Thanks GitHub! Now Anyone Can Download This Unpatchable USB Malware

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… lauren orsini How do you get people to take your unpatchable malware program like the serious threat it is? You release it into the wild where anybody can get their hands on it.That’s the method behind the madness of security researchers Karsten Nohl and Jakob Lell. Their proof-of-concept malicious software indicates a huge hole in a commonly used technology—USB storage—and is now available for download on GitHub. See also: Microsoft Patches Hollywood-Style USB Windows ExploitUSB sticks have become so cheap and easy to use that companies often hand them out like calling cards at conferences. Nohl and Lell, however, have found a flaw in USB security that allowed them to do some really scary things. Their malware, named BadUSB, can be installed on a USB stick to take over a PC simply by being plugged into the computer. The researchers, who work for security consultancy SR Labs, demonstrated BadUSB to a packed crowd at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas. There will be no quick fix for the vulnerability they’ve found, so the researchers have decided to open source it. At first glance, it seems like a terrible idea to put malware where anybody can access it. However, this is a pretty standard practice in the online security world. In fact, it’s not even against GitHub’s terms of service since the researchers are upfront about their reasons. “Security researchers often release a proof of concept to raise awareness of the vulnerability in the security community, and to encourage people to protect themselves,” a GitHub spokesperson told ReadWrite. “A repository that contains a proof of concept but isn’t maliciously or covertly distributing malware would not be in violation of our terms of service.”See also: How To Win Friends And Make Pull Requests On GitHubNow that the researchers have opened the floodgates, more security experts may be motivated to begin working on a fix soon. And until then, stick to the USB sticks you already trust. Photo by Ambuj Saxena Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Tags:#BadUSB#GitHub#malware#security#USB#vulnerability last_img read more

Read More »

California ~ Sales and Use Tax: Tax Rates on Aircraft Jet Fuel and Diesel Fuel Decrease on January 1, 2017

first_imgCCH Tax Day ReportThe California statewide sales and use tax rates for aircraft jet fuel and diesel fuel will decrease by 0.25% on January 1, 2017. Sales and use tax rates for these fuels are as follows:– aircraft jet fuel: 7.5% July 1, 2016, through December 31, 2016; and 7.25% January 1, 2017, through June 30, 2017;– diesel fuel: 9.25% July 1, 2016, through December 31, 2016; and 9% January 1, 2017, through June 30, 2017.The fuel sales and use tax rates will decrease because Proposition 30 was approved by California voters in November 2012 to temporarily increase the statewide sales and use tax rate by 0.25% for four years, and that 0.25% tax rate increase expires on December 31, 2016. This statewide tax rate decrease affects the sales and use tax rates for aircraft jet fuel and diesel fuel.The statewide tax rate decrease does not affect other fuels, fuel prepayment rates, and fuel excise tax rates. The sales and use tax rates for other fuels (i.e., gasoline (motor vehicle fuel) and aviation gasoline), are not affected by the 0.25% percent decrease. Additionally, the statewide 0.25% sales and use tax rate decrease does not affect either the prepayment rates or the excise tax rates for any types of fuel. With the exception of the new sales and use tax rates for aircraft jet fuel and diesel fuel listed above, all other fuel rates remain the same.Special Notice L-469, California State Board of Equalization, December 2016last_img read more

Read More »

Indiana Wayfair FAQ Page Talks Enforcement

first_imgIndiana intends to enforce sales tax collection laws for remote sellers that meet its economic thresholds on October 1, 2018.Possible Delay in EnforcementCurrently, a declaratory judgment action is pending in Indiana that prevents the Department of Revenue from requiring remote sellers to register and collect. If the action is not resolved by October 1, the department will not begin enforcement until it is finally resolved.South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc.: Frequently Asked Questions, Indiana Department of Revenue, July 19, 2018Login to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img

Read More »

California Clarifies Property Tax Disaster Deferral Deadlines

first_imgLegislation is enacted that clarifies deadlines for California property tax payments when taxpayers apply for payment deferral due to a disaster.Applicable Deadlines When Assessor Has Sent Corrected Tax BillWhen a property owner has timely filed a claim for disaster relief and deferral of the next property tax bill installment, and the assessor has reassessed the property and a corrected tax bill has been sent to the property owner, the current year’s taxes are to be paid on the later of either:December 10 for the first installment or April 10 for the second installment; or30 days after the date the corrected bill is mailed or electronically submitted to the property owner.Applicable Deadlines When Property Is Ineligible for Disaster ReliefWhen a property owner has filed for disaster relief and deferral of the next property tax bill installment, but the assessor has determined that the real property is not eligible for disaster relief, the property tax bill must be paid on the later of either:December 10 for the first installment or April 10 for the second installment; orwithin 30 days of the later of the date of mailing or postmark date on the county assessor’s notice.Ch. 149 (A.B. 3122), Laws 2018, effective January 1, 2019Login to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img read more

