‘4D-printed’ materials will adapt to stimuli

first_img Read Full Story Imagine an automobile coating that changes its structure to adapt to a humid environment or a salt-covered road, better protecting the car from corrosion. Or consider a soldier’s uniform that could alter its own camouflage or more effectively protect against poison gas or shrapnel upon contact.A trio of university researchers from Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), the University of Illinois, and the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering is proposing to advance 3D printing one step—or rather, one dimension—further. Thanks to an $855,000 grant from the United States Army Research Office, the group proposes to develop 4D materials that can exhibit behavior that changes over time.last_img

The Popovich of floral nectar spurs

first_imgWhen it came to naming a gene that could lead to new insights on a crucial feature of evolution, the Harvard Organismic and Evolutionary Biology alumna leading the project aimed for something rather tongue in cheek. She called it POPOVICH, after San Antonio Spurs coach and president Gregg Popovich.Evangeline Ballerini, Ph.D. ’10, an assistant professor of biological sciences at California State University, Sacramento, said she and her collaborators — including Harvard’s Elena Kramer — settled on the name because the newly discovered gene calls the shots for floral nectar spurs the way Popovich does for his NBA team.“I ended up choosing to name it after Gregg Popovich, in part, because the gene plays a regulatory role in spur development, kind of like a coach controls the development of their team,” said Ballerini, who is a long-time Golden State Warriors fan and a part-time Celtics fan because of her time in the Boston area, but respects the Spurs and admires Popovich’s leadership.The work is described in a recently published study in PNAS.Nectar spurs are the hollow tubes that bulge out from a number of flowers and are crucial to increasing biodiversity among flowering plants that have them. In many cases, species with nectar spurs are much more diverse than their close relative without this novel trait.In the paper, the scientists identify the gene critical to controlling the development of these spurs in the common columbine, or Aquilegia. They found it acts as a master regulator that appears to control the creation of the spurs by regulating the activity of other genes, the way a coach decides who plays and when.Aside from the quirky NBA reference, what really has evolutionary biologists excited about the discovery is that the findings have the potential to help them understand how organisms get their vast array of shapes and traits, and then how those traits evolve.Nectar spurs are considered a key innovation in flowers, meaning they are considered a novel feature — one that helps organisms make the greatest use of their environment and leads to a diversity boom. Animals that evolved to have wings, for instance, have spun off into number of different species over millions of years. Other key innovations are eyes or the backbone in mammals.,Most key innovations happened deep in the past, making identifying their origin increasingly difficult. In the group of plants the researchers studied, however, floral nectar spurs have only been around for about 5 to 7 million years.“Given that the Aquilegia nectar spur evolved relatively recently and is formed by modifications to a single floral organ, it provides a unique opportunity to begin to dissect the developmental and genetic basis of a key innovation, which, in turn, will provide insight into its origin,” the researchers wrote.The researchers believe the gene is among the first key innovations for which scientists have identified the critical gene, opening the door to a number of areas in understanding how form and morphology are achieved in flowers and other living things.“We’re particularly interested in novel features that seem to be very important for promoting speciation events,” said Kramer, Bussey Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and chair of the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. “In terms of a morphological trait, like the nectar spur, we’re asking: How did development [of the species] change? … It gives us, essentially, a handle, a starting place to try to start understanding this genetic network.”Researchers made the discovery using a combination of techniques that included genetic sequencing and crossing species, and gene expression analyses. One of the keys was using a species of the Aquilegia native to China and known to be the only member of that genus, out of 60 to 70 species, to lack nectar spurs.The team started by repeating a 1960 study by the Russian geneticist W. Praźmo that crossed the spurless flower with a spurred species and suggested that a single, recessive gene was responsible for spur loss. Unlike Praźmo, they had the genetic tools to finish the job, and sequenced the genome of about 300 offspring. That narrowed the search to just over 1,000 genes. Further genetic sleuthing led them to POPOVICH, which they call POP for short, and confirmed it using a genetically modified virus that knocks down, or suppresses, targeted genes.“We took a species that has spurs and normally has POP expression, and we downregulated the expression of POP,” Kramer said. “We showed that it lost its spurs, and that result was the thing that ties it all together. Not only is this a gene that’s specifically expressed in spurs, but when you knock it down, it loses its spurs.”While this is all strong evidence, more work is needed to confirm their findings.“There are several directions that we’d like to go in, including trying to figure out how POP expression is controlled, read more

