Swoop selects Navitaire as its new reservation system

first_img Share Travelweek Group Posted by Swoop selects Navitaire as its new reservation system << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img CALGARY — When agents start booking Swoop in early 2018, they’ll be doing so using Navitaire, the go-to reservation and retailing system for ultra-low-cost carriers (ULCCs) around the world.WestJet’s new no-frills carrier announced that it has selected tech company as its new reservation platform, a partnership that Bob Cummings, WestJet Executive Vice-President Strategy, says will help Swoop create the low-cost structure and ancillary capabilities needed to ensure its success.“Navitaire offers an easy-to-use reservation system, allowing the complete unbundling of products and services as well as enabling digital self-service,” he says. “We are giving the power to the customer to decide what they want to pay for and what they don’t –making the airline a truly affordable option for Canadians.”Navitaire offers industry-leading technology services to more than 50 airlines and rail companies worldwide, including many of the world’s most successful low-cost and hybrid airlines. It boasts a full suite of proven solutions focused on revenue generation and streamlining costs in the areas of reservations, ancillary sales, loyalty, revenue management, revenue accounting and business intelligence.More news:  Sunwing ready to launch Mazatlán-Quebec City direct this winter“We are delighted Swoop has selected Navitaire as its reservation platform,” says David P. Evans, Navitaire CEO. We are impressed with the team Swoop has assembled, its business model and market plans. Together, Navitaire and Swoop are a good fit, sharing DNA focused on combining advanced retailing with a digital-first, proven platform to help create and innovative, customer-centric business. We’re looking forward to watching Swoop’s success and future growth as they take the ULCC model to new heights.”Starting early 2018, Swoop will begin selling seats on its modern fleet of Boeing 737-800 aircraft. To stay up to date on job opportunities and launch plans, sign up at FlySwoop.com. Tags: Swoop Thursday, October 19, 2017 last_img read more

Mövenpick Hotels Resorts launches global campaign

first_imgMövenpick Hotels & Resorts launches global campaignMövenpick Hotels & Resorts has launched its global ‘It’s your Summer’ campaign, inviting guests to take advantage of discounts of up to 30 per cent on room rates at more than 80 hotels and resorts globally.The Swiss hospitality firm’s Summer 2017 promotion, which applies to bookings of two nights or more, also offers guests who book their stay online a complimentary US$20 voucher to spend at any participating hotel restaurant.With a vast selection of upscale properties spanning Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts is encouraging travellers to make the most of their summer and the 30 per cent savings offer by booking multiple stays.“Our portfolio spoils guests for choice, with properties ranging from chic city hotels to beachside resorts in destinations that cover four exciting and diverse continents,” said Paul Mulcahy, Senior Vice President Commercial of Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts.“We operate multiple hotels in many countries and with our Summer 2017 campaign offering value-for-money room rates, it provides travellers with the perfect excuse to book more than one property or holiday to experience all that a destination – or even a region – has to offer.”The ‘It’s your Summer’ campaign is valid for stays between 1st June and 31st August, 2017.Guests staying with Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts this summer will also have the chance to sample two new initiatives launched by the hospitality firm this year – its global family programme and, at some European properties, an innovative sleep concept.The ‘Mövenpick Family’ programme offers guests travelling with youngsters a range of complimentary benefits including ‘on demand’ baby essentials such as strollers, change tables and bottle warmers; healthy children’s menus; family-friendly services; local activities; and special room discounts. These added extras are available at Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts globally.Guests staying at properties in Germany, The Netherlands and Switzerland, can opt for a pioneering personalized sleep experience by booking a new ‘SLEEP individually different’ room.The new rooms feature Mövenpick’s YouBed – hailed as the world’s first spring-system bed with adjustable firmness to suit personal comfort preferences – as well as complimentary amenities including sleep masks, ear plugs, lavender pads and black-out stickers that cover lights on electronic devices. Movenpick SummerSource = Movenpick Hotels & Resortslast_img read more

