Service Members, Families & Communities Benefit from Outdoor Recreation

first_imgThe benefits of using nature contact or outdoor recreation with Service members are well documented, including contemplative, recreational, and hands-on habitat restoration activities.  In December 2015 MFLN Family Transitions hosted a webinar, Returning Warriors: Using Outdoor Recreation for Restoration & Resilience, that engaged military service providers to identify the value of transitioning service members’ participation in outdoor recreation;  analyze research related to using outdoor recreation; become familiar with formal and informal opportunities; and prepare to refer Service members to  recreational/outdoor opportunities. Facilitators for the webinar included Stacy Bare, Director of Sierra Club Outdoors and Keith Tidball, Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University. Both are Veterans.Following the webinar MFLN Family Transitions connected with Stacy to learn more about the value of interacting with the outdoors and to seek advice for military service providers.MFLN Family Transitions (MFLN-FT): When you talk about ‘outdoor recreation’ what does that all involve?Stacy Bare (SB): Anything outdoors. Stop and take a look out your window into the backyard, take a walk around the block, cast a fly in your driveway or spend four months hiking the Appalachian Trail, a couple of days attempting to summit the Grand Teton or car camping with your family.MFLN-FT: Tell us about your favorite outdoor recreational activities and how you became involved.SB: I’m lucky enough to do a lot outdoors and have a lot of very kind friends who invite me on some really cool trips. Climbing saved my life and skiing sustains it, but what makes an activity great is the people you are with—and sometimes solo trips. My wife just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and I’ve spent the last month doing a lot of cross country skiing because I’ve enjoyed the exercise and the easy nature of getting out into nature and on skis with a far shorter drive and far more spontaneously then I could go ski touring for example—so right now that’s my favorite.MFLN-FT: What are the benefits for service members and their families who participate in outdoor recreation?SB: The benefits are many, I’ll give you a short list here:Experiencing awe, which we’re learning through our partnership with the Greater Good Science Center at Cal-Berkeley and the Great Outdoors Lab has real physical and mental health benefitsCamaraderie and connecting with your friends and family, we also are learning it improves overall mental and family health resilienceSeeing the country you fought for—the actual physical countryLearning a new skill can be a benefitOften times a lot of laughterCreating a sense of purposeMFLN-FT: How might communities benefit when individuals become involved in outdoor recreation? SB: People who spend time outdoors we know are typically more empathetic and more curious, more willing to seek help and more willing to engage with strangers. That means if you have a community full of people who are engaging in outdoor recreation, they’re interested in meeting people, solving community problems, and they put themselves in the shoes of other folks. Who doesn’t want to live in an empathetic, caring community that’s working to help each other and find solutions to problems?MFLN-FT: Describe the Sierra Outdoors Program. SB: I like to think of us as the heart and soul of the Sierra Club. John Muir’s original vision of the Sierra Club was to get people outdoors to experience the beauty and joy of outdoor spaces. We still do that. We get out more than 250,000 people each year through three broad programs: Local Outings, which operate out of our 63 chapters nationwide, there are 400 plus groups doing everything from family picnics to movie nights to ski mountaineering, white water paddling, international trips, day hikes, etc. Inspiring Connections Outdoors works in 50+ communities nationwide to get people outside who otherwise may not have the opportunity. Finally, our newest program, started in 2006, is the Military Outdoors program which connects service members, veterans, and their families to the outdoors. I came to the Sierra Club in 2011 to redesign and relaunch the Military Outdoors program, which as a veteran of the war in Iraq, remains very close to my heart.MFLN-FT: How can military service providers connect service members & their families with your program or similar programs in their community?SB: Call us (385-209-5681), connect with us on Facebook, Twitter @SierraOutdoors, Instagram (stacyabare), or email stacy.bare@sierraclub.org. One of the things that is unique to our programs and that I’m most proud about is our volunteer leadership training. If we’re not doing something in your area or something you want to be doing, come get trained as a leader and we’ll have you leading a trip soon after that training. The thing to remember is that we don’t care what your background is or your current state of health—we will work with you so you can enjoy the outdoors how you want to under human power. There’s something for everyone outside.MFLN-FT: What advice do you have for service members who don’t want to participate in a formal program, but just want informal experiences? SB: We really hope that our program isn’t just getting people outside, but is inspiring folks to go out and do more and that people will leave our program and keep getting outside—so that’s a long way to say that I think most people get outside informally. You don’t have to use a lot of fancy gear, for most things jeans and good sneakers will work fine—Look first in your immediate community, where are the parks? If you’re active duty call the MWR office, see if you can rent gear, go talk to someone at your local outdoor store about where to go and what activities are available in the area and how to access them. Buy a guide book or watch a YouTube video about what you want to do, take a day class, go for a walk—just get outside!MFLN-FT: What is your vision related to military service members and their families related to outdoor recreation?SB: Long term I want every service member to be able to use at least a week of permissive TDY to get outside throughout the year. I’d love to see all mental health resiliency programs include an outdoor recreation component and outdoor recreation be a part of all mental health treatment programs vs. an alternative or elective treatment program.MFLN-FT: Please share any final thoughts (if any).SB: Go outside! Stacy Bare is a climber and skier, the Director of Sierra Club Outdoors (SCO), a brand ambassador for The North Face, Keen Shoes, and a veteran of the war in Iraq. SCO gets out 250,000+ people each year. Under his direction, SCO launched the Great Outdoors Lab with the University of California-Berkeley in 2014 to put scientifically defensible data behind the power of the outdoors to support improved mental, physical, and thereby public health with an emphasis on youth and military veterans. He is also the 2015 SHIFT Festival Adventure Athlete of the Year and a 2014 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. He, his wife, and their new daughter live in Salt Lake City, UT.last_img read more

