A 25-year-old Chatham man is facing several charges after Chatham-Kent police responded to a disturbance on Colborne Street in Chatham late Sunday afternoon.Police allege the man was in possession of a wood board when he threatened another man.The accused fled on foot when police arrived, but he was taken into custody after a short foot chase, police said.The man was charged with being in possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, uttering threats and breach of probation.He was placed in custody pending a bail hearing.Bat used to damage vehicleA 34-year-old Shrewsbury man was arrested for allegedly using a bat to damage the vehicle of a man known to him.Chatham-Kent police said the incident occurred Friday night. The suspect was located Sunday night, and arrested and charged with mischief under $5,000 and failing to comply with his release conditions.He was taken into custody pending a bail hearing.Chatham woman facing fraud chargeA 39-year-old Chatham woman, wanted in connection with cashing a stolen cheque, was arrested Sunday afternoon.Chatham-Kent police said the accused was charged with fraud and being in possession of property obtained by a crime.She was released with a Dec. 17 court date.Tools stolenChatham-Kent police are investigating the theft of tools from a shed on Victoria Street in Wallaceburg that occurred some time late Saturday night or early Sunday morning.Anyone with information is asked to contact Const. Chris Robb at email@example.com or 519-436-6600 ext. 83336.Anonymous calls can also be made to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
josh catone 1 Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#Trends#web 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Apple Will Continue to Rule the Digital Music LandscapeEven though it looks like a confluence of recent events is finally pointing to a weakening in Apple’s digial music strangehold, the reality is that there still remains a long, long uphill battle for Amazon, Microsoft, and the rest. Further, in order to really take down Apple, both Amazon and Microsoft (or Sandisk, Creative, etc.) need to succeed. Apple has opened two fronts in this battle, iTunes and iPod, and in order to take them down, you have to beat them on both.Too many people are already ingrained in the iTunes+iPod experience, and for many of them, DRM doesn’t matter. They buy tracks on iTunes and put them on their iPods. As long as iPods control the player market, iTunes will control the download market. And let’s not forget that Apple sells about 2 million DRM-free tracks of its own, so it has hardly sat on the sidelines while competitors have added copy protection-less tracks to their offerings.Until the music player market shifts dramatically away from iPod dominance, DRM-free tracks will generally matter less to the majority of the MP3-buying public, who just won’t be affected since they are using iPods. Once that happens, though, then all things being equal selection-wise (i.e., assuming the major labels working with Amazon eventually work with Apple as well to sell DRM-free tracks) and price-wise (which it is already), it likely comes down to buying experience.The most intriguing prospect for that shift? The potential for an Amazon digital media player. Amazon began selling hardware late in 2007 with the release of the Kindle e-book reader, so perhaps an Amazon media player isn’t so far-fetched. It would replicate the vertical integration of the iPod and iTunes store that has been a major part of Apple’s rise to control over the industry.Then again, as TheStreet.com points out, “with iPod satisfaction rates running at over a staggering 90%, and competitors like Microsoft failing to dent its market share, an Amazon-made device would likely struggle to dislodge Apple.”ConclusionEventually, Apple might lose some of its grip on the music download and media player industry. But while Amazon and Microsoft take baby steps in competing with Apple, the Cupertino, CA-based company is not standing still. Microsoft made positive changes to its Zune, but Apple released the iPod Touch (and updated the rest of the iPod line), plus signed distribution deals with Starbucks to deliver iTunes tracks over wifi in-store. Amazon signed two more major labels onto its MP3 download store, but Apple is already expanding into video rentals (i.e., onto Amazon’s turf to compete with their Unbox service).It seems likely that Apple’s dominating position over the music download and media player markets will continue for at least a few years. What do you think? Is there and end to the iPod/iTunes monopoly in sight? Does Amazon, Microsoft, or some other company have what it takes to take on Apple? Let us know in the comments. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… A lot of things happened in 2007 that seemed to threaten Apple’s stranglehold on the digital music market. Microsoft launched its new Zune MP3 players, which received mostly glowing reviews, and they kept their installed user base happy with major firmware updates for old players. Meanwhile, Amazon launched a major DRM-free MP3 download service at a cut-rate (compared to Apple’s). But generally, the facts still point to Apple dominance for awhile to come.Why it Looks Like Apple Should SweatYesterday, we heard that Warner Music Group had teamed up with Amazon to offer its entire catalog DRM-free. They joined Universal music and EMI music, as well as 33,000 independent labels in pushing Amazon’s catalog to 2.9 million tracks. That’s still well short of Apple’s 6 million or so tracks offered via iTunes, but Apple’s DRM-free selection comes only from EMI. Warner and Universal have chosen so far to deal just with Amazon.Amazon is starting to feel like a real threat to Apple’s monopoly on the music download biz. They seem to have the cooperation of the music industry in offering DRM-free tracks, and their lower pricing (generally $.89-.99 per track) already forced Apple to lower its own DRM-free prices earlier this year.Further, Amazon’s MP3 store soft launched in September and has had little advertising. So far it has gained about a 3% share of the total market (more according to other reports) — measly compared to Apple’s iTunes — but in just over a month, Amazon and Pepsi are planning a large Superbowl promotion to give away 1 billion free songs via the service. According to Billboard, when Pepsi offered 100 million free tracks via iTunes in 2004, just 5 million were ultimately redeemed over the 5 month promotion period. But since then, digital music has grown 416%, so it’s a safe bet tht this promotion will be more successful. Could the Superbowl be a coming out party for Amazon in the music download business?Additionally, Apple faces more competition in the digital media player market. Microsoft’s Zune.net web site reportedly saw a 299% jump in traffic on Christmas day. Granted, Apple’s iTune’s store page still received 6 times the traffic, but the Zune.net numbers might be indicative of a strong holiday season for Microsoft’s player.Apple’s iPod line still holds about a 70% market share (March), but that is down from over 90% just a couple of years ago. Better offerings from Microsoft, Sandisk, and other competitors are certainly putting a dent in the iPod’s commanding position in the MP3 player market, albeit a small one.