Dbacks president Derrick Hall Franchise still f

first_img D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ July 27, 2012: Lunchtime with WhizFLAGSTAFF — Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt meets the media daily at lunchtime:He was pleased with yesterday’s first practice in pads saying it was “probably a little better than I expected.”He also said he’s considering holding running back Ryan Williams out of this afternoon’s practice as a precaution. “I’ve been so pleased with what he’s done. I’d like to see him tomorrow coming off of a day where he’s had rest and he feels good.” Top Stories Comments   Share   on the Red & White practice Saturday“It’ll be very similiar to what it was last year. We’ll have drives that start at different points on the field: The minus-40, the plus-40 and in the red zone. It’s going to be more of a game-type situation so we’ll make the calls on the field offensively and defensively. It’ll be ten plays and at the end of those ten plays, if you still have it on downs you can continue the drive. If not, then it’ll start over again. And if we’re in field goal range, then we’ll kick a field goal.”on which quarterback will start the Red & White practice“You know what, I haven’t even thought about that really, honestly. We got a rotation going based on different days and who goes. It could purely be just be whose day it is. Today is Kevin’s (Kolb) day so it may be John (Skelton) tomorrow or we may just split it up based on how we’re doing with the (offensive) line. What we try to do usually is get those guys equal number of reps with the first line and first receivers.”on how it will be perceived with which quarterback will get the start“People are probably going to read a lot into it but it really doesn’t mean anything at this point. We’re just trying to get an evaluation. Both of them have done well in camp so far. They’ve looked good. Tomorrow will be the first opportunity to really see them in a situation where they’re having to make the calls without us standing there. We’ll be close but not as close as it is in practice and it won’t be off of a script. It’ll be situational based so more of a game-type.” What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation on the addition of guard Russ Hochstein“We had a player that we released (Blake DeChristopher) so we had an open spot at the line. I think that it never hurts to have a veteran that’s been a very good player, that’s played on two championship teams. We had an opportunity to do that and I think it was a good move for us.” – / 23 Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right awaylast_img read more

Go back to the enewsletter Regent Seven Seas Cruis

first_imgGo back to the enewsletterRegent Seven Seas Cruises has unveiled two shore excursion innovations designed to offer luxury travellers the most bespoke experiences in destinations around the world.Dubbed Go Local Tours and Regent Choice small group tours, these elevated shore excursions are designed to show off “distinct, authentic, one-of-a-kind experiences” to guests who may have already visited a port previously.“These local experiences will be exceptional,” Regent Seven Seas Cruises President and CEO Jason Montague said.Go Local ToursRegent Seven Seas Cruises guests will enjoy a more direct way to experience the culture of a destination through Go Local Tours. Now, guests can spend a day at a family-owned goat farm in the countryside of Andalusia to learn the generations-old way of making cheese, or discover the joy of fishing with the residents of Portofino, or observe skilled artists in their studios in Palma de Mallorca. Guests will experience the world through the eyes of those who live in the community and discover the best of a favourite destination.The cruise line worked for seven months to curate 122 small local experiences for guests, nearly 50 of which are included in its free Unlimited Shore Excursions. Go Local Tours are available on 2019 Mediterranean and Northern Europe voyages, along with 2019 voyages calling on Buenos Aires, Argentina and Montevideo, Uruguay. Examples of Go Local Tours include:Spain: Visit the mountain village of Alfarnate, located in the province of Málaga in Andalusia. Here, a local guide escorts guests through the village shops to introduce them to the local artisans. The next stop is the nearby town of Alfarnatejo, to an ancient, restored house, where guests enjoy a glass of local wine before a host escorts guests to their own home for a traditional Spanish lunch and an introduction to Spain’s gastronomical culture.Finland: Guests will experience the unique and beautiful sights of central Helsinki. The day starts with a visit to the most popular food market, Kauppahalli, to observe and taste the variety of local fish, meat and cheeses. Next, guests take a local tram toward Kamppi Center to visit the two famous Finnish supermarkets before touring the underground Central Bus Station, which connects Helsinki with the surrounding towns. One more level under the ground, guests will take a Metro to the Hakaniemi Market Hall for a tour. Following a typical Finnish snack, the tour ends with a relaxing walk through Kaivopuisto Park, the oldest and best-known park in Helsinki.Greece: Visit the Monastery of Agia Irini, south of Heraklion and close to the traditional village of Kroussonas. The Monastery serves as a nunnery and is among the oldest in Crete. At the completion of the guided visit, the nuns will offer guests traditional hand-made sweets. In the village of Kroussonas guests will visit the traditional Cretan boot maker, Stivania, and tour the oldest bakery in the village. A host will introduce guests to traditional Cretan music accompanied by a lesson in folk dances such as the Ballos. The demonstration will also show how families prepare cheese and make Cretan cheese pies. Afterwards, guests are treated to olive oil and wine tastings, and a demonstration in Cretan weaving. A traditional Cretan lunch will be served at the end of the tour.Go Local Artwork TourRegent Choice small group toursRegent Choice small group tours are smaller versions of the cruise line’s existing popular free Unlimited Shore Excursions and Regent Choice tours. Hosting no more than 16 guests, for a subsidised, supplementary fee Regent Choice small group tours allow for more personal destination engagement with a knowledgeable guide. These excursions are curated to provide additional ways to engage luxury travellers’ interests and passions, from food and wine to art and architecture, and include access to UNESCO World Heritage Sites.About 250 excursions on 2019 Mediterranean and Northern Europe voyages will be offered as Regent Choice small group tours.In Australia, options include the Kangaroos & Koalas Sundown Adventure. Available from Melbourne, this Regent Choice sees guests join an expert nature guide and head You Yangs National Park to see Koalas in the wild and free-ranging Eastern grey kangaroos in a natural bush setting nearby. Guests also see and learn about many other Australian animals and birds on the vast Western Plains near Melbourne, before enjoying a Sundowners’ casual meal out in the wild, including wine and bubbly, sandwiches, crackers, cheese and fruit.See www.RSSC.comLead image: Regent Seven Seas Cruises Go Local Food Market Tour in BarcelonaGo back to the enewsletterlast_img read more