Clubs reorient after election

first_imgDisappointed but not defeated. Notre Dame’s College Republicans may not be thrilled with the outcome of last week’s election, but the club plans to continue its efforts to educate voters and advocate for conservative politics on a campus, local and national level. Club president Mickey Gardella said the election outcome is only a headwind to the club’s work. “We watched the election results as a club and naturally we were not happy that Gov. Romney lost and that the party lost seats in the U.S. Senate,” Gardella said. “The election outcome will not change the types of activities we will have for the rest of the year … Once the new Congress gets to work, we’ll resume the task of educating our members about the issues.” While Gardella said the club’s events will be less frequent than during election season, the College Republicans have already kicked off post-election programming. “Last night we had a meeting where ND political science professors Michael Desch, Patrick Deneen and Andrew Bacevich lectured to and answered questions from members concerning the relationship between traditional conservatism and the Republican Party,” he said. Despite months of working on opposite ends of a heated election, some of the club’s future plans center on collaboration with its on-campus political opponents, he said. “Next semester we will hold our fourth annual troop drive fundraiser to benefit a veterans’ charity,” he said. “I’ve been in contact with the College Democrats to team up with them for this initiative.” The College Democrats are hoping to rally off of what was a largely favorable election, club president Camille Suarez said. “We are all very pleased with the outcome of the race,” she said. “Specifically, we are all excited for four more years of [President Barack] Obama and [Vice president Joe] Biden and very excited that one-fifth of the Senate is now comprised of women. However, we are very upset that [congressional hopeful] Brenden Mullen lost his race.” The club won’t be pushing all of its renewed energy back into politics, Suarez said. “Given the outcome of the races, the club plans to focus less on politics and take a more active role in the community,” she said. “We are planning on increasing the amount of service we do at the Catholic Worker House, and we are hoping to start a food drive for the families in need in South Bend during the holiday season.” As far as political dialogue, the club hopes to use its lightened workload to bring back some of its traditional programming. “Now that election season is over, we are bringing back professor dinners,” she said. “With these educational events, we set up a dinner with a political science professors and the club and have an informal group discussion about politics.” Suarez said she hopes to use the momentum of the election to continue to have a lively club presence on campus and in the community. “We’re hoping to, at the very least, maintain the level of club activity post-election,” she said. “But we are aspiring to become a more positive force in the South Bend community in the following months.”last_img

Renewables topped 30% share in Australia’s main electricity grid in September, coal fell to new low

first_imgRenewables topped 30% share in Australia’s main electricity grid in September, coal fell to new low FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:September 2020 has gone down in history as the first month on Australia’s National Electricity Market with a more than 30% share of electricity coming from renewables, according to a series of charts posted on Twitter on Thursday.In NEM stats shared…by Windlab’s David Osmond and then re-tweeted with some added detail by energy analyst Simon Holmes à Court, total renewable electricity share reached 30.4% across [NEM] in September, while both wind and solar notched up new monthly supply records, at 13% and 10.8% respectively.But while renewables generation increased by 819GWh, or 6.4%, compared with Q3 in 2019, fossil fuels went in the other direction. Coal power generation fell to a new minimum of 10,188GWh and a share of 65.4%. And the Morrison government favourite – gas – was “the biggest loser,” says as Holmes à Court points, “falling a whopping 18.7% to less than five per cent.And, just for the record, South Australia recorded a share of wind and solar of 66 per cent of local demand in the month of September, a record. Oh, and the lights stayed on.[Sophie Vorrath]More: September delivers record high renewable share on NEM, new low for coallast_img