Tags:#Cartoons#design#web 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… I’ve posted a few times about how my unease at the way social media can help a marketing mentality shape our self-expression and online relationships. Obsessing over metrics and follower counts is the beginning; before you know it, you’re thinking of romantic dinners and late-night liaisons as “conversions.”But give marketing – especially online marketing – its due. The same thing has happened with marketing that happened with video, audio and many other fields: tools that were priced far out of our reach only a few years ago are suddenly cheap (or even free) and readily available.Google Analytics is probably the best-known of those tools, now joined by innovators like Chartbeat. You’ll also find everything from keyword analysis… to Facebook demographic numbers (a Facebook Ads account opens up a huge window into the makeup of their users, even if you never buy a single ad)… to sophisticated e-mailing list services like Campaign Monitor and MailChimp… to simple A/B testing plugins for your blog.But there’s a cautionary note to sound here. Case in point: if you’re old enough to remember the advent of desktop publishing, then 1) I hope you can read this through your bifocals, and 2) you’ll also remember the eyeball-searing newsletters and posters pumped out by folks who could read the PageMaker manual but didn’t have a clue about design. (Sixty different typefaces on one page! Cool!)The point is that a tool might be easy to use, but it isn’t necessarily easy to use well. And reading even a few books about, say, analytics – I’m a fan of Avinash Kaushik‘s, for example – will put you head and shoulders above most of the rest of us.And once you know how to use a tool well, you’ll be in a much better position to use it (or when not to) to achieve the things that really matter to you, whether it’s valuable business conversions or meaningful personal connections.More Noise to Signal. rob cottingham 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App Related Posts
Pariah – Adepero Oduye & Charles Parnell(Courtesy of Pariah) By now you’ve more than likely heard about the narrative feature film directed by NYU grad Dee Rees—Pariah. The film, which had its world premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival last January, has since received much deserved critical acclaim for its sensitive and emotionally-gripping portrayal of protagonist Alike’s coming-of-age and –out as a queer teen. Set in Brooklyn, Pariah tells the story of a 17-year-old girl preoccupied with poetry and searching for romantic love. As she begins to embrace her sexuality and commence that awkward crawl towards adulthood, Alike battles her conventional parents and more flamboyant peers, all the while managing to continually progress toward a graceful freedom that she can call her own. This film is not a tragic tale, and contrary to a few mentions in the urban blogosphere—it is not “Precious 2.0.” Pariah is lovingly and masterfully crafted. Rees has surrounded herself with a team of über-talented filmmakers including executive producer Spike Lee, cinematographer Bradford Young (who received an award at Sundance for his work on the film), producer Nekisa Cooper and actors Adepero Oduye (Alike), Kim Wayans and Charles Parnell among others—the entire cast is stellar. The characters are all three-dimensional and smash open stereotypes. It’s not easy to love or hate any character outright. The costumes are seamless and the art direction is subtle and captivating. Cinematographer Young recently gave an interview in Shadow & Act where he discussed the visual aesthetic of the film and the importance of discovering new ways to present black bodies at their most beautiful. The overall effect of the film is not one that is overwrought, but rather has a fine sense of balance. In our jaded times, Rees has managed to construct a story that hasn’t yet been told in this manner, that pulls on our hearts in all the right ways and encourages us to love ourselves (and our families)—whole. Insider tip: There will be a special tastemakers screening on Wednesday, January 11 at 7:30pm at the Ritz East (125 S. 2nd Street). Philly 360° has a few tickets available! Follow Philly 360° on Twitter for a chance to win. Pariah opens in Philadelphia on Friday January 13 Landmark Theatres: Ritz At The Bourse 5 400 Ranstead Street (Old City) Philadelphia, PA 19106
For a sometime there has been no doubt that cloud computing offers many benefits for the traditional data center. For that reason most of the traditional data centers migrated to cloud computing architecture. In addition, it has become easier to migrate exiting servers to be part of a cloud. So why have all data centers not migrated? There are some valid reasons why not, those including ROI (which will be discuss on the next blog) especially when we’re talking about production environment that have zero tolerance for downtime. In this blog I’ll talk about the risk and downtimeHere are some of the challenges we face when migrating production environment:1. As I mention above – why migrate? Most stakeholders will reject that change; for them “if it works, leave it”. What action needs to be taken to satisfy their needs after the change2. Of course you do not migrate all servers, so which servers will you?3. How do we do this migration transparent to the stakeholders? After all, we want the stakeholder to have same level of support….4. How can we avoid downtime?5. How can we prevent the migration from being the scapegoat for unrelated failures after the migration?There are no clear answers to those question, but I’ll try to give some tips that can answer some of those, or at least give a directionWhen someone wants to migrate existing production physical servers to be virtual, they should consider the following for planning