Moving to the Media Cloud: Succeed in Today’s Consumer-Driven Environment

first_imgConsumers increasingly demand content anywhere, anytime, and across a dazzling array of media and devices. For many, cloud capabilities tuned specifically for media and entertainment requirements may be the solution.A new opinion paper from Intel and HP examines key trends affecting broadcast and cable networks, telecom carriers, and other content-oriented players. It explores the functional and technical aspects of a media cloud and the measurable benefits of this approach.Read it here.last_img read more

IOT – The last missing piece of the puzzle

first_imgIt was early 1995 when I first heard of something called Mosaic that one could download to browse a rapidly evolving cluster of web-sites.  At that time, the number of web-sites online was somewhere around twenty thousand, but growing rapidly.  When I internalized the implications of what I saw, I told my wife that this thing called world-wide web will drastically change the shape of world we live in.  I could not stop talking about it to my family, friends and anyone who cared to listen…It’s been 19 years and there have been many technical advances that have gotten me excited but nothing matched my exuberance of 1995 till now.  I get the same level of excitement when I read and think about the possibilities ahead with IOT (Internet Of Things)!  My excitement has nothing to do with the $19 Trillion opportunityOpens in a new window that Cisco CEO John Chambers talked about at CES; but more to do with how this shift will alter the way we live and work.IOT is the acronym to a term that encompasses wide array of technologies that will have connectivity to the web and will be in products, like wearables, or stand-alone devices, like sensors.  The name itself tells you the limits of our (technical folks) creativity when it comes to coming up with a catchy, sexy and appealing term that will be self-explanatory to a non-technical person J  Nevertheless, the solutions and products we will see over the next few years in this category will certainly appeal to general public and will brings transformational changes.Many industries are bound to be disrupted.  Let’s consider the medical and health care industry, which in my opinion, is completely blindsided to what’s coming its way.  With wearables that track your vitals and daily activities that are wirelessly linked to telemedicine centers around the globe, you will be able to outsource your primary care to a low cost country.  Rather than driving to an urgent care center and waiting to see the doctor after you have been feeling dizzy for the last few days; your primary care physician from across the globe may alert you about your fluctuating blood-pressure or increasing stress level or any signs of an ailment before you feel any symptoms.  The extension to primary care, remote and robotic surgeryOpens in a new window is not far off considering what’s been happening around the world – US, FranceOpens in a new window, IndiaOpens in a new window.Home automation is another industry where we’ll see a ton of innovation and disruption of established business models.  IOT based devices will not just slash your energy costs (NestOpens in a new window), reduce wastage but will also automate and synchronize activities around your house giving you back time and reducing your effort in housekeeping.  For example, the sprinkler system will read the weather forecast, today’s temperature, monitor the health of grass and plants and adjust watering time and duration automatically.  When you load your dishwater at night and switch it on, it will send a message to the robotic vacuum cleaner that’ll clean up the kitchen and dining area.  Sensors in your refrigerator will not only tell you the products that are approaching expiry but will also recommend recipes to utilize them.  The same can be extended to automatically place an order with your preferred grocery store to replenish items.The challenges and opportunities to use these devices within the enterprise are no less significant.  How will we manage privacy, security and intellectual property when they proliferate the enterprise, which, in some cases may be self-powered and small enough to be attached to a wall such that they virtually disappear in the décor?  How do we incorporate these nifty little gadgets to improve productivity, well-being and collaboration of the work-force, factories and warehouses?  The data generated by IOT will dwarf the ‘big data’ that we see today.  Data centers and storage technologies will need to evolve to manage the data traffic and analytics.Don’t even get me started about smart cities, smart buildings, sports, retail and similar other ideas; I may end up writing a book instead of a blog.  These are exciting times for technology.  A decade from now the next generation will look back and refuse to believe that we had to manually switch off the lights when the last person left the room!Rajeev NandaRead more posts by RajeevOpinions expressed herein are my own and do not represent that of my employer, Intel Corporation.last_img read more

Running out of Steam Already on a Monday?

first_imgYou know how it is, you go all weekend using your laptop off/on and you come in on Monday to attend your first meeting, then the battery gauge shows “X” in red.   You then remember you didn’t charge it.  You know this experience?  Well it’s Monday let’s not let the opportunity go without thinking about taking the next step in moving to modern hardware with killer battery life. You can see the stats throughout Intel’s site on battery life comparison and you can also see different form factors that also have different battery stats.    As I was out exploring the Intel website, I found a great advisor tool on defining which system may be right for your business.  http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/small-business/small-business-system-advisor-tool.html   It’s worth a quick glance, go through the selection and see what it says.  You may be surprised! Happy Monday and let me know if you have any questions. Josh Hlast_img read more

