD simulations. These studies were hampered by the small portion of the peptide that was observable in an integral membrane conformation. More information: Crystal structure and functional mechanism of a human antimicrobial membrane channel, PNAS March 19, 2013 vol. 110 no. 12 4586-4591, doi:10.1073/pnas.1214739110Related: 1Georg August University – Göttingen, University of Strasbourg, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Freiburg University, University of Basque Country, Spanish Science Research Council 2Editor’s Summary: Trigger for psoriasis, Nature 4 October 2007 Discussing how their findings articulate the comprehensive mechanism for the membrane-disruptive action of this mammalian host-defense peptide at atomistic level, Zeth notes that their findings are based on the combination of several techniques. “Starting from the crystal structure,” he explains, “we modeled the ion flux, later deciding to verify the theoretical calculations and values by experimental data. We’ve also tried to model the tilting behavior seen in MD simulation by solid state NMR techniques, but this approach failed. Nevertheless, the overall picture, while incomplete, leads to many follow-up experiments and stimulates the AMP community regarding the development of new mechanistic views.” As for the conductance calculated by MD, however, researchers we were able to reproduce these values using planar lipid membrane techniques in an error range of only 20%. While their paper states that their results may form a foundation for the structure-based design of peptide antibiotics, Zeth says that this is rather difficult to judge. “In fact, he says, the German company BRAIN is trying to introduce DCD into pharmaceutical studies. However, if you look closer into the general applications of peptides as AMPs, it’s rather frustrating. To my knowledge,” Zeth acknowledges, “there are no AMP peptides sold as pharmaceuticals at the moment, although the general market of peptides – against cancer and other diseases – is still growing. The problem is the size and stability of the peptides if given orally or into the bloodstream as proteases, but. DCD is active on skin – so might be easier if it was to be introduced into creams.”Zeth then described medical properties and potential of host-defense antimicrobial peptides for comparison with traditional small-molecule antibiotics.Specificity: Rather unspecific. Gram-positives and negatives are concerned while with traditional antibiotics either Gram+/Gram- are treated.Efficacy: likely to be more efficient due to inherent molecular antibacterial propertiesSafety: Not yet determined but as these molecules come from humans they should not be toxicPost-xenotransplantation immune response: Currently unknown. The problem with antimicrobial peptides is protease-based instability in the bloodstream and stomach.Autoimmune diseases: Some peptides, such including LL-37, have severe implications in autoimmunity. In fact, the overproduction of these peptides generates a number of skin diseases, such as psoriasis. More specifically, in the case of psoriasis it seems that LL-37 overproduction can cause autoimmune diseases,2 the unresolved issue being whether the peptides are produced inside or outside the cell.In terms of next steps in their research, Zeth mentions studies of mutations in the membrane-exposed side of the channel; changing properties, such as conductivity or membrane integration, inside the membrane to; peptide translocation via membranes; and mentions post-xenotransplantation immune response as “an idea for future applications.”Zeth notes that other areas of research might benefit from their research. “Generally our study will influence the current view of peptide channels in membranes – an important field, in particular for researchers trying to enhance this domain of knowledge to improve current peptide drugs. Also, our channel study benefits MD for further use in a variety of studies on mutations and different approaches to better characterize the channel. The channel is thereby a tool,” Zeth concludes, “for testing methods and answer questions which were, so far, difficult to answer due to missing structural models.” Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencescenter_img Citation: Antibiotics 2.0: The atomic structure and mechanism of mammalian host-defense peptides (2013, April 30) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-04-antibiotics-atomic-mechanism-mammalian-host-defense.html Play Multiion permeation mechanism across DCD driven by transmembrane electric fields present across bacterial membranes. Ions enter sideways into the pore across the lateral openings that occur at the trimeric interfaces. Anion transfer across the inner pore usually involves single ion “hopping” steps. Near the channel exit, anions accumulate to form a cluster of three to four ions. Ions exiting the channel are often observed to be translocated by multiion “knockon” effects, by which anions are transferred to the bulk solution. Copyright © PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1214739110 “Peptide solubility or membrane affinity can be influenced by several parameters, such as mutations or changing membrane systems,” Zeth continues. “For NMR we’ve seen essentially all of the peptide associated with the membrane in a horizontal manner. However, we were more interested in the peptide complex inserted in the membrane, but that only occurred ten percent or less of the time.” Zeth outlines the key insights and discoveries that helped the team address these challenges. “One important factor was that this was the first structure of an anti-microbial peptide in a channel conformation,” he explains. “Another was that this peptide activity seems to be zinc-dependent – although it is not really clear what activity zinc actually causes. Also,” Zeth adds, “our model, based on the molecular dynamics of ion flow through the channel, is new and unexpected, in that lateral pore openings seem to play a more important role than do terminals.”Zeth points out that their study solved the crystal structure of an AMP (antimicrobial peptide) channel for the first time in a putative channel conformation. “This result allowed a number of follow-up experiments, in particular MD simulations without assembling a rather artificial membrane pore,” he explains. “In my opinion, our AMP structure is the first to be assembled on the basis of direct X-ray data. All other AMPs used for MD are assembled based on indirect data, and while these assemblies may be correct, their structural information cannot be compared to the quality of X-ray data. This allowed us to use a system that reflects the closest membrane-bound state.” © 2013 Phys.org. All rights reserved. Explore further Model system used in the MD simulations. (A) The initial simulation system, which contains the X-ray structure of DCD (orange and deep blue cartoon helices), the POPE/POPG (3:1) lipids bilayer (gray sticks), water box (light blue surface), Na+ (blue spheres), and Cl− (red spheres) ions. (B) The MD conformation after 100-ns simulation, which was then duplicated in the membrane normal direction to form the double-patch simulation system for the computational electrophysiology simulations (C). Copyright © PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1214739110 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.last_img read more