design and implementation:1. Note that virtualizing production servers is a major change, so consider in advance what to migrate, enroll your stakeholder in the process to understand business impact and get buy in.2. Do not migrate every server by default. Choose well in advance the server to be migrate and avoid unwanted migrations. Start with the server criticality; with the application owners, you should define if the server is critical enough and should it get “personal” treatment and not be part of the farm3. For the same reason as #2, check if to migrate server by resource utilization – in case the server utilization is too high up to the host resource capabilities, the host will probably host only that server, and there is no real reason for that.4. When designing the virtual environment to host the migrated servers, leverage capacity planning process and understand the resource requirement for each application (capacity planning is a process to check overall capacity usage of physical servers). Although the capacity planning results with low resource utilization you must take into account the current resource of the servers and the server’s owner requirements. There might be a reason for the amount of physical resource, and we don’t want to have lack of resource in production server, not even for 1 minute.5. As we’re talking about the production environment, we don’t want to be surprised, add to your plan the future growth of your factory and add resources accordingly. Check with your management the production forecast for the years ahead, and together with the servers\applications owner check future resource needs and design the virtual environment accordingly.6. Although it shouldn’t be a consideration, note that the migration process will require system downtime. Although the migration can be done on-line (some operating system require a server restart) it’s preferable to have schedule server\application downtime for each migration. So understand with your management the possibilities for downtime and plan your migration accordingly.To summarize, like every technology improvement, when we’re talking about production environment, we need to look at all considerations and find the answer to them.I hope you find these tips helpful. Please share any tips you have or let me know of any additional concernsHave a fun and safe migration
Focus on the patient and better respecting that the patient is a “consumer”Physician practices, clinics and health systems of all sizes are working to make conducting business with their organization easier. In that I mean align or re-align processes, services and innovation to ensure that patients can easily access scheduling, appointments and certainly, payments. While this sounds like an “of course!” statement, most, even leading health systems, don’t properly align these aspects of their organization and operation, thus leaving millions of dollars on the table. For example, ensure your organization offers simple ways to schedule an appointment. Ensure that you are researching – or better yet deploying – “community-based” strategies that offer care where the patient/consumer wants to consume care. Sometimes the best place may be inside the four walls of your organization, but sometimes it may not be. A few proven strategies here include new care settings that are convenient for your community and even a virtual care or telehealth strategy. These can offer new revenue streams and allow practices, clinics and health systems of all sizes to deploy strategies that will allow them to evolve alongside a healthcare system that is embracing value-based medicine, bundled payments and alternative payment models.Other consumer-focused strategies that I see growing quickly are patient navigation and wayfinding to simply and profitably enhance the patient experience (and as we know from research flooding the market, consumers are paying premiums for “experience,” and as our economy shifts, everyone needs to keep an eye on this because you can offer a terrific experience and actually save money by better embracing innovation.The other area that I see exploding for practices, clinics and health systems is around “compassionate collections” and a strong, focused strategy on the patient revenue cycle. Many innovations are hitting this from different angles, but as patients continue to pay for more of their healthcare “tab,” efficiently and effectively managing this process is key to protecting and increasing your organization’s bottom line.Use of innovation to navigate the future of healthcareI see innovation being deployed at every level of service, process and technology. To start, many organizations are focusing on better managing their overall “revenue cycle”. This is best deployed through a technology-enabled service whereas a specific market expertise leverages software automation, “rules” intelligence and robust clinical, financial and administrative reporting. Not only is this important today to optimize an organization’s overall financial health, but it is going to become vital to everyone’s success and preservation as healthcare quickly shifts to new payment and care delivery models, outcomes and quality-based payments and razor thin margins on traditional payment models. This experience and expertise will be worth its weight in gold…Interoperability is still a large focus for many. Certainly more in the urban areas than rural, but I do see the rural communities picking up interoperability steam to drive care coordination, protect or enlarge their patient base as well as to participate in new payment and care delivery models. We’ve been talking about standards and interoperability for a long time now but the conversation has shifted in many communities to actionable intelligence on how interoperability is fueling coordinated and higher quality care.We’ll see