Setting Goals for the New School Year

first_imgBe a Mindful ListenerAs an introvert, I find myself spending much more time listening to others talk, while at the same time, getting distracted by thinking about what I can contribute to a conversation and plan what to say next. I want to focus on listening for understanding and suspending judgment and evaluation. Mindful listening also means putting my other senses to work: being aware of non-verbal cues, body language, and tone of voice. To learn more about how being a good listener is crucial to being a great leader, check out this article.Always LearnI love learning, whether it’s gaining a completely new skill or relearning/unlearning something so I can improve upon my performance the next time. Modeling this kind of learning becomes important for those students who may be used to more conventional modes of education. Learning today is different for Generation Alpha and occurs in various formats and diverse environments. Our rapidly changing world means the focus of learning shifts from content to capabilities, such as social and emotional intelligence, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. Developing these capabilities helps us evolve our skill sets to be successful global citizens. I make time every day to learn from my professional and personal networks and plan to attend at least three or four conference events during the school year.Be Aware of Implicit BiasesImplicit biases are attitudes and stereotypes we have without awareness or conscious direction. They can cause potentially devastating effects for classrooms and schools if we don’t realize their impact on others. I’m hoping that acknowledging my biases and moving toward them will improve my interactions with others and help me make better decisions. In my role, this could mean improvements in the hiring and interview process or provide a safer learning environment for students and colleagues.Take InitiativeMy job allows me to take a lot of risks and implement new ideas. I’m very lucky to have that support because it allows me to push myself and feel comfortable with being uncomfortable. I like to offer many different kinds of professional learning opportunities for teachers and district staff, including a Technologist-in-Residence Program, Learning Café, EdcampPDX and virtual office hours.Manage My EnergyPutting practices into place to help build and sustain my energy lets me accomplish more in less time at a higher level of engagement. I just learned about energy renewal programs; you adopt rituals that lead you toward healthy behaviors to sustain a positive attitude and mindset. I’ve identified these behaviors as important to me: exercising every day before or after work, five minutes of daily meditation, preparing more homemade meals, taking at least two 15-minute walking breaks during the workday and going to bed at a reasonable time. I’m optimistic that cultivating this good energy will widen my scope of positive human impact and keep me motivated and focused on my work with a renewed sense of purpose.What are some of your goals for the new school year and how do you plan to measure your progress toward them? With the start of a new school year in the United States, students and teachers welcome the hope and promise of a clean slate; it’s a time for resetting, taking risks and trying things differently. The start of school is an exciting time and I often use it as a reminder for focusing on professional goals for the upcoming year. Here are some of the goals I’ve set for myself this year.last_img read more

The Growing Opportunity for Cloud Service Providers: Acceleration-as-a-Service with Intel FPGAs

first_imgThe computing landscape continues to change and evolve, and new technology tools are being applied to challenges once thought insurmountable.  Some of these are business and commercial applications, others in research and scientific breakthroughs.  Ten years ago, who could have imagined what we can do with genomics sequencing and analysis today, where a complete DNA strand can be analyzed in a few hours?For many of these compute challenges, general-purpose processors benefit from targeted acceleration to deliver the “step function” performance improvements needed to achieve a breakthrough.  Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) are the accelerators of choice for a growing range of technical, business and research problems, from financial tech to machine learning to big data analytics.Acceleration-as-a-Service with FPGAs is Growing RapidlyIn recent months, several leading cloud service providers, including Amazon and Baidu, announced FPGA Acceleration-as-a-Service offerings.  A public cloud environment can be a great place for developers to start the FPGA journey, with virtually no initial capital outlay and a low-risk environment for testing and experimentation.  As workloads and applications are adapted to FPGA acceleration, cloud deployments can readily scale to meet the growing capacity.Intel joined Alibaba Cloud recently to announce their new FPGA acceleration offering, based on the Intel® Arria® 10.  “Intel® FPGAs offer us a more cost-effective way to accelerate cloud-based application performance for our customers running business applications and demanding data and scientific workloads,” said Jin Li, Vice President of Alibaba Cloud. “Another key value of FPGAs is they provide high performance at low power, and the flexibility for managing diverse computing workloads.”Right now, Cloud Service Providers have a unique opportunity to get in on this growing trend and create differentiated FPGA services that build their portfolios and businesses.  Customer needs are diverse, and they will be looking for FPGA service choices that meet their requirements.Intel FPGAs Lead the Industry in Performance and Ease of UseIntel gives cloud service providers a range of form factor options so they can optimize for their infrastructure needs.  Our traditional FPGA components have been joined by easy-to-deploy, PCIe-based Intel Programmable Acceleration CardsOpens in a new window that can be added to any Intel server, including our latest Intel® Xeon® Scalable platforms.Intel’s Stratix® and Arria FPGA product families are ideal for cloud service providers looking to power their Acceleration-as-a-Service offering.  Intel is the silicon manufacturing leader, and Stratix is shipping on 14-nanometer today, with 10-nanometer on our short-term roadmap.  Silicon leadership translates to performance and power efficiency.  New security features have been added, such as Intel® Virtualization Technology SR-IOV, an important isolation feature in a multi-tenant Acceleration-as-a-Service environment.Intel also created a software framework that vastly simplifies FPGA programming.  Historically, FPGA developers had to be fluent in hardware-descriptive languages, such as Verilog or VHDL, and have specific knowledge of FPGA hardware designs.  With the Acceleration Stack for Intel Xeon CPU with FPGAsOpens in a new window, a robust collection of software, firmware, and tools, designed and distributed by Intel, coding for Intel FPGAs moves into like familiar environments like RTL or OpenCL, abstracting away the hardware-specific intricacies of the past, and opens up FPGAs to mainstream developers.  The Acceleration Stack provides optimized and simplified hardware interfaces and software APIs, saving the developer time so they can focus on the unique value-add of their solution.At the heart of the Acceleration Stack is the Open Programmable Acceleration Engine (OPAE).  In a nutshell, the Open Programmable Acceleration Engine (OPAE) is software programming layer that provides a consistent API across FPGA product generations and platforms. To foster an open ecosystem and encourage the use of FPGA acceleration for data center workloads, Intel has open sourced the technology for the industry and developer community.Equipped with the OPAE framework, a rich ecosystem of third-party companies are developing a wide range of workload accelerators that can be used by application developers or cloud service providers.  One example is Falcon Computing, a solution partner of Intel, who offers its FPGA-accelerated genome sequencing solution on Alibaba Cloud, an impressive 3X overall GATK pipeline speedup and 26X alignment algorithm speedup versus using the CPU alone.1The Opportunity is NowWe are still in the initial ramp-up stage of Acceleration-as-a-Service with FPGAs, and cloud service providers have a clear window of opportunity to enhance their product portfolios in this area of rapidly growing demand.  We look forward to working with them as we grow the business and solve the problems that will change the world. Join us in accelerating compute for the data demands of today and beyond.Resources:Intel FPGA Acceleration HubOpens in a new windowIntel® Programmable Acceleration Card with Intel Arria® 10 GXOpens in a new windowSupercharge Your Data Center VideoOpens in a new window featuring new Intel FPGA Acceleration Solutions1Source – Falcon Computinglast_img read more