Study implicates global warming as a factor in increasing economic losses due

first_img Geographer says, expect weather severity to increase Explore further Citation: Study implicates global warming as a factor in increasing economic losses due to hurricanes (2015, October 20) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-10-implicates-global-factor-economic-losses.html (Phys.org)—A trio of researchers affiliated with Universidad Nacional Autónoma in Mexico, and VU University in the Netherlands, has conducted a study on the source of an increase in property dollar amounts lost over the past several decades due to hurricanes and has concluded that it cannot be blamed on an increase in wealth or construction—instead, they suggest in their paper published in Nature Geoscience, that it is due to more storms, because of global warming. Stéphane Hallegatte with the Climate Change Policy Team at the World Bank, offers a News & Views piece in the same journal edition on the work done by the team, outlining the process that was used, and highlighting possible problems with the results. © 2015 Phys.org More information: Francisco Estrada et al. Economic losses from US hurricanes consistent with an influence from climate change, Nature Geoscience (2015). DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2560AbstractWarming of the climate system and its impacts on biophysical and human systems have been widely documented. The frequency and intensity of extreme weather events have also changed, but the observed increases in natural disaster losses are often thought to result solely from societal change, such as increases in exposure and vulnerability. Here we analyse the economic losses from tropical cyclones in the United States, using a regression-based approach instead of a standard normalization procedure to changes in exposure and vulnerability, to minimize the chance of introducing a spurious trend. Unlike previous studies, we use statistical models to estimate the contributions of socioeconomic factors to the observed trend in losses and we account for non-normal and nonlinear characteristics of loss data. We identify an upward trend in economic losses between 1900 and 2005 that cannot be explained by commonly used socioeconomic variables. Based on records of geophysical data, we identify an upward trend in both the number and intensity of hurricanes in the North Atlantic basin as well as in the number of loss-generating tropical cyclone records in the United States that is consistent with the smoothed global average rise in surface air temperature. We estimate that, in 2005, US$2 to US$14 billion of the recorded annual losses could be attributable to climate change, 2 to 12% of that year’s normalized losses. We suggest that damages from tropical cyclones cannot be dismissed when evaluating the current and future costs of climate change and the expected benefits of mitigation and adaptation strategies.center_img Monetary losses that come about due to natural disasters are on the rise, particularly from storms such as hurricanes—that much is clear. What is not clear is whether this trend can be blamed on changes in the weather or people building more expensive stuff in the path of such storms. Some recent studies have found that it is mostly the latter, but that, the researchers with this new effort argue, is because the approach used to reach such conclusions was flawed.The traditional way of normalizing damage from hurricanes, Hallegatte explains, involves an approach where it is assumed that an increase in damage would come about evenly with an increase in wealth—i.e. doubling wealth in an area would double the damage costs that occurred in it. But that thinking is flawed, the researchers contend, because it does not take into consideration the fact that as an area grows more wealthy, some of that money is used to prevent storm damage. They conducted their own study using a method that took such changes into account and their results showed that the economic loss increases due to hurricanes over the period 1900 to 2005 could not be solely attributed to an increase in wealth—they suggest that the other increase was due to an increased number of storms and stronger intensity (due to global warming) and further suggest that between 2 and 12 percent of losses due to such storms in the year 2005 alone (the year Katrina struck New Orleans), could be attributed to global warming.Hallegatte agrees with the approach used by the researchers but points out that the change used to normalize the data is not proven, nor is the assumption that an increase in the number of storms, or their intensity can be blamed on global warming. Hurricane Isabel (2003) as seen from orbit during Expedition 7 of the International Space Station. Credit: NASA Journal information: Nature Geoscience 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.last_img read more

Example of microplastic pollutants disrupting predatorprey relationship found

first_img Journal information: Biology Letters Citation: Example of microplastic pollutants disrupting predator-prey relationship found (2018, November 28) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-microplastic-pollutants-disrupting-predator-prey-relationship.html More information: Microplastic leachates impair behavioural vigilance and predator avoidance in a temperate intertidal gastropod, Biology Letters (2018). rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.or … .1098/rsbl.2018.0453 First evidence that seals can consume microplastics via their prey © 2018 Science X Network Explore furthercenter_img Credit: CC0 Public Domain A team of researchers with the French National Centre for Scientific Research has found an example of environmental microplastics disrupting a predator-prey relationship. In their paper published in the journal Biology Letters, the group describes their study of the impact of microplastic consumption on the common periwinkle and what they found. The researchers note that to date, many studies have been done to better understand what happens to living creatures when they consume microplastics—but little work has been done to better understand what happens to the relationship between predators and prey when microplastics are introduced into the environment.Periwinkles are a kind of shellfish, or more precisely, a sea snail. They spend their time perched on algae-covered rocks grazing on the algae. They are considered a keystone creature because of the role they play as prey for other creatures, mainly crabs. Periwinkles are also consumed by humans. In this new effort, the researchers wondered what might happen to periwinkles that consume algae that has itself absorbed microplastics. Prior research has shown that when algae absorb microplastics, they also absorb hazardous chemicals and metals. This is because microplastics absorb such materials from the water. When a periwinkle eats the algae, it is also eating the hazardous materials present in the algae.To find out if the heavy metals or other toxic substances eaten by the periwinkle cause disruptive changes, the researchers gathered some specimens and brought them into the lab for testing. They also collected crabs to use as predators.The researchers report that when a periwinkle that had consumed the toxic materials, it did not react in an expected way to the presence of a predator. Normally, upon spying a crab, a periwinkle will pull into its shell or try to hide to avoid capture. The periwinkles exposed to the toxic materials did not attempt to avoid capture, which suggested they had nerve damage of some sort, likely due to consumption of heavy metals.The researchers note that in their experiments, the levels of toxicity in the microplastics were equivalent to those on a typical beach, thus representing real-world conditions. The researchers suggest their findings hint at major changes happening in the marine environment due to the microplastics introduced by us humans. 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.last_img read more