Read More »

Laptop Security is a Three-Legged Stool

first_imgPeople often say to me – “I’ve got encryption, so I’m protected,” or “I always use a laptop lock,” so I’m protected.In response I always remind them that laptop security should be looked at like a three-legged stool.  If any of the three legs are missing, the stool falls over (unless the person on the stool is a member of the Beijing Circus, but that’s a rare exception).What are the three legs?The first leg is Physical Security, like a laptop lock and/or an alarm on your laptop bag.  If you’re leaving your machine, lock it down!The second leg is Data Protection like encryption.  If your machine does get out of your control and someone nefarious removes your hard drive, you can be “reasonably” confident they won’t get at your data.  (I say “reasonably” because we’ve all seen the laptops at airports on in presentations where the password is written on a sticky note stuck to the machine!)The third and final leg on the stool is a Protection Solution like AT-p.  If your machine fails to check in to the monitoring center after a certain length of time then presto it bricks.  Or if you know your machine is lost you can send it a poison pill and lock it down.How many legs does your stool have?last_img read more

Read More »

Enterprise IT & 2103: Some Predictions

first_imgMission Critical will continue the steady migration to virtualized infrastructure IT departments will be embroiled in IT transformation from now on. Prediction #1:  IT departments will be embroiled in transformation because they will now have competition.  Their customers will go to the public web if they can’t get support from the corporate shop.  This transformation is already happening.  One shop I’ve talked with is striving to provide their business unit customers with rapid deployment of virtual servers.  The old way of forcing these business units to wait up to six months or more for a server are rapidly ending.When a business unit is told they’ll have to wait, the business opportunity that they are trying to tackle might just slip away.  Instead of letting that happen they’ll go to a public cloud provider and get a server in minutes.   One article recently referred to this as ‘Rogue Clouds’.  (See prediction #3 above!)Of course IT shops don’t want to lose control but the proliferation of alternatives for their customers is turning all this around.  IT shops have to transform.   IT shops have to transform to remain relevant.To do this they are choosing to move to a homogenous environment of low cost 2 socket servers or even MicroServers (see prediction 4 above).  By having a standardized environment on which to build a highly virtualized compute farm or even private cloud (See prediction #2 above) the IT shop can provide flexibility and high availability to their customers.   Again, a shop I’ve talked to is using VMware’s vSphere to provide high availability to their customers.  They say that they have better availability and uptime at a much lower cost than they were getting on their AIX environment.   Suddenly Mission Critical in the private cloud starts to make sense.  (See prediction #5 above)Let’s build out that AIX example.  Say the AIX server is hosting 100 virtual machines in combinations of LPARS and virtual software.  Let’s say that there is an unanticipated fault that brings down the entire machine.  Unless these virtual machines are clustered to a virtual machine on another server, all 100 have just gone down.  To bring the machine back up, the structure of the virtual machines has to be recreated followed by restarting restored images of the 100 servers.  That’s going to take a while.   One choice to avoid this is to purchase or lease a second AIX server to cluster as a passive high availability host.   The impact to the corporation could be hours of outage or costs in the 7 to 8 figures for the clustered solution.Another choice to port the applications to a virtual server in a private cloud where high availability can be selected as a configuration option while instantiating the server.   If the host server happens to fail then the server is instantiated on another identical server immediately; no need to await configuration of the server.   The net impact to the corporation is possibly a second or so of outage.  The cost of the 2 socket server isn’t very high and replacing it in the rack is a choice as having spare servers isn’t an expensive proposition.   And now with server disaggregation (yes, Intel is a collaborator) the task of configuring server farms is becoming simpler than assembling a model using toy blocks.The role of IT is rapidly changing.  The role of the IT staff is changing.  The role of the server is changing.  The architecture of different brands of servers is losing any distinction.  The change is occurring at an ever rapid rate.  The only thing we in IT can be assured of is that the ground under our feet is shifting and flexibility is a guiding principle for our careers.Follow me on Twitter @WallySP for more! MicroServers will be a bigger part of the market than 10% by EOY 13center_img Private Clouds proliferate IT shops are surprised at the number of corporate applications in the public cloudlast_img read more

