20.11.2013

Ryan in Iowa, O’Malley in NH with all eyes on 2016

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U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., holds a cheesehead hat with a drawing of Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad on the top while presenting to Branstad during the Iowa governor’s birthday bash and fundraiser, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, in Altoona, Iowa.(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., holds a cheesehead hat with a drawing of Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad on the top while presenting to Branstad during the Iowa governor’s birthday bash and fundraiser, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, in Altoona, Iowa.(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

This photo taken May 2, 2013 shows Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley speaking before signing a bill abolishing capital punishment in the state during a ceremony in Annapolis, Md. Governors get things done. That’s the message coming from state leaders eying the presidency as Washington slips deeper into political paralysis. Ambitious governors have long cast their accomplishments in contrast to D.C.’s gridlock. But three years from the 2016 election, a full raft of governors are seeking more of the national spotlight, while Congress suffers from all-time low approval. Efforts Saturday by O’Malley’s to highlight the contrast and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s to fight it underscore the paradox within the emerging 2016 field: Governors with little national recognition are competing with better-known federal lawmakers marked with the stain of Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., speaks during Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad’s birthday bash and fundraiser, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, in Altoona, Iowa.(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

(AP) — Governors get things done.

That’s the message from state leaders who are considering a White House run as Washington slips deeper into political paralysis.

Ambitious governors long have cast their accomplishments in contrast to the capital’s gridlock. But three years from the 2016 election, several governors are trying to grab more of the national spotlight, while Congress earns all-time low approval ratings.

In events Saturday evening in two important early voting states, Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md., was trying to highlight that contrast and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., was trying to fight that image of the nation’s capital.

In the emerging 2016 field, governors with little national recognition are competing with better-known Capitol Hill figures burdened by the baggage of working in Washington.

“We’ve got to show America we’re not just the opposition party, we’re the proposition party,” Ryan said, suggesting an approach for his party in Congress to an audience at Republican Gov. Terry Branstad’s annual birthday fundraiser outside of Des Moines.

Courting voters at a party dinner in New Hampshire at almost the same time, home of the leadoff primary, O’Malley promoted himself as a can-do governor and former Baltimore mayor.

“We took action. We started making things work,” he told a room packed with roughly 1,000 Democrats gathered in Manchester, New Hampshire’s largest city.

“Enough finger-pointing. Enough obstruction. Enough wasted time,” O’Malley continued, criticizing a political environment with “a lot more excuses and ideology than cooperation or action.”

At about the same time Saturday, Ryan, the 2012 Republican nominee for vice president, was in Iowa headlining a fundraiser for Branstad.

“We need a governor as president of the United States,” Branstad recently told the AP.

But Branstad has praised Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee who was the Republicans’ vice presidential nominee, as savvy and hard-working.

“It’s obvious we have a common-sense statesman from a neighboring state that’s really trying to do the right thing,” Branstad told roughly 800 Republican stalwarts.

But Branstad points to only his fellow Republican governors as examples the nation should follow. Branstad, if re-elected, would have a closer look at the GOP field than anyone, as his party’s host of the Iowa presidential caucuses.

Last month, days after the partial government shutdown ended in Washington, Branstad introduced U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, as “a bright up-and-coming senator” before launching into an harsh criticism of the federal government and promotion of the accomplishments of governors in Texas, Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan. In each of those states, Republicans also control the legislature.

Ryan was making his first appearance in Iowa since Romney failed to carry the state in the presidential election last year. It was also his first trip to the early-voting state as someone considering a candidacy for president in 2016, and he hinted he’d be back. “Maybe we should come back and do this more often,” he said.

While the audience in the packed ballroom dined on barbecued pork and fried chicken, Ryan repeatedly praised Branstad for enacting tax cuts this year with a politically divided legislature.

“And that is an example people in Washington could learn from,” Ryan said.

Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., scored a resounding re-election victory this month by promoting his success as a can-do governor.

“Under this government, our first job is to get the job done. And as long as I am governor, that job will always, always be finished,” Christie said during his victory speech.

Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., offered a similar message in a speech to state leaders in Washington. “Real reform happens in the states,” Walker said, according to prepared remarks from the closed-door speech.

Ryan has his own challenges as an eight-term congressman.

Gallup found this past week that just 9 percent of Americans approve of Congress’ job performance, a record-low. The Pew Research Center found in October that just 1 in 5 surveyed said they trust the government in Washington to do what is right most of the time, while 8 in 10 said they only sometimes or never trust it, reflecting near record levels of distrust.

Back in New Hampshire, the state’s Democratic Party chairman noted that presidential primary voters on both sides “have an inclination to support governors” over members of Congress.

“Being a governor of a mid-sized state is not a bad place to start when it comes to New Hampshire,” Ray Buckley said of O’Malley.

Aides to O’Malley suggest that he would not seek the Democratic nomination if Hillary Rodham Clinton were to enter the race. But his status as a Washington outsider offers O’Malley a unique argument in a Democratic field whose strongest prospective contenders are capital insiders — Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden.

On the Republican sideGov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., hasn’t ruled out running. Gov. Rick Snyder, R-Mich., has tried to raise his national profile as leader in a state where unemployment has dropped more than 6 percentage points since he took office in 2011.

Four of the last six presidents have been governors.