New Yorkers Call For Fair Elections

first_img Photo Credit: US Air Force by Natalie Migliore New Yorkers Call For Fair Elections Audio PlayerYour browser version does not support the audio element00:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. 8.22.19 10:29am New York State’s Public Campaign Financing Committee met for the first time Thursday. Advocates gathered outside the meeting to let the nine committee members know they’re following decisions and discussions closely. The committee was commissioned by Governor Cuomo and is tasked with deciding how much money the government can supliment campaigns, among other issues.last_img

Ni Hao Delhi

first_imgThe India China Economic and Cultural council, Delhi in cooperation with the Chinese Embassy in India, is organising a cultural evening titled India-China Cultural Extravaganza 2013. The primary aim of the event is to strengthen the bilateral cultural cooperation between the two countries. The ICEC had hosted the Chinese Spring Festival earlier this year. ICEC works closely with the Chinese Embassy in India to organize cultural festivals. This is apart from hosting business delegates and providing consultancy services to Indian and Chinese companies on matters of business. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’On the cultural front, this is ICEC’s yet another effort to organise an evening to celebrate the 64th Anniversary of the National Day of the People’s Republic of China. The ICEC Council takes this opportunity to celebrate with the people of China. The Performances include Diablo Acrobatics, Changing Faces (Bian Lian), Indian Magician will Showcase Chinese Culture through his magic tricks, Rajasthani Folk Dance (Kalbelia and Bhavai), Indian and Western Fusion Music by ‘Rising India’ band and Foot JugglingThe entry to the cultural extravaganza is free. Since the number of seats is limited, the reservation would be on first come, first serve basis.last_img read more

The joy of weaving

first_imgA five- day exhibition was organised by Raj Group, a manufacturer and exporter of weaved materials, celebrating their 75th anniversary. The exhibition that started on 4 July at Stainless Gallery and displayed 18 pieces comprising of art installations, carpets, photographs and wall art. The show also featured photographs by Ajit Bhadoriya and Brahm Maira which narrated the journey of the group since the time the photographers got associated with it. The exhibition also gave a glimpse of its traditions and legacy. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’‘We are extremely delighted to announce our 75 glorious years of weaving traditions this year. The works displayed are specially made for the exhibition. Designed and handcrafted within our factory premises at Panipat (Haryana), materials like wool, jute, fabric and Poly Ethylene Terephthalate (PET) have been used to make the art works’, says Ajay Nath, Managing Partner, Raj Group. Established in 1939, the group is well known for manufacturing carpets like Panja weaving and displaying an array of carpets and rugs amongst other such products.last_img read more

PM nod must to suspend babus at Centre

first_imgIAS officers working under central government cannot be suspended without the nod of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a move aimed at allowing bureaucrats to take decisions without any fear of political backlash. A relief has also been provided in the revised rules to all-India services officers –IAS, IPS and IFoS –working in various states in the revised rules under which the Centre needs to be informed within 48 hours if any officer is suspended by them followed by a detailed report within a fortnight.last_img

A Different Dance

first_imgTapping of feet with the swaying rhythm of classical music is going to fill the chilly air of the city with the beginning of the 20th Annual Kathak Dance Festival – ‘Antarang’. Organised by the AAMAD Dance Centre, it is an annual dance festival that creates the opportunity for its students to present their training of Kathak on a professional platform. The festival will exhibit the talent of more than 100 artists including able and differently able people along with the presence of Dr Kamilini Asthana, chairperson, Advisory committee, kathak kendra as the chief guest. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf’Antarang’ will showcase traditional Kathak performances by the disciples of Rani Khanam of AAMAD dance centre. Apart from being a respected guru, Rani Khanam is also an empanelled artist in “outstanding category” of the Indian Council for Culture Relations, “Top graded” artist at the Delhi Doordarshan and the Director of Aamad. Along with it, some other performances aiming to grab the limelight includes a stylized dance form “Andaz-e-Raqs”, highlighting the contribution of Persian culture where the costumes play an intrinsic role in the kinetics of choreography, highly inspired by the Persian paintings and literature; “Shatapadi”, a “Shri Nand Nandan Nachat Sudhang” of Surdas and a performance called “Om Shanti” by the “specially able” artists to be performed on wheelchairs and amp; Crutches. These soul-stirring performances are aimed at recognizing the hidden potential of each person with disability. AAMAD, considered as one of the main integrated dance institute in India imparts training at a professional level. Imparting training to differently abled people to dance, they created a level in traditional and modern dance for more than two decades. With the most creative and unique initiative in the world of Indian performing arts, “Antarang” is sure to attract dance lovers with its powerful performances.last_img read more