Los Directores: Mexico’s Famous Filmmakers

first_imgGet to know the three Mexican filmmakers dominating Hollywood and the Oscars. Let’s take a look at los Directores — the Directors.Cover Image: Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo del Toro, and Alejandro González Iñárritu via LA TimesOver the past few years, nearly every major filmmaking award can be tied to these three filmmakers either through nominations or wins. Not only do they all come from Mexico, they frequently collaborate with each other. Each of their successes has pushed the trio further into the spotlight.Together, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Alfonso Cuarón, and Guillermo del Toro have created some of the best films ever made. Not only do they share their successes together, they have also made careers for master cinematographers, writers, and actors.Alejandro González IñárrituImage via IndieWireAlejandro González Iñárritu was born in Mexico City, Mexico. At 16, he was expelled from school and began to travel the world as a sailor.Actually, when I think about growing up, I feel most affected by two travels that I made working in cargo boats when I was 16 and 18. One of them crossed through the Mississippi and Baton Rouge and Mobile, Alabama, and another went all the way to Europe. On the last trip, I stayed in Europe for one year with $1,000, working everywhere I could, doing everything. Those years shaped me a lot and taught me the value of exploring different things. I didn’t have a normal academic career. I never studied cinema. I learned from life. – A.V. ClubAfter his travels, he returned to Mexico City and attended college at the Universidad Iberoamericana. There he studied communications and landed a job as a radio DJ on the rock station WFM. He became the director of the station four years later, turning WFM into one of the most popular radio stations in Mexico. He also began composing music for a series of films.Iñárritu eventually made his way into making commercials and eventually met writer Guillermo Arriaga. Together the two would go on to make the film Amores Perros. The film masterfully combined three different stories tied around a single car crash. It was also the film debut of actor Gael García Bernal.Amores Perros won the Critic’s Week Grand Prize at Cannes and earned an Academy Award Nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. The film lost to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.Iñárritu next worked on the Mexico segment for the film September 11 as well as returning to commercial work. He created ads for Volkswagen, Coca-Cola, and BMW. He made it a point to always write the commercials as well, which helped him in his storytelling.I don’t have anything against commercials, and I really like BMWs, to tell you the truth. [Laughs.] One of the reasons why I agreed to do it is that they gave me complete freedom. I just had to have the car in it and write a story around it. I wanted to do something serious set in a Latin American country, but again, it was an exercise in style for me. I want to make something with a guerrilla documentary style. I didn’t care about the car, you know what I mean? In this particular story, there has to be a car, so I put the fucking car in there. If they give me a BMW, then great. But I considered it a chance to make a good short film, and fortunately, they paid me well for it. It wasn’t difficult for me to accept it as a commercial, because I had no restrictions. If I presented that short to somebody who doesn’t know about the BMW film series, I doubt they’d even notice it was a commercial. – A.V. ClubFollowing his successful collaboration with Guillermo Arriaga, the two teamed up again on the film 21 Grams. The film follows a similar format to Amores Perros, in which three stories are intertwined around an accident. Unlike the first film, this film was made in English. The two followed this film with another tragic tale, this time intertwining four stories in Babel. Together, these films are commonly referred to as The Death Trilogy.Babel was a hit with critics, receiving seven Oscar Nominations. Alejandro González Iñárritu was the first Mexican director to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Directing and the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing. Babel earned Iñárritu the Best Director Award at Cannes, the fist Mexican-born director to have won the Prix de la mise en scène.Iñárritu’s next film, Biutiful, was filmed in both Mexico and Spain. The film earned an Oscar Nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. Possibly more impressive, Javier Bardem earned an Oscar Nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role. It was the first time an actor had been nominated for an entirely Spanish-speaking role.Biutiful was the fourth and final collaboration between Iñárritu and his cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto. Since then, Prieto has gone on to work on projects like Ben Affleck’s Argo and Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street and Vinyl.He followed this film with a series of shorts. His next feature became one of the most acclaimed films in years, Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). The film was a technological masterpiece, as it moved like a single continuous take for the entirety of the film. Shooting was constantly rehearsed and shot in sequence. It only took two weeks to edit the final picture.The film went on to earn nine Oscar nominations, winning four. Iñárritu walked away with three Oscars himself for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Writing. His cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki walked away with the Oscar for Best Cinematography — making him a back-to-back winner. More on that later.Currently Alejandro González Iñárritu is producing the upcoming tv series The One Percent, in which he directs the first two episodes. He also just wrapped his next feature film The Revenant. Working again with cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, the two are pushing their filmmaking knowledge. Much of the film is practical and natural sets shot with natural light. Want more articles on Mexican filmmaking? Let us know in the comments below. Alfonso CuarónImage via IndieWireAlfonso Cuarón was also born in Mexico City. He studied philosophy and filmmaking at National Autonomous University of Mexico. It was there he met cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. Together the two made their first short film, Vengeance is Mine.Alfonso and his brother Carlos Cuarón wrote Sólo con tu pareja, a romantic comedy that went on to earn the Best Original Story at the Ariel Awards. Alfonso was nominated for Mejor Ópera Prima (Best First Work) and Emmanuel Lubeski was nominated for Best Cinematography.In 1995, Alfonso made his first American feature film, A Little Princess. The film earned Emmanuel Lubeski his first Oscar Nomination for Best Cinematography. He followed with a remake of the Charles Dickens classic Great Expectations. It wasn’t a particularly memorable film, but it was a decent adaptation.Alfonso Cuarón returned to Mexico for his next feature film, Y Tu Mamá También. The film was released a year after Iñárritu’s