West Virginia State Parks celebrates grand opening of Pipestem Peaks Zipline tour at Pipestem Resort State Park

first_img“This world-class zipline will make this beloved park into an even more popular tourist destination, and I can’t wait to get more visitors to come and experience these almost heaven adventures.”The Pipestem Peaks canopy tour spans more than 1.5 miles of ziplines and crosses the Bluestone Gorge three times. The tour soars more than 300 feet above the river valley and can reach speeds up to 50 mph. At the end of the tour, riders can return from the gorge via the park’s iconic tram. Video by: Kelsey Takitch “This is truly a great day for West Virginia State Parks,” Division of Natural Resource Director Stephen McDaniel said. “Since day one on the job, Governor Justice has charged me with finding ways to improve our parks, and he has been involved every step of the way in this project. Thanks to his leadership, we’re able to diversify our parks system and add out-of-this-world recreation opportunities for our park visitors and guests.”McDaniel participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony at Pipestem Resort in Summers County to mark the occasion. Photo by: Kelsey Takitch Guests can reserve their room, cabin, campsite and zipline tour on the recently launched online booking engine at wvstateparks.com.The zipline is set to officially open for public tours on Saturday, May 11. To celebrate the grand opening, customers can receive $15 off a zipline tour when they book online with the code ZIPLINE15. The partnership with Ace, announced earlier this year, represents a new era in recreation at West Virginia State Parks focused on family-friendly activities to draw a new generation of visitors. Overall, the adventure takes between 2 to 3.5 hours to complete, including the gear-up process, training, and transportation. This one-of-a-kind course was designed by Bonsai Design of Grand Junction, Colorado, a leading company in zip line construction. The zipline is just one part of an $11 million investment at Pipestem Resort State Park. Pipestem is also undergoing extensive improvements to its cabins, lodge, campgrounds, water treatment facility and tram, all designed to improve the visitor experience.center_img Photo by: Kelsey Takitch Ace has several other projects in the works at Pipestem, including an adventure lake and splash park similar to Ace’s lake in Oak Hill, rock climbing and rappelling instruction, kayaking and paddleboard tours, guided mountain bike excursions, and tubing and whitewater adventures. Guided fishing trips on the Bluestone River began earlier this spring.“The partnership project between West Virginia State Parks and Ace Adventure Resort demonstrates just how committed our partners are to growing and developing West Virginia’s tourism industry,” Tourism Commissioner Chelsea Ruby said. For more details and to sign up to receive additional offers and promotions, visitwvstateparks.com.F Zipline tours are officially underway at Pipestem Resort State Park, and just in time for summer. West Virginia State Parks unveiled the state’s newest aerial adventure Thursday with the first trips on a series of ziplines that let riders soar for more than a mile above the breathtaking Bluestone National Scenic River. Also on hand to celebrate were Tourism Commissioner Chelsea Ruby, State Parks Chief Sam England, Pipestem Park Superintendent Brett McMillion and Paul Buechler of Ace Adventure Resort, which operates the zipline.last_img