___

AP Director of Polling Jennifer Agiesta contributed to this report. Peoples reported from Manchester, N.H.

Associated PressSource: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/89ae8247abe8493fae24405546e9a1aa/Article_2013-11-16-2016-Governors%20vs%20Washington/id-d65464a08bf1408c8d090938a34d3391
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14.11.2013

Judge rules against authors in Google Books copyright infringement case

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Google’s Books project, which has indexed millions of titles and made them available online, hasn’t always been on completely solid legal footing. After all, Books operates without the permission of authors, which has understandably drawn some ire from copyright holders, not to mention other web giants. Well, a federal ruling handed down today gives strong backing to Google’s digitizing efforts: U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin dismissed a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by an author group against Google.

In his opinion, Chin ruled that showing excerpts of books in search results falls under fair use, and that Books “advances the progress of the arts and sciences, while maintaining respectful consideration for the rights of authors and other creative individuals.” Of course, for writers hoping to get paid for access to their works, this decision will come as a disappointment. But considering how deeply ingrained the Google Books project is by now, the ruling is hardly surprising, either.

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2013/11/14/judge-rules-against-authors-google-books-case/?ncid=rss_truncated
Category: Capitol shooting   Sarin gas  

12.11.2013

Forget devices; the future of technology is seeded in biology

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The future of technology lies in the biological and material sciences

A lot of you, dear readers, may remember a time when mobile phones didn’t exist, let alone smartphones with touchscreens, apps and pro-grade cameras. Some may even recall a childhood completely devoid of TV, when the phrase “playing in a sandbox” meant literally that. Not content with books that glow in the dark, among other electronic conveniences, we’re now strapping computers to our heads and a second smartphone screen to our wrists. io9′s Annalee Newitz and Joichi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab, took to our Expand stage to talk about what technology of the future might look like, and both agreed we’ll see much less built from circuits, and much more from (somewhat) natural ingredients.

Why discuss something as mainstream as Google Glass when you can brainstorm a prologue for the next sci-fi classic? Our “Thinking Ahead” panelists argued that currently, we’re very aware of the gadgets we use: Take a picture with this; check an email with that. If the tech of today uses physical interfaces, the tech of tomorrow will be based on biological interfaces, perhaps even operating without our conscious input. They discussed how the concept of devices will be defunct, and your body will become plugged into a global network, as will everyone else’s. “I like the idea of injecting a phone,” joked Newitz, but what happens when an OTA update introduces a bug, and how do you get rid of something when it’s part of you?

Such embedded technology could completely change how we communicate — we could simply exchange memories instead of telling a story, for instance. Using technology could become so interactive that you no longer have to interact; it’s like a sense. While a Borg-esque future where systems are plugged in your brain may be a lifetime away, Ito pointed out that certain types of body augmentation already takes place. For example, some people have opted to have limbs amputated in favor of more functional prosthetics. Not too far-fetched is the idea that fairly soon, completely healthy people could start modifying their bodies to make themselves harder, better, faster, stronger.

In the near-term future, and something that’s relevant to our generation, Ito highlighted that how we are consuming technology is changing. Companies are starting to sell products that make things, rather than just selling things themselves. 3D printers are becoming increasingly accessible, and there are so many beginner-friendly tools that mean you don’t need a degree in electronics or programming to create something. Ito believes people will soon make their own products, and you only have to look at what’s being done with the Raspberry Pi and Arduino boards to buy into the notion.

Newitz and Ito also talked extensively on how our environment will change with time, too. They consider the mid-20th century view of futuristic design, one that pervades most sci-fi films, far from prophetic. As synthetic biology and material sciences become the new technologies, our civilization will integrate more with nature — imagine a building that repairs itself thanks to bioengineered bacteria, or bioluminescent algae replacing traditional lightbulbs. We’ll grow our own energy, and the science of biological programming will no longer be performed in labs, but in hobbyists’ garages. As Newitz quipped: “Soon, we’ll all be living in giant bioengineered bubbles.”

Check back soon for full video of the discussion — it was certainly an interesting one.

Follow all of Engadget’s Expand coverage live from New York City right here!

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2013/11/09/the-future-of-technology/?ncid=rss_truncated
Category: mrsa   Dancing With the Stars 2013   grand theft auto 5   alyssa milano   Liam Payne  

09.11.2013

‘Thor: The Dark World’: Where Are The Avengers?

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Chris Hemsworth, Kevin Feige explain Iron Man and The Hulk’s notable absence.


By Alex Zalben

Source:

http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1717114/thor-dark-world-avengers.jhtml


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06.11.2013

Cocktail novelties inspired by nature’s designs

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Contact: Sarah McDonnell
s_mcd@mit.edu
617-253-8923
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Mechanisms behind water bugs and lilies applied to culinary devices

CAMBRIDGE, MA — An MIT mathematician and a celebrity chef have combined talents to create two culinary novelties inspired by nature.

John Bush, a professor of applied mathematics, and renowned Spanish chef Jos Andrs have designed a cocktail accessory and a palate cleanser based on the mechanics of water bugs and water lilies, respectively.