$400 Million For Off the Wall Energy Ideas

first_imgTwo years ago, the U.S. Congress created the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy, known as ARPA-E, at the Department of Energy, to inspire risky energy and climate related research. Till now, however, the concept hasn’t gotten a dime in federal money and the Bush Administration didn’t even set up an office for it.ARPA-E’s future suddenly looks a lot brighter with lawmakers agreeing on a $400 million budget for it as part of the stimulus package. The agency now also has support at the highest levels of the new Administration: The guy who invented the concept as a member of the Gathering Storm panel at the National Academies is Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. His new deputy, Sue Tierney, sat on the board of an organization that lobbied to help make ARPA-E happen. Lawmakers hope ARPA-E will be what one staffer calls a “lean and mean” research arm of the often stodgy DOE. Description of the agency as envisioned by lawmakers follows.From the House ScIence Committee’s description of the agency: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(*)6/3/2008 Background on ARPA-E In August of 2007, the President signed into law the America COMPETES Act (PL 110-69). COMPETES codified many of the recommendations of the 2005 National Academies report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm, including to establish an Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E) to sponsor “creative, out-of-the-box, transformational” energy research. ARPA-E is charged with developing technologies that: • Reduce dependency on foreign oil; • Improve the energy efficiency of all economic sectors; • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and • Maintain U.S. leadership in the development and deployment of energy technologies.ARPA-E utilizes many of the same organizational elements that fostered the successful culture of innovation of DARPA at the Department of Defense. ARPA-E offers a significant shift for the Department of Energy (DOE), both for the research it conducts and how it conducts that research. • ARPA-E will leverage the intellectual capital of the nation’s universities, commercial, industrial, and investor communities, and the national labs to pursue high-risk, high-reward research that neither these entities nor DOE would pursue on their own. • ARPA-E will have the flexibility to sponsor R&D that spans multiple stages, from basic research to commercialization, and in areas that are otherwise too cross-cutting or multi-disciplinary to fit into the current DOE system. • ARPA-E will be an independent entity within DOE with a flat, non-bureaucratic management structure. The ARPA-E Director will report directly to the Secretary of Energy, and no other program within DOE will report to ARPA-E. • The ARPA-E Director will have flexible hiring authority to recruit the best and brightest program managers from outside of government at competitive salaries and for limited tenures of 3-5 years to ensure that fresh ideas and talent circulate through the program. • ARPA-E Program Managers are given extraordinary autonomy and resources to pursue high-risk technological pathways, quickly assemble research teams to “crash” on projects, and start and stop projects based on performance and relevance. ARPA-E projects will not be subject to the traditional peer-review system. As recommended by the National Academies, ARPA-E funding should be seen in the context of expanding overall energy R&D investment to a level that begins to meet the scale and complexity of the challenge. First year funding should approach $300 million, and quickly ramp-up to $1 billion in subsequent years. If ARPA-E has substantial and consistent funding, and it is implemented as envisioned in COMPETES, the long-term results for the U.S. will be:• Advanced technologies that transform how we harness, use, and conserve energy. • A much larger and more diverse community of energy researchers and technology developers, providing the foundation of a vibrant new sector of the U.S. economy.last_img read more

Convention Considers Ban on Global Sun-Blocking Schemes

first_imgNext week’s meeting of the 193-nation Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Nagoya, Japan, will tackle such controversial issues as funding for the Global Environment Facility, hard-to-reach biodiversity targets, and controls on the access of genetic material in plants. If time allows, delegates to the CBD may also debate the first-ever international blanket prohibition on research related to geoengineering, the deliberate tinkering with the climate to reverse global warming. On page 145 of the 195-page agenda for the conference is the declaration that no: Climate-related geo-engineering activities [should] take place until there is an adequate scientific basis on which to justify such activities and appropriate consideration of the associated risks for the environment and biodiversity and associated social, economic and cultural impacts. It’s unclear, however, what that prohibition would mean were it to pass. Would it bar computer studies, or simply large-scale deployment of climate-altering schemes after they’ve been tested? The United Kingdom and the European Union are currently funding a handful of projects involving physical, atmospheric, and social research on sun-blocking techniques using particles in the sky, for example. They’re on paper, in the lab, or being simulated on a computer. Would this broadly written bar apply to that work? 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(*) Concerned that the language, if passed, could prevent research that prominent scientific institutions say is important, a handful of scientists are trying to table or defeat this language. (Margaret Leinen of the Climate Response Fund is among them.) Currently, the text is bracketed, which means that delegates at a meeting last May in Nairobi, when this text was proposed, lacked consensus on its inclusion. Delegates from Canada who opposed the ban insisted on the brackets but have not explained their actions. The CBD process can be mysterious, with text appearing and disappearing at the last minute. The ETC Group, a Canadian environmental group which has led opposition to geoengineering research in the past, supports a ban. “Rather than nurturing and protecting biodiversity, geoengineering aims to create conditions that will allow us to sustain the excesses that brought on the current ecological and social crisis,” the group says. Scientists and some prominent environmentalists have questioned the ability of CBD to make pronouncements on complex topics, and geoengineering is one area where the Convention’s record is mixed. In 2008, CBD passed language that barred one type of geoengineering approach: the fertilization of the ocean with iron or other substances to encourage the growth of algae. But that language limited the studies to coastal areas—just the places with sensitive ecosystems where iron fertilization would be unwise. Scientists with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission called that step a “new, arbitrary, and counterproductive limitation” and ETC activist Jim Thomas agreed that the specific language was a “mistake.” Yet the ETC Group says that this work on iron fertilization is evidence that CBD has “shown leadership” on geoengineering by its bar on iron fertilization. What would be the effect of passage be? The Convention is not considered a powerful regulatory treaty per se, though it has pushed countries to work to preserve their biodiversity. (The United States signed the agreement but has never ratified it.) The 2008 bar on iron fertilization caused a rift within the German government over a fertilization experiment the following year called Lohafex in the Southern Ocean. The fight, between the environmental and science ministries, forced the scientists to halt their plans temporarily until the proper paperwork was filed. Geochemist Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, California, a geoengineering research advocate, fears that further pronouncements from CBD on the issue could chill other areas of climate engineering research: We need to do the research to understand whether [geoengineering] approaches could indeed protect biodiversity. A ban on this research as proposed by ETC prevents us from developing tools that could be applied to protect biodiversity.last_img read more