Amorres Perros, making Mexico an up-and-coming powerhouse for films. Both films starred Gael García Bernal, who would go on to become an international movie star, producer, and eventually a director himself.Y Tu Mamá También earned the Cuarón brothers an Oscar Nomination for Best Writing, Original Screenplay. It was a monster hit all over the world. Its success earned Alfonso the opportunity to direct a major American blockbuster franchise, Harry Potter.Cuarón directed Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which many critics heralded as the best film in the franchise. It took a much more serious approach than the previous installments, and set the tone for all of the following films. This film made the Harry Potter franchise become one of the most successful blockbuster series of all time.Following the success of Harry Potter, Cuarón was able to choose his next project. He adapted the P.D. James novel Children of Men. He was able to bring Emmanuel Lubezki on board as his cinematographer, and the two once again made another masterpiece. The film is packed full of tiny details and exquisite cinematography. Take a look at this breakdown of the minor background details from Nerdwriter.Children of Men earned Alfonso another Academy Award Nomination for Best Writing. He also earned a nomination for Best Editing, and Lubezki earned his fourth Best Cinematography nomination. Children of Men was praised for its technical work as well, and the film’s famous long take is still studied. They built a custom car rig specifically for that scene in the film.As impressive as all of that is, it wouldn’t come close to the technical advances and achievements in Alfonso Cuarón’s next film, Gravity. Pre-production for the film started years before cameras rolled. They crew actually had to wait for the technology to catch up for the shots they had in mind. With technological advancements, like robotic camera arms, they were able to start production. Take a look behind the scenes with this video from The Wrap.Gravity earned ten Oscar Nominations, winning seven awards. Alfonso Cuarón walked away with Best Director and Best Editing. He was the first Mexican to win an Oscar for Best Director. Emmanuel Lubezki won Best Cinematography, and would win again the next year with Iñárritu’s Birdman.Alfonso Cuarón is currently writing, producing, and directing the tv series Believe.Guillermo del ToroImage via BlastrGuillermo del Toro was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. He was raised in a very strict Catholic household, which would go on to influence his mythical world greatly. He grew up making films on his father’s 8mm camera, and his passion led him to study at the Centro de Investigación y Estudios Cinematográficos.Del Toro was fascinated by special effects and makeup. He studied under legendary special effects artist Dick Smith and would go on to spend ten years working as a special effects and makeup designer. He began directing short films, eventually writing and directing several episodes of the cult series La Hora Marcada. The show was the equivalent to a Mexican Twilight Zone. Other writers and directors included Alfonso Cuarón and Emmanuel Lubezki.Following the series, Guillermo directed his first feature film, Cronos. The film was his first collaboration with cinematographer Guillermo Navarro. The vampire horror film is still considered one of the best in the genre. The film won eight Ariel Awards from the Mexican Academy of film. Guillermo del Toro won the Golden Ariel, as well as Mejor Dirección (Best Director), Best Original Story, Best Screenplay, and Best First Work.Here’s a great interview (with subtitles) of Guillermo del Toro on filmmaking and Cronos from Gabriel Gal.Following the success of Cronos, del Toro secured funding for his next feature, Mimic. It became known that del Toro earned a $30 million budget for the film. Guillermo was plagued by a multitude of micro-managers, and he was struggling to work on the film. Then things took a turn for the worse. Guillermo’s father was kidnapped and held for ransom.We would get ransom notes with many syntax and spelling errors. It affects you. – UproxxKidnappers demanded $1 million for the release of his father. The del Toro family had nowhere near enough money to pay the ransom. As the negotiations dragged on, Guillermo wrote notes to help him cope with the ordeal. The kidnapping went on for months, and the story of the ordeal began to make headlines.Guillermo del Toro had previously made friends with director James Cameron, who had given Guillermo notes on Cronos. Cameron took del Toro to a bank, and handed him over $1 million in cash. Guillermo used the money, and his father was finally released after 72 days in captivity. Following his release, the entire family moved to the United States.I cannot go back to Mexico as a director because of the kidnapping of my father. A film is a highly visible venture, and I can’t risk it… Every day, every week, something happens that reminds me that I am in involuntary exile [from my country]. – TimeGuillermo del Toro returned to directing with The Devil’s Backbone. Soon after, he undertook several comic book adaptations with Blade II and Hellboy. It would be his next feature that would earn him critical acclaim.El Laberinto del Fauno — Pan’s Labyrinth — is considered to be Guillermo del Toro’s masterpiece. He had turned down several Hollywood producers who offered double the budget to make the film in English. He did not want to compromise the story and was determined to film in Spanish. In fact, del Toro himself translated the English subtitles for the film. The film was partially produced by Alfonso Cuarón, and Iñárritu helped in the editing bay.Pan’s Labyrinth was nominated for six Academy Awards. Del Toro was nominated for Best Original Screenplay, and cinematographer Guillermo Navarro won Best Cinematography.Following the success of Pan’s Labyrinth, del Toro was chosen to direct the live-action adaptation of The Hobbit. Following the success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit was set to become the next major entry in the franchise. After two years of pre-production and development hell, Guillermo del Toro left the project because of MGM’s financial problems. The Hobbit would eventually be split into three separate films, for which del Toro is still credited as a co-writer.During that time, Guillermo had been working on his first novel. The Strain, and its two sequels, garnered enough of a following that the book was adapted into an original television series years later.After completing Hellboy II, del Toro turned back to an original story with the kaiju film Pacific Rim. The film was a solid summer blockbuster that spawned comic books, an animated series, and a VR experience.This is my most un-modest film, this has everything. The scale is enormous and I’m just a big kid having fun. – Shock Till You DropGuillermo del Toro is seemingly all over the map. He is working on feature films, producing television series, creating comics, writing, and more. His latest film, Crimson Peak, was released in October of this year. In this video, del Tor sits down with Christopher Nolan to discuss the film and directing in general.last_img read more