much faster progress with “connected care” that is driving innovative care and increasing care access in every community. Advancements across the board with telehealth and virtual care as laws mature and payment & reimbursement structures are solidified.I also see pop health & quality reporting finally begin to receive the respect that it deserves. With many progressive organizations today, it is driving their financial and strategic bottom line. Those organizations are well-positioned to successfully navigate the future of healthcare no matter what, since managing structured data, clinical quality measures (CQMs) and robust reporting will be essential to all sustainable payment structures in the very near future.I would be remiss not to mention the importance of data security for 2016 and beyond. While it may not feel as exciting and opportunistic as implementing cool innovations popping around consumerism, mobility and population health, having a strong data and platform security strategy and implementation will be essential to protect your information, integrity, brand and bottom line…As I wrap up these thoughts, I realize that even after 20 years in healthcare and health IT, I just love this industry and all of the opportunity it serves each of us to help create the smartest and most sustainable healthcare system in the world. January launched 2016 with as much velocity as any year that I recall but as I look out to how healthcare will shift this year (and probably next), what jumps to mind is an overall comfort that almost every aspect of healthcare is undergoing rapid change (or some say evolution). This is the new normal and I see it in communities all across our country.I also must admit that our personal thoughts and ideas are largely shaped by our circle of peers and influencers so I personally work hard to keep a foot in multiple healthcare markets to understand how the majority of our communities are shifting. Here are a few consistent themes I see emerging over the next 12-18 months: Provider expansion of services and strategiesBy this I mean, whether in the city of Atlanta, Boston or San Francisco, or the rural communities of South Carolina, Texas or Massachusetts, I see and work with health systems and physician practices that are expanding services, partnerships and expanding “consumer” access. The motivations behind these expansions are diverse, but everyone is experiencing a shift in how healthcare is being consumed, where it’s being consumed and when it’s being consumed. I am also seeing a stronger focus on efficiency, but not enough yet, in my opinion. All organizations need to strategically and wisely better align their processes and operations with their revenue drivers for today as well as their revenue drivers for tomorrow.
What do Clint Eastwood and the Leaning Tower of Pisa have in common? Not much, as far as your brain is concerned. But take a look at a picture of the famous actor and landmark together, and your brain will link the two, thanks to neurons that rapidly encode associations between people and places, according to a new study. The discovery is a “first step” toward understanding how the brain encodes complex, movielike memories of past events, says study author Itzhak Fried, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Los Angeles. About 10 years ago, Fried and colleagues discovered a bizarre phenomenon. While probing a deep brain region called the medial temporal lobe (MTL) in people with epilepsy, who had part of their skulls temporarily removed so physicians could pinpoint the source of their seizures, they discovered a single neuron that started to fire like crazy whenever the patient saw a photograph of actress Jennifer Aniston. The team went on to show that other individual neurons in the same region—which includes the hippocampus, a structure long known to be vital to memory processing—responded to different celebrities, such as Julia Roberts and Halle Berry, and even specific events in 5-second clips from The Simpsons.The now-famous “Jennifer Aniston” neuron supports a widely held hypothesis that specific brain cells in this region encode discrete representations of places, people, and objects. These neurons have an “amazing” property, called invariance, which sensitizes them not just to one image of their “preferred” stimulus, but to many different versions, Fried explains. In his 2005 experiments, for example, the Aniston neuron responded to images of the actress in any outfit and with any haircut. The only image the cell did not respond to, oddly enough, was of the actress holding hands with Brad Pitt. It’s not that just one cell responds to Aniston’s image, Fried emphasizes. Thousands, if not millions, of other cells in the brain may also be sensitive to the actress. But the cells are so sparsely distributed in the region that researchers only pick up one or several at a time, he says.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(*)How such neurons contribute to the seamless, movielike recollections of past events—called episodic memories—is still largely unknown, however. So in the new study, Fried and colleagues showed 14 people undergoing exploratory surgery for epilepsy 100 to 200 randomly ordered images, including pictures of their loved ones, celebrities such as Clint Eastwood, and volleyball player Kerri Walsh, as well as landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, the White House, and the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles. Each patient already had electrodes sunk deep into their MTL to detect aberrant electrical activity, and scientists used the wires to listen for cells that fired up in response to different images.Of the roughly 600 neurons the team recorded in each patient, between 2 and 28 cells fired vigorously in response to at least one image. Next, the researchers presented