Read More »

Invitel Builds a Secure, High-Performing Platform for Delivering Cloud Infrastructure Services

first_imgDownload Now Hungarian company Invitel needed to develop a new cloud infrastructure service to offer its enterprise clients a simple and high-performance way to enhance their IT hardware and software resources. The technology behind the service had to handle the simultaneous demands of thousands of clients and let Invitel guarantee the security and independence of customers’ data in a multi-tenanted IT environment.The company chose  servers from Dell powered by the Intel® Xeon® processor E5 family, running a virtualized computing environment based on software from VMware and Microsoft Windows* Server 2012. Intel® Trusted Execution Technology (Intel® TXT) ensures the integrity of the virtualized operating environment by protecting against intrusion attempts on BIOS, firmware, and other pre-launch software components. And Intel® Advanced Encryption Standard New Instructions (Intel® AES-NI), built into the processors, supports powerful encryption of data at rest, in applications, and when being transmitted–without impacting performance. The new secure, high-performance infrastructure has helped Invitel stay responsive to its growing customer base and get ready to expand outside Hungary.“Basing our cloud offering on the processing performance of the Intel Xeon processor E5 family has enabled us to deliver the dependable service our business customers require, with data security protection in place to ensure compliance with Hungary’s laws and regulations,” explained Gyongyver Gerlei, interim CSO for corporate business at Invitel. “The technology allows us to plan for the future expansion of the service, knowing that our platform offers the scalability and reliability to achieve this.”To learn more, download our new Invitel business success story. You can find more like this one on the Intel.com Business Success Stories for IT Managers page or the Business Success Stories for IT Managers channel on iTunes. And to keep up to date on the latest business success stories, follow ReferenceRoom on Twitter.*Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.last_img read more

Read More »

Cloud: A top priority for CIOs

first_imgManaging the Changing IT Landscape: Cloud and Mobility in the Enterpriseby Chris Peters, member of the IT Center In 2013, cloud is a top priority for CIOs, right behind mobility. And in my opinion, cloud is an enabler of mobility.  Together, these have become key differentiators and points of innovation for many businesses. I recently read the latest issue of The New CIO Agenda, which discusses how CIOs are using cloud-based strategies to transform the business and reshape IT shops into engines for service delivery.A new pace for enterprise ITTechnology innovation in the consumer space has clearly set a fast pace for enterprise IT. There’s an influx of mobile devices in the enterprise, both as companions to desktop and laptop PCs, and increasingly as employer-provided devices. According to the article, “the upside for IT lies in harnessing consumer-side advances to improve employee productivity while meeting enterprise requirements for security and manageability.” I couldn’t agree more. These devices pave the way for CIOs to gain value from things like well-designed Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy and programs, app store–based software distribution, and more. And when combined with cloud services and data that is readily accessible anytime, anywhere, integrated mobile devices  can take business productivity to a new level. The cloud is critical because it allows IT to deliver services to these devices from private, public, or hybrid cloud implementations, improving agility, speed, and flexibility. And being able to deliver computing solutions that fit form to function is a critical part of user-centered computing. Three billion users, 15 billion connected devicesA few months ago, I blogged about how IT managers face constant change and why what worked yesterday may no longer be enough. Cloud services are a huge driver of that change. By 2015, Intel expects more than 3 billion connected users and 15 billion connected devices will be driving more than 1,500 exabytes of cloud traffic. And this level of connectivity is guaranteed to shift the scale of enterprise computing.Be sure to check out the full article for more insights from Intel’s IT leaders, technologists, and visionaries. How has your organization used cloud services to innovate (private, public, or hybrid)?How does your cloud strategy better support mobility, employee productivity, and IT service agility?Chris @chris_p_intel #Consumerization #CloudInnovation #ClOAgenda #Mobilitylast_img read more

Read More »