Was the Clean Air Act Intended to Cover CO2?

first_imgYes, said five justices on the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007, when they ruled that greenhouse gases qualified under the Clean Air Act’s definition of a “pollutant.” Under the Constitution, the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of Congress’s intent in passing legislation, so politicians on both sides of the aisle figured that issue was settled. Unless, that is, Congress were to amend the Clean Air Act to rule out certain gases from regulation. As expected, the new political tide on climate change has brought a raft of legislative proposals to do just that. A key pair: a finalized bill by Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) and a “discussion draft” by the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton (R-I) and Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK). The lawmakers and their allies know the 2007 decision means Congress must pass legislation if it wants to force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stop its march toward regulating greenhouse gas emissions. That hasn’t stopped them from seeking to “clarify,” as Upton put it this week, that “the Clean Air Act was not written by Congress to address climate change.” It’s a common argument among critics of President Barack Obama’s EPA’s moves on climate.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(*)Congress explicitly allowed for evolving atmospheric science in the Clean Air Act when it overhauled existing air quality law in 1970 and amended that bill subsequently. And discussion of the nascent science of climate change is part of the congressional record in the original version of the law and its updates. Still, the question of whether CO2 is pollution is now at the fore of the debate about whether to amend the act again.The Clean Air Act named six known pollutants, including lead and soot. But it also set up a process called the “endangerment finding” that EPA would use to decide whether additional pollutants should be regulated under the act or adjust its standards for allowable pollution. “Congress said to the EPA: We want you to be watching the science. You’re supposed to be on guard. When the science shows there’s a danger, then you need to act. Don’t come to us for instructions,” says David Doniger, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, D.C. There’s evidence that during the drafting of the act and its subsequent amendments that climate was one of the dangers Congress was thinking about. In 1970, as mentioned here, Senator Caleb Boggs (R-DE) said during debate on the law that “Air pollution alters climate and may produce global changes in temperature.” As laid out here, in 1977 a report by the House that accompanied an update to the law mentioned “possible weather and climate modifications” among the risks to particulate matter it was seeking to regulate.But advocates who say the Supreme Court got it wrong say Congress would have been more explicit if CO2 and other greenhouse gases were meant to be regulated. Their arguments are likely to be repeated as the debate about the EPA’s efforts today heats up. In a brief to the high court in 2007, car companies and other industries quoted from several dictionaries on the definition of “pollutant” and went on to argue that:Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and water vapor do not contaminate the air we breathe; rather, they are an integral part of a complex, dynamic climate system. Although increased or decreased levels of these naturally occurring compounds may affect global ambient temperatures, that does not mean that the air is becoming more or less polluted. The textual provisions of the Clean Air Act, which vest EPA with authority to promulgate regulations designed to “clean” the air and make it fit to breathe, cannot be blithely transformed into an immensely broad mandate to reshape the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere.The Supreme Court flatly denied this reasoning, saying it had “little trouble” seeing the contrary and that the statute was “unambiguous” on the question. Members of Congress trying to amend the Clean Air Act to exclude climate regulation face an even steeper battle: They may have a tough time corralling votes for such a bill to pass the Senate and even if they did, Obama has said he would veto any such bill. But there’s another approach that opponents are taking. Lawsuits are coming fast and furious. Matthew McGill of law firm Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher in Washington, D.C., told ScienceInsider that the main issue isn’t whether CO2 is a pollutant. Even though the Supreme Court decision meant that EPA could regulate CO2, McGill says that the ruling didn’t cover “the legality of any particular regulation.” So legal challenges to individual efforts by the agency to clamp down on greenhouse gas emissions may fare better than attacks on the court’s central reasoning in 2007.last_img read more

