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Can Trump command political support without real progress on trade and N. Korea?

Washington Post - Wed, 2018-06-13 08:00
Amid difficult negotiations on both, do his critics underestimate him, or is he overconfident in his ability to produce something significant?

Navarro: After primary, more cowering from GOP

CNN - Wed, 2018-06-13 07:50
CNN political commentator Ana Navarro says that despite outgoing Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) calling on his party to stand up to President Trump, she expects to see even more "cowering" from the Republican Party after voters in states like South Carolina and Virginia punished candidates who criticized Trump.

Methane on Mars leads to seasonal mystery

Futurity.org - Wed, 2018-06-13 07:46

Methane gas in the atmosphere of Mars varies locally from season to season on the red planet, according to new research.

Using data collected from Curiosity, which landed on Gale Crater in 2012, the team analyzed methane gas from the crater over a five-year period. The results show that methane gas exists in the area but in amounts that are seasonal.

“The mysterious thing about methane on Mars is that we really don’t know where it comes from,” says Mark Lemmon, an associate professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University who has served as a camera operator on numerous Mars missions, such as the Mars rovers Curiosity and Opportunity.

“It changes over time in a way that means it comes from local sources. That suggests methane gas sources are likely found elsewhere on Mars, and these would be interesting exploration targets if we could find them,” he explains.

Lemmon says the methane found on Mars’ atmosphere is in tiny amounts—far less than found on Earth.

“It’s about 100,000 times less abundant than on Earth, and that’s why just finding it and measuring it is difficult to do,” he adds.

“Methane from meteors would not vary in this way, so there must be a localized source for methane that we don’t understand yet. We cannot rule out some sort of geological process.”

6 ways health would suffer on a trip to Mars

The findings are an intriguing addition to the body of knowledge about Mars’ atmosphere, which is 95 percent carbon dioxide. Despite having less than 1 percent of Earth’s atmospheric pressure, Mars supports complex and variable phenomena, like dust storms that range from small to large and enveloping the entire planet, frontal weather systems like Earth’s except with far less water, and the surprising variability of methane.

The research appears in Science. NASA’s Mars Exploration Program funded the project. Chris Webster at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory led the research.

Source: Texas A&M University

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For Survivors of a 9-Hour Chinese Exam, a Door Opens to America

NY Times - Wed, 2018-06-13 07:45
The University of New Hampshire will be the first flagship state school to accept scores from the Chinese university entrance exam as a basis for admission.

6 things we learned from Tuesday's primaries

CNN - Wed, 2018-06-13 07:40
Republican Rep. Mark Sanford became the latest proof point that fealty to Trump -- much more than purity on the issues -- matters most in GOP politics.

How 1 mutated gene causes hearts that don’t work well

Futurity.org - Wed, 2018-06-13 07:35

Heart defects—the most common type of birth defect—can result from mutations in the gene CHD4. Now, researchers know the key molecular details of what happens.

The CHD4 protein normally works in developing heart muscle cells to repress the production of muscle-filament proteins that are meant to operate in non-heart types of muscle cell. The failure of this repression leads to the development of abnormal, “hybrid” muscle cells that can’t pump blood as efficiently as normal heart cells.

“For patients with congenital heart defects linked to CHD4 mutations, this research helps explain why their hearts don’t work as well as normal, and suggests strategies for therapeutic intervention,” says senior author Frank Conlon, a professor in the biology and genetics departments at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a member of the UNC McAllister Heart Institute.

Researchers began by engineering mice whose developing embryos lack CHD4 just in their heart cells. The embryonic mice developed severe cardiac defects midway through gestation and none was born alive. These results confirmed the necessity for CHD4 in heart development.

CHD4, the protein encoded by the CHD4 gene, normally works as part of a multi-protein “machine” that helps regulate gene activity within the nuclei of cells, say researchers, who therefore conducted a set of experiments to measure and analyze the changes in developing heart-muscle cell gene activity when CHD4 is absent.

They found that the CHD4 protein normally binds directly to DNA in a way that represses the activity of genes that encode non-heart muscle proteins. These proteins help make up the springy fibers (myofibrils) that contract and relax when muscles work.

The team determined that when the CHD4 protein is absent, these other, non-cardiac muscle proteins are inappropriately produced in developing heart muscle cells. They become incorporated into the myofibrils in these cells, forming abnormal, hybrid myofibrils that lack the functional properties of the normal heart.

First author Caralynn M. Wilczewski, a graduate student in the Conlon laboratory, developed an advanced ultrasound technique and used it to record the activity of the tiny hearts developing in mice—organs which in mid-gestation are only about as large as the period at the end of this sentence.

“We observed that the hearts lacking CHD4 and having these abnormal cardiac myofibrils had severely reduced ventricular contractions, indicating a loss of the ability to pump blood normally,” Wilczewski says.

Blood vessels are key to building a strong heart

“These findings indicate that normal cardiac development in mice depends on the repression of non-cardiac myofiber proteins in heart muscle cells, to allow the formation of normal cardiac myofibers capable of sustaining normal heart contractions,” Conlon adds.