Top Five Reasons to Replace Aging Business PCs

first_img [1] Source: Using Total Cost of Ownership to Determine Optimal PC Refresh Cycles. Intel white paper (January 2010). Managing the Changing IT Landscape: Business PC Refreshby Chris Peters, member of the IT Center Enterprise technology is moving fast. From innovative new mobile devices and cloud technologies to touch-based applications, it’s a great time to upgrade PCs in most any IT or business environment. Here are the top five reasons why it’s smart to act now:1)  Windows* XP operating system support is ending soon. Support for the Windows* XP operating system and Microsoft* Office 2003 is ending in April 2014. Without access to online maintenance and updates, systems are at greater risk of a security breach—and you’ll likely lose support from independent software vendors (ISVs). Check out full upgrade resources from Intel.2) Security is a moving target. When employees are on the move, so is corporate data. Employees are increasingly relying on their own mobile devices, which may or may not have adequate security for today’s ever-expanding threat landscape. And with a range of devices accessing the network from a range of locations, security has become a moving target. Check out the latest Intel IT Center guide to securing the changing enterprise.3) Older PCs are going to cost you. Maintenance and downtime brought on by aging PCs is no small thing. Over the next three years, each older laptop in your organization can cost over $1,700[1] in lost productivity and maintenance, such as patch management and help-desk support, not to mention IT headaches. And that’s per laptop. 4)  Employees are on the go. Employees everywhere are using their own mobile devices to work from a range of locations, whether it’s from home, client sites, airports, hotels—the list goes on. By providing employees with the right tool for the job, you can gain tighter control over the devices accessing your network—and give users the level of flexibility they want. 5) Take advantage of innovative new form factors. Today’s mobile form factors are built for business. Whether it’s a sleek Ultrabook™ device such as a 2 in 1 or a business-ready tablet, these devices offer lightweight yet durable designs, touch-ready capabilities, and performance that keeps up with users. Check out this video from Jim Henrys, principle enterprise strategist at Intel, on touch-enabled devices in business.  Upgrading to the Ultrabook™ DeviceWhen you adopt Ultrabook devices as part of your PC refresh effort, you can address all of these issues in sleek, lightweight designs your users want. A few months back, I blogged about how these devices are designed for business-class mobility.   These are my top five reasons for upgrading … I invite you to add your own reasons in the comments below, or tweet me @chris_p_intel or @IntelITS with #PCrefresh.   How many reasons can we get? To get your ideas flowing, check out the eight reasons why Microsoft is throwing the Windows XP operating system a retirement party. Chris @chris_p_intel#PCRefresh #Ultrabooklast_img read more

Read More »

Enabling the Data Center of the Future

first_imgAt Intel, the strategy for re-envisioning the data center is software-defined infrastructure (SDI), and it provides a foundation for pervasive analytics and insight, allowing organizations to extract value from data.The underpinning of SDI is workload-optimized silicon, which is applying Moore’s Law to the datacenter. The modern financial services datacenter must support many diverse workloads. Keeping up with the evolving needs of financial services requires data centers that are flexible and responsive and not bound by legacy approaches to how compute, storage and networks are designed. Intel is enabling dynamic resource pooling by working with industry leaders to bring new standards-based approaches to market to make infrastructure more responsive to user needs. This enables servers, networking, and storage to move from fixed functions to flexible, agile solutions that are virtualized and software defined. These pooled resources can be automatically provisioned to improve utilization, quickly deliver new services, and reduce costs.Intelligent resource orchestration is required to manage and provision the datacenter of the future. Intel is working with software providers including VMWare, Microsoft, and the OpenStack community on solutions that allow users to manage and optimize workloads for performance and security. The data center of the future will have intelligent resource orchestration that monitors the telemetry of the system, makes decisions based on this data to comply with established policies, automatically acts to optimize performance, and learns through machine learning for continuous improvement.This journey to a software-defined infrastructure will lead to pervasive analytics and insights that will give financial services end users the ability to unlock their data. A flexible, scalable software-defined infrastructure is key to harnessing and extracting value from the ever-increasing data across an enterprise.The new paradigm of cloud (whether public, private, or hybrid) is a re-envisioning of the datacenter where systems will be workload-optimized, infrastructure will be software-defined, and analytics will be pervasive. Three closing thoughts on cloud: 1) cloud is not a pure technology (one size doesn’t fit all), 2) cloud enables innovation, and 3) cloud is inevitable.Finally, let me end this blog by saying that I will be taking a break for a couple of months. Intel is a great company with the tremendous benefit of a sabbatical, and starting in early May I will be taking my second sabbatical since joining Intel.I hope to return from my time away with some fresh insights.To view more posts within the series, click here: Tech & Finance Series When I attended the International Data Corporation (IDC) Directions 2015 conference in Boston last month, one theme kept coming up: data center transformation. Presenters and conference-goers alike were talking about moving to cloud-based data centers that enable flexibility, scalability, and fast time to deployment.The popularity of the topic didn’t surprise me at all. Right now, enterprises of all sizes—and in all industries—are re-envisioning their data centers for fast, agile, and efficient delivery of services, which is what “cloud” is all about.I had the opportunity to speak on a panel at HPC on Wall Street several weeks ago on the topic of “Cloud and the New Trading Landscape” to outline Intel’s vision for this evolution of the datacenter.The Cloud: Leading the Shift to the Digital BankAs I mentioned in another blog post, the cloud is fast becoming an enabler for digital transformation in financial services. That’s because cloud-based technologies give banks and other financial institutions a way to rapidly deploy new services and new ways to interact with customers.However, cloud is not a “pure” technology and one size doesn’t fit all. Each workload needs to be considered for performance and security. The primary adoption barriers for cloud are concerns around security and data governance, performance, and a lack of in-house expertise and skills to support the migration.Intel is investing in technology to enable this new cloud based datacenter paradigm which enables innovation and allows financial services organizations to improve operational efficiency, enhance customer engagement, and support the growing requirements for compliance and risk management.Software-Defined Infrastructurelast_img read more