The cocktail accessory an edible “boat” produced by 3-D printing motors around on the surface of an alcoholic drink, propelled by the same fluid mechanics as certain water bugs. About the size of a raisin, the boat is filled with alcohol of a higher proof than the drink in which it floats. The boat steadily releases alcohol through a notch at one end, creating a difference in surface tension that propels it forward. This approach mimics one used by some insects, which release a chemical that drives them toward shore after an accidental fall into water.

The team also designed a “floral pipette” resembling an upside-down flower. When dipped into a drink, the pipette captures and closes around a drop or two of liquid, which a diner can sip as a palate-cleanser. The device is the opposite of a water lily, which closes its petals when submerged, keeping liquid out. Both mechanisms work via surface tension and hydrostatic forces.

Bush, who has published the details of both designs in the journal Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, says the culinary novelties stem from his group’s attempts to rationalize nature’s designs.

“Nature tends to come up with ingenious mechanisms that are optimized over evolutionary time,” Bush says. “Engineers often take it to the next step by asking, ‘How can we apply this?’ In this collaboration, scientists and engineers have combined with chefs, allowing us to follow the entire route from nature to the kitchen.”

Is that a boat in my drink?

This particular collaboration began when Bush attended a science and cooking lecture at Harvard University, where Andrs was invited to speak. After the talk, Bush approached the chef with ideas from his work in fluid mechanics. The concept attracted Andrs, and the two began to brainstorm ways to apply Bush’s designs to the culinary arts.

The cocktail boat, their first project together, is propelled by a phenomenon called the Marangoni effect, which arises when two liquids with different surface tensions come into contact: When a floating object is in contact with two such fluids, it is pulled towards the fluid with the higher surface tension.

When certain bugs accidentally fall into water, they release a chemical that reduces the surface tension behind them, pushing them forward, toward the shore. Bush’s cocktail boat works via this same principle, taking advantage of the difference in surface tension between higher- and lower-proof alcohol to make the boat move.

To make the cocktail boats, Lisa Burton and Nadia Cheng at the time, graduate students in mechanical engineering fabricated silicone molds using a 3-D printer. They filled the molds with various edible materials, such as gelatin and melted candies, and cast them in the shape of small boats. The boats were filled with alcohol, which leaked onto the surface through a notch at the rear of the boat, reducing the surface tension and propelling the boat forward.

The researchers then experimented with various liquors and boat designs to optimize both the speed and duration of the boat’s motion. The team found that the boats could motor around for up to two minutes before running out of fuel.

Printing petals for your palate

The team’s floral pipette is based on the behavior of certain water lilies, which float at the surface of ponds or lakes while anchored to the floor. As water rises, hydrostatic forces act to close a lily’s petals, preventing water from flooding in. Taking the water lily as inspiration, Pedro Reis, the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering, designed an upside-down flower that does the opposite, grabbing water as it’s pulled up, thereby reversing the role of gravity.

Reis and Bush calculated the optimal petal size for capturing a small sip of liquid, then used a 3-D printer to form molds of the flower, each of which is about 35 millimeters wide about the size of a small dandelion.

“By pulling this out of liquid, you get something that seals shut and looks like a cherry. Touch it to your lips, and it releases its fluid,” Bush says. “It turns out to be an elegant way to serve a small volume of palate-cleansing liquor between courses.”

The group has handed off the molds for both the cocktail boat and the floral pipette to Andrs’ management company, ThinkFoodGroup, where chefs are experimenting with the molds, filling them with various edible materials.

Bush says that in many ways, scientists and chefs are like-minded in their approach to innovation.

“Both should be familiar with a rich culture of all that has come before them,” Bush says. “The challenge, then, is not to create something from nothing, but rather to combine things in novel, interesting ways.”

###

Written by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office


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Contact: Sarah McDonnell
s_mcd@mit.edu
617-253-8923
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Mechanisms behind water bugs and lilies applied to culinary devices

CAMBRIDGE, MA — An MIT mathematician and a celebrity chef have combined talents to create two culinary novelties inspired by nature.

John Bush, a professor of applied mathematics, and renowned Spanish chef Jos Andrs have designed a cocktail accessory and a palate cleanser based on the mechanics of water bugs and water lilies, respectively.

The cocktail accessory an edible “boat” produced by 3-D printing motors around on the surface of an alcoholic drink, propelled by the same fluid mechanics as certain water bugs. About the size of a raisin, the boat is filled with alcohol of a higher proof than the drink in which it floats. The boat steadily releases alcohol through a notch at one end, creating a difference in surface tension that propels it forward. This approach mimics one used by some insects, which release a chemical that drives them toward shore after an accidental fall into water.

The team also designed a “floral pipette” resembling an upside-down flower. When dipped into a drink, the pipette captures and closes around a drop or two of liquid, which a diner can sip as a palate-cleanser. The device is the opposite of a water lily, which closes its petals when submerged, keeping liquid out. Both mechanisms work via surface tension and hydrostatic forces.

Bush, who has published the details of both designs in the journal Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, says the culinary novelties stem from his group’s attempts to rationalize nature’s designs.

“Nature tends to come up with ingenious mechanisms that are optimized over evolutionary time,” Bush says. “Engineers often take it to the next step by asking, ‘How can we apply this?’ In this collaboration, scientists and engineers have combined with chefs, allowing us to follow the entire route from nature to the kitchen.”

Is that a boat in my drink?

