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Kevin Hart and Americans' decreased tolerance of anti-gay discrimination

Washington Post - Fri, 2018-12-07 15:27
The response to Kevin Hart is a reminder of how little tolerance for discrimination many Americans currently have.

China’s Chang’e-4 Launches on Mission to the Moon’s Far Side

NY Times - Fri, 2018-12-07 15:27
If the mission is successful, the spacecraft would be the first in human history to land on the moon’s far side.

Rex Tillerson on Trump: ‘Undisciplined, doesn’t like to read’ and tries to do illegal things

Washington Post - Fri, 2018-12-07 15:21
Tillerson was trying to be diplomatic while talking about Trump's reliance on his instincts, but the subtext was clear.

NC candidate owes $53,000 to firm at center of absentee ballot effort, records show

CNN - Fri, 2018-12-07 15:20
The campaign of North Carolina Republican Mark Harris still owed more than $53,000 after last month's election to a consulting firm at the center of an absentee ballot effort that has sparked allegations of fraud and could trigger a new House election, new filings show.

Deputy who died in Thousand Oaks mass shooting was killed by friendly fire

CNN - Fri, 2018-12-07 15:16
The sheriff's sergeant who initially responded to last month's mass shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, was fatally shot by gunfire from a California Highway Patrol officer, officials said Friday.

Giuliani: Mueller accuses Manafort of lying about Trump

CNN - Fri, 2018-12-07 15:12
Special counsel Robert Mueller's team has made clear to Paul Manafort's attorneys that they believe the former Trump campaign chair is lying to them about President Donald Trump, according to the President's attorney Rudy Giuliani.

Analysis: Tillerson just exposed Trump's greatest weakness

CNN - Fri, 2018-12-07 15:12
Since being fired by President Donald Trump as secretary of state, Rex Tillerson has kept a very low profile. But on Thursday night in Houston, Tillerson broke that silence in a big way.

Why driving is hard—even for AIs

Ars - Fri, 2018-12-07 15:00

Enlarge (credit: Dong Wenjie via Getty Images)

Welcome to Ars UNITE, our week-long virtual conference on the ways that innovation brings unusual pairings together. Each day this week from Wednesday through Friday, we're bringing you a pair of stories about facing the future. Today's focus is on AI in the city—get ready for a lot of smart buildings and self-driving stuff!

I have a couple of kids of learner’s permit age, and it’s my fatherly duty to give them some driving tips so they won’t be a menace to themselves and to everyone else. So I’ve been analyzing the way I drive: How did I know that the other driver was going to turn left ahead of me? Why am I paying attention to the unleashed dog on the sidewalk but not the branches of the trees overhead? What subconscious cues tell me that a light is about to change to red or that the door of a parked car is about to open?

This exercise has given me a renewed appreciation for the terrible complexity of driving—and that’s just the stuff I know to think about. The car itself already takes care of a million details that make the car go, stop, and steer, and that process was complex enough when I was young and cars were essentially mechanical and electric. Now, cars have become rolling computers, with humans controlling (at most) speed, direction, and comfort.

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Six Michigan Doctors Charged in $464 Million Insurance and Opioid Scheme

NY Times - Fri, 2018-12-07 14:56
Federal prosecutors said the doctors unnecessarily prescribed opioids to patients and sought to defraud insurance companies.

Grammy nominations are here

CNN - Fri, 2018-12-07 14:52
Nominations for the 61st Grammy Awards will be revealed on Friday morning.

Recovering frogs plop from backpacks into new places

Futurity.org - Fri, 2018-12-07 14:48

Translocation—or capturing, transporting, and releasing—Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogs seems to be working in Yosemite National Park, report researchers.

The frogs travel in a box, within a canister, surrounded by snow, tucked tightly into a backpack strapped to a determined ecologist. Twenty at a time they depart places where they’re thriving for sites from which their species has vanished. Their mission: population recovery.

Ecologist Roland Knapp of the University of California, Santa Barbara has been leading a team of field crews—in collaboration with the National Park Service, US Geological Survey, and US Fish & Wildlife Service—to save these frogs by reintroducing them to lakes from which they have disappeared due to the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). The results of these novel experiments might provide important insights into how amphibian populations worldwide that have been affected by Bd might recover.

“Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogs were devastated by Bd following its spread across these mountains,” says Knapp, a research scientist based at the UC Santa Barbara-managed Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory in Mammoth Lakes.