participants with digitally altered photographs in which a neuron’s “preferred” image, such as a photo of Clint Eastwood, was superimposed on a background the neuron had ignored in a previous trial, such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa. In a series of memory tasks, the participants were asked to match pairs of separate images based on the doctored composites. If they’d seen the Eastwood composite, for example, their task might be to pair a photo of Eastwood with a separate photo of the tower.Even after one exposure to the composites, neurons that had previously fired exclusively in response to one picture—like that of Eastwood—significantly increased their firing rate when exposed to the image with which it had been combined—in one case, by 230%, Fried and colleagues report today in the journal Neuron. The fact that an individual neuron can adapt its firing rate so quickly could help explain how large, dynamic neuronal networks form complicated memories of past events, Fried says.The findings are “very consistent with results from a number of animal studies” that show rapid changes in hippocampal neural activity during learning, says Loren Frank, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco, who was not involved in the study. “This is indeed the sort of thing that has to happen” in the brain to store memories of once-in-a-lifetime events, he says.Fried hopes the new study will contribute to efforts to restore memory in people suffering from traumatic brain injury or Alzheimer’s disease, such as an ambitious Defense Administration Research Project Agency (DARPA)-funded initiative aimed at restoring memory function in neurological patients in which his lab is participating. Many scientists have expressed skepticism about the DARPA project, and Fried notes that bridging the gap between basic research on simple associations and clinical memory treatments is “a formidable challenge.” Such projects, he says, “should avoid the pitfalls of unrealistic expectations for early ‘big wins.’ ”
Gao’s first CRISPR success—her proof-of-principle editing of plant DNA—was with rice, which has a genome one-eighth the size of the one in humans. But she soon tackled wheat, which has six sets of chromosomes and a genome nearly six times larger than the human one. In a tour de force experiment published in Nature Biotechnology in July 2014, Gao’s group showed how either TALEN or the much simpler CRISPR could cripple production of a protein that makes wheat susceptible to powdery mildew, a fungal disease that extensively damages harvests. With conventional breeding, “that would have been a nightmare, if not impossible,” Lippman says, because wheat has six copies of the key gene, and knocking out all of them would have taken multiple generations.CRISPR can easily modify several genes in one step, and it is faster and simpler than TALEN. But CRISPR has its limits: In a paper in the 19 April issue of Science, Gao’s lab showed that one popular CRISPR variation called base editors makes many unintended “off-target” mutations. And although CRISPR efficiently knocks out existing genes, putting many plant traits within its reach, it can’t efficiently add new genes. “We are not so good at it,” Gao says. No one is. Gao notes her lab succeeds only about 1% of the time, but it—and the rest of the plant CRISPR world—is trying to improve those odds.CRISPR researchers are also looking for easier ways to get the components of the genome editor—typically two or more genes—through the tough walls that protect plant cells. For now, scientists depend on cumbersome injection devices known as gene guns or on growing specialized plant-infecting bacteria to deliver the CRISPR apparatus. But China’s new acquisition, Syngenta, may have a more elegant approach. Its North Carolina unit has engineered corn pollen to deliver the CRISPR machinery into cells, where it makes an edit and then disappears. Preliminary evidence, reported in the April issue of Nature Biotechnology, shows the strategy works in wheat and a few vegetable species.Most of all, scientists still need to identify the right genes to manipulate, says geneticist Catherine Feuillet, who previously headed crop science at Bayer and now is chief scientific officer of Inari Agriculture, a startup in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (The firm has licensed Lippman’s technology and he is a consultant.) Changing a single gene to control pests or a fungus has been the “bread and butter of biotech,” Feuillet says, but multiple genes—often unidentified—affect prized traits such as yield, drought tolerance, or the ability to survive without agrochemicals. “The person who can predict that ‘if you do this edit, this is the performance you have’ is the winner of the whole game,” Feuillet says. STEFEN CHOW This story, the first in a series on CRISPR in China, was supported by the Pulitzer Center.BEIJING AND DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA—If Gao Caixia were a farmer, she might be spread a little thin. Down the hall from her office at a branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) here in Beijing, seeds from a strain of unusually soft rice and a variety of wheat with especially fat grains and resistance to a common fungus sprout in a tissue culture room. A short stroll away, wild tomato plants far hardier than domestic varieties but bearing the same sweet fruit crowd a greenhouse, along with herbicide-resistant corn and potatoes that are slow to brown when cut. In other lab rooms Gao grows new varieties of lettuce, bananas, ryegrass, and strawberries.But Gao isn’t a farmer, and that cornucopia isn’t meant for the table—not yet, anyway. She is a plant scientist working at the leading edge of crop improvement. Every one of those diverse crops has been a target for conventional plant breeders, who have slowly and painstakingly worked to endow them with traits to make them more productive, nutritious, or hardy. 