This particular collaboration began when Bush attended a science and cooking lecture at Harvard University, where Andrs was invited to speak. After the talk, Bush approached the chef with ideas from his work in fluid mechanics. The concept attracted Andrs, and the two began to brainstorm ways to apply Bush’s designs to the culinary arts.

The cocktail boat, their first project together, is propelled by a phenomenon called the Marangoni effect, which arises when two liquids with different surface tensions come into contact: When a floating object is in contact with two such fluids, it is pulled towards the fluid with the higher surface tension.

When certain bugs accidentally fall into water, they release a chemical that reduces the surface tension behind them, pushing them forward, toward the shore. Bush’s cocktail boat works via this same principle, taking advantage of the difference in surface tension between higher- and lower-proof alcohol to make the boat move.

To make the cocktail boats, Lisa Burton and Nadia Cheng at the time, graduate students in mechanical engineering fabricated silicone molds using a 3-D printer. They filled the molds with various edible materials, such as gelatin and melted candies, and cast them in the shape of small boats. The boats were filled with alcohol, which leaked onto the surface through a notch at the rear of the boat, reducing the surface tension and propelling the boat forward.

The researchers then experimented with various liquors and boat designs to optimize both the speed and duration of the boat’s motion. The team found that the boats could motor around for up to two minutes before running out of fuel.

Printing petals for your palate

The team’s floral pipette is based on the behavior of certain water lilies, which float at the surface of ponds or lakes while anchored to the floor. As water rises, hydrostatic forces act to close a lily’s petals, preventing water from flooding in. Taking the water lily as inspiration, Pedro Reis, the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering, designed an upside-down flower that does the opposite, grabbing water as it’s pulled up, thereby reversing the role of gravity.

Reis and Bush calculated the optimal petal size for capturing a small sip of liquid, then used a 3-D printer to form molds of the flower, each of which is about 35 millimeters wide about the size of a small dandelion.

“By pulling this out of liquid, you get something that seals shut and looks like a cherry. Touch it to your lips, and it releases its fluid,” Bush says. “It turns out to be an elegant way to serve a small volume of palate-cleansing liquor between courses.”

The group has handed off the molds for both the cocktail boat and the floral pipette to Andrs’ management company, ThinkFoodGroup, where chefs are experimenting with the molds, filling them with various edible materials.

Bush says that in many ways, scientists and chefs are like-minded in their approach to innovation.

“Both should be familiar with a rich culture of all that has come before them,” Bush says. “The challenge, then, is not to create something from nothing, but rather to combine things in novel, interesting ways.”

###

Written by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office


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AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.


Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-11/miot-cni110613.php
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04.11.2013

US, Egypt try to put brave face on strained ties

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CAIRO (AP) — The United States and Egypt tried Sunday to put a brave face on their badly frayed ties and committed to restoring a partnership undermined by the military ouster of Egypt’s first democratically elected president.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry became the highest-ranking Obama administration official to visit the country since the military toppled Mohammed Morsi in July and cracked down on his Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

Those moves led the U.S. to suspend hundreds of millions of dollars in aid. Morsi’s trial on charges of inciting murder was expected to begin Monday, at a location east of the capital. There were fears of renewed clashes between his backers and government security forces.

Kerry, who was starting a 10-day trip to the Middle East, Europe and North Africa, and Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy pledged to ease tensions between Washington and Cairo. Yet the strains were clearly evident.

The State Department expected a frosty reception for Kerry, especially with tensions running high on the eve of Morsi’s trial. The department refused to confirm Kerry’s brief visit until he landed in Cairo, even though Egypt’s official news agency reported the impending trip Friday.

The secrecy was unprecedented for a secretary of state’s travel to Egypt, for decades one of the closest U.S. allies in the Arab world, and highlighted the deep rifts that have emerged.

Eager to avoid the potential for demonstrations related to his visit or Morsi’s impending trial, Kerry spent most of his time at a hotel near the airport. He ended his visit with meetings at the presidential palace and defense ministry.

Kerry said that the U.S.-Egyptian relationship should not be defined by American assistance. He insisted that the suspension of military aid was “not a punishment” and said it was a minor topic in his talks with Fahmy.

America’ chief diplomat held out the prospect of aid resumption as Egypt makes progress in restoring civilian democratic rule and ensuring the protection of basic human rights, including respect for freedom of expression, religion and the press.

“The United States believes that the U.S.-Egypt partnership is going to be strongest when Egypt is represented by an inclusive, democratically-elected, civilian government based on rule of law, fundamental freedoms, and an open and competitive economy,” Kerry told reporters at a news conference with Fahmy.

Kerry spoke of the importance of all trials being transparent and respecting rule of law, but did not specifically mention Morsi’s case, according to aides present in the meetings.

Instead, as he did in the news conference with Fahmy, Kerry spoke generally of U.S. disapproval of politically motivated arrests and prosecutions, and urged Egyptian authorities to respect due process and be transparent in any criminal proceedings, they said.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the private talks, said Kerry pressed the Egyptians not to renew a state of emergency that grants the government sweeping powers and is due to expire on Nov. 14.

Kerry also pushed for an end to the crackdown on Morsi supporters and other critics who renounce violence, the officials said.