Kaleidoscapes of vibrant hues

first_imgPortraying the fine blend of Indian miniatures and Chinese calligraphic art, Bikash Poddar is regarded as one of the best known landscape artists from Bengal who blends landscapes with human from in a seamless harmony. His most recent solo show of landscape paintings in water colour, ‘Kaleido-scapes: Nature in Vibrant Hues’, at Gallerie Ganehsa, Greater Kailash II, depict landscapes in miniature fromat with highly detailed architecture: ruined temples, weathered habitations and boats by the waterside. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfHis landscapes reflect a translucent glow of colour (that Bengal art assimilated from Chinese and Japanese calligraphic art) blended with the detailed portrayal of monuments and human figures from miniatures. Then there are his boldly coloured works that concentrate on objects of daily use – another important trend in Bengal art that he manages to balance with large areas of formless space. His works are an important contribution to the art of Bengal, dialectical, evocative and memorable for the quality of their execution. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveAn art critic Suneet Chopra says, “When I saw his earlier works, what struck me was the proportion of human figures that blended beautifully with the landscape and yet held their ground in a symbiotic relationship, evoking the relation between man and his creations together. Since then, he has blown up these miniatures in a manner that builds a harmony between froms and the formless flows of colour, inviting the eye to explore space while at the same time following the narrative of his figures set in the theatrical backdrop of architectural froms.These romantic reveries of spaces in the mind are successful largely because of his excellence as a painter of rare quality without which his landscapes would have been reduced to being mere pictures.” Born in 1954 in Kaliyaganj, North Bengal, Poddar studied at the College of Art and Craft, Kolkata and completed his five years of diploma in Applied Art with a gold medal. He turned to full time painting in the nineties, following the success of his shows of watercolours in Delhi and Mumbai. He has shown his work in nearly 25 solo and group shows in India and abroad. His works are with collectors and corporate houses in Delhi, Mumbai, USA, Hongkong, Canada, Australia and Singapore besides others.The exhibition will be open for public viewing from March 25 and will continue till April 25 from 11 am to 7 pm.last_img read more

In a first India to host 8th Theatre Olympics

first_imgIn a development that puts India firmly among the top nations in the world theatre map, the country, for the first time, will play host to the next edition of the prestigious Theatre Olympics in 2018. Established in 1993, Theatre Olympics is the foremost international theatre festival, presenting the finest productions of well-known theatre practitioners from around the world.The festival will kick off on February 17 next year in the Capital and conclude on April 8 in Mumbai. The 8th edition of Theatre Olympics is being organised by National School of Drama (NSD), under the aegis of Ministry of Culture, Government of India. The country’s tryst with the biggest celebration of theatre in the world will be held in 15 cities across India with over 50 international and 150 national theatre groups performing over the span of two months. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfIn addition, there will be ambience performances with allied activities like exhibitions, seminars, symposia, interactive discussions and workshops with well-known academicians, authors, actors, designers and directors.The announcement was made recently at NSD by Dr Mahesh Sharma, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism and Culture, Govt of India, along with Ratan Thiyam, Chairperson, NSD Society and Prof Waman Kendre, Director, National School of Drama. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThe Theatre Olympics 2018 will feature around 500 plays and over 700 ambience performances from across the world. The theme of the Olympics this time is ‘Flag of Friendship.’Speaking on the occasion, Dr Mahesh Sharma said, “I strongly believe that the 8th Theatre Olympics will make its mark in India’s rich cultural history and will prove to be a milestone. Cultural Ministry, Govt of India is committed to support this grand initiative. We will request Prime Minister of India to inaugurate the 8th Theatre Olympics in New Delhi and the President of India to be a part of the concluding ceremony in Mumbai.” Talking about the Theatre Olympics, Ratan Thiyam said, “It is a great feeling of joy and happiness that the prestigious event of Theatre Olympics is taking place in India, a country which is proud of its innovation and heritage and it will provide a valuable platform to showcase significant productions of groups from India and abroad. India is proud of its ancient tradition and cultural heritage.””We live in a changing world with a new cultural landscape where the technological fanfare has already penetrated in all spheres of our life, making us more intoxicating day by day with limitless external comfort and new discoveries. In this changing world and challenging journey, I sincerely feel that theatre serves as a confluence of river of modernity, the past, present and future where very important issues, complex, aesthetics and philosophical challenges are negotiated,” he further added.Speaking on NSD playing host and organising the Theatre Olympics, Prof Waman Kendre, Director, NSD said, “This is for the first time that India is trying to showcase and exchange theatre in front of the world. When it comes to theatre, it doesn’t get any bigger than the Theatre Olympics, and it is indeed a proud moment for National School of Drama that it has got the opportunity to organise this prestigious event. NSD is all geared up to play the perfect host as India will be the cynosure of the theatre world and we will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the Theatre Olympics in India is a grand success. We are in gratitude of Dr Mahesh Sharma for his constant efforts in bringing this grand festival to India.”The Theatre Olympics was established in 1993 in Delphi, Greece, as the first international theatre festival. With the tagline ‘Crossing Millennia’, this is an initiative to connect the cultural past with the present and future, bringing the richness and diversity of theatre heritage to the experiments and research of contemporary theatre.The first country to host the Theatre Olympics was Greece in 1995. Japan hosted the second edition in Shizuoka in 1999, followed by Russia in 2001. In 2006, the Olympics were held in Istanbul, Turkey and four years later, in 2010 in Seoul, South Korea. China hosted them in Beijing in 2014 and in 2016 the 7th Theatre Olympics were held in Wroclaw, Poland. India is all set to join this illustrious list as it plays host to the 8th edition of this global event.last_img read more

Over Rs 1L seized from Bharati Ghoshs car at West Midnapore

first_imgKolkata: More than one lakh rupees was seized from former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh’s car late on Thursday night at Pingla in West Midnapore, where election is scheduled to be held on Sunday.According to sources, on Thursday night at around 10:45 pm, Ghosh was returning from election campaign in a car bearing registration number WB 02 AG 6684. It was intercepted in a naka-checking point at Mundumari in Pingla. It has been alleged that despite repeated instructions by police officials, Ghosh refused to stop and let her car be checked. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataImmediately, senior police and Election Commission officials were informed and after a few kilometres near Mondalbari, Ghosh’s car was intercepted again. This time the car was thoroughly checked and sleuths found Rs 1,13,000 from the vehicle. According to the rules and regulations of an election, a candidate can carry a maximum Rs 50,000, along with proper documents. As Ghosh was carrying more than the stipulated amount, she violated the norms. Police seized the money and asked Ghosh to sign on the seizure list, which she denied. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateShe claimed that she had around Rs 49,000 and the rest of the amount belonged to other passengers of the car. Ghosh alleged that police personnel had asked them to put the money in one bag, which was later seized and shown as her money. According to sources, at the time of search and seizure, Ghosh got involved in an altercation with the police personnel. She demanded that all others inside the car must be allowed to sign on the seizure list as well, as their money had also been seized. Ghosh was later detained and taken to the police station for questioning. Almost after three hours at around 2 am, she was released. On Friday, police lodged a complaint and initiated an FIR against her. The information of Thursday night’s incident was also conveyed to the Election Commission in the state. On Friday afternoon, information was forwarded to the Election Commission of India for necessary action.last_img read more