Therapy for Mitochondrial Disease Is Ethical, Says Nuffield Council

first_img U.S. National Institutes of Health Power plant. A mitochondrion surrounded by cytoplasm. In vitro fertilization (IVF) techniques that could help prevent mitochondrial diseases are ethical, provided the techniques prove to be safe, according to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics. The council, an independent and influential think tank based in the United Kingdom, released its report today evaluating various methods that could potentially allow women who have mitochondrial disease to bear healthy, genetically related children. The techniques would be a form of germline therapy, the report says, because the mitochondrial DNA introduced during the procedure would potentially be passed on to future generations. Mitochondria are organelles that provide cells with energy. They carry their own genomes, and mutations in mitochondrial genes can lead to a range of symptoms, especially those involving organs that require relatively high levels of energy. In the most problematic cases, some patients are blind, others are deaf, and others have dementia or muscle disorders. The disease is progressive, and there is no cure. Mitochondria are inherited from only the mother. (Although sperm have mitochondria, they degenerate shortly after fertilization of the egg.) A few research groups around the world have experimented with ways to transfer the genetic material from an egg with faulty mitochondria into a healthy egg, either before or just after fertilization. Earlier this year, the Wellcome Trust announced it was funding a new Centre for Mitochondrial Research at Newcastle University in Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K., where researchers are working on the technique. 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 technique raises some ethical questions because any resulting child would carry genetic material—the mitochondrial genome—from the mitochondrial donor. And any female child would pass the donated mitochondrial genome to her children. The Nuffield Council said that fact does mean that the technique would be a form of germline therapy. Nevertheless, it said that provided the technique proves to be safe and effective, it would be ethical for families to use it. They did recommend that the procedure be offered only as part of a research trial and that families who use the technique should be required to agree to long-term follow-ups of the health of any resulting children. Although some reports about the technique have said it would produce babies “with three parents,” the council says that mitochondrial donation does not result in a baby having a “second mother.” Unlike egg donors, the report says, mitochondrial donors should not have to be identifiable to the adult children born from their donation. The techniques are currently not allowed in the United Kingdom. The country’s law that governs IVF treatments prohibits any techniques in which sperm or eggs that have had any of their DNA altered are implanted in a woman’s body. Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome Trust, said he hoped the Nuffield report would prompt the government to take steps toward discussing legislation that would allow the technique. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, which oversees IVF treatments, will launch a public consultation on the topic in September.last_img read more

Facebook Preferences Predict Personality Traits

first_imgEvery day, millions of people click on Facebook “Like” buttons, boldly declaring their preferences for a variety of things, such as books, movies, and cat videos. But those “likes” may reveal more than they intend, such as sexual orientation, drug use, and religious affiliation, according to a study that analyzed the online behavior of thousands of volunteers. Your preferences define you. Researchers have known for decades that people’s personal attributes—gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, and personality type—correlate with their choice of products, concepts, and activities. Just consider the different populations at an opera and a NASCAR race. This is why companies are so eager to gather personal information about their consumers: Advertising is far more effective when it is targeted to groups of people who are more likely to be interested in a product. The only aspect that has changed is the increasing proportion of personal information that is available as digital data on the Internet. And Facebook has become a major hub for such data through its like button. A team led by Michal Kosinski, a psychologist at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom as well as at Microsoft Research, wondered just how much people’s likes reveal about them. The Likes data are public information. The hard part was getting the data on intelligence and other such attributes to compare with the likes. For that, Kosinski and his Cambridge colleague David Stillwell created a Facebook app called myPersonality. After agreeing to volunteer as a research subject, users of the myPersonality app answer survey questions and take a series of psychological tests that measure things such as intelligence, competitiveness, extraversion versus introversion, and general satisfaction with life. Kosinski and Stillwell not only get those data but also data from the user’s Facebook profile and friends network. In return, users get a peek at their own information. More than 4 million people have volunteered already. 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 researchers used data from 58,000 U.S.-based myPersonality volunteers to build a statistical model. Then, they used a sample of myPersonality volunteers to test how well the model could predict personal attributes from likes. Facebook likes are an amazingly good predictor of personal attributes, the team reports online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The most accurate predictions were for gender (93%) and race (95%), as limited to Caucasian versus African American. But people’s likes also predicted far more sensitive personal attributes such as homosexuality (88% for men, 75% for women), religion (82%), political party membership (85%), and even use of cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs (73%, 70%, and 65%, respectively). Many of the likes that had the strongest prediction power make intuitive sense, such as “Jesus” for Christians and “Glee” for gay men. But others were harder to explain, such as the strong association between liking “curly fries” and having high IQ. “What was traditionally laboriously assessed on an individual basis can be automatically inferred for millions of people without them even noticing,” Kosinski says, “which is both amazing and a bit scary.” Science NOW contacted Facebook’s in-house social scientists about the work. The study’s results are “hardly surprising,” the company contends in their official response. “On Facebook, people can share the things they like—like bands, brands, sports teams, public figures, etc. By using Login with Facebook on third party sites, people can take their Likes and interests with them around the web—to have more personalized experiences.” “I am glad that Facebook is aware that likes allow predicting individual traits,” Kosinski says. “I am afraid, however, that users [of Facebook and other online environments] do not realize that by ‘carrying around’ their likes, songs they listen to, Web sites they visit, and other kinds of online behavior, they are exposed to a degree potentially well beyond what they expect or would find comfortable.” Whether people are comfortable, advertisers are sure to start paying attention to what they like, now that a Rosetta stone exists for translating it into personal data.last_img read more

Canadian Official to Investigate Allegations That Government Scientists Are Being Muzzled