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A natural bacterial immune system, CRISPR was turned into a powerful genome editor just a few years ago in U.S. and European labs. Yet today, China publishes twice as many CRISPR-related agricultural papers as the second-place country, the United States. The explanation? “Because I’m here,” jokes Gao, who punctuates much of her speech with robust, giddy, infectious laughter.In August 2013, her group modified plant DNA with CRISPR, a first, and the 50-year-old researcher has since written three dozen publications that describe using the genome editor on various crops. Daniel Voytas, a plant geneticist at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul who invented an earlier genome-editing system and who has also adopted CRISPR, says Gao is an “outstanding cell biologist [who] jumped on CRISPR early on and has just been riding the crest of the wave.” Syngenta Beijing Innovation Center A researcher who works with Gao Caixia plants CRISPR-modified wheat in a Beijing greenhouse. Gao Caixia and her team grow gene-edited wheat, including strains engineered to resist a common fungal disease, in this experimental station in Beijing. STEFEN CHOW By using CRISPR to disable the gene for an enzyme that degrades the cell wall in fruits, Syngenta is developing an edited tomato (right) that has prolonged shelf life. STEFEN CHOW Did CRISPR help—or harm—the first-ever gene-edited babies? Whatever the outcome of China’s regulatory decision, it won’t address CRISPR’s own limitations, especially for changing crop traits influenced by multiple genes. “We still have to tackle a lot of those challenges,” Voytas says. But he expects China’s major academic and industrial push into CRISPR to pay off in improved techniques as well as new crops. “China definitely has the foundation to contribute and make discoveries on those frontiers, particularly now that such a big investment has been made.”Gao doesn’t have a farming background, and as a teenager she did not dream of becoming a plant scientist. “If I said that, I’d be lying,” Gao says, laughing again.High school students in China take a standard exam, the gaokao, and their performance leads to offers in specific majors at specific universities. “I thought it would be very nice to be a doctor, but I was not really at that level,” Gao says. She was offered a slot at an agricultural university. “I thought that was fine because otherwise I’d be quite embarrassed to go back to high school for another year to take the exam again.”Whatever the downsides of an educational system that puts the country’s needs above individual desires, it has helped build a strong agriculture research community for China. And the nation backs it with money. In 2013, the most recent year for which USDA has comparative figures, China’s public funding of agricultural research approached $10 billion—more than twice what the U.S. government spent—and it supported more than 1100 agricultural research institutes. “I of course need to apply for all my grants, but the percentage of my proposals that get funded seems higher than the rest of the world,” Gao says.Gao did not immediately embrace CRISPR after reading the landmark study in June 2012 that showed how to transform the bacterial system into a tool for altering genomes. Her lab at the time was having steady success with a more cumbersome genome editor, transcription activatorlike effector nuclease (TALEN), the system Voytas invented. “We had knocked out more than 100 genes with TALEN, and we were so proud of it,” Gao says. “And you think, ‘a new technology, arrrgh, should we try it or not?’” Although Gao, Bei, and the rest of China’s CRISPR plant community are ready to unleash a bounty of edited crops, their government first has to clarify its regulatory policies. Many agricultural industry observers think it’s waiting to see how the public reacts in the United States as companies there tiptoe into that future. In February, Calyxt—a Minneapolis, Minnesota, company that Voytas co-founded—brought to the U.S. market the first gene-edited food product, a “healthier” soybean oil created with TALEN that it sells to the food industry. Calyno oil, the company boasts, has zero trans fats, 80% oleic acid, and “three times the fry life and extended shelf life.”Corteva, of Wilmington, Delaware, will likely bring the first CRISPR crop to market, and it, too, is far from one that will help feed the world. Corteva—DowDuPont’s agricultural arm, now rebranded with a consumer-friendly name—deleted a gene in order to improve what’s known as waxy corn, which industry uses to make shiny paper and to thicken food. Neal Gutterson, Corteva’s chief technology officer, says the company hopes its new, even waxier corn will help the public become more comfortable with the concept of CRISPR-altered food. “People don’t like the combination of technology and food in the same sentence, certainly not in the same phrase,” he says.For Corteva, Syngenta, and the other two big ag companies—BASF and Bayer (which acquired Monsanto last year)—the long game is to use CRISPR to develop better versions of their serious moneymakers, the “elite” varieties of a wide range of crops that have big commercial markets. They sell dozens of kinds of elite corn seeds—for example, inbred strains that consistently have high yields or reliable resistance to herbicides. Creating the genetic purity needed for an elite variety typically takes traditional breeding of many generations of plants, and CRISPR is seen as the cleanest way to improve them quickly. The earlier methods of engineering a plant can lead to unwanted genomic changes that must be laboriously culled.The Chinese government signaled it would back modern genome editing of plants in a 5-year