Read More »

It’s Here: The Convergence of Memory and Storage

first_imgFor years, people have been talking about the coming convergence of memory and storage. To this point, the discussion has been largely theoretical, because the affordable technologies that enable this convergence were not yet with us.Today, the talk is turning to action. With the arrival of a new generation of economical, non-volatile memory (NVM) technologies, we are on the cusp of the future—the day of the converged memory and storage media architecture.The biggest news in this story is the announcement by Intel and Micron of 3D XPoint technology, which will enable a new generation of DIMMs and solid state drives (SSD). This NVM technology, couples storage-like capacity with memory-like speeds.While it’s not quite as fast as today’s DDR4 technology, 3D XPoint (pronounced 3D Cross Point) is 1000x faster than NAND and has 1000x greater endurance. Intel DIMMs based on 3D XPoint will support up to 4X more system memory per platform, compared to using only standard DRAM DIMMs, and are expected to offer a significantly lower cost-per-gigabyte compared to DRAM DIMMs.With the enormous leaps in NVM performance offered with 3D XPoint technology, latencies are so low that for the first time NVM can be used effectively in main system memory, side by side with today’s DRAM-based DDR4 DIMMs. Even better, unlike DRAM, the Intel DIMMs will provide persistent memory, so that data is not erased in the event of loss of power.The biggest net gain is that a lot more data will be stored in memory, where it is closer to the processors. This is a hugely important advance when it comes to accelerating application performance. Intel DIMMs will allow for faster analysis and simulation results from more complex models, fewer interruptions in service delivery to users, and drive new software innovations as developers adjust their applications to take advantage of rapid access to vastly more data.Elsewhere in the storage hierarchy, 3D XPoint technology will be put work in Intel SSDs that use the NVM Express* (NVMe*) interface to communicate with the processors. Compared to today’s alternatives, these new SSDs will offer much lower latency and greater endurance.Intel SSDs will be sold under the name Intel® OptaneTM technology, and will be available in 2016. The upcoming 3D XPoint technology based DIMMs will be available in the next all-new generation of the Intel data center platform.The good news is, these next-generation NVM SSDs and DIMMs are coming soon to a data center near you. Their arrival will herald the beginning of the era of the converged memory and storage media architecture—just in time for an onslaught of even bigger data and more demanding applications.For performance info on 3D XPoint, please visit: http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/architecture-and-technology/non-volatile-memory.html.last_img read more

Read More »