The findings, which appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provide the first clear insight into the mechanism of CHD4-related cardiac defects. They also suggest the possibility that restoring the normal repression of non-cardiac myofiber proteins could prevent heart defects in cases where CHD4 is mutated.

How natural miscues cause heart defects in newborns

The researchers now plan to investigate the ways in which specific human CHD4 mutations lead to cardiac defects.

In addition, they plan to use the new ultrasound technology developed by Wilczewski in further research. “This technology has broad applications for testing models of congenital heart disease,” Conlon says.

Source: UNC-Chapel Hill

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John Bolton was paid $115,000 to participate in two panels sponsored by foundation of Ukrainian steel magnate

Washington Post - Wed, 2018-06-13 07:30
Bolton appeared at two events backed by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation before being tapped as President Trump’s national security adviser.

Corker says GOP cowers before Trump after party leaders block trade bill

Washington Post - Wed, 2018-06-13 07:30
Senators blocked Corker's plan to check Trump's trade authority. He didn't take it calmly.

Liquid-air energy storage: The latest new “battery” on the UK grid

Ars - Wed, 2018-06-13 07:00

Enlarge / A view of the Pilsworth Liquid Air Energy Storage system. (credit: Highview Power)

A first-of-its-kind energy-storage system has been added to the grid in the UK. The 5MW/15MWh system stores energy in an unusual way: it uses excess electricity to cool ambient air down to -196°C (-320°F), where the gases in the air become liquid. That liquid is stored in an insulated, low-pressure container.

When there's a need for more electricity on the grid, the liquid is pumped back to high pressure where it becomes gaseous again and warmed up via a heat exchanger. The hot gas can then be used to drive a turbine and produce electricity.

The system is called Liquid Air Energy Storage (LAES, for short), and if you're thinking it sounds remarkably like Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES), you're right. LAES takes filtered ambient air and stores it so it can be used to create electricity later, just like CAES. But LAES liquifies the air rather than compressing it, which creates an advantage in storage. Compressed-air storage usually requires a massive underground cavern, but LAES just needs some low-pressure storage tanks, so it's more adaptable to areas that don't have the right geology.

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Violence can lower test scores whether kids live it or not

Futurity.org - Wed, 2018-06-13 06:55

Children who attend school with lots of kids from violent neighborhoods can earn significantly lower test scores than do peers with classmates from safer areas, a new study suggests.

“Exposure to neighborhood violence…seeps into places that you don’t expect. It can affect an entire school and how it’s able to function.”

In schools where more kids have a high exposure to violence, the study shows, their classmates score as much as 10 percent lower on annual standardized math and reading tests.

The findings demonstrate how urban violence and school choice programs can work together to spread “collateral damage,” researchers say.

“Exposure to neighborhood violence has a much bigger impact that we think it does,” says Julia Burdick-Will, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University. “It seeps into places that you don’t expect. It can affect an entire school and how it’s able to function.”

Burdick-Will studied students who attended Chicago public schools, analyzing administrative data from the school system, crime statistics from the Chicago Police Department, and school surveys from the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research.

She looked at five cohorts of students, who entered high school as freshmen from 2002 to 2006, and followed each student for up to four years.

There were, on average, about 70 violent crimes a year within a few blocks of the homes of Chicago public high school students, she found. The home areas of children with high levels of exposure to violence, however, often recorded double that number.

The crimes included homicides, sexual assaults, aggregated and simple batteries, aggravated and simple assaults, and robberies.

Because Chicago offers students the option of attending school anywhere in the city, students often commute to schools across town. The experience of violence that Chicago students face where they live does not necessarily remain in their neighborhood, but travels with them all over the city to wherever they attend school.

Previous research shows that children living in violent neighborhoods experience trauma that makes them more difficult to teach and is related to an increased likelihood of high school dropout and low test scores as well as depression, attention problems, and discipline issues, Burdick-Will says.

But she found that students who are in the same classes with a number of these traumatized children also don’t learn as well, scoring as much as 10 percent lower on annual tests.

It’s possible these effects build over time, she says.

What’s behind huge academic gap at U.S. public schools?

“This is just one year—we don’t know what the cumulative effects are,” Burdick-Will says. “If you score 10 percent lower in just one year, you’re that much less prepared for the next year. Ten percent less growth in a year is a pretty big deal.”

Chicago’s crime rates are comparable to those in Baltimore, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Houston, and Miami, and it is possible that schools in those cities have similar issues, Burdick-Will says.

Lack of jobs linked to gun violence at schools

“Dealing with urban violence has ripple effects we’re only starting to understand,” she says. “We can’t think about violence as ‘something happening to kids in an isolated part of the city where I don’t live.’ That’s just the tip of the iceberg. High crime rates may be concentrated in specific areas, but their effects can be felt in schools all over the city.”

The Institute for Educational Sciences, the Population Studies and Training Center at Brown University, and the Hopkins Population Center funded the work.

Source: Johns Hopkins University

The post Violence can lower test scores whether kids live it or not appeared first on Futurity.

North America to host 2026 World Cup

CNN - Wed, 2018-06-13 06:30
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