Common food additives promote anxiety

first_imgAdditives commonly used in processed foods to improve texture and extend shelf life may promote anxiety-related behaviours and make one less social, a study in mice has found. The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, also showed sex differences in the mice’s behavioral patterns, suggesting that emulsifiers affect the brain via distinct mechanisms in males and females. Though the researchers from Georgia State University in the US could not pinpoint the exact mechanism by which emulsifiers contribute to behavioral changes, they said inflammation triggers local immune cells to produce signalling molecules that can affect tissues in other places, including the brain. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf”The gut also contains branches of the vagus nerve, which forms a direct information pathway to the brain,” said Geert de Vries, a professor at Georgia State, who led the study. Previous research by the same team has shown that emulsifiers can cause low-grade intestinal inflammation by altering the composition of gut microbiota, a diverse population of trillions of microorganisms that are vital to health. Their research has linked emulsifier consumption to obesity, metabolic syndrome and inflammatory bowel diseases such as colitis, conditions whose incidence has significantly increased since the mid-20th century. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveIn the same period there has also been an increased incidence of behavioral disorders such as autism, leading scientists to theorise that brain function may be affected by environmental exposure to modern chemical substances as well. The researchers added one of two commonly used emulsifiers, polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulose, to the drinking water of male and female mice. After 12 weeks, they observed that treatment with emulsifiers altered the gut microbiota of males and females in different ways. They then conducted tests to assess the effects of the emulsifiers on behaviour. The researchers found that emulsifiers altered anxiety-like behaviour in male mice and reduced social behaviour in female mice. “We are currently investigating the mechanisms by which dietary emulsifiers are impacting the intestinal microbiota as well as the human relevance of those findings,” said Benoit Chassaing, an assistant professor at Georgia State. As to what’s driving the differences between male and female behaviour, de Vries said there may be several factors. For example, there are known sex differences in the immune system, which help govern the composition of bacteria in the gut, and in the way the digestive system processes food. As a result, “adding emulsifiers to the diet will have different consequences for the microbiota of males and females,” de Vries said. “Our data suggest that these sex-specific changes to the microbiota could contribute to the sex differences in behaviour,” he said. The study adds to evidence that food additives should be evaluated for their effect on the microbiome, which is tied up in many aspects of human health.last_img read more

Forgetting uses brain more than remembering

first_imgChoosing to forget something uses more brain power than trying to remember it, according to a study that could lead to treatments to help people rid themselves of unwanted memories. The findings, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, suggest that in order to forget an unwanted experience, more attention should be focused on it. The study extends prior research on intentional forgetting, which focused on reducing attention to the unwanted information through redirecting attention away from unwanted experiences or suppressing the memory’s retrieval. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf”We may want to discard memories that trigger maladaptive responses, such as traumatic memories, so that we can respond to new experiences in more adaptive ways,” said Jarrod Lewis-Peacock, an assistant professor at The University of Texas at Austin in the US. “Once we can figure out how memories are weakened and devise ways to control this, we can design treatment to help people rid themselves of unwanted memories,” Lewis-Peacock. Memories are dynamic constructions of the brain that regularly get updated, modified and reorganised through experience. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThe brain is constantly remembering and forgetting information – and much of this happens automatically during sleep. Prior studies focused on locating “hotspots” of activity in the brain’s control structures, such as the prefrontal cortex, and long-term memory structures, such as the hippocampus. The latest study focuses, instead, on the sensory and perceptual areas of the brain, specifically the ventral temporal cortex, and the patterns of activity there that correspond to memory representations of complex visual stimuli. “We are looking not at the source of attention in the brain, but the sight of it,” said Lewis-Peacock. Using neuroimaging to track patterns of brain activity, the researchers showed a group of healthy adults images of scenes and faces, instructing them to either remember or forget each image. Their findings not only confirmed that humans have the ability to control what they forget, but that successful intentional forgetting required “moderate levels” of brain activity in these sensory and perceptual areas – more activity than what was required to remember. “A moderate level of brain activity is critical to this forgetting mechanism. Too strong, and it will strengthen the memory; too weak, and you won’t modify it,” said Tracy Wang, lead author of the study and a psychology postdoctoral fellow at UT Austin. “Importantly, it is the intention to forget that increases the activation of the memory, and when this activation hits the ‘moderate level’ sweet spot, that is when it leads to later forgetting of that experience,” Wang said. As per the study participants were more likely to forget scenes than faces, which can carry much more emotional information, the researchers said.last_img read more