Solving the Jigsaw Puzzle with 1 Billion Pieces

first_imgSequencing and Supercomputers: Read CNAG Case StudyBig Data Advances in Healthcare: Intel powers today’s analytic toolsReceive the latest Health & Life Sciences news: Register for Intel newsletter How does a centre of research excellence keep pace with ever increasing data volumes and demand for insight? It’s a recurring question we hear the world over so it’s great to be able to showcase an example of how one organisation is meeting these challenges here in Spain. Spain’s National Center of Genomic Analysis (CNAG) opened in 2009, supporting 120 researchers and conducting c. 300 projects per year. It has a clear mission: to deliver research and results that help make citizens’ lives better.Finding the 0.1%As one of the largest capacity sequencing facilities in Europe, CNAG sequences around 800 Gigabases per day. We know that for reliable analysis we need to sequence at 30-fold coverage, so CNAG are sequencing the equivalent of eight full human genomes every 24 hours, but it’s the variations that really hold the key to unlocking precision medicine.And given that genomes are 99.9% identical the challenge becomes clear: find the 0.1%, break each genome down into short strings, sequence them and then rebuild them. Ivo Gut, director of CNAG summarizes this nicely in the Sequencing and Supercomputers case study when he says: “It’s like doing a jigsaw puzzle with 1 billion pieces.”Combining Data Sources to Gain New InsightsIf you are a regular reader of our Health and Life Sciences blogs you’ll know that the word collaboration appears frequently. Across the healthcare ecosystem, collaboration is driving change, it’s moved from something we all aspire to, to something we must embrace to deliver better care, reduced costs and improved workflows. So, it’s great to see CNAG combining their own data with other sources to gain new insights, e.g.  CNAG collaborated with other institutions as part of the International Cancer Genome Consortium to better understand chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.Big Data leads to Big InformationCNAG’s aim is to be able to put the findings of their research into use in a clinical environment; this requires a powerful computing platform which allows them to locate and accurately predict the base variations in every genome of the 3.2m bases that are potentially responsible for diseases. Without the technical capabilities to deliver sequence analysis on an industrial scale it makes it difficult to do much more than one-off research projects. I recognise that these pockets of research are valuable but to move us closer to delivering personalized medicine we must begin to work more collaboratively.CNAG’s new sequencing and analytics environment is helping the organisation to meet the growing volume and variety of data generated by collaborative working with Ivo Gut saying: “We’re certainly handling big data now – and it’s growing all the time – but what we’re really after is big information.”Intel and Atos provide scale and flexibilityBeing able to design the computational infrastructure from the ground up gives organisations such as CNAG the opportunity to utilise best-in-class technology. The organisations I talk to regularly all have the same priorities around flexibility and scale. With that in mind Atos Big Data and Security service line developed a tailor-made compute cluster, powered by the Intel® Xeon® processor E5 family, to conduct in-depth high-performance data analytics (HPDA) on genome sequencing.And looking to the future, CNAG will provide more granular insights to help hospitals treat different diseases, whether that be for identification of the correct medication or for rapid initial diagnosis. As CNAG scales its computational infrastructure it will also increase its scope of research, ensuring that Spain stays at the forefront of global genomics research.Contact Carlos Piqueras on LinkedInlast_img read more

Read More »

The Birth of Extreme Helium Stars

first_imgAmong the many oddities in the cosmic zoo, some of the strangest are “extreme helium stars.” These rare and enigmatic stars seem to consist primarily of helium, rather than the ubiquitous hydrogen that makes up the bulk of typical stars such as the sun. For astronomers, it’s about as unsettling as a biologist finding an elephant without a trunk. Now a theoretical study has provided the first detailed explanation of how such unusual stars could originate.Nearly 20 years ago, astronomers floated the idea that a merger of white dwarfs could yield an extreme helium star. White dwarfs are the dim, condensed remnants of stars such as the sun. They have exhausted most of their hydrogen supply, and, depending on their mass and evolution, consist mainly of helium or a mixture of carbon and oxygen. This would be a simple way to create a luminous star consisting mainly of helium. But there were other possible explanations, and until now there hasn’t been a convincing theory to back up the merger idea.Now astronomers Hideyuki Saio of Tohoku University in Japan and Simon Jeffery of Armagh Observatory in Armagh, Northern Ireland, have done computer simulations that suggest the white dwarf merger hypothesis is probably right on the mark. The simulations reveal that a merger of a helium white dwarf and a carbon-oxygen white dwarf first results in a yellow giant star whose outer layers are almost pure helium–an extreme helium star. Then, the star begins to contract and heat up–a process that matches observations of four extreme helium stars. “This is the best, if not only, viable model for the creation of extreme helium stars,” the authors argue in a paper to be published in an upcoming issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Astronomers would love to see one of these mergers in action. Unfortunately, although they occur every few centuries in a galaxy such as the Milky Way, it’s not completely clear how a white dwarf merger would look to astronomers on Earth. For instance, the simulations by Saio and Jeffery do not take the rotation of the white dwarfs into account, which could affect the merging process, notes Gijs Nelemans, an astronomer at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. “This is certainly not the last word on white dwarf mergers,” he says.Related sitesPaper by Saio and JefferyJeffery’s page on extreme helium starslast_img read more

Read More »

It’s Official: World Has New Highest-Energy Particle Accelerator

first_imgThe world’s largest atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), has set a new record for accelerating subatomic particles to high energy. Early Monday morning protons whizzed around the 27-kilometer-long accelerator at an energy of 1.18 tera-electron volts (TeV)—20% higher than the 0.98 TeV standard set by the Tevatron collider at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois. Of course, 1.18 TeV is far short of the 3.5 TeV per beam with which researchers hope to take data early next year, to say nothing of the 7 TeV per beam the LHC is designed to reach. The next steps will be to increase the intensity of the counter-circulating beams and to steer them into each other to produce copious particle collisions, which CERN physicists hope to do by 25 December.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