The military chief, Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, has presented a “road map” to democracy that includes amending the Islamist-tilted constitution adopted under Morsi last year and putting the new charter to a nationwide referendum before the end of the year, then having parliamentary and presidential elections by this spring.

The officials said el-Sissi reiterated his commitment to that timetable, but appealed for the U.S. and others to be patient as Egypt struggles to restore democracy and get its economy back on track, the officials said.

Fahmy said last month that U.S.-Egyptian relations were in “turmoil” and the strain could affect the entire Middle East.

But on Sunday, he was less dire. He said Kerry’s positive comments about the road map indicated that “we are all pursuing a resumption of normal relations.”

Kerry offered cautious praise, saying the interim government “has made very important statements about the road map and is now engaged” in putting those steps in place.

Kerry last was in Egypt in March, when he urged Morsi to enact economic reforms and govern in a more inclusive manner. Those calls went unheeded. Simmering public unhappiness with his rule boiled over when the powerful military deposed Morsi.

The Obama administration was caught in a bind over whether to condemn the ouster as a coup and cut the annual $1.3 billion in U.S. military assistance that such a determination would legally require.

The U.S. waffled before deciding last month to suspend most big-ticket military aid such as tanks, helicopters and fighter jets, while declining to make a coup determination. The U.S. also is withholding $260 million in budget support to the government.

Egypt is receiving billions of dollars in aid from wealthy Gulf Arab states such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. But Egyptian authorities reacted angrily to the U.S. aid suspension, declaring it a new low point in ties that have been troubled since the revolt that unseated authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

According to the U.S. officials, Kerry made the point that relying entirely on contributions from the oil-rich Gulf states is not sustainable, and that serious reform is needed to encourage foreign investment, boost domestic growth and restore the country’s once vibrant tourism sector.

With U.S. influence ebbing, Kerry’s message about the importance of economic and constitutional reforms was expected to be met with suspicion, if not outright hostility, by Egyptian leaders and a population deeply mistrustful of Washington’s motives.

Many Egyptians accuse the Obama administration of taking sides in their domestic political turmoil; American officials adamantly deny it.

From Egypt, Kerry planned to travel to Saudi Arabia, Poland, Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria and Morocco. The trip is widely seen as a damage control mission to ease disagreements between the U.S. and its friends over Syria, Iran and the revelations of widespread U.S. surveillance activities around the globe.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/us-egypt-try-put-brave-face-strained-ties-174159188–politics.html
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02.11.2013

This Week On The TC Gadgets Podcast: Disrupt Europe Aftermath, The iPad Air, And Google’s New Nexus

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It’s been a long road home for the TechCrunch Gadgets team, but the lure of new hardware was too much to resist so we huddled around our microphones on a dreary Friday morning to gab about them all.

So what’s on the docket this time around? Some choice hardware highlights from Disrupt Europe start things off on a positive note, and since Apple’s iPad Air went on sale earlier today, we felt compelled to dig into Cupertino’s latest (and apparently greatest) fondleslab.

Meanwhile, Newton’s Third Law of Gadget Dynamics (that’s a thing, right?) ensured that Google had a new hardware announcement of its own to counter with this week. It wasn’t much of a surprise when Google pulled back the curtain on the Nexus 5 yesterday, but we managed to express some love for the smartphone in our own peculiar ways. Join John Biggs, Matt Burns, Darrell Etherington, and me, Chris Velazco, as we enter the hardware breach once more, won’t you?

We invite you to enjoy our weekly podcasts every Friday at 3pm Eastern and noon Pacific. And feel free to check out the TechCrunch Gadgets Flipboard magazine right here.

Click here to download an MP3 of this show.
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Intro Music by Rick Barr.

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/yZXCBZBzLAA/
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31.10.2013

Bacteria and fat: A ‘perfect storm’ for inflammation, may promote diabetes

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Contact: Jennifer Brown
jennifer-l-brown@uiowa.edu
319-356-7124
University of Iowa Health Care


Bacterial toxins activate fat cells producing chronic inflammation, which in turn boosts risk of developing diabetes

Making fat cells immortal might seem like a bad idea to most people, but for a team of University of Iowa scientists it was the ideal way to study how the interaction between bacteria and fat cells might contribute to diabetes.

The connection between fat, bacteria, and diabetes is inflammation, which is the body’s normal reaction to infection or injury. Inflammation is beneficial in small, controlled doses but can be extremely harmful when it persists and becomes chronic.

“The idea is that when fat cells (adipocytes) interact with environmental agents — in this case, bacterial toxins — they then trigger a chronic inflammatory process,” says Patrick Schlievert, Ph.D., UI professor and head of microbiology and co-senior author of a new study published Oct. 30 in the journal PLOS ONE. “We know that chronic inflammation leads to insulin resistance, which can then lead to diabetes. So people are very interested in the underlying causes of chronic inflammation.”

The UI researchers used immortalized fat cells to show that bacterial toxins stimulate fat cells to release molecules called cytokines, which promote inflammation. By immortalizing fat cells the UI team created a stockpile of continuously dividing, identical cells that are necessary for repeat experiments to validate results, explains Al Klingelhutz, Ph.D., UI microbiologist and co-senior author of the study.