9 more Kanchrapara councillors return to TMC from BJP

first_imgKolkata: Nine Trinamool Congress (TMC) councillors of the Kanchrapara Municipality in the North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, who had defected to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after the Lok Sabha elections results, returned to the state’s ruling party on Saturday, allowing it to regain control over the civic body board. The development comes two days after five Kanchrapara councillors returned to the Trinamool fold, taking the party’s tally to 19 in the 24-seat municipality. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: Mamata Meanwhile, one more councillor from the district’s Halisahar municipality rejoined the party after eight councillors, led by municipal chairman Anshuman Roy, returned to Trinamool earlier this month. Welcoming the councillors back, Abhishek Banerjee, Trinamool Congress MP and nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, claimed the BJP had forced the civic representatives to switch sides by intimidating them but could not hold on to them for long. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in state “Today nine councillors, including the municipality chairman and vice-chairman, have come back to our party. This takes the tally of Trinamool Congress councillors in Kanchrapara to 19,” Banerjee told reporters at the party headquarters here. “The councillors said they were forced to join the BJP after the Lok Sabha elections results. We are happy to take them back as they are old soldiers of our party and they are synonymous with Trinamool,” Banerjee said. The Trinamool had 12 councillors in the 23-member Halisahar municipality board after the return of eight of them. “Today one more councillor – Mrityunjoy Das – returned to the party. We have the majority with 13 councillors in Halisahar. In the coming days, Trinamool will run the boards of both these municipalities,” he said. Halisahar and Kanchrapara are the home turf of senior BJP leader Mukul Roy, once the right hand man of Mamata Banerjee. The two municipalities also fall in the Bijpur Assembly constituency, whose two-term MLA Mukul Roy’s son Subhrangshu Roy also defected to the BJP after the 2019 election results. Taking a swipe at Mukul Roy, Abhishek Banerjee said he should refrain from calling himself a national leader and should dare not to talk to the Trinamool Congress MLAs as he has failed to hold on to the councillors from his locality. “He cannot even hold on to the councillors from Halisahar and Kanchrapara. He is talking about being in touch with 160 Trinamool MLAs. If he has shame, he will not dare to talk to the MLAs of other political parties after today’s development,” Abhishek Banerjee said.last_img read more

Devils Pass – The Terrifying Unsolved Mystery of 9 Hikers in the

first_imgOn January 28, 1959, ten experienced cross-country skiers set out on a trek across the Ural Mountains. One of them, Yuri Yudin, came down with dysentery and turned back at the last settlement before entering the wilderness. The rest were never seen alive again. Their bodies were found a month later. Despite investigations, the full mystery of their deaths has never yet been solved. The ten skiers, 8 men, and 2 women, were students of the Ural Polytechnic Institute ranging in age from 21 to 37. All were experienced hikers and cross-country skiers attempting to ski-hike to Mount Otorten in the Ural Mountains and back. Somewhat ominously, Otorten means “don’t go there” in the language of the local people, the Mansi, according to Russia Beyond.Location of Dyatlov Pass, Russia. Photo by Uwe Dedering CC BY-SA 3.0The group was expected back on February 12th, but when they failed to return on that day, nothing was done. The group’s leader, Igor Dyatlov, had told Yudin they might need a few extra days in case of inclement weather when Yudin had left the group, according to The Telegraph.However, by February 20, the families of the missing hikers were growing concerned, and the Ural Polytechnic Institute sent volunteers on a search and rescue mission. Later, the police and army would also be sent in.A view of the tent as the rescuers found it on February 26, 1959.Based on photographs and journals left behind by the group, it is known that on the night of February 2nd, they set up camp almost a mile up the slope of a mountain near Mount Otorten called Kholat-Syakhl, which means “mountain of the dead” in Mansi.The reason for camping on the slope of the mountain rather than in the relative protection of the pass less than a mile away is unclear, but it may have been due to being off-course after being caught in a snowstorm the day before.Decision on the termination of the criminal case on the occasion of the “Dyatlov Pass incident.”According to The St. Petersburg Times, Yudin thinks that Dyatlov either did not want to lose their progress up the mountain or decided to practice camping on the slope for extra experience.Very little else is known for sure. When volunteers found the ill-fated camp on February 26th, it was in an incomprehensible state. The tent was half covered in snow and had been slashed open from the inside.The members of the group, in various states of undress, had apparently fled into the night where temperatures were less than -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Most were barefoot or in socks, though a few had managed to put one shoe on; none were appropriately dressed for the conditions.The river Auspiya, along which the tourists treked.The first two bodies were found by the volunteers on February 26th. They were around the remains of a fire and dressed only in their underwear. Branches of a tree near the fire were broken more than 15 feet above the ground, suggesting that one of the group had been looking for something, perhaps the camp, which would have been very difficult to see in the dark.Three more bodies were found between the fire and the tent, frozen in an apparent effort to return to the camp. All five of these were determined to have died of hypothermia.It took two more months for the remaining four bodies to be found, partially covered in over 10 feet of snow in a ravine near the original two bodies by the fire. The mystery only deepened when it was discovered that these bodies had suffered fractures consistent with trauma that could only result from great pressure, but no external injuries or injuries to soft tissue were evident.Furthermore, one of the bodies was missing its tongue and eyes. Their clothes, obviously taken from some of the group members who had already died, contained traces of radiation.Photo of the members of the tour group on the monument. Upper row: Doroshenko, Dubinina, Dyatlov. The middle row: Zolotarev, Kolmogorov, Kolevatov. Lower row: Krivonischenko, Slobodin, Thibault Brignoles.An official investigation concluded that the ski group had died due to an “unknown compelling force” and was soon closed. It was subsequently deemed classified, which was common in the Soviet Union at the time after disasters such as this.The area was then closed to hikers and skiers for three years. However, this explanation did not satisfy Yudin, the families of the skiers, or even some of the volunteers and investigators among others.Dyatlov Pass.Many theories have since been posited to explain what could have compelled the experienced hikers to leave the tent in the middle of the night without adequately clothing themselves. In the 1990s, more information came to light when the lead investigator Lev Ivanov recounted that he’d been ordered to close the investigation quickly by superiors.Furthermore, people remembered seeing “bright flying spheres” in the sky in the area, something that had not come out during the original investigation.Ural mountains, Russia.Ivanov speculated that these spheres could have been bombs of some kind and the force of the explosion would explain the hikers who died due to trauma injuries. Perhaps previous explosions had scared the hikers so much that they had fled the tent in a panic.However, no traces of an explosion were ever found near Mount Kholat-Syakhl. Additionally, there are no records of a missile launch at the time that would have been able to reach that area of the Ural Mountains.Yudin also believes that the military may have found the camp sooner than the volunteers from the official investigation. He had seen papers that suggested a secret investigation had begun on February 6th, almost a week before the hikers were even supposed to return.The original cover of the criminal case on the occasion of the “Dyatlov Pass incident.”Furthermore, he had been asked to identify the owners of the belongings that had been left at the camp, and there were several items he could not account for, including a scrap of cloth that could have belonged to a military uniform. He feels this theory is also supported by the radiation found on their clothes and the extreme secrecy that surrounded the investigation for so long.Another theory is that the hikers might have fled the tent due to an avalanche, but there was no evidence of broken branches or other debris that typically accompany such an event. Furthermore, avalanches almost never occur in that region, and such experienced ski-hikers would never have made camp in an area where an avalanche was likely to occur.Mikhajlov Cemetry in Yekaterinburg. The tomb of the group who had died in mysterious circumstances in the northern Ural Mountains.It was also considered that the local Mansi people might have murdered the group in retaliation for trespassing on their land, but this was quickly discounted as there were only 8 or 9 sets of footprints and no evidence of hand-to-hand combat.In 2008, a conference was organized by the Ural State Technical University (formerly the Ural Polytechnic Institute where the skiers studied), the Dyatlov Foundation (an organization dedicated to finding out the truth about the hikers’ deaths), and several nongovernmental organizations to look for answers as to why the skiers died.They concluded that military tests being carried out in the area had caused the deaths, although inadvertently. However, they do not have hard evidence to support this claim, so they cannot be sure.Read another story from us: Mt Vesuvius Explosion in 79 AD: Exploding Skulls and Boiling BloodThis mystery gripped Russia at the time, and remains fascinating to this day. Several films about or inspired by the expedition have been made, and several books have also been written. The pass near where the group set up their camp was named Dyatlov Pass after the leader of the party but has since come to be known colloquially as Devil’s Pass. It seems unlikely that the mystery will ever be solved, but the Dyatlov Foundation remains committed to learning the truth.last_img read more