Create Rain, Snow, and Fog Using These Low-Budget Effects

first_imgHow to Make Fake SnowImage: The Wizard of Oz via Warner Bros.There was a time that fake snow was made of asbestos. DON’T DO THAT! That technique was used on major productions like The Wizard of Oz. Over the past few decades, we’ve finally learned the incredibly damaging effects of asbestos.Contemporary productions frequently use a product called Sno-Foam. It’s a non-toxic and biodegradable product that looks great on camera and washes away with water after the shoot. One gallon will create 3,000 gallons of snow. It’s even been approved for use by the U.S. Forest Service, who use Sno-Foam in Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Griffith Park.Another option is to use soap suds, like the Snow Juice used by Jay P. Morgan in this video tutorial from The Slanted Lens. Morgan used an ADJ VF Flurry Machine and a regular box fan. He’ll show you how he built a snow-machine rig using a C-stand and some plywood.Morgan also shows off some lighting diagrams to help you capture the best looking snow flurries on camera. Need blockbuster-looking weather on an indie budget? Use these simple effects to create a perfect storm of movie magic!Top image: The Weather Man via Paramount PicturesWaiting on the weather is a nightmare for productions. Control the weather yourself and make your own rain, storms, snow, and fog with these great tutorials.How to Make Fake Rain and StormsImage via Tom AntosRain is the easiest type of weather to capture on film. With just a water and a hose, you are ready to create a light shower. The real trick to capturing rain is making sure you have the water backlit correctly. This will help capture the individual drops on camera. You’ll also notice that many rain shots are close-ups or medium close-ups — which hides the rain machine in the background.For tight close-ups, you can simply point the end of the hose skyward and hold your thumb over the mouth of the house or use a gardening nozzle. The issue with that setup will be getting consistent rain. We’ve previously covered this great cheap DIY rain machine from Tom Antos. For about $20, you can poke some holes in a hose, attach it to some wood with clamps, and hang it over your subject.If you need to really bring down the rain, this tutorial from Big Puddle Films shows you how to create a substantial storm by using props to add production value.For storms, you’ll need large drops of rain — which they accomplished using a fire house. If you don’t have that in your budget, the real value in this tutorial are the extra added elements. By using a large fan to move the rain, you add realism.The trick is making the wind appear on screen — you need to add dust, particles, and bits. Be sure to keep your actor’s safety in mind. They list a few safe items used on set.LeavesOatmealFullers Earth (Dust/Dirt)Cedar Bedding and Litter How to Make Fake FogImage: The Fog via MGMNeed an eerie fog creeping into frame? Many will say you should use dry ice, but it’s much easier to use a fog machine and fluid. You can purchase a a wide variety of fog fluids from companies like Froggy’s Fog. Depending on the type of fluid you go with, you can have a thin low fog or a fog that fills a whole room.You can make your own fog using distilled water and glycerol. If you want a thicker, heavier fog, try chilling it. Here’s a great chilling tutorial from Andrew Wade.center_img What are your favorite weather techniques to use on set? Let us know in the comments below.last_img read more

Sales Is a Numbers Game (But Not the Numbers You Think)

first_img Get the Free eBook! Want to master cold calling? Download my free eBook! Many would have you believe that cold calling is dead, but the successful have no fear of the phone; they use it to outproduce their competitors. Download Now “Sales is a numbers game,” they say. Then they propose that, “if you want better numbers, just make more calls.” And when low activity is the problem, this might be a reasonably good answer.But most of the numbers that really matter aren’t captured in any format in which a sales manager can easily see them. Sales is a numbers game, but not the numbers you think.The NumbersOn a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being “a disaster” and 10 being “off-the-charts amazing,” how effective is this salesperson?Oh wait, I should have mentioned that it doesn’t matter what you think. It matters what your prospective clients think. How would they answer these questions?On a scale from 1 – 10, how much value does this salesperson create for you during your interactions? How much through the process?1 – 10, with 1 being “a complete inability to listen to anyone other than themselves” and 10 being “the best experience I’ve ever had,” how well does this salesperson listen?On a scale from 1 – 10, how much do you trust this salesperson to help you with your biggest, most important results? From 1 – 10, how much do they care about you and your business?1 – 10, rate this person’s initiative, determination, and resourcefulness on your experience with them to date.How well is this salesperson going to do as an extended part of your team. Answer 1 to 10, with 1 being “doesn’t last a day” and 10 being “they’re my secret weapon and my strategic advantage.”1 – 10, how likely is it that this salesperson can help you convince the rest of your team to move forward with the solution she proposed? In hours, how much time has this salesperson spent with you and your team?If you had to pay a premium over and above any competitor’s proposal to buy from this salesperson and their company, as a percentage, how much more would you pay for the value that this salesperson created?On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being “we are so, so very dead in the water” and 10 being “they’re going to beg us to act faster,” how much has this salesperson helped you to justify the price to the rest of your organization?None of these numbers are being captured in your salesforce automation. None of them are easily counted, making them difficult to measure. Much of what matters isn’t easily measured, and good bit of it is invisible.If sales is a numbers game, the numbers aren’t the ones you believe they are. You can’t capture these numbers, but you can go see for yourself.QuestionsWhat numbers really matter?Is more activity always the right remedy for poor results? When is something else a better solution?If more activity increases your chances of creating more opportunities, what increases your chances of winning those opportunities? Okay, how do you count that?last_img read more