Previous studies have shown that a toxin called lipopolysaccharide (LPS) produced by E. coli bacteria that reside in the human gut, triggers fat cells to produce pro-inflammatory cytokines, and this interaction has been proposed to contribute to the development of diabetes.

The UI team focused on a different bacterium, Staphylococcus aureus (staph), which appears to be important in the context of diabetes for two reasons. First, as people become obese and then progress into diabetes they become very heavily colonized with staph bacteria. Secondly, staph is the most common microbe isolated from diabetic foot ulcers, one of the most common and health-threatening complications of diabetes.

All staph bacteria make toxins called superantigens — molecules that disrupt the immune system. Schlievert’s research has previously shown that superantigens cause the deadly effects of various staph infections, such as toxic shock syndrome, sepsis, and endocarditis.

The new UI study shows that superantigens from staph bacteria trigger fat cells to produce pro-inflammatory molecules. Moreover, the study found that superantigens synergized with LPS from E. coli to magnify fat cells’ cytokine responses, amplifying the inflammation, which could potentially boost the likelihood of developing diabetes.

“The E. coli that resides in our gut produces LPS and every day a small amount of this toxin gets into our circulation, but it is generally cleared from the circulation by the liver. However, people colonized by staph bacteria are also chronically exposed to superantigens, which shut down the LPS detoxification pathway,” Schlievert explains. “That creates a synergy between the ‘uncleared’ LPS and the superantigen. All these two molecules do is cause inflammation and cytokine production. So in essence, their presence together creates a perfect storm for inflammation.”

The findings suggest that by promoting chronic inflammation through their effect on fat cells, staph superantigens may play a role in the development of diabetes. In addition, the chronic inflammation caused by the superantigens may also hinder wound healing in diabetic foot ulcers. The ulcers, which affect 15 to 25 percent of people with diabetes, are notoriously difficult to heal and can often lead to amputation.


Why immortalize fat cells?

The UI team created immortalized fat cells for their research because primary fat cells (taken directly from fat tissue) are not very useful for lab experiments. Once the primary cells are grown in a dish, they quickly stop dividing and can’t be used for repeated experiments. In contrast, the immortalized fat cells allow experiments to be repeated multiple times on identical cells ensuring consistent, reproducible results.

Klingelhutz and his team immortalized immature precursor fat cells by adding in two genes from HPV (the virus that causes cervical cancer) along with a gene for part of an enzyme that controls the length of cells’ telomeres — the pieces of DNA that protect chromosome tips from deterioration. These immortal precursor cells could then be “grown up” in petri dishes and differentiated into normal fat cells.

“The immortal fat cells are a great experimental tool that will allow us to investigate the mechanisms of the inflammation and allow us to test ways to potentially inhibit the response,” says Klingelhutz. “That would be a goal in the future.”

###

In addition to Schlievert and Klingelhutz, the research team included UI graduate student and study’s lead author Bao Vu, and UI research assistant Francoise Gourronc; and University of Minnesota professor David Bernlohr, Ph.D.

The study was funded by a UI Department of Microbiology Development Grant and a research grant from the National Institutes of Health (Grant# AI074283).



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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:

30-Oct-2013

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Contact: Jennifer Brown
jennifer-l-brown@uiowa.edu
319-356-7124
University of Iowa Health Care


Bacterial toxins activate fat cells producing chronic inflammation, which in turn boosts risk of developing diabetes

Making fat cells immortal might seem like a bad idea to most people, but for a team of University of Iowa scientists it was the ideal way to study how the interaction between bacteria and fat cells might contribute to diabetes.

The connection between fat, bacteria, and diabetes is inflammation, which is the body’s normal reaction to infection or injury. Inflammation is beneficial in small, controlled doses but can be extremely harmful when it persists and becomes chronic.

“The idea is that when fat cells (adipocytes) interact with environmental agents — in this case, bacterial toxins — they then trigger a chronic inflammatory process,” says Patrick Schlievert, Ph.D., UI professor and head of microbiology and co-senior author of a new study published Oct. 30 in the journal PLOS ONE. “We know that chronic inflammation leads to insulin resistance, which can then lead to diabetes. So people are very interested in the underlying causes of chronic inflammation.”

The UI researchers used immortalized fat cells to show that bacterial toxins stimulate fat cells to release molecules called cytokines, which promote inflammation. By immortalizing fat cells the UI team created a stockpile of continuously dividing, identical cells that are necessary for repeat experiments to validate results, explains Al Klingelhutz, Ph.D., UI microbiologist and co-senior author of the study.

Previous studies have shown that a toxin called lipopolysaccharide (LPS) produced by E. coli bacteria that reside in the human gut, triggers fat cells to produce pro-inflammatory cytokines, and this interaction has been proposed to contribute to the development of diabetes.

The UI team focused on a different bacterium, Staphylococcus aureus (staph), which appears to be important in the context of diabetes for two reasons. First, as people become obese and then progress into diabetes they become very heavily colonized with staph bacteria. Secondly, staph is the most common microbe isolated from diabetic foot ulcers, one of the most common and health-threatening complications of diabetes.

All staph bacteria make toxins called superantigens — molecules that disrupt the immune system. Schlievert’s research has previously shown that superantigens cause the deadly effects of various staph infections, such as toxic shock syndrome, sepsis, and endocarditis.

