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Interior chief wants to shed 4,000 employees in department shake-up

Washington Post - Thu, 2017-06-22 07:00
Ryan Zinke told lawmakers he will rely on attrition, reassignments and buyouts to cut 8 percent of his workforce.

2 dead in California amid scorching heat wave

CNN - Thu, 2017-06-22 06:54
The record-breaking heat roasting the West has killed at least two people.

Vivo Could Announce First Smartphone With Fingerprint Sensor Embedded in Display at MWC2017 Shanghai

MacRumors - Thu, 2017-06-22 06:50
Chinese mobile maker Vivo could be set to beat both Apple and Samsung to the punch by announcing the first smartphone with a fingerprint sensor embedded in the screen, if an official company Mobile World Congress teaser is anything to go by.

Last week a video began making the rounds online that purported to show a Vivo smartphone being unlocked using a fingerprint sensor integrated into the display. Doubts were soon cast on the video's authenticity, however yesterday the company shared an official teaser image on Twitter appearing to hint at an imminent fingerprint sensor reveal at MWC2017 Shanghai, which starts on June 28.

We are thrilled to be launching a new solution in just a few days at Shanghai #MWC2017. Let's unlock the future together! #VivoMWC2017 pic.twitter.com/U2MQKrU6Uo

— Vivo India (@Vivo_India) June 21, 2017
The teaser image shows the outline of what appears to be a human digit complete with fingerprint passing through a smartphone-like profile, accompanied by the phrase "Unlock the Future", apparently implying a fingerprint-based unlocking mechanism embedded in the display of an upcoming Vivo phone.

As regular MacRumors readers will know, Apple is expected to include a fingerprint-sensing display in this year's "iPhone 8", which is due in September, but the company was said to have faced significant technological hurdles before it reportedly finalized a practical solution last month.

Samsung, for its own part, chose to forego the opportunity to announce the first phone with a screen-embedded fingerprint sensor when it launched the Galaxy S8 in March, with the sensor instead relocated to the back of the handset, alongside the camera lens. The controversial decision to move the sensor to the rear to make way for a larger display was made because the company could not meet the challenges involved in embedding the sensor tech in an OLED screen in time for the S8 launch.

The idea that Vivo could be the first to bring fingerprint sensing screens to consumer phones might seem like a stretch, but the company has been willing to take risks in the past and actually has a decent track record for market firsts. In 2013, for example, it released the world's first "2K" resolution phone – the Xplay3s – featuring a 2560 × 1440 resolution and 490ppi pixel density screen. With the release of the Xplay5, the company also became the first mobile maker to release a smartphone with 6GB of RAM.

Regardless, announcing the first fingerprint-aware display is a different prospect altogether and would be some feat for Vivo, which holds a 6.8 percent market share in worldwide smartphone sales, behind Chinese rivals Huawei and Oppo. By contrast, Apple and Samsung command a 13.7 percent and 20.7 percent market share, respectively, according to first quarter 2017 figures from Gartner.

Stay tuned to MacRumors for updates and other related news from the Mobile World Congress 2017 in Shanghai, which begins on Wednesday, June 28.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8
Tags: Vivo, MWCS17
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When I witnessed death by appointment

CNN - Thu, 2017-06-22 06:50
TV kliegs lit up live shots in one corner of the parking lot, where protesters prayed, preached and crowded onto the scene. Midnight, January 5, 1994, was coming fast.

Rep.: Suspend Kushner's security clearance

CNN - Thu, 2017-06-22 06:47
President Donald Trump's son-in-law and top aide Jared Kushner should "absolutely" have his security clearance suspended, Rep. Mike Quigley told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in an interview Wednesday afternoon.

‘Coloring’ parasite genes shows malaria’s weak spot

Futurity.org - Thu, 2017-06-22 06:47

Researchers have developed a technique that allows them to tag specific parasite genes with fluorescent colors to better track them throughout the parasite’s complicated life cycle.

“It opens up a whole range of new experiments…”

Microbiologists will now be able to more easily identify malaria’s weak spots, providing drug developers with new targets for anti-malaria drugs and stay ahead of the parasite’s frightening ability to build resistance.