‘Good touch, bad touch’ in West Bengal syllabus

first_imgThe West Bengal School Education department has decided to incorporate key aspects of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, and several interactive activities regarding prevention of child sexual abuse in the primary education curriculum of State-run schools. The move is aimed at increasing awareness among schoolchildren about sexual abuse. The development comes at a time when the alleged sexual assault of a kindergarten student by two teachers at a renowned private school in Kolkata has triggered large-scale outrage in the State. Officials said they were planning to introduce the changed syllabus from Class I. “Since it is rather difficult to make primary schoolchildren understand the POCSO Act as well as ‘good touch’ and ‘bad touch’ through textbooks, we are planning to come up with interactive ways to make it more lucid,” Avik Majumdar, chairman, Syllabus Restructure Committee, told The Hindu. He said the road map to the proposed changes would be announced by late December. The proposal for the new inclusions in syllabus was made at a recent meeting between the members of the Syllabus Restructure Committee and the West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights (WBCPCR). “We are glad that the Education Department is finally going to approve it,” said WBCPCR Chairperson Ananya Chatterjee Chakraborti.last_img read more

Bihar Opposition march to Raj Bhavan to demand arrest of BJP leader

first_imgLed by Leader of Opposition Tejaswi Yadav Rashtriya Janata Dal leaders marched to Raj Bhavan on Monday to meet Governor Satyapal Malik and demanded action against BJP leader Manoj Baitha whose SUV mowed down nine school students in Muzaffarpur while crossing road on Saturday.“Till now no arrest has been made in the incident…it seems the government is protecting the ruling BJP leader whose vehicle had crushed nine school children in Muzaffarpur,” alleged Tejaswi Yadav while leading the march from Bihar assembly building.Other party leaders too charged the government for protecting the accused BJP leader in the incident. “But, we’ll not sit idle and kick off protest on road until his arrest,” said RJD MLA Bhai Birendra.However, Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi said that “whoever and wherever the accused person would be, he would be arrested and sent to jail…crushing school students is a heinous crime and the government will not protect anyone.”“The incident has happened and it would not be fair to link it with any political party…the BJP has nothing to do with the accused person…let the police do its work as the Chief Minister has ordered probe into it,” said BJP leader and Minister Vinod Narayan Jha.Director General of Police P.K. Thakur told journalists that, “accused persons will be arrested soon as the police has seized a mobile phone as evidence from the ill-fated vehicle.”The Muzaffarpur police has lodged an FIR against the BJP leader Manoj Baitha for the death of nine school children at Dharmapur village under Minapur police station.last_img read more

Two more minor girls raped and killed in Chatthisgarh and U.P.

first_imgDays after the uproar over the Khatua rape, an 11-year-old girl was raped and murdered at the Podhi village in Chatthisgarh’s Kawardha district on the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday.The police have arrested 25-year-old Uttam Sahu for the crime and charged him under relevant Sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.In another shocking incident, a nine-year-old girl was forcibly dragged from a wedding, raped and murdered by an inebriated man in the western U.P. town of Etah on Thursday night.The crime took place in the Keltha locality under the Aliganj Police Station. The accused has been arrested.The body of the 11-year-old rape victim from the Podhi village of Chattisgarh’s Kawardha district was recovered on Thursday morning from near a stream outside the village.“After the rape, the accused tried to strangulate her but he was unsuccessful. He then attacked her with a big stone and killed her,” said Lal Umed Singh, Superintendent of Police (SP), Kawardha district.He added, “The accused is a friend of the victim’s relative. He was produced before a court today.”Police sources said the accused was apprehended as the victim was last seen with him, and bloodstains were found on his clothes.Etah incidentIn the incident involving a nine-year-old girl who was raped and murdered in Etah on Thursday night, the accused, identified as Pintu (22), a driver and father of two, has been arrested.“On the complaint lodged by the family members of the girl, a case has been registered against the accused under the POSCO Act,” Circle Officer-Aliganj Ajay Bhadauria said.Also in Etah, on April 16, a seven-year-old girl was allegedly raped and strangulated to death when she had gone with her family to attend a wedding near the Mandi Samiti gate on Aliganj Road. The accused had been hired to set up tents for a wedding.Both incidents in western Uttar Pradesh come at a time when the Yogi Adityanath government is fighting public anger over the rape of a teenager, allegedly by a ruling party MLA, in Unnao.Apart from this, two minor girls were allegedly raped in separate incidents in the Siddharthnagar and Hamirpur districts earlier this week.In Siddharthnagar, a six-year-old girl was raped by her neighbour while attending a marriage in the Chilhia the area, and a 14-year-old girl was raped by three men in a village in the Binwar area of the Hamirpur district when she was grazing cattle.(With Inputs from PTI)last_img read more