“But a few populations survived and appear to be evolving some degree of resistance to this pathogen, allowing them to recover despite the ongoing presence of Bd. Using frogs from those recovering populations to reestablish populations that were previously eliminated by Bd—that hasn’t been done much before. It’s good news for frogs for sure.”

Translocation works

Because few examples exist in which reintroduced amphibians were able to recover in the face of ongoing Bd infection, Knapp says, describing the fates of these populations is critically important. He and coauthor Maxwell Joseph, a data scientist at the University of Colorado-Boulder, report their new findings in the journal Ecosphere.

“This paper shows that we can facilitate recovery by translocating frogs from places where they are recovering naturally to places where they were previously driven to extinction—either by disease or by fish or both,” says Knapp.

“They persist despite the disease and become established, at least in some cases. If you rely on natural recovery, success will be limited. We’ve shown that we can move the frogs to habitats to which they could never return by themselves (because of introduced predatory fish in interconnecting streams) and develop new populations. That’s an important advance.”

Tracking individual frogs

It’s been a long time coming—quite literally. The first two translocations of frogs were conducted more than 10 years ago, and Knapp and Joseph have been following those frogs ever since.

Translocated into sites from which their species had previously been killed off by Bd, these new arrivals face challenges from disease and from variable winters (the frogs spend winter under the ice, getting by on energy reserves built up over the summer). By repeatedly catching the same frogs over several years, the researchers are able to track their health and survival, and determine whether the translocated populations are growing or shrinking.

Coupling Knapp’s long-term data with the novel statistical models developed by Joseph enabled the researchers to uncover key insights into how disease and climate together influence the persistence (or not) of these new populations.

“What we really want to know is how infection load—a measure of how infected a frog is—changes over time, and we need to keep track for every individual in the population,” Joseph says. “But we don’t know exactly how many individuals there are in the population and we don’t observe them all at every visit. So we decided, let’s model the data that we wish we had for every individual and use the data from the subset of individuals that we caught to inform that model.

“For disease ecology as a field, being able to focus at the level of individual animals in wild populations is definitely a frontier,” Joseph adds. “We haven’t had the necessary computational tools to do that until recently. With today’s computational resources, we can better understand how differences among individuals affect the fate of populations—do they persist or do they go extinct?”

Thriving or dying

Of the two frog populations in the paper, one is persisting—with hundreds of new animals born since their reintroduction. The other has failed to thrive and appears on the verge of extinction. The researchers believe that the difference in outcomes at the two sites results from the varying, lingering effects of Bd: infections are lower in the thriving population and higher in the group that is failing.

“Despite still having major effects on frog populations, disease is unlikely to doom this iconic species in Yosemite National Park,” Knapp says. “Since the early translocations described in this paper, many additional translocations have been conducted in Yosemite and the majority of those populations show signs of becoming established.

“Translocations are a viable conservation measure to re-establish populations of frogs that have been wiped out by Bd, assuming that large donor populations are available,” he continues. “To facilitate recovery at a larger scale, across Yosemite and the entire range of the frog, we ultimately want to be able to predict in which habitats reintroduced frogs will survive.

“In the future, we hope to use the outcomes of all these translocations to identify the characteristics of sites that maximize the chance of successfully reestablishing frog populations. We are probably a decade away from that but that’s where I want this to go. And having long term data and powerful analytical tools is the only way we’re going to eventually get to that point.”

Source: UC Santa Barbara

The post Recovering frogs plop from backpacks into new places appeared first on Futurity.

After Dispute, ‘Mockingbird’ Blends Novel’s Spirit and Sorkin’s Voice Onstage

NY Times - Fri, 2018-12-07 14:44
Harper Lee’s estate objected to elements of Aaron Sorkin’s early stage adaptation. Now it arrives on Broadway with concessions from both sides.

China sends rover to far side of the moon

CNN - Fri, 2018-12-07 14:43
China is poised to become the first country in the world to explore the far side of the moon with the launch of a lunar rover Saturday, another step closer to its goal of becoming a space superpower.

Your Money Adviser: How to Get the Most From a Health Savings Account

NY Times - Fri, 2018-12-07 14:43
Experts say a little comparison shopping can minimize fees and maximize savings.