Crucially, it will also make it easier for researchers to develop potential vaccines.

Red fluorescing malaria parasites in the blood stream of a mouse. (Credit: U. Melbourne)

“It opens up a whole range of new experiments researchers can undertake, targeting different genes and processes to try to better understand what is actually happening at different stages,” says Dean Goodman, of the University of Melbourne’s School of BioSciences.

Up until now it has been extremely difficult to track the role of different malaria genes because the parasite radically changes form to adapt to surviving first in mosquitoes and then in mammalian hosts like us.

Scientists around the world particularly want to know how malaria adapts when it reaches the liver, which is the critical stage where it learns how to infect the blood stream and cause symptoms. But now researchers will be able to simply track the fluorescent parasites in order to work out when a specific gene is critical or not during the parasite’s life cycle.

“Once we understand the critical process at work, we will be in a much stronger position to produce drugs that can interfere with these processes and block the parasite from adapting, effectively killing it in the liver before it can get into the blood.”

The critical gene

The technique has successfully shown that the malaria’s ferrochelatase (FC) gene is critical for the parasite to complete its liver stage development and make the cell type that can infect red blood cells.

By using fluorescent markers, the team found that parasites genetically modified to not carry FC were able to invade the liver in mice but none of them were then able to pass through and enter bloodstream. Instead the parasites without FC simply failed to grow in the liver and were killed off by the immune system.

Previously the importance of the FC gene in the liver stage had been difficult to definitively demonstrate, partly because the FC gene is also needed by the parasite to survive in the mosquito.

Ordinarily then, an FC-free parasite would never reach the liver because it would never survive in the mosquito. That meant researchers couldn’t be sure whether FC was important at the liver stage or not.

The trick was to take advantage of the way the parasites reproduce once in the mosquito’s gut. When an FC-free parasite mates with a wild, or unmodified parasite, it inherits enough FC to survive in the mosquito. But when it later divides to migrate into the mosquito’s salivary glands, where the FC gene is no longer needed, half of the parasites will be left FC-free.

Previously these FC-free parasites had been impossible to keep track of after all this mixing. But now these parasites will appear fluorescent because they will still carry the fluorescent marker they originally inherited from their genetically modified parent.

Testing the technique

Doctoral student Upeksha L. Rathnapala engineered and tested the technique. She was able to modify the parasite by replacing the FC gene with florescent proteins bright enough to be easily tracked through the liver.

The first step was to grow a population of FC-free parasites by taking malaria from the bloodstream of infected mice and then adding DNA that would delete the FC genes.

To do this, a population of parasites was passed through an electric current that temporarily disrupted the cell walls enough for about 5-10 percent of them to take up the new DNA.

Inside the DNA she had also embedded a genetic structure that made the parasites resistant to an old anti-malaria drug. Once the drug was added to the population, all the parasites without the new DNA were killed, leaving a completely FC-free and red-glowing population.

These FC-free parasites were then launched into the malaria life cycle using mice as the hosts.

Why GM mosquitoes might not work against malaria

Commonly a mosquito will inject about 50 malaria parasites into a host, and of these usually just a few reach the liver—the others get lost and killed by the immune system. But once they reach the liver they quickly adapt and grow exponentially.

“The liver is a very nutrient rich-place with big cells to invade, so the malaria parasites can go crazy. After just three days in a mouse liver one malaria parasite can grow into tens of thousands,” says Goodman.

From the liver, these thousands of parasites enter the blood stream and start causing the symptoms of malaria—fever, sweating, and nausea. But when Rathnapala looked for the glowing FC-free parasites in the blood stream, there were none. Somehow the lack of FC was fatal to malaria once it reaches the liver.

‘It does work’

Using the fluorescent protein to specifically identify those parasites without FC meant that for the first time their development in the liver stage could be tracked, telling researchers exactly when the parasites died.

Each parasite life cycle was a two-to-three-month process of tracking the parasite in its different forms, and analyzing what was happening in the liver as well as in the mosquito gut and salivary glands.

“After all that day-to-day effort in the lab, and then having to wait all that time to see whether it actually works or not, it just makes your day to finally see that it does work,” says Rathnapala.