Rep Franz welcomes granddaughter to State of the State address

first_img20Jan Rep. Franz welcomes granddaughter to State of the State address Categories: Featured news,News Tags: #SB, Franz, HD101, MISOTS16 center_img LANSING, MI – Onekama lawmaker State Rep. Ray Franz, right, welcomed granddaughter Meghan Franz, left, to the House chamber tonight to hear Gov. Rick Snyder’s State the State address.“It is a true blessing to have my granddaughter here with me tonight to share in this experience,” Rep. Franz said. “Like so many Michigan families across the state, family comes first and my family means everything to me. This is also a great opportunity for Meghan to see what her grandpa really does in Lansing. This will be the last address I attend in the House chambers as state representative and I couldn’t think of a better person I’d rather have at my side than Meghan.”Meghan Franz is originally from Toledo, Ohio and is currently a sophomore at Northwood University studying marketing and finance. “I am so grateful to be given the opportunity to attend the State of the State with my Grandpa,” Meghan said.  “He has served his constituents with dignity and integrity and I am so proud of him.”######last_img read more

Ryan Afshar Video advertising platform Videology h

first_imgRyan AfsharVideo advertising platform Videology has appointed former Time and Telefonica Digital executive Ryan Afshar as its new vice-president and media director.Afshar will be tasked with leading business development in Europe and driving continued growth and use of Videology’s technology in the region.Reporting to John Tigg, Videology’s senior vice-president of strategic partnerships in EMEA, Afshar will be based in London at Videology’s EMEA headquarters.“Videology develops industry-leading solutions to empower the continued convergence of TV and video, and I’m very grateful to be given the opportunity to contribute to a company that is helping to address this seismic change in the ad industry,” said Afshar.He previously worked to develop digital businesses in a number of roles with the likes of Time and Telefonica Digital. More recently, he worked as director and co-founder of Affable Digital, working with start-ups and tech companies to help them develop monetisation and revenue strategies.last_img read more