first_imgA simmering dispute over Canadian government rules on how federal researchers communicate with the public and the press has taken an unexpected turn. Earlier this week, the country’s information commissioner, Suzanne Legault, confirmed that she has opened an investigation into whether scientists in seven government departments are being muzzled by senior politicians. Canadian reporters and government scientists have bristled at communications rules imposed by the Conservative government after Stephen Harper was sworn in as prime minister in February 2006. In particular, they’ve been unhappy with a policy that requires all federal civil servants and scientists to get permission for press interviews from their minister or the Privy Council Office (Harper’s central shop) and that all questions be submitted in advance. Often, interviews with scientists are conducted with a media relations officer in the room or on the phone; if a reporter asks a question that isn’t among those submitted in advance, the officer leaps in and precludes the scientist from answering the question. In a recent dictum, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans also required that all department scientists get approval, including sign off on copyright waivers, from senior officials before publishing papers. In February, such practices prompted two groups—the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria and Democracy Watch, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that advocates for democratic reform and government accountability—to write to Legault, who holds a position created in 1983 to oversee Canada’s Access to Information Act. The groups asked Legault to examine whether the government was systematically obstructing “the right of the media—and through them, the Canadian public—to timely access to government scientists.” Such obstruction constitutes a “subtle means of intimidation,” the environmental law center argued in a 128-page report called Muzzling Civil Servants: A Threat to Democracy? that it attached to the letter. 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(*) In a 27 March response, Legault’s office indicated that it has the authority to undertake such a wide-ranging investigation under the law, which empowers the commissioner to hear complaints on broad matters “relating to requesting or obtaining access to records.” Legault’s decision to wade into the fray in such a broad manner surprised some scientists, because the office typically investigates narrower issues. But the sheer volume of evidence that has been accumulating in recent years about the extent to which the government is restricting the flow of scientific information to Canadians made it imperative that she undertake an investigation, says Scott Findlay, an associate professor of biology at the University of Ottawa. “I suspect that what we’ve heard so far is just the tip of the iceberg,” he says. In her letter, Legault wrote that she will investigate whether “government policies and policy instruments, including departmental policies, protocols, guidelines and directives, that are related to communications and media relations and that restrict or prohibit government scientists from speaking with or sharing research with the media and the Canadian public, are impeding the right of access to information.” The inquiry will focus on seven agencies: the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the National Research Council of Canada, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, and the departments of Environment, Fisheries and Oceans, National Defence, and Natural Resources. The government has argued that the communications rules ensure that government employees speak with “one voice.” But critics—among them the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, the union which represents civil servants, including 23,000 federal scientists—have contended that the policy is tantamount to a gag order. “Science is about openness, transparency, full disclosure, argumentation, discussion, disagreement,” says Jeffrey Hutchings, a professor of biology at Dalhousie University in Halifax. “That’s how you tease out the bits that make sense and the bits that don’t make sense. As soon as you try to cloister and control the communication of science, you’re controlling science, which means you’re controlling the acquisition of knowledge.” But whether the government is being antiscience or just trying to control the message to avoid potential embarrassment is difficult to ascertain, Hutchings adds. “There’s been a clear attempt, and a successful one thus far, to reduce governmental scientific capacity. No question about it. One can only speculate whether it’s an ideological issue with science or whether it’s the fact that scientists don’t toe the line, that scientists communicate objectively the results of their work, with all the warts and wrinkles and bumps that go along with it.” Minister of State for Science and Technology Gary Goodyear was unavailable for comment. Special assistant Stephanie Thomas, however, tells Science Insider that Goodyear has issued a statement noting that “government scientists and experts are readily available to share their research with the media and the public. Last year, Environment Canada participated in more than 1,300 media interviews, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada issued nearly 1,000 scientific publications, and Natural Resources Canada published nearly 500 studies.” The timeline on Legault’s investigation, or whether a final report will be crafted and submitted to Parliament, is unclear. Those decisions have not yet been made, says Josée Villeneuve, director of public affairs for the commissioner.last_img read more