Hostel warden, husband arrested on sexual harassment charges

first_imgThe warden of a government-run girls’ boarding school hostel and her husband were arrested at Kishangarh Bas in Rajasthan’s Alwar district on charges of molestation of minor girls. Two inmates of the hostel had made a written complaint against them to the school’s principal.Warden Neel Kamal Yadav of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya’s hostel allegedly used to call the girls, students of class 12, to her home, where her husband Naresh Yadav and his friend would molest them and ask them to “befriend” other men as well. Naresh is a teacher at the Government Model School in Alwar’s Tijara town.The sexual abuse came to light on Saturday when the school principal, Sukhi Ram, went to the hostel to distribute sweets to celebrate the return of Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman from Pakistan. “Two girls came to me crying and told me about their ordeal. I asked them to give a written complaint and informed the police,” Mr. Sukhi Ram said.A first information report under Sections 354-A (sexual harassment) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of Indian Penal Code, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act was registered at Kishangarh Bas police station and the statements of the two hostel inmates were recorded. One of the girls belongs to a Scheduled Caste.Neemrana Additional Superintendent of Police Mahesh Tripathi said the girls had alleged in their complaint that several inmates had “quietly suffered” the molestation and were hesitant to speak up. Acting on the complaint, the police obtained statements of about eight girls and sent a team to Haryana to look for the third accused, Ramkesh Sharma.Ramkesh’s name appears in the list of donors who have made monetary contributions to the hostel. The State government’s Education Department has placed both the warden and her husband under suspension and initiated disciplinary proceedings against them.Alwar MP Karan Singh Yadav, Congress leader and former Union Minister Jitendra Singh and State Labour Minister Tika Ram Jully, representing the Alwar Rural Assembly constituency, visited the hostel on Sunday and assured of strict action against the accused.last_img read more

Pickpockets and chain-snatchers strike at Parrikar’s funeral

first_imgThe Panaji city police have arrested 12 pickpockets and a chain snatcher over the last 24 hours in the city after several wallets, mobiles were reported stolen and a chain snatched, during the funeral procession of late Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday.An official at the city police station said that in all, 32 complaints of thefts of various articles had been reported to the police on Monday, during and after the funeral procession, taking advantage of the fact that thousands of people flocked to the city and took part in the funeral procession of Chief Minister and former Defence Minister throughout the day on Monday. According to Panaji police, two gangs of thieves from Karnataka and Maharashtra specialising in pick-pocketing and such petty crimes had arrived in Goa on Monday. Huge crowds had gathered at State BJP headquarters earlier in the day where Mr. Parrikar’s mortal remains were kept. Later they were taken to Kala Academy again with big crowd accompanying the procession. Again later in the evening funeral procession from Kala Academy to Miramar beach had huge crowd had lined up on the roads and gathered at Miramar beach but a large number of people, including ladies walked all the way from Kala Academy to Miramar.“They had specifically come to Panaji because of the “major event” in order to commit theft,” Police Inspector Sudesh Naik of Panaji police Station said.Mr. Naik said that 12 accused had been arrested so far, while the police were on the look-out for other members of the inter-State gangs.last_img read more

Rajasthan to purge ‘distortions’ in textbooks

first_imgAfter submission of its report by a curriculum review committee, the Congress government in Rajasthan has embarked on a project to revise school textbooks by removing “adulatory references” to Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh ideologues V.D. Savarkar and Deendayal Upadhyaya. The previous BJP regime had added chapters glorifying the RSS icons in the textbooks.Minister of State for Education Govind Singh Dotasara said here earlier this week that the review committee had made recommendations on the basis of historical facts, while the previous government had imposed its ideology on the students and neglected the contributions of freedom fighters.The social science textbook of Class X will be rewritten to include a detailed description on Savarkar’s mercy petitions to the British from the cellular jail, asking for forgiveness and depicting himself as a “prodigal son longing to the parental doors of the government”.‘Lab of Hindutva’ Mr. Dotasara said the BJP had turned the School Education Department into a “laboratory of Hindutva” and made changes in the school curriculum on the instructions of RSS. “We will teach whatever is in the history, irrespective of what the Sangh Parivar feels today,” he said.The Minister said the Congress government would remove distortions and ensure that the contribution of leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh were taught in correct perspective. “It is not correct to glorify Savarkar and Upadhyaya and describe them as great leaders,” he said.Among other changes, a picture of jauhar (self-immolation by women) will be removed from the cover of Class VIII English textbooks. Mr. Dotasara said an outdated practice, which was now prohibited by the law, should not be depicted on the book cover, as it would leave a negative impact on children at an impressionable age.New academic sessionThe curriculum review committee, comprising academic experts and historians, was appointed in February this year. It submitted its report, recommending changes in the contents of textbooks, earlier this month. The new textbooks for Classes VIII to XII will be introduced in the 2019-20 academic session, beginning in July. In the large-scale changes in textbooks made by the BJP regime, the Congress was described as a “nurtured baby of the British” and the result of the Battle of Haldighati of 1576 AD was changed to declare Maharana Pratap victorious. The textbooks also lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign policy and praised demonetisation as a drive to cleanse the country of black money.Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar, who was here on Tuesday, protested against the move and said the Congress was afflicted with the mentality of eulogising “one particular family as great”. “Congress is out to insult nationalists. It can go to any extent to glorify a single family and demonstrate [Mughal Emperor] Akbar as great by undermining our role models,” he said.last_img read more