Read More »

Federal Scientists: Guarded Optimism on Oil Spill

first_imgThe overall mood at the White House yesterday was upbeat with the news that there’s seemingly less of a risk of ecological impacts of oil and that the well is about to be shut down for good. “There is a negligible amount of oil at the surface,” said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration head Jane Lubchenco in a conference with reporters, adding that repeated scientific cruises have failed to find any on the floor of the ocean—or in the Florida Keys, as feared. “This is very good news. Many of the doomsday scenarios have not and will not come to fruition,” said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. While the daily press conference sometimes lasts 20 minutes or less, today’s ran for nearly 2 hours as the Obama Administration sought to get the word out on the conditional good news.Lubchenco smiled and nodded slowly when a reporter asked if the “oil clouds” were lifting within the Administration. But echoing concerns from federal and independent scientists about the fate of the oil in the water column, she said, “The oil that is in tiny droplets may be toxic. … We do remain concerned about the oil in the subsurface.” She added, “Effects of this spill will likely linger for decades,” although she said that it could take a long time to quantify those effects.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

Read More »

Live Blogging House Science Committee, 10:30 A.M. Wednesday

first_imgI’ll be providing live coverage of the House science committee hearing on climate science using Cover-it-Live, which will mean rolling, real-time transcript here on ScienceInsider starting at 10:30 a.m.Offering color commentary to my play-by-play, so to speak, will be NASA scientist Gavin Schmidt.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

Read More »

Big Bolus for HIV/AIDS Cure Research

first_imgThree collaborations will receive up to $70 million over the next 5 years to advance the search for an HIV/AIDS cure, the U.S. National Institutes Health (NIH) announced today. This is the largest single investment yet made into finding a way to rid the virus from the body or at least reduce levels to the point that infected people can stop taking anti-HIV drugs—which many researchers until recently viewed as a hopeless quest. The three grant recipients of what’s known as the Martin Delaney Collaboratory include teams organized by the University of North Carolina (UNC), Chapel Hill, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) in Seattle, and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), working with the Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida (VGTI) in Port St. Lucie, Florida. “The three collaboratories are using very different but largely complementary approaches,” says UCSF’s Steven Deeks, one of the principal investigators for that project. “Since many of us believe a cure will require combination therapy, it is my hope—as well as the hope of others—that three groups can merge their work whenever possible.” The best-funded and largest group, led by UNC’s David Margolis, will receive $6.3 million per year for 15 different projects. The researchers will both conduct basic research and attempt to develop small molecule drugs that can reduce the reservoir of cells infected with latent HIV that stubbornly persist even in people who receive the best antiretroviral treatments available. The 19 collaborators Margolis leads come from nine universities across the country and the Merck Research Laboratories. “We’re very excited to try and approach this important and complicated problem as a group,” says Margolis Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) The other two collaborations will each receive a shade over $4 million per year. The UCSF and VGTI project, which is also with Merck, plans to use immune-based treatments in addition to small molecules to shrink reservoirs. Headed by VGTI’s Rafick-Pierre Sékaly and UCSF’s Deeks and Mike McCune, the project includes academic collaborators in Australia and Sweden. The FHCRC project, led by Keith Jerome and Hans-Peter Kiem, involves two distinct but potentially complimentary approaches. One partners with California’s Sangamo Biosciences and the City of Hope to create a bone marrow transplant that mimics the treatment given to Timothy Brown, aka the “Berlin patient” — the first and only person who apparently has been cured of HIV/AIDS. (The case indeed helped catalyze the new interest in cure research, as this Science article details.) Specifically, they will engineer stem cells to cripple a key receptor the virus uses to infect cells and then transplant those cells into monkeys and, eventually, humans. The second strategy aims to deliver an enzyme called an endonuclease that specifically clips HIV DNA lurking in chromosomes. Funding for the Martin Delaney Collaboratory comes primarily from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), with a small contribution from the National Institute of Mental Health. Initially, the two institutes committed just $42.5 million to the collaborations and said that, at most, two would receive funding. NIAID Director Anthony Fauci explains that they scoured their budget to find what now totals $70 million for three groups because there was so much interest in cure research. “We asked our budget people if, without damaging other programs, can you scrape up a little bit here and a little bit there?” says Fauci. “At the end of the day, we came up with significant cash. We need to get people energized in this and show that we’re putting the money up.”last_img read more