A renaissance for Russian space science

first_imgMOSCOW—When Russia’s Mars-96 exploration mission broke apart after launch in November 1996, the loss cast a pall over Russian space science. “We were barely functioning. There was this feeling of uselessness in the air,” says Lev Zelenyi, director of the Institute of Space Research (IKI) here. Now, Russia is hoping to dispel that pall with its biggest slate of lunar and planetary missions since the early 1970s. But budget cuts are threatening to drag the nation’s space science revival back to Earth.Related content: A. Cuadra/Science In January, the Russian government approved a 10-year plan crafted by Russia’s space agency, RosCosmos, covering everything from contributions to the International Space Station to weather and navigation satellites and human space exploration. About 15% of the spending would go to “basic physics in space,” says Zelenyi, a plasma physicist. But the plan is considerably leaner than expected. With the government’s coffers squeezed by low oil prices, RosCosmos has had to slash its budget for the 10-year plan to 1.4 trillion rubles ($20.5 billion), down from the 3.4 trillion rubles the agency asked for a year ago.Nonscience parts of the space program have borne the brunt of the cuts, but a bevy of science missions are also at risk, including the resurrection of Russia’s lunar program. Russia hasn’t been back to the moon since the space race with the United States a half-century ago. The Soviets scored early with the Luna-1 mission—the first unmanned probe to orbit the moon, in 1958—and Luna-2, which became the first spacecraft to land on the moon in 1959. “It was a really great time for our scientists, when we were competing with America,” Zelenyi says. But after U.S. astronauts won the race to the moon, the wildly expensive U.S. and Soviet programs both hit stiff headwinds. The last Soviet mission from that period was Luna-24 in 1976.Russia’s renewed interest in the moon came after a Russian instrument hitched a ride in 2009 with NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. The instrument, a neutron detector, spotted pockets of subsurface water ice. Russia’s leadership had rekindled dreams of putting cosmonauts on the moon—and here was a potential source of water. IKI now has five lunar missions planned from 2018 to 2025, starting with Luna-25, a spacecraft that would land near the moon’s south pole. The European Space Agency (ESA) will take part in the first three missions. A highlight is a drill it’s designing for Luna-27, which would penetrate a meter into the regolith—the surface layer of dust and rock debris—to take samples. “We don’t know if the regolith is soft or hard. If it’s saturated with ice, it could be like drilling into concrete,” says James Carpenter, ESA’s lead scientist on Luna in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.Some researchers are unimpressed with that science plan. “All that was done before—in the 1970s,” scoffs one Russian scientist. Carpenter disagrees. “The moon is not old hat,” he says. All lunar samples have come from a region that’s “not representative of the whole. If you want to understand all the science that has come before, you have to go to new places and take samples.” 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(*)Humans won’t follow for a while. Russia’s budget woes will slow the human exploration program beyond the first mission’s stated target of 2025, Zelenyi says. But he denies rumors that Luna-25 will be delayed. Russia: Only the strong survive Politics and budget pressure reshape science in Putin’s Russia Russia: Global tensions rile experimental university Joint project with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology struggles to retain non-Russian faculty, meet expectations Russia: Out in the cold Russia’s takeover of Crimea has isolated scientists in the strategic peninsula Two other cornerstones of the Russian space revival are Mars and astrophysics. Phobos-Grunt, Russia’s next attempt to reach the Red Planet after Mars-96, brought back bad memories when it broke up after launch in 2011. Like Mars-96, it ended in a fiery crash in the Pacific Ocean—the subject of “jokes mixed with tears,” Zelenyi says. But Russia is teaming up with Europe on ExoMars, a twospacecraft mission. The first probe, designed to sniff for methane, was launched last month and is now en route to Mars, salving some of the sting of the earlier failures. And IKI and NASA are in early discussions on a possible joint mission to Venus after 2025.Funds permitting, Russian astrophysics is poised for revival as well. On deck is SPEKTR-RG, a pair of x-ray telescopes that would map x-ray sources such as black holes and neutron stars. First conceived 25 years ago, the long-delayed project, now a joint effort with Germany, was revised twice. It’s become even more important to astronomers worldwide after last week’s possible loss of Japan’s x-ray telescope. “We found a niche, and there will be new physics,” Zelenyi promises. Launch is slated for September 2017, but that may slip, he says.After that will come Gamma-400, “one of most ambitious projects in the world in next 10 years,” declares Nikolai Kolachevsky, director of the P.N. Lebedev Physical Institute (LPI) here. LPI is taking the lead on the gamma-ray telescope, slated for launch in 2022. Gamma-400 aims to probe the nature of dark matter and the origins of extragalactic cosmic rays, and will search for high-energy gamma-ray bursts. Along with technical hurdles and budget worries, the mission faces the impact of international sanctions imposed on Russia for annexing Crimea. Components that also have military uses, such as equipment for protecting the spacecraft from radiation, now are difficult to procure, Kolachevsky says.Budget realities may yet force some missions onto the back burner. But for the first time since the Soviet breakup, Zelenyi says, Russian space scientists can look ahead with confidence. “Even though scientists want to have much more than the country can afford,” he says, “the next decade will be quite busy for us.”last_img read more

As Hawaii deliberates, giant telescope considers new home

first_img LOCATION ELEVATION (METERS) LOCATIONRoque de los Muchachos, Spain ELEVATION (METERS)2400 Protestors greet opening ceremony for Hawaii telescope Affirming support for Thirty Meter Telescope, Hawaii’s governor calls for closing others Hawaii’s high court blocks construction of giant telescope LOCATIONMauna Kea, Hawaii ELEVATION (METERS)4050 Associated Press LOCATIONSan Pedro Mártir, Mexico ELEVATION (METERS)2830 Plans to construct the Thirty Meter Telescope in Hawaii have prompted numerous protests by Native Hawaiians and others opposed to the project.center_img The new hearings begin on Hawaii’s Big Island on 18 October and will last into late November. Sanders says the TMT’s application is essentially unchanged. Witnesses have already supplied written statements, and more than a dozen parties, mostly opposing the project, will have a chance to ask questions. In the end, “it seems likely we’ll get the permit,” says astronomer Robert Kirshner, head of science programs at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in Palo Alto, California, which has so far ploughed $180 million into the TMT. But any decision, which is unlikely before the end of the year, will probably end up again in Hawaii’s supreme court.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(*)Even if the TMT ultimately gets a go-ahead, supporters worry that continuing opposition may make it difficult to build, staff, and operate the telescope. Protests on the mountain have become heated at times, according to press reports, and there have been arrests. “We can’t take risks with people’s safety,” Sanders says. If you are going to spend more than a billion dollars building one of the world’s biggest telescopes, you’ll want to put it in a place with the best possible view of the stars. But in the case of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), an instrument that promises unprecedented images of everything from the most distant galaxies to nearby exoplanets, builders may have to settle for second best.Next week, the fierce legal and cultural battle that has engulfed efforts to build the TMT on Mauna Kea, a 4207-meter-high peak in Hawaii, will reignite as state officials open a pivotal hearing on whether to allow construction. The peak is rated as the best observing site in the Northern Hemisphere, but for Native Hawaiians it is sacred land, and many residents oppose the project. “The risk [to the project] is by no means small,” says project manager Gary Sanders of the TMT International Observatory in Pasadena, California, and “the cost of delay is significant.” So the project is also hedging its bets by considering alternative sites.The TMT is one of three giant telescopes expected to dominate ground-based optical astronomy beginning in the next decade. The European Extremely Large Telescope (with a 39-meter mirror) and the Giant Magellan Telescope (24.5 meters) are already under construction, both in Chile. The TMT was also supposed to be underway by now, having won a construction permit from Hawaiian officials in 2011 after a long approval process. But the project ground to a halt after Native Hawaiian protesters disrupted a 2014 groundbreaking ceremony and later blocked workers from reaching the site. Then in December 2015, native activists won a ruling from Hawaii’s supreme court that invalidated the TMT’s building permit because of procedural violations. The court ordered the state’s Board of Land and Natural Resources to reopen hearings designed to give the public a voice in the decision. If Hawaii proves inhospitable, the TMT will try to relocate. Since this past February, experts have been reviewing alternative sites, including several that were studied when the TMT began serious planning in the mid-2000s. Cerro Armazones, a peak in northern Chile, was a favorite for the TMT, but it is now ruled out because Europe’s giant scope is taking up residence. Other sites nearby are in contention. But moving the TMT to Chile would put all three giant telescopes in the Southern Hemisphere, where they would be unable to see much of the northern sky.Potential Northern Hemisphere sites include San Pedro Mártir in Baja California in Mexico and Roque de los Muchachos on La Palma, a Spanish island off the Atlantic coast of Morocco. “Our friends in La Palma are pushing hard” to get the TMT, says Matt Mountain, president of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy in Washington, D.C. But neither alternative matches the seeing conditions on Mauna Kea, and they would bring extra cost and complication. The project has already ruled out sites in the Himalayas, put forward by India and China—both TMT partners along with the United States, Japan, and Canada—because they are too far from ports and have short construction seasons.The TMT governors are expected to choose their top alternative site later this month. Regardless of what happens in Hawaii, the governors have vowed to start construction—on Mauna Kea or elsewhere—no later than April 2018.Previous coverage of the Thirty Meter Telescope: LOCATIONAntofagasta region, Chile ELEVATION (METERS)2300–4500 The sky’s the limitTroubles at Mauna Kea have forced the Thirty Meter Telescope to consider alternative sites. Lower elevations generally offer inferior observing conditions.last_img read more