Military Expands Simulation of Pre-salt Attack

first_img At the same time that the search for oil in the pre-salt region has been expanded beyond the area of the first discoveries, the Brazilian Navy, Army, and Air Force will start a military exercise next week along the country’s coastline from north to south, in order to demonstrate the armed forces’ capability to protect this underwater wealth. Unlike the first version, conducted in 2008 and focused only on the southeast region, Operation Atlântico 2, which is scheduled to start on July 19th, will also cover the northeast region and, besides simulating threats to oil infrastructure, will also practice combating illegal fishing. “This year we will conduct a much more complex operation, with a higher degree of realism,” Reuters was told by Rear Adm. Paulo Ricardo Medici, deputy chief of operations for the Naval Operations Command. He added that the archipelagos of Fernando de Noronha and São Pedro e São Paulo, both off the northeast coast, will be included in the theater of operations for this year’s maneuvers. “This inclusion of Fernando de Noronha is due to the fact that (the island) has a possible strategic use by enemy forces, in the event that we do not have military personnel in perfect control of the territory,” said Medici. “(Fernando de Noronha) could be an important logistical support for any force that wanted to attack our territory,” he added. The area of São Pedro e São Paulo, according to the admiral, is already a constant target of vessels that illegally fish along the Brazilian coast. The maneuvers will include the simulation of submarine attacks and of the occupation by enemy forces of an oil platform lent to the armed forces by Petrobras. At an estimated cost of ten million reais, according to Medici, the war games will also involve the oil infrastructure of the Santos and Campos basins and energy installations, such as the nuclear power plants in Angra dos Reis. “This is a region that will require protection as we have more platforms operating,” said Medici, adding that Brazil is not facing any specific threats. “(But) we need to be prepared.” NEW RESOURCES Operation Atlântico 2 will mobilize ten thousand military personnel from the three branches of the armed forces. Warships, transport planes, and attack aircraft will also participate in the maneuvers. Medici acknowledged the need to acquire new equipment in order to guarantee the protection of the Brazilian coast, especially new patrol and convoy ships. “We have 8,500 kilometers of coastline. If you think about the fact that we need to protect this entire maritime coast, the need for more resources will become clear,” he stated. However, he said that the addition of a nuclear-powered submarine to the Brazilian fleet, scheduled for 2020, will be essential for this task. “When we obtain this (nuclear submarine) … no country in the world will have the courage or be in a condition to come near our coast,” he said. Besides the nuclear-powered submarine, the result of an agreement with France that foresees the technology transfer of the vessel’s conventional portion, Brazil is also expected to acquire new multirole fighter planes for its air force. By Dialogo July 15, 2010last_img

What a difference an Election Day makes

first_img 23SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Dennis Zuehlke Dennis is Compliance Manager for Ascensus. Mr. Zuehlke provides clients with technical support on tax-advantaged accounts (including individual retirement accounts, health savings accounts, simplified employee pension plans, and Coverdell education … Web: www.ascensus.com Details What a diff’rence a day made, twenty-four little hours, brought the House and Senate new red seats, where there used to be blue…Chances are that much of Washington has been humming the words to Dinah Washington’s Grammy Award-winning song since the November mid-term elections when the Republicans increased their majority in the House and seized control of the Senate.Republicans gained 13 seats in the House and 9 seats in the Senate, and are now firmly in control of both Houses of Congress, 247 – 188 in the House and 54 – 44 in the Senate, with two independents who caucus with the Democrats. The election results bring more changes to Congress than just new members.The chairs of several key standing House committees changed and Senate committee chairs switched from Democrats to Republicans. The makeup of committees and committee staff also changed, as the ratio of Republican to Democratic members and staff was adjusted to reflect Republican control. These changes—especially in committees with jurisdiction over tax and retirement matters—could have a direct impact on IRAs and employer-sponsored retirement plans.In the House, Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) is the new chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means, the oldest committee of the United States Congress, and the chief tax-writing committee in the House. Chairman Ryan, the Republican’s leading expert on budget matters, who previously served as chair of the House Budget Committee, takes over from former Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI). In early 2014, then Chairman Camp released a draft tax reform plan that would have made significant changes to tax-advantaged savings plans, including employer-sponsored retirement plans, Traditional and Roth IRAs, and Coverdell education savings accounts.Because Representative Camp released the draft plan in a mid-term election year, few expected that action would occur on the plan, and instead that it could serve as the basis for future tax reform plans. Whatever direction Chairman Ryan takes on tax reform, the cost and effectiveness of current tax incentives for IRAs and qualified retirement plans is certain to be scrutinized.Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is the new Senate Majority Leader and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is the new chair of the Senate Finance Committee. As chairman, Senator Hatch will play a key role in tax reform and retirement security. In late 2014, he released a report compiled by his Senate Finance Committee staff that revealed the current state of our tax system and some possible direction on where reform efforts could be made in the near future. In releasing the report, Senator Hatch indicated that he has made tax reform his highest priority.Senator Hatch also has taken an active role on retirement security issues. In the 113th Congress, he introduced the Secure Annuities for Employee (SAFE) Retirement Act that would have made changes to IRAs and employer-sponsored retirement plans. The bill included several IRA provisions, such as allowing IRA owners and qualified plan recipients to convert required minimum distributions to Roth IRAs and retain the amounts in the account, and permitting “incidental” life insurance contracts to be rolled over to IRAs. Senator Hatch also co-sponsored legislation with Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) that would have allowed both spouses’ catch-up contributions to be made to a single health savings account (HSA) and allowed rollovers to HSAs of certain residual balances in health flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs).We now must wait and see whether Chairman Hatch introduces similar legislation in this session of Congress or focuses his attention on tax reform.Republicans may now control Congress, but the Treasury and Department of Labor (DOL), the two federal agencies that have authority over tax and retirement issues, are controlled by the same political appointees and the actions taken by those agencies can greatly affect IRAs.Regulations on exceptions to the additional tax on early IRA distributions and guidance on Traditional and Roth IRAs are in the Treasury Department’s 2014–2015 Priority Guidance Plan. Phyllis Borzi remains in place as Assistant Secretary of Labor of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), which is likely to issue its long-delayed fiduciary proposal later this year. The EBSA proposal would redefine the term “fiduciary” for purposes of ERISA and IRAs, and could cause credit unions that serve as IRA trustees and custodians to be treated as fiduciaries read more