Last month a group of Australian scientists publi

first_imgLast month, a group of Australian scientists published a warning to the citizens of the country and of the world who collectively gobble up some $34 billion annually of its agricultural exports. The warning concerned the safety of a new type of wheat. As Australia’s number-one export, a $6-billion annual industry, and the most-consumed grain locally, wheat is of the utmost importance to the country. A serious safety risk from wheat – a mad wheat disease of sorts – would have disastrous effects for the country and for its customers. Which is why the alarm bells are being rung over a new variety of wheat being ushered toward production by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) of Australia. In a sense, the crop is little different than the wide variety of modern genetically modified foods. A sequence of the plant’s genes has been turned off to change the wheat’s natural behavior a bit, to make it more commercially viable (hardier, higher yielding, slower decaying, etc.). Franken-Wheat? What’s really different this time – and what has Professor Jack Heinemann of the University of Canterbury, NZ, and Associate Professor Judy Carman, a biochemist at Flinders University in Australia, holding press conferences to garner attention to the subject – is the technique employed to effectuate the genetic change. It doesn’t modify the genes of the wheat plants in question; instead, a specialized gene blocker interferes with the natural action of the genes. The process at issue, dubbed RNA interference or RNAi for short, has been a hotbed of research activity ever since the Nobel Prize-winning 1997 research paper that described the process. It is one of a number of so-called “antisense” technologies that help suppress natural genetic expression and provide a mechanism for suppressing undesirable genetic behaviors. RNAi’s appeal is simple: it can potentially provide a temporary, reversible off switch for genes. Unlike most other genetic modification techniques, it doesn’t require making permanent changes to the underlying genome of the target. Instead, specialized siRNAs – chemical DNA blockers based on the same mechanism our own bodies use to temporarily turn genes on and off as needed – are delivered into the target organism and act to block the messages cells use to express a particular gene. When those messages meet with their chemical opposites, they turn inert. And when all of the siRNA is used up, the effect wears off. The new wheat is in early-stage field trials (i.e., it’s been planted to grow somewhere, but has not yet been tested for human consumption), part of a multi-year process on its way to potential approval and not unlike the rigorous process many drugs go through. The researchers responsible are using RNAi to turn down the production of glycogen. They are targeting the production of the wheat branching enzyme which, if suppressed, would result in a much lower starch level for the wheat. The result would be a grain with a lower glycemic index – i.e., healthier wheat. This is a noble goal. However, Professors Heinemann and Carman warn, there’s a risk that the gene silencing done to these plants might make its way into humans and wreak havoc on our bodies. In their press conference and subsequent papers, they describe the possibility that the siRNA molecules – which are pretty hardy little chemicals and not easily gotten rid of – could wind up interacting with our RNA. If their theories prove true, the results might be as bad as mimicking glycogen storage disease IV, a super-rare genetic disorder which almost always leads to early childhood death. “Franken-Wheat Causes Massive Deaths from Liver Failure!” Now that is potentially headline-grabbing stuff. Unfortunately, much of it is mere speculation at this point, albeit rooted in scientific expertise on the subject. What they’ve produced is a series of opinion papers – not scientific research nor empirical data to prove that what they suspect might happen, actually does. They point to the possibilities that could happen if a number of criteria are met: If the siRNAs remain in the wheat in transferrable form, in large quantities, when the grain makes it to your plate. And… If the siRNA molecules interfere with the somewhat different but largely similar human branching enzyme as well. Then the result might be symptoms similar to such a condition, on some scale or another, anywhere from completely unnoticeable to highly impactful. They further postulate that if the same effect is seen in animals, it could result in devastating ecological impact. Dead bugs and dead wild animals. Luckily for us, as potential consumers of these foods, all of these are easily testable theories. And this is precisely the type of data the lengthy approval process is meant to look at. Opinion papers like this – while not to be confused with conclusions resulting from solid research – are a critically important part of the scientific process, challenging researchers to provide hard data on areas that other experts suspect could be overlooked. Professors Carman and Heinemann provide a very important public good in challenging the strength of the due-diligence process for RNAi’s use in agriculture, an incomplete subject we continue to discover more about every day. However, we’ll have to wait until the data come back on this particular experiment – among thousands of similar ones being conducted at government labs, universities, and in the research facilities of commercial agribusinesses like Monsanto and Cargill – to know if this wheat variety would in fact result in a dietary apocalypse. That’s a notion many anti-genetically modified organism (GMO) pundits seem to have latched onto following the press conference the professors held. But if the history of modern agriculture can teach us anything, it’s that far more aggressive forms of GMO foods appear to have had a