Read More »

Canada Pulls Out of U.N. Treaty to Combat Desertification

first_img Oxfam East Africa Endless search. Even under normal conditions, families can spend several hours each day collecting water. Any doubts that Canada is an “outlier” on climate change were dispelled this week, say critics, after the Conservative government announced it is withdrawing from a U.N. convention to combat desertification signed by 194 other nations. Green Party leader Elizabeth May decried the move as another sign of the Conservative’s indifference to environmental protection. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is “making us a rogue nation. The North Korea of environmental law,” she tweeted. Harper says his government is simply being fiscally prudent. Only 18% of the roughly CAD$350,000 per year that Canada contributed to the U.N. initiative is “actually spent on programming,” he told Parliament this week during question period. “The rest goes to various bureaucratic measures. … It’s not an effective way to spend taxpayers’ money.” Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) The decision to withdraw was made last week—ironically Canada Water Week—at the recommendation of Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. Yesterday, Baird told a Parliament Hill scrum, “We’re just not interested in continuing to support bureaucracies and talkfests.” The formal notice that it was pulling out of the international treaty, officially the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa, was delivered to the United Nations on Monday. Canada has previously shied away from the Kyoto Protocol, and this decision is another example of U.N. bashing by the Conservative government since its unsuccessful campaign in 2010 to gain a seat on the U.N. Security Council. Withdrawal from the desertification convention suggests that Harper is still in a fit of pique. Noting that Canada was one of the first countries to sign onto the 1994 treaty, New Democratic and foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar said its decision to withdraw shows “that they either did not understand this convention, or they’re willingly isolating Canada even more.” The government said Canada will not attend an international scientific conference on the convention taking place next month in Bonn, Germany, and Dewar surmised that “maybe they were concerned because we hadn’t been doing enough. Maybe they were concerned because they were going to be asked to do more. I don’t know. … It’s a real head scratcher.” Equally puzzling is that the Canadian International Development Agency has announced that its $315,000 allocation to the convention will be honored for 2013. Last week, the Conservative government unveiled a fiscal plan that merges the agency with the departments of foreign affairs and international trade so that all international activities can be aligned along government “priorities.” Maude Barlow, head of the advocacy group the Council of Canadians and author of a forthcoming book on drought, accused the government of kowtowing to industry. “This government is a total enabler of Canadian mining companies destroying local water systems in Latin America and other places,” she said in a press release. “This is simply the worst signal Canada could make to the global community and it comes at the worst time.” Robert Fowler, former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations, told the Canadian Press that the withdrawal amounts to a “departure from global citizenship.”last_img read more

Read More »

Japan’s Science Policy Council Expands Role

first_imgTOKYO—Japan’s highest science advisory panel plans to be more active in implementing the current administration’s policies and in directly funding research. The new activism is intended to help it foster innovation, a central pillar of the new economic growth strategy of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “We have been weak in providing strategy advice in the last 2 or 3 years,” said Yuko Harayama, an executive—or full-time—member of Japan’s Council for Science and Technology Policy. Speaking at a press briefing today, Harayama said the policy council “just waited for related ministries to form a budget and submit it” for review. “It was a passive way to coordinate.” Chaired by the prime minister, the council also hopes to break new ground by directly funding its own cross-ministry programs. Harayama said that the new approach will be reflected in next year’s budget that will be unveiled at the end of August. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Academic scientists are worried that the push for an economic payoff from research expenditures will stifle curiosity-driven research. Harayama said the council would not be giving top-down orders but rather working with the ministries and other actors in the science and technology sphere. Harayama, who was previously deputy director of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry in Paris, said the panel is thinking about a new type of scientific administrator within the government who would have broad authority to manage the pursuit of specified research objectives. She cited the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency as a model, where projects can be started and stopped with a minimal amount of red tape. Currently, she says, there is little follow-up or leadership by government managers once a project’s budget is fixed. She also pointed out that she is the first woman to be one of the two full-time members of the council responsible for the bulk of its day-to-day work. (The council includes Cabinet members, experts from the scientific community nominated by the prime minister and approved by the legislature, and the president of the Science Council of Japan, the nation’s largest academic society.) She thinks having more women in decision-making positions will generate “new thinking,” and she promised “to promote women in the science and technology field by putting pressure on universities.” She said that she hoped the industrial sector would follow suit.last_img read more

Read More »