Study TwoThirds of US Millennials Cant Identify Auschwitz

first_imgA survey found “significant gaps” in knowledge about Auschwitz and the Holocaust, particularly among millennial-age respondents, according to a statement and survey results released on Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, 2019. According to the survey, conducted in February 2018 by interviewing 1,350 American adults aged 18 and older, two-thirds of millennials — 66 percent — cannot identify what Auschwitz was. Auschwitz opened in 1940 in southern Poland and was the largest of the Nazi concentration camps.“Auschwitz, Poland – January 1, 2011: The Auschwitz concentration camp is located about 30 miles (50 km) from Krakow. The picture shows two rows of electrical barbed wire surrounding the camp on winter day.”The Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Study found that seven-out-of-ten Americans say fewer people seem to care about the Holocaust than they used to and a majority — 58 percent — believe something like the Holocaust could happen again, according to the Conference on Material Claims Against Germany, which commissioned the study.AdChoices广告inRead invented by Teads“The survey found there are critical gaps both in awareness of basic facts as well as detailed knowledge of the Holocaust, and there is a broad-based consensus that schools must be responsible for providing comprehensive Holocaust education,” according to a statement released by the Claims Conference.Still photograph from the Soviet Film of the liberation of AuschwitzIn the survey, 11 percent of U.S. adults and over one-fifth of millennials haven’t heard of, or are not sure if they have heard of, the Holocaust.The ignorance gap widens when it comes to identifying what Auschwitz was. When that question was posed, 41 percent of Americans did not know what the camp was, and 66 percent of the millennials did not know, the survey says.Other troubling findings were that 52 percent of Americans wrongly think Hitler came to power through force, when he was elected to office by the German voters.While 84 percent of U.S. adults know that the Holocaust occurred in Germany, just 37 percent identified Poland as a country where the Holocaust also occurred.Auschwitz-Birkenau main track. Photo by C.Puisney CC BY-SA 3.0The study has attracted some criticism. The website Truth or Fiction said that the study “stated that two-thirds of millennials ‘don’t know what Auschwitz was,’ but the article said two-thirds were ‘unable to explain what Auschwitz was.’ ”“Not knowing a thing and being unable to explain a thing are vastly different descriptors — without further details in either the post or the article, readers were not necessarily equipped to determine just what purported level of ignorance ‘millennials’ maintained about the events of the Holocaust.”However, the growth in unawareness about the Holocaust is a widely shared concern, and underscores the need for education.“Selection” of Hungarian Jews on the ramp at Auschwitz-II (Birkenau), May/June 1944A recent CNN poll in Europe revealed that about a third of the 7,000 European respondents across seven countries knew “just a little or nothing at all” about the Holocaust. “In France, nearly 20 percent of young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 said they had never heard of the Holocaust,” according to CNN.Related Video:“This study underscores the importance of Holocaust education in our schools,” Greg Schneider, executive vice president of the Claims Conference said in a statement. “There remain troubling gaps in Holocaust awareness while survivors are still with us; imagine when there are no longer survivors here to tell their stories.”One of the trains that left Bergen-Belsen for Theresienstadt in early April, liberated by American forcesVirtually all of the recently surveyed U.S. adults, or 93 percent, believe all students should learn about the Holocaust in school and 80 percent say it is important to keep teaching about it so it does not happen again, according to the statement accompanying the survey.Read another story from us: Separated at Birth – How Identical Twin Nazi and Jewish Brothers Found Each Other“As we get farther away from the actual events, 70-plus years now, it becomes less forefront of what people are talking about or thinking about or discussing or learning,” said Matthew Bronfman, a board member of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, which commissioned the study, said in an interview with The New York Times.“If we wait another generation before you start trying to take remedial action, I think we’re really going to be behind the eight ball.”last_img read more