plan issued in 2016, and to many observers the purchase of Syngenta confirmed that. “They have had a plan for years now, and I think the Syngenta acquisition was part of that plan at the outset,” says food scientist Rodolphe Barrangou, a pioneering CRISPR researcher who previously headed genomics R&D at DuPont and now is at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. The untold story of the ‘circle of trust’ behind the world’s first gene-edited babies STEFEN CHOW Technicians in a lab run by Gao Caixia pick immature embryos from wheat seeds so they can edit their genomes with CRISPR. But she is far from alone in China. Her team is one of 20 groups there seeking to use CRISPR to modify crop genes. “All the labs use CRISPR for basic research,” Gao says. “They cannot live without CRISPR.” China also expanded its efforts beyond its borders in 2017, when the state-owned company ChemChina bought Switzerland-based Syngenta—one of the world’s four largest agribusinesses, which has a large R&D team working with CRISPR—for $43 billion. That was the most China has ever spent on acquiring a foreign company, and it created an intimate relationship between government, industry, and academia—a “sort of a ménage à trois” that ultimately could funnel intellectual property from university labs into the company, says plant geneticist Zachary Lippman of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York.Chinese leaders “want to strategically invest in genome editing, and [by that] I mean, catch up,” says Zhang Bei, who heads a team of 50 scientists at the Syngenta Beijing Innovation Center and works closely with a sister R&D facility in Durham. “And they also want to be the global leader as well in this area.”China may one day need CRISPR-modified plants to provide enough food for its massive population, notes rice researcher Li Jiayang, former president of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing and vice minister of agriculture. “We have to feed 1.4 billion people with very limited natural resources,” says Li, who works at the same CAS campus as Gao, the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology. “We want to get the highest yield of production with the least input on the land from fertilizers and pesticides, and breed supervarieties that are pest and disease resistant as well as drought and salt tolerant. All this means we need to find the key genes and to work with them.”Before the harvest of that effort can move from labs to farms and tables, however, China needs to resolve how it will regulate CRISPR-engineered crops—a divisive issue in many countries. In a 2018 decision that rocked big agriculture, a European court ruled that such crops are genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that need strict regulation. In contrast, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) exempts genome-edited plants from regulations covering GMOs as long as they were produced not by transferring DNA from other species, but by inducing mutations that could have occurred naturally or through conventional breeding.Chinese consumers are wary of GM food. The country strictly limits the import of GM crops, and the only GM food it grows are papayas for domestic consumption. But for CRISPR, many plant researchers around the world, Lippman included, assume China will follow in the United States’s footsteps. China’s CRISPR push in animals promises better meat, novel therapies, and pig organs for people Barrangou suggests the Chinese government is reticent about how it will regulate CRISPR-modified plants for strategic reasons. “In terms of gamesmanship, is it not possible that they will make the announcement when they’re ready to give the green light at the same time with their own products?”It’s too soon to say which CRISPR crop Syngenta will try to take to market first if China gives the green light, says Wu Gusui, who heads seed research at the company’s North Carolina facility. “It could be tomato, could be corn, depending on the progress of the next 2 or 3 years.” But he says Syngenta sees CRISPR-modified corn as a big opportunity in China, which grows more hectares of corn than any other crop. Yields per hectare are only 60% of those in the United States because corn ear worms often weaken Chinese crops. A fungus thrives in the weakened plants, producing a toxin that makes the resultant ears unfit for animal feed. As a result, China must import a great deal of corn. (According to USDA, 82% of U.S.-grown corn has been engineered to have a bacterial gene that makes it resistant to ear worms.)CRISPR could allow Syngenta to quickly modify the corn genomes to introduce insect resistance or other traits, bolstering China’s food supply while transforming agribusiness there. The country’s seed marketplace has some 3000 companies, and none has more than a 10% share of corn, Wu says. “Syngenta is putting a lot of emphasis to grow in China to become the leading seed company. The China market as a whole, if it modernizes as the U.S. has modernized, can be as big as the U.S. market.”Gao has her own contenders to be China’s first CRISPR crops: different kinds of aromatic rice—“it’s easy to make and very popular,” she says—and wheat that’s resistant to powdery mildew. Regardless of which crops make it to farmers first, Gao says, they likely will arrive long before any CRISPR-derived medical treatment reaches a doctor’s office or an animal product comes to market. Crops may have a lower profile, but the research also presents fewer risks and ethical dilemmas. Propelled by China’s vast investment, it is also much further along.Just ask Gao. If Chinese regulators do open the door for CRISPR-engineered food, how long would it take before something in one of her culture rooms or greenhouses might be ready for planting on a commercial farm? “Six months,” she says. “That’s why we work with CRISPR.”And Gao doesn’t laugh when she says that. CRISPR in China Read more from our special series. With its CRISPR revolution, China becomes a world leader in genome editing To feed its 1.4 billion, China bets big on genome editing of crops Gao Caixia’s team grows CRISPR-modified rice strains in experimental paddies near its lab in Beijing. By Jon CohenJul. 29, 2019 , 8:00 AM