The new UI study shows that superantigens from staph bacteria trigger fat cells to produce pro-inflammatory molecules. Moreover, the study found that superantigens synergized with LPS from E. coli to magnify fat cells’ cytokine responses, amplifying the inflammation, which could potentially boost the likelihood of developing diabetes.

“The E. coli that resides in our gut produces LPS and every day a small amount of this toxin gets into our circulation, but it is generally cleared from the circulation by the liver. However, people colonized by staph bacteria are also chronically exposed to superantigens, which shut down the LPS detoxification pathway,” Schlievert explains. “That creates a synergy between the ‘uncleared’ LPS and the superantigen. All these two molecules do is cause inflammation and cytokine production. So in essence, their presence together creates a perfect storm for inflammation.”

The findings suggest that by promoting chronic inflammation through their effect on fat cells, staph superantigens may play a role in the development of diabetes. In addition, the chronic inflammation caused by the superantigens may also hinder wound healing in diabetic foot ulcers. The ulcers, which affect 15 to 25 percent of people with diabetes, are notoriously difficult to heal and can often lead to amputation.


Why immortalize fat cells?

The UI team created immortalized fat cells for their research because primary fat cells (taken directly from fat tissue) are not very useful for lab experiments. Once the primary cells are grown in a dish, they quickly stop dividing and can’t be used for repeated experiments. In contrast, the immortalized fat cells allow experiments to be repeated multiple times on identical cells ensuring consistent, reproducible results.

Klingelhutz and his team immortalized immature precursor fat cells by adding in two genes from HPV (the virus that causes cervical cancer) along with a gene for part of an enzyme that controls the length of cells’ telomeres — the pieces of DNA that protect chromosome tips from deterioration. These immortal precursor cells could then be “grown up” in petri dishes and differentiated into normal fat cells.

“The immortal fat cells are a great experimental tool that will allow us to investigate the mechanisms of the inflammation and allow us to test ways to potentially inhibit the response,” says Klingelhutz. “That would be a goal in the future.”

###

In addition to Schlievert and Klingelhutz, the research team included UI graduate student and study’s lead author Bao Vu, and UI research assistant Francoise Gourronc; and University of Minnesota professor David Bernlohr, Ph.D.

The study was funded by a UI Department of Microbiology Development Grant and a research grant from the National Institutes of Health (Grant# AI074283).



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Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-10/uoih-baf102813.php
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29.10.2013

Researchers discover how cancer ‘invisibility cloak’ works

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28-Oct-2013

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Contact: William Allstetter
allstetterw@njhealth.org
303-398-1002
National Jewish Health


Lipid secreted by tumors inhibits immune response against cancer

Researchers at National Jewish Health have discovered how a lipid secreted by cancer tumors prevents the immune system from mounting an immune response against it. When lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) binds to killer T cells, it acts almost like an “invisibility cloak,” preventing T cells from recognizing and attacking nascent tumors.

“In recent years, several therapeutic medicines have been developed that spur a person’s own immune system to fight cancer,” said Raul Torres, PhD, professor of immunology at National Jewish Health, and senior author on the paper, published in the October issue of Cancer Immunology Research. “Our findings suggest new targets and strategies for enlisting the immune system’s help in fighting cancer.”

Scientists believe the human immune system recognizes and destroys many cancerous cells before they develop into dangerous tumors. However, tumors also employ strategies to evade detection by the immune system.

Scientists have known that LPA is secreted by many types of cancer cells, appears to promote the growth and spread of tumor cells, and that immune cells known as CD-8 “killer” T cells have several receptors for LPA. Killer T cells can destroy cancer cells when activated against them.

In the new paper, researchers led by Dr. Torres showed that LPA keeps T cells inactivated even after they have “seen” a target, or antigen, on a cancer cell that would normally trigger an immune response. They identified the LPA5 receptor as the specific receptor responsible for inhibiting the immune response. In cell cultures and in mice LPA prevented signaling within cells, the appearance of molecules associated with T-cell activation, and proliferation of the T cells. When they transferred T cells lacking the LPA5 receptor into mice with cancer, tumor growth essentially halted.

“Knowing specifically how LPA inhibits the immune response suggests several strategies for harnessing the immune system’s natural ability to fight cancer,” said Dr. Torres.

###

National Jewish Health is the leading respiratory hospital in the nation. Founded 114 years ago as a nonprofit hospital, National Jewish Health today is the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to groundbreaking medical research and treatment of patients with respiratory, cardiac, immune and related disorders. Patients and families come to National Jewish Health from around the world to receive cutting-edge, comprehensive, coordinated care. To learn more, visit http://www.njhealth.org.



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Contact: William Allstetter
allstetterw@njhealth.org
303-398-1002
National Jewish Health


Lipid secreted by tumors inhibits immune response against cancer

Researchers at National Jewish Health have discovered how a lipid secreted by cancer tumors prevents the immune system from mounting an immune response against it. When lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) binds to killer T cells, it acts almost like an “invisibility cloak,” preventing T cells from recognizing and attacking nascent tumors.

“In recent years, several therapeutic medicines have been developed that spur a person’s own immune system to fight cancer,” said Raul Torres, PhD, professor of immunology at National Jewish Health, and senior author on the paper, published in the October issue of Cancer Immunology Research. “Our findings suggest new targets and strategies for enlisting the immune system’s help in fighting cancer.”