No Point in Testing Controversial Stem Cell Treatment, Italian Panel Says

first_imgItalian Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin Italian Ministry of Health ROME—An expert panel that the Italian government asked to come up with a trial design for a controversial Italian stem cell therapy has thrown in the towel. The group, made up of top Italian scientists, has concluded that the treatment—designed by the Stamina Foundation and the focus of an intense public debate in Italy—has no scientific foundation and that there is no point in doing the study, for which the Italian government has allocated €3 million.The panel has sent its verdict to Italian Minister of Health Beatrice Lorenzin today, according to a ministry spokesperson; Lorenzin is now reviewing the report, which will be released tomorrow, the spokesperson says. But a source with inside knowledge of the deliberations told ScienceInsider earlier this week that the panel, in a meeting on 29 August, concluded that the Stamina method has no scientific merit. Italian news agency ANSA reported the same in a story published last night.“The rationale on which the treatment is based was found to be both unclear and scientifically inconsistent,” according to the source, “while there was no evidence of efficacy in growing new neurons.”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(*)Stamina’s mesenchymal stem cell therapy has inflamed a passionate debate in Italy. Stem cell scientists say it lacks any scientific credibility, but patients and their supporters have demanded that the therapy be made available for a range of diseases for which Stamina claims benefit. In May, the Italian Parliament decided that the therapy should undergo a formal clinical trial; in July, Italy’s new minister of health, Lorenzin, appointed a top-level scientific committee to review Stamina’s clinical protocol and design the study.The panel has concluded that Stamina President Davide Vannoni has not released records of any preclinical studies conducted by Stamina and “there is no data concerning the quality of the cellular preparation,” according to ScienceInsider’s source. For instance, Stamina has been unable to show the presence of proteins that stem cells are expected to express when they form new neurons.Elena Cattaneo, director of the UniStem stem cell center at the University of Milan—who last week was appointed an Italian senator for life—says she is not surprised. “This entire mess has been caused by a short circuit of politics,” she says, referring to the fact that Italian politicians decided on the trial as a way out of a political problem.Reached by ScienceInsider on Wednesday, Vannoni said he had not yet heard about the rejection and said he’s surprised the panel did not ask to see medical records of any of the patients already treated at the hospital in Brescia where the foundation operates. “They are doing very well,” he said.Vannoni says that he presented those records in a judicial appeal against the appointment of the scientific panel, at the civilian court of the Lazio region. The panel’s impartiality is in question, Vannoni says, because more than half of its members expressed a negative opinion on Stamina before the committee was appointed. Several leading members of the panel declined to comment, including Fabrizio Oleari, president of the Italian National Institute of Health; Alessandro Nanni Costa, director of the National Transplant Centre; and Luca Pani, director of the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA), which shut down Stamina’s operation over a year ago.Stamina provided the committee with a description of its methods on 1 August, but Lorenzin has not allowed members to share it with anyone, despite an open letter from the Italian stem cell community urging the protocol to be released for scientific scrutiny.In 2012, stem cell scientist Massimo Dominici of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia analyzed the composition of Vannoni’s treatment at the request of AIFA and Italian magistrates investigating the foundation for alleged fraud. Dominici—who’s president-elect of the International Society for Cellular Therapy—says that he found no evidence of newly grown neurons in Stamina’s product, while stem cells were present only at “homeopathic doses.” In July, a story in Nature claimed that Stamina’s U.S. patent application was based on flawed data.The committee’s advice puts minister Lorenzin in a difficult position: She is under strong pressure from patients who want to undergo Stamina’s therapy and are eager to have the trial proceed, while top scientists are telling her to abandon the idea. Complicating matters, the fraud investigation against the foundation—which is alleged to have treated patients with unapproved therapies in exchange for money—is ongoing.Vannoni said on Wednesday that he was in Africa to negotiate a trial with government officials of a country he declined to identify. Two other countries—one in Europe and one in Asia—are interested in testing his method as well, he says. Another option would be to develop the therapy further at the Diabetes Research Institute in Hollywood, Florida, Vannoni says. Camillo Ricordi, the institute’s scientific director, tells ScienceInsider that he has offered Vannoni to fast-track a study. “We find more and more evidence that real breakthroughs in medicine do not come only from traditional science, but also from nonprofessionals, people who try to cure patients with controversial strategies,” Ricordi says.last_img read more

Updated: Lax reviewing practice prompts 60 retractions at SAGE journal

first_imgThe academic publishing industry has been rocked by scandals in recent years, most of them uncovered by outsiders. But the latest comes from an internal probe: A 14-month investigation by the publisher SAGE has uncovered a fake peer-review scam involving hundreds of fraudulent and assumed identities. A total of 60 research articles published over the past 4 years in the Journal of Vibration and Control (JVC) are being retracted. SAGE concludes that the scam was orchestrated—possibly alone—by one physicist, Peter Chen, at the National Pingtung University of Education (NPUE) in Taiwan. But what ultimately made the scam possible, ScienceInsider has learned, was a lax editorial policy at the journal.The story broke 8 July at Retraction Watch, but the first hint of a conspiracy emerged in May of last year, says Daniel Sherman, head of public affairs at SAGE. “An author (later confirmed to be an innocent party) contacted SAGE after receiving two suspicious e-mails from individuals related to a paper he had submitted to JVC.” The senders claimed to be university-based scientists but were using Google Gmail accounts. By directly contacting the scientists via their official university e-mail accounts, SAGE investigators discovered that the identity of at least one of the scientists had been stolen—that researcher did not have a Gmail account. (SAGE is not revealing the names of the people involved.)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(*)Over the rest of 2013, SAGE investigators quietly followed the trail. They discovered that the assumed identity and Gmail accounts had been used many other times in ScholarOne, SAGE’s online manuscript submission system, and the reviewers and co-authors for those papers were also attached to suspicious e-mail addresses. Sherman says. “We also checked the wording of reviews written by those individuals, as well as the time it took to complete the review,” he says, which in some cases amounted to “a few minutes.”The network of JVC papers that emerged was incestuous, with the same small group of authors reviewing each other’s work and appearing together as co-authors. By the end of the year, the investigators had a list of 130 e-mail addresses associated with 60 papers, with one scientist as co-author on all of them: Chen-Yuan Chen of NPUE, who goes by “Peter.” When SAGE sent an e-mail to all 130 e-mail addresses requesting that the authors confirm their identity, none responded. “The authors were contacted again by SAGE in May 2014 to inform them that their papers would be retracted in the July 2014 issue,” says Sherman, but again none responded. According to SAGE’s official statement, Chen resigned from NPUE in February. Neither Chen nor officials at NPUE responded to e-mails from ScienceInsiderHow was it possible for a scientist to become the sole reviewer on dozens of his own papers? The answer appears to be that Chen was allowed to nominate his own reviewers, who were not vetted by JVC, a journal long led by Editor-in-Chief Ali Nayfeh, a professor emeritus of physics at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg. “In the majority of these papers ‘preferred reviewers’ only were used,” Sherman says, referring to an option made available to SAGE authors when they submit papers. “It is a very common practice across the industry for peer-reviewed journals to allow authors to nominate suggested reviewers. … Editors often find the recommendations helpful, especially for submissions on specialized and niche areas of research.” The lack of vetting, however, meant that JVC violated SAGE’s editorial guidelines, Sherman says. (Like SAGE, the editorial policy at Science is to allow authors to recommend reviewers but to never rely solely upon them. “Editors at Science journals generally use author suggestions as reviewers only if they have independent info that the reviewer is appropriate and likely to give an unbiased review,” according to a statement issued by the journal’s editors.)“In order to ensure that we continue to be compliant with the highest standards of peer-review and publication across the board, SAGE is currently conducting an additional review of our guidance to editors and authors to ensure that it is clear,” Sherman says. The practice of allowing authors to submit preferred reviewers will continue at SAGE’s 700 journals, he said. Nayfeh has resigned as editor of JVC, which is now being run by a group of 30 editors, most of whom were associate or advisory editors. Nayfeh did not respond to e-mails. The secretary of his university department told Science that he had moved to Jordan.*Update, 14 July, 6:04 p.m.: The fallout continues. As reported by Retraction Watch, Taiwan’s minister of education, Chiang Wei-ling, has now resigned. His name appeared on five of the 60 retracted papers from the Journal of Vibration and Control. Chiang claims to not be involved with the conspiracy, but is resigning “to uphold his own reputation and avoid unnecessary disturbance of the work of the education ministry.”last_img read more