She has also made the day of malaria researchers seeking new and easier ways to expose the parasite’s vulnerabilities.

Stopping parasite invasion could fight malaria

In 2015 there were 212 million cases of malaria and 429 000 deaths, mostly children in sub-Saharan Africa. While the disease is curable, and efforts to control the Anopheles mosquito that spreads it have reduced the incidence of infection by 21 percent since 2010, the parasite’s ability to develop drug resistance remains a major problem.

Despite encouraging progress, a licensed vaccine is yet to be developed. Techniques like this one that can better arm microbiologists in the race for a vaccine and new drugs can’t come fast enough.

A paper describing the technique appears in the journal PLOS Pathogens.

Source: University of Melbourne

The post ‘Coloring’ parasite genes shows malaria’s weak spot appeared first on Futurity.

Trump: I don't want a 'poor person' advising on economics

CNN - Thu, 2017-06-22 06:37
During a rally in Iowa, President Trump explains his reason for hiring the president of Goldman Sachs as the US secretary of commerce.

Republicans who decried Obamacare secrecy now writing legislation in secret

Washington Post - Thu, 2017-06-22 06:15
Transparency takes a back seat to expediency as the GOP scrambles to pass a health-care bill.

Another alternative fact from Sean Spicer

Washington Post - Thu, 2017-06-22 06:15
The White House press secretary's claim that there are “not fewer briefings” is false, plain and simple.

Citrix isn’t just for telecommuting, Red Bull Racing uses it at the track

Ars - Thu, 2017-06-22 06:00

Enlarge / Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull Racing prepares for the 2017 Australian Grand Prix. (credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images for Red Bull)

"Big Data" has been all the rage for the last few years. But the sport of Formula 1 racing caught that bug a long time ago, certainly in the days predating that buzzword. In the past, we've taken a look at how teams like Williams Martini Racing, Renault Sport Formula One, and Caterham F1 (RIP) have handled collecting and crunching their terabytes. Today, it's Red Bull Racing's turn.

"I've worked for the team for 13 years now, and we've been doing this for ages. The complexity of what we measure and sophistication of the analytics continues to improve, but we've been doing big data for a long time," explained Matt Cadieux, Red Bull Racing's chief information officer. The data in question is collected by myriad sensors all over the team's race cars, roughly adding up to a terabyte each race weekend (500GB for each of the two cars).

"But if you look at all the other data we use—video, audio, number crunching to run through various simulations—it's a huge multiplication factor on top of that," he told Ars. Cadieux wouldn't give us an exact number for that data volume over a race weekend, lest that information prove too useful to the team's rivals in the paddock, but company-wide the team manages 8PB of data. Cadieux reckoned that 95 percent of that was related to car design and car performance—think CAD (computer-aided design) and CFD (computational fluid dynamics), but also strategy simulations and historical telemetry data from previous seasons. "We have a very data-hungry business," he said.

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Trump once figured he'd be the first person to make money running for president. He didn't.

Washington Post - Thu, 2017-06-22 05:45
Worry not, though: He may still come out ahead.

Obama's homeland security secretary just unloaded on the DNC

Washington Post - Thu, 2017-06-22 05:45
“It would be easy for me to say that I should have bought a sleeping bag and camped out in front of the DNC in late summer,” Jeh Johnson said.

The Romney in charge of Trump's RNC

CNN - Thu, 2017-06-22 05:42
When the elevator doors opened and I turned the corner toward the chairman's office at the Republican National Committee Headquarters, I looked at the wall and nearly laughed out loud.

New York Today: New York Today: Washing Windows, 900 Feet Up

NY Times - Thu, 2017-06-22 05:35
Thursday: A glimpse into a towering task, closing Rikers Island, and My Bronx Story.

Bank dividends are near all-time highs

CNN - Thu, 2017-06-22 05:31
President Trump has condemned the Dodd-Frank rules placed on Wall Street as a "disaster" that have prevented banks from lending money to cash-starved businesses.

Senator breastfeeds as she talks to Parliament

CNN - Thu, 2017-06-22 05:31
This is the moment senator Larissa Waters breastfed her baby daughter while putting forward a motion in Australia's Parliament.
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