Scientists believe the human immune system recognizes and destroys many cancerous cells before they develop into dangerous tumors. However, tumors also employ strategies to evade detection by the immune system.

Scientists have known that LPA is secreted by many types of cancer cells, appears to promote the growth and spread of tumor cells, and that immune cells known as CD-8 “killer” T cells have several receptors for LPA. Killer T cells can destroy cancer cells when activated against them.

In the new paper, researchers led by Dr. Torres showed that LPA keeps T cells inactivated even after they have “seen” a target, or antigen, on a cancer cell that would normally trigger an immune response. They identified the LPA5 receptor as the specific receptor responsible for inhibiting the immune response. In cell cultures and in mice LPA prevented signaling within cells, the appearance of molecules associated with T-cell activation, and proliferation of the T cells. When they transferred T cells lacking the LPA5 receptor into mice with cancer, tumor growth essentially halted.

“Knowing specifically how LPA inhibits the immune response suggests several strategies for harnessing the immune system’s natural ability to fight cancer,” said Dr. Torres.

###

National Jewish Health is the leading respiratory hospital in the nation. Founded 114 years ago as a nonprofit hospital, National Jewish Health today is the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to groundbreaking medical research and treatment of patients with respiratory, cardiac, immune and related disorders. Patients and families come to National Jewish Health from around the world to receive cutting-edge, comprehensive, coordinated care. To learn more, visit http://www.njhealth.org.



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Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-10/njh-rdh102813.php
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26.10.2013

‘Gravity’ exerts its force, earns $30M in 3rd week

posted by vepikubac

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(AP) — “Gravity” continued to exert its force at the box office, the WikiLeaks drama “The Fifth Estate” flopped, and the anticipated Slavery tale “12 Years a Slave” opened strong in limited release.

Final weekend box office totals were released Monday. Warner Bros.’ space adventure “Gravity” remained in first place for the third straight week, adding $30 million to its three-week haul of $169.6 million.

Disney’s “The Fifth Estate,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, had one of the year’s worst debuts, taking in just $1.7 million in more than 1,700 theaters.

In just 19 theaters, Steve McQueen’s highly acclaimed “12 Years a Slave” made nearly $1 million in its first weekend. Fox Searchlight plans to gradually expand the film in the coming weeks.

___

The top 20 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Monday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Monday by Rentrak, are:

1. “Gravity,” Warner Bros., $30,027,161, 3,820 locations, $7,861 average, $169,563,291, 3 weeks.

2. “Captain Phillips,” Sony, $16,413,093, 3,020 locations, $5,435 average, $52,443,328, 2 weeks.

3. “Carrie,” Sony, $16,101,552, 3,157 locations, $5,100 average, $16,101,552, 1 week.

4. “Escape Plan,” Lionsgate, $9,885,732, 2,883 locations, $3,429 average, $9,885,732, 1 week.

5. “Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2,” Sony, $9,672,791, 3,602 locations, $2,685 average, $92,709,559, 4 weeks.

6. “Prisoners,” Warner Bros., $2,064,235, 2,160 locations, $956 average, $57,258,393, 5 weeks.

7. “Enough Said,” Fox Searchlight, $1,750,519, 757 locations, $2,312 average, $10,737,966, 5 weeks.

8. “Fifth Estate,” Disney, $1,673,351, 1,769 locations, $946 average, $1,673,351, 1 week.

9. “Runner Runner,” 20th Century Fox, $1,665,242, 2,011 locations, $828 average, $17,576,560, 3 weeks.

10. “Insidious Chapter 2,” FilmDistrict, $1,499,842, 1,665 locations, $901 average, $80,890,083, 6 weeks.

11. “Rush,” Universal, $1,261,115, 1,197 locations, $1,054 average, $24,623,294, 5 weeks.

12. “Machete Kills,” Open Road, $1,203,135, 2,538 locations, $474 average, $6,402,374, 2 weeks.

13. “Don Jon,” Relativity Media, $1,182,410, 1,114 locations, $1,061 average, $22,479,577, 4 weeks.

14. “Baggage Claim,” Fox Searchlight, $1,100,374, 865 locations, $1,272 average, $20,001,029, 4 weeks.

15. “I’m In Love With A Church Girl,” High Top Releasing, $971,826, 457 locations, $2,127 average, $971,826, 1 week.

16. “12 Years A Slave,” Fox Searchlight, $923,715, 19 locations, $48,617 average, $923,715, 1 week.

17. “We’re The Millers,” Warner Bros., $744,255, 881 locations, $845 average, $147,710,416, 11 week.

18. “Pulling Strings,” Lionsgate, $607,966, 438 locations, $1,388 average, $5,163,752, 3 weeks.

19. “Instructions Not Included,” Lionsgate, $538,588, 475 locations, $1,134 average, $43,542,138, 8 weeks.

20. “Despicable Me 2,” Universal, $485,850, 395 locations, $1,230 average, $363,741,080, 16 weeks.

___

Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by News Corp.; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.

Associated PressSource: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/4e67281c3f754d0696fbfdee0f3f1469/Article_2013-10-21-Box%20Office/id-40e56d80bf934c8a95c3e837e4c545b8
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