Apple Expected to Release iPhone XS Battery Case Soon, Possibly iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR Versions Too

MacRumors - Fri, 2018-12-07 14:42
Apple appears to be readying the release of a new Smart Battery Case for the iPhone XS, and possibly versions for the iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR too, based on information uncovered by 9to5Mac's Guilherme Rambo.


Rambo uncovered references to three model identifiers for the case in iOS code, including A2070, A2071 and A2171, suggesting that Apple could release the case in three different sizes for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Another identifier found in the iOS code reportedly points towards a 2018 release.

Apple's first Smart Battery Case was for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s, and was equipped with a 1,877 mAh battery that protruded out of the back of the case. Apple later released an iPhone 7 version with a similar design but larger 2,365 mAh battery. Both cost $99 in the United States, with the latter still available.

9to5Mac earlier found an icon in the watchOS 5.1.2 beta that appears to correlate to the new Smart Battery Case. The icon suggests the case will have a Lightning connector, but it's unclear if wireless charging will be supported. It also looks like the new cases might not have a "chin" extending past the bottom of the iPhone.

It's not out of the ordinary for Apple to release new accessories in December, with the original Smart Battery Case launching this month in 2015 and AirPods launching in December 2016 after a multi-month delay.

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How cells do ‘quality control’ for misfolded proteins

Futurity.org - Fri, 2018-12-07 14:37

Researchers have identified the key molecular players in the decisions cells make about whether to scrap or salvage misfolded proteins.

Proteins are the workhorses of our cells, carrying out essential tasks to keep our cells—and our bodies—functioning properly. But proteins can only do their jobs if they fold into the right shape.

When a protein misfolds, the cell can try to salvage the situation by refolding the protein or destroying it, but how cells make that decision has been a mystery.

In a study in Nature, Judith Frydman and her team identified the key molecular players in this decision.

Frydman, a professor of biology at Stanford University, sees this basic knowledge as the first step toward treating many human diseases, including neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and cancers that sometimes result when a cell fails to eliminate misfolded proteins.

“We need to understand how cells make this decision at the molecular level before we can develop cures,” she says. “But first we had to define the components and pathways.”

‘Quality control sweet spot’

The trick is finding the right balance between eliminating bad proteins and salvaging what’s fixable.

“The cell needs to find a quality control sweet spot where it degrades the misfolded proteins to keep them from accumulating and being toxic but isn’t too zealous in degrading everything—including proteins that can still function,” Frydman says.

After about a decade of work, Frydman and her team found how the cell determines where that sweet spot lies. The responsibility resides with two groups of proteins—called ubiquitin ligases and molecular chaperones—that work together to decide what to do about misfolded proteins.

The ubiquitin ligases stick a variety of branched ubiquitin chains to specific locations on the misfolded proteins. Depending on the location and type of tags, the cell decides whether to destroy or re-fold.

Both groups of proteins are known to play other roles in the cell, but this is the first evidence that they have a dual role in targeting misfolded proteins.

“Molecular chaperones, much like human chaperones, help newly made or otherwise immature proteins attain their mature, functional state,” Frydman says. “I was surprised that chaperones also form part of the decision to degrade a misfolded protein.”

Differing quality standards

While studying how cells determine which misfolded proteins to destroy, the team noticed something strange: the selection processes differed in the cytoplasm, the main compartment of the cell, and the nucleus, where the cell’s DNA resides.

“We think this reflects the different requirements for how stringent protein quality control has to be,” Frydman says. In the cytoplasm—where newly created proteins are in the process of folding—cells would try not to degrade proteins prematurely. Cells might lower the bar for destroying misfolded proteins in the nucleus, to avoid them interfering with important genetic information.

Frydman and her team are still curious about how cells decide what to do with misfolded proteins in different parts of the cell, but their new findings have laid the foundation to answer questions like these.

“This basic knowledge establishes a new principle that will allow us to think about this important question of protein quality control in healthy cells but also during disease, both fundamentally and from the point of view of therapeutics,” she says.

The Human Frontier Science Program and the National Institutes of Health funded the work.

Source: Sofie Bates for Stanford University

The post How cells do ‘quality control’ for misfolded proteins appeared first on Futurity.

N.C. GOP candidate says he ‘would wholeheartedly support a new election’ if evidence emerges that fraud affected results

Washington Post - Fri, 2018-12-07 14:36
Mark Harris said in a video statement that he and his campaign are “cooperating fully” with investigators. Last week, he insisted voting irregularities could not have changed the outcome in N.C.’s 9th District.
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