U.S. Marshals warn of scam calls in Binghamton area

first_imgAdditionally, the U.S. Marshals say they will never ask for money over the phone and you should never give away personal information. They say scammers try to collect a fine by claiming the person missed jury duty or other offenses. (WBNG) — The United States Marshals say it has received several reports of people pretending to be marshalls, court officers, and other law enforcement officials in the Binghamton area.center_img They also ask you to call the local F.B.I. office if you’ve received a call like this.last_img

Founders didn’t see  assault weapons

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion I don’t think our Founding Fathers, when writing the Constitution, envisioned the Second Amendment providing the right to bear assault weapons. Change is needed. I support the right to bear arms for protection and gaming. We can’t support the ease in which it is to obtain assault rifles. Change is needed.Jim CusackNiskayunaMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Niskayuna girls’ cross country wins over BethlehemEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homeslast_img

Erie County Council Endorses Gov. Wolf’s Aggressive Infrastructure Plan, Restore Pennsylvania

first_img April 15, 2019 Press Release,  Restore Pennsylvania Harrisburg, PA – Erie County Council is the first local government organization to publicly endorse Restore Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf’s aggressive infrastructure plan.“The County Council of Erie County hereby urges the Pennsylvania General Assembly to support Restore Pennsylvania. As a vital program and link between our past, present and bright future,” Erie County officials declared in the resolution, which was passed unanimously during a public meeting last month.Restore Pennsylvania will inject $4.5 billion over the next four years in significant, high-impact projects selected by local officials who are best situated to determine need. In Erie County, potential projects include blight remediation, green space development, broadband access expansion, flood prevention and recovery, and brownfield redevelopment.“I want to thank Erie County Council for their support in this critical initiative,” said Gov. Wolf. “Like many places across the state, Erie has a backlog of infrastructure investment needs. Restore Pennsylvania is the only plan that will assist with these urgent projects.”Three weeks ago, Gov. Wolf visited North East to discuss how Restore Pennsylvania can assist the borough with finding a solution to chronic flooding caused by Baker Creek.Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin also visited the area to talk with local officials about how Restore Pennsylvania could assist with Erie County with remediating thousands of blighted properties.Restore Pennsylvania is a statewide plan to aggressively address the commonwealth’s vital infrastructure needs. Funded through a commonsense severance tax that the Independent Fiscal Office has determined will be primarily paid for by out-of-state residents, Restore Pennsylvania is the only plan that will help make Pennsylvania a leader in the 21st century.View the full Restore Pennsylvania plan here. Erie County Council Endorses Gov. Wolf’s Aggressive Infrastructure Plan, Restore Pennsylvaniacenter_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img