Article 371 of the Indian Constitution is a special provision which will not be altered by the BJP-led NDA government, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said Sunday. Addressing the 68th plenary session of the North East Council in Guwahati, Assam, Shah said that while Article 370 was temporary in nature, Article 371 is about special provisions in the North East. “After the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, there were attempts to misinform and misguide the people of North East that Article 371 would also be scrapped by the Centre,” PTI quoted Shah as saying. “I think it is important to clarify the difference between the two. Let me make it clear that the Prime Minister and the BJP government respects Article 371 and 371 (A),” he said. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details “I have clarified in Parliament that this is not going to happen and I am saying it again today in the presence of eight chief ministers of North East that the Centre will not touch Article 371”, Shah added.The government has asserted it has no intention of removing Article 371 of the Constitution, which includes “special provisions” for 11 states, including six states of the Northeast. Fears over its removal surfaced after the government revoked the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcated the state into two union territories. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Articles 370 and 371 have been part of the Constitution from the time it was adopted on January 26, 1950. Articles 371A-H and 371J, however, were incorporated into the Constitution by Parliament through amendments under Article 368. This Article describes the “power of Parliament to amend the Constitution and procedure therefore”. The special provisions laid down in Article 370 (before it was modified by the Presidential Order of August 5, 2019) were, however, much more farreaching than the special provisions for other states, described in Articles 371, 371A-H, and 371J. The reason for this is the unique circumstances in which Jammu and Kashmir acceded to India, and the specific guarantees that the Government of India gave to the state during the negotiations at the time. On the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the Home Minister said, “Questions are being raised about the NRC by different sections but today I just want to say this that the BJP-led government is committed to ensure that not a single illegal immigrant enters the region.” The NRC has also been completed within the stipulated time-frame, he added. Shah’s visit comes just days after the publication of the final NRC in the state on August 31. Pointing out that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi there has been a “drastic decline” in terrorism and militant activities, Shah said, “I do not want to quote statistics but the entire country and the world knows that we have been able to control it.” The miguided people who take up arms are “our own but are tools in the hands of vested foreign forces”, he said. He further pointed out that border dispute between the different states of the Northeast is a major issue which must end. “If Indo-Bangla border dispute can be resolved, why not disputes among our states in the region? Rise above border disputes and support each other, so that the region can develop together,” Shah added. “Modiji has given top priority to the development of the Northeast and he was the first Prime Minister in 40 years to attend a NEC meeting at Shillong”, he said. “No Congress Prime Minister had attended a NEC meeting and though I do not want to make a political statement but among all the eight Chief Ministers present at the meeting today, none are from the Congress but all are North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) constituents”, Shah said. (Inputs from The Indian Express)
Advertisement Login/Register With: Advertisement Imagine being asked to design more than one dress for what has been dubbed hip hop’s ‘wedding of the year’ and being told you only have five days to pull it off? Well that’s what happened to Toronto-designer Christopher Paunil a week and a half ago. Paunil has been designing bridal and ready-to-wear for four years but just branched into the American market earlier this year when a buyer in West Virginia connected him with beauty entrepreneur Keyshia Ka’oir, then fiance of rapper Gucci Mane. Paunil and his team were tasked with designing seven bridesmaids gowns in under two weeks for the October 17th wedding. We chatted with Paunil in Toronto to learn about all that went into this unforgettable occasion..How did you get into designing for Keyshia Ka’Oir? Advertisement This Keyshia Ka’Oir project presented itself to me through a store in West Virginia called Boutique by B.Belle. Belle is the store owner and she has been following us since we entered the U.S. market earlier this year, and this was sort of our first project working together. Belle was hired to style the wedding and at the last minute Keyshia, I guess was not happy with the design that she had chosen for the bridesmaids, so Belle thought about us.You designed these dresses in two weeks, how did you pull it off?We got it done with very little sleep. We called in as many people as we knew to help us. We had to put aside all of the other projects we were working on and get this Keyshia Ka’oir/Gucci Mane wedding done.READ MORE LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook Twitter