Mystery solved: Where the penis comes from

first_imgIt’s not a question a lot of scientists ponder out loud, but it’s key to much of life on Earth: Exactly how does the penis form?  Today, two teams of researchers report having solved one part of this mystery, pinpointing how the organ gets its start in snake, lizard, mouse, and chick embryos. Now that they understand the penis’s origin, researchers can track its development in more detail to understand what drives it to follow a different path in females and become a clitoris. The finding doesn’t just answer a biological conundrum; it could also help millions of people born with genital malformations. In the first study, Harvard University developmental biologists Cliff Tabin, Patrick Tschopp, and colleagues traced penis development in mouse, lizard, chick, and snake embryos. They also analyzed the gene regulatory networks that orchestrate this process. They pinpointed the cells destined to become the penis, but those cells differed depending on the species studied, they report online today in Nature. In snakes and lizards, the penis arises from what will become—or, in snakes, would have been—the beginnings of the back legs, whereas in mice, some of the cells destined to become the tail take on that task. Penis formation in the chicken involved cells from the would-be tail and the would-be hindlimb, the team reports.What was common to all of these animals was the role of the cloaca, a cavity destined to become the lower part of the gut. Signals from the cloaca initiate penis formation in each animal. But as in real estate, location is everything. The rodent cloaca is back by the tail-to-be and taps some nearby cells for the penis, whereas the snake cloaca is close to where two limbs used to sprout. Hence, the snake gets two penises instead of just one, (though it uses just one at a time during mating), Tschopp says. When the researchers attached cloacal tissue to other parts of the chick embryo, they saw the buds indicative of penis growth where they should not have otherwise formed. They did not let the chick develop beyond this point.  “Wherever you put the cloaca, that determines what cell types you recruit,” Tschopp explains. The work “highlights the important role of the cloaca in the earliest events involved, which I think has been underappreciated,” adds Marty Cohn, a developmental biologist at the University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville, who performed a separate study.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 that work, he and UF colleague Ana Herrera tagged different cells of a chick embryo with a fluorescent marker and followed those cells as they proliferated. They discovered that the ones that turned into either a penis or a clitoris started out as two groups of cells on opposite edges of the embryo when it was still a flat sheet. As that sheet curls up and joins to close the body wall and make a 3D embryo, the two sets of cells meet in the middle, the duo reports today in Scientific Reports. Each group of cells forms a bud, and these two buds merge in the chick to form a single penis. In snakes, the buds may remain separate to form their dual penises. In people, defects in the genital organs may arise when the body wall doesn’t close properly, Cohn says.The two groups agree that the cells that form the penis start out at the outer edge of the embryo and that they are closer to the tail in the mouse and chicken than in the snake. But they don’t agree on whether those first cells are part of the pool of cells destined to become a limb or tail or whether the cells belong to a separate, nearby pool that is already specialized to become the penis. “I think they are adjacent populations,” Cohn says.Regardless of this difference of opinion, these new insights into how the penis gets started in the embryo are impressive, says Gunter Wagner, an evolutionary biologist at Yale University who was not involved with either study. “It’s seems like a pretty complete story to me.” For him, the work begins to address the question of how novel anatomical structures arise in evolution. And in that respect, he adds, “it’s a big advance.”last_img read more

Indian American lawmakers strongly criticize Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric

first_imgPresident Trump’s State of the Union address to the joint session of US Congress was unusually long and it highlighted the performance of the administration and its upcoming initiatives. But the speech didn’t go well with his critics, especially the president’s statements on immigrants and Dreamers.All Indian Americans in Congress, much like their Democratic congressional colleagues, strongly criticized Trump’s speech.Read it at American Bazaar Related Itemslast_img