Hallucinogenic drugs help cancer patients deal with their fear of death

first_imgCould a psychedelic drug help people who are dying of cancer face their fears? Two long-awaited studies suggest that the hallucinogenic compound in magic mushrooms, psilocybin, could do just that. “They are the most rigorous double-blind placebo-controlled trials of a psychedelic drug in the past 50 years,” writes David Nutt, a pharmacologist at Imperial College London who was not involved in the work, in an editorial accompanying the papers.Both studies, published today in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, combined a psychedelic trip with several sessions of psychotherapy. In one, at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, 51 cancer patients received two doses of the drug 5 weeks apart, one relatively high and one so low that it was unlikely to have any effect. In the second study, at New York University (NYU) in New York City, 29 cancer patients randomly received either psilocybin or niacin, a compound that mimics some side effects of psilocybin—including a flushed, hot feeling—but without the hallucinogenic properties. Seven weeks later, the patients received the other compound.Of the participants who received the high dose in the second study, 83% reported feeling significantly less depression and 58% reported less anxiety after 7 weeks. Only 14% of those who received niacin reported less anxiety and less depression. And the effect in both studies was still apparent months later. For instance, in the Johns Hopkins study, about 60% of all participants still showed normal levels of depression and anxiety after 6 months. “The findings are impressive, with good safety data and large effect sizes,” says Robin Carhart-Harris, who studies psychedelic drugs at Imperial College London. “My feeling is that these studies will play a significant role in waking up the scientific and medical mainstream to the therapeutic potential of psychedelics.”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(*)Two things in particular are striking about the results, says Isabella Heuser, a psychiatrist at Charité, the University Clinic in Berlin: There seemed to be a rapid onset of the effect, and it was still measurable months later. “These are still small trials,” Heuser cautions. “But the fact that they both show very similar results is very encouraging.” Guy Goodwin, a psychiatrist at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, says the trials have moved the field forward. “I think they represent a kind of landmark,” he says. “But they are the beginning of something, not the end or the proof of something.”Many cancer patients develop severe depression and anxiety after their diagnosis, says Roland Griffiths, who led the John Hopkins study. These feelings can persist even when the cancer is gone. Dinah Bazer, a 69-year old woman from Brooklyn, New York, who participated in the NYU study, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2010. Surgery and chemotherapy were successful but she was consumed with anxiety and fear of the cancer coming back. “It was running my life and ruining my life,” she says. “This drug saved my life.”But patients like Bazer don’t typically have the option for such treatment today. In the 1960s, psilocybin and LSD were used to treat depression or alcoholism in numerous trials. But widespread misuse—and their association with the counter-culture—led to a political backlash. In 1970, U.S. President Richard Nixon banned the drugs and virtually all research ceased. Research started up again in the 1990s, but it has been hampered by strict regulations and methodological issues.One of the problems facing researchers is how to ensure that participants and investigators don’t know whether they are dealing with the drug or a placebo. In the Johns Hopkins study, participants and therapists were told that patients would receive psilocybin on both occasions and that the dose could vary. But fooling participants who might be feeling the effects of a powerful mind-altering drug isn’t easy. This is particularly worrisome, because the measures of effect on depression or anxiety tend to be subjective, Goodwin says. “If they could show for instance that people go back to work or that they move around more, that would be objective evidence.”How exactly psilocybin could lead to a decrease in anxiety and depression is unclear. Both studies found that patients who have a stronger mystical experience also showed a better outcome, whether or not they reported being religious, says Stephen Ross, who led the NYU study. Bazer, for instance, says she experienced “being bathed in God’s love” for hours after taking psilocybin. “I really had no other way to describe this incredibly powerful experience,” says Bazer, who says she was and still is an atheist. “I believe this was something that happened in my brain.” But whether that experience somehow catalyzes changes itself, or is just a side effect of other changes, is hard to pinpoint.Either way, the treatment could help many patients, Ross says. The Food and Drug Administration is currently reviewing an application for a phase III trial of psilocybin, the last step before the therapy could be approved. There is good reason to be hopeful, Ross says. On Tuesday, the regulatory body gave the green light for a phase III trial of another contentious drug: using ecstasy to treat posttraumatic stress disorder.last_img read more