Retro Monolithic Dome House for Sale – Totally Out of This World

first_imgWhen you encounter a monolithic dome house, you’re not certain whether you’re looking at something very old or very new.  But while dome-house enthusiasts claim igloos as inspiration and lay claim to the Hagia Sophia as a classical example, the hundreds of such houses, all of them cast in a one-piece form, are part of a movement that began in America in the 1960s. A perfect example is a dome house that has gone on sale in Arvada, Colorado. A “combination of architectural beauty & energy efficiency,” it’s 3,510 square feet, with three bedrooms and two tile-floor bathrooms, built on three acres of land.The groundsThis particular dome structure, dubbed “spaceship house” by locals, most recently priced at $870,000, was built in the late 1970s. “Motivated by the energy crisis of the 1970s, Clarence and Louise Lederhos were determined to build an energy-efficient abode,” according to 5280 magazine. “After much research, they opted for a monolithic dome structure designed by Boulder architect Jason Elliott Purdy. The resulting shape and materials suit eco-conscious homebuyers—of that era and still today.”AdChoices广告inRead invented by TeadsExterior of the house“For some reason, I always wanted to live in a round house,” said Louise Lederhos in an interview. “But it was the energy efficiency that drew us to this design.”The drivewayThe Lederhoses bought the land in 1974 while they worked with Purdy—already known for his monolithic dome structures and living in one himself—on plans for their house. “Financing the property was a challenge, so the couple paid off the land before embarking on the structure,” according to an article in 5280. “The home itself was constructed in 1978.”Living roomIts eight-foot-high concrete walls was built using concrete pillars before a hot air balloon was brought in to create the dome itself. The inflated balloon was coated with structural foam, gunite (sprayed concrete) with reinforcement mesh, and more layers of foam.Living roomA monolithic dome house are constructed following a method that requires a tough, inflatable Airform, steel-reinforced concrete, and a polyurethane foam insulation. In addition to houses, the domes are used as churches, schools, gyms, arenas, and bulk storage facilities. They use about 50 percent less energy for heating and cooling than a same-size, conventionally constructed building. They are touted as being resistant to tornadoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes.Beautiful windowsThe very first monolithic dome was built in 1963 in Provo, Utah. It started as an ice-skating center, turning into a store, called Ream’s Turtle by locals before being demolished in 2006.Space age comfortIt was a triaxial elliptical dome, 240 feet long, 160 feet wide, and 40 feet high at its center. “We came up with a three-dimensional elliptical structure,” said its creator, Dr. Arnold Wilson, in an interview. “But in those days, we didn’t have computers to analyze the engineering, so we decided to build and test a model in a yard. Using a mound of earth to form its shape, I built the model – a one-twelfth scale model made of reinforced concrete that looked like a giant dollhouse. I load tested it to failure and went back and made changes in the original design that matched the test results.”vintage heatKitchenKitchenBathroomBedroomBedroomAt a cost of about $75,000, Dr. Wilson said that he thinks the Ream’s Turtle was the most economical building of that size ever built. “It was a very good building for a very long time – but that’s progress, I guess,” said Dr. Wilson about the razing.Related Article: Art Deco House with Original Vintage Furnishings For Sale – Take a TourColorado has other striking  “futuristic” houses, perhaps the most famous one being “the Sleeper house.” It’s been piquing the interest of westbound I-70 travelers passing through Colorado since 1966. It goes by many names – the spaceship house, I-70 saucer, the Sleeper house – and it’s hard to ignore. Perched high on Genesee Mountain overlooking traffic headed from Denver to Colorado’s biggest ski resorts, it was used by Woody Allen for the film Sleeper.To inquire about this house please contact the real estate agent Vicki Black or visit Engel & Völkerslast_img read more

The Warriors face their first real crisis since signing KD

first_imgThe Warriors face their first real crisis since signing KDFresh of dropping Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals at home to the Rockets, that evened the series at 2-2, the banged up Warriors face a must-win Game 5 in Houston, tonight. Colin thinks if Golden State loses, they’ll lose the series and sees it as the team’s first real crisis since signing Kevin Durant two years ago.With Steph Curry and Klay Thompson at less than 100% and Andre Iguodala out, the Warriors will need a huge game from Durant to get the win. He’ll have to show that he’s capable of dominating when he doesn’t have a full compliment of stars around him. The Celtics won’t close out the Cavs in ClevelandThe Celtics bounced back with a big win in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals after getting blown out in two games in Cleveland. Brad Stevens crew looked reinvigorated and crisp in front of the home fans and toppled a winded LeBron and his lackluster supporting cast.Even another A game in front of their home fans to take a 3-2 series lead, Colin doesn’t think Boston will close out the series in Cleveland in Game 6 because they’ve show they’re too young to win on the road and were finished a quarter into Games 3 and 4.Guests:Chris Broussard – FS1 NBA Analyst is in-studio talking Cleveland getting blown out in Boston and why this team is worse than the 2007 Finals team.Eric Mangini – Former Jets and Browns Head Coach on the NFL’s anthem policy and why Tom Brady skipping OTA’s is being overblown.Jim Jackson – FS1 NBA analyst and 14-year NBA veteran discusses LeBron’s mental fatigue and potential destinations after the season.last_img read more