huge net positive effect on the global economy and our lives. Not only have they not killed us, in many ways GMO foods have been responsible for the massive increases in public health and quality of life around the world. The Roots of the GMO Food Debate The debate over genetically modified (GM) food is a heated one. Few contest that we are working in somewhat murky waters when it comes to genetically modified anything, human or plant alike. At issue, really, is the question of whether we are prepared to use the technologies we’ve discovered. In other words, are we the equivalent of a herd of monkeys armed with bazookas, unable to comprehend the sheer destructive power we possess yet perfectly capable of pulling the trigger? Or do we simply face the same type of daunting intellectual challenge as those who discovered fire, electricity, or even penicillin, at a time when the tools to fully understand how they worked had not yet been conceived of? In all of those cases, we were able to probe, study, and learn the mysteries of these incredible discoveries over time. Sure, there were certainly costly mistakes along the way. But we were also able to make great use of them to advance civilization long before we fully understood how they worked at a scientific level. Much is the same in the study and practical use of GM foods. While the fundamentals of DNA have been well understood for decades, we are still in the process of uncovering many of the inner workings of what is arguably the single most advanced form of programming humans have ever encountered. It is still very much a rapidly evolving science to this day. For example, in the 1990s, an idea known simply as “gene therapy” – really a generalized term for a host of new-at-the-time experimental techniques that share the simple characteristic of permanently modifying the genetic make-up of an organism – was all the rage in medical study. Two decades on, it’s hardly ever spoken of. That’s because the great majority of attempted disease therapies from genetic modification failed, with many resulting in terrible side effects and even death for the patients who underwent the treatments. Its use in the early days, of course, was limited almost exclusively to some of the world’s most debilitating, genetically rooted diseases. Still – whether in their zeal to use a fledgling tool to cure a dreadful malady or in selfish, hurried desire to be recognized among the pioneers of what they thought would be the very future of medicine – doctors chose to move forward at a dangerous pace with gene therapy. In one famous case, and somewhat typical of the times, University of Pennsylvania physicians enrolled a sick 18-year-old boy with a liver mutation into a trial for a gene therapy that was known to have resulted in the deaths of some of the monkeys it had just been tested on. The treatment resulted in the young man’s death a few days later, and the lengthy investigation that followed resulted in serious accusations of what can only be called “cowboy medicine.” Not one of science’s prouder moments, to be sure. But could GM foods be following the same dangerous path? After all, the first GM foods made their way to market during the same time period. The 1980s saw large-scale genetic-science research and experimentation from agricultural companies, producing everything from antibiotic-resistant tobacco to pesticide-hardy corn. After much debate and study, in 1994 the FDA gave approval to the first GM food to be sold in the United States: the ironically named Flavr Savr tomato, with its delayed ripening genes which made it an ideal candidate for sitting for days or weeks on grocery store shelves. Ever since, there has been a seeming rush of modified foods into the marketplace. Modern GM foods include soybeans, corn, cotton, canola, sugar beets, and a number of squash and greens varieties, as well as products made from them. One of the most prevalent modifications is to make plants glyphosate-resistant, or in common terms, “Roundup Ready.” This yields varieties that are able to stand up to much heavier doses of the herbicide Roundup, which is used to keep weeds and other pest plants from damaging large monoculture fields, thereby reducing costs and lowering risks. In total it is estimated that modern GM crops have grown to become a $12 billion annual business since their commercialization in 1994, according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA). Over 15 million farms around the world are reported to have grown GM crops, and their popularity increases every year. They’ve brought huge improvements in shelf life, pathogen and other stress resistance, and even added nutritional benefits. For instance, yellow rice – which was the first approved crop with an entirely new genetic pathway added artificially – provides beta-carotene to a large population of people around the world who otherwise struggle to find enough in their diets. However, the race for horticulturalists to the genetic table in the past few decades – what could be described accurately as the transgenic generation of research – has by no means been our first experiment with the genetic manipulation of food. In fact, if anything, it is a more deliberate, well studied, and careful advance than those that came before it. A VERY Brief History of Genetically Modified Food Some proponents of GMO foods are quick to point out that humans have been modifying foods at the genetic level since the dawn of agriculture itself. We crossbreed plants with each other to produce hybrids (can I interest you in a boysenberry?). And of course, we select our crops for breeding from those with the most desirable traits, effectively encouraging genetic mutations that would have otherwise resulted in natural failure, if not helped along by human hands. Corn as we know it, for example, would never have survived in nature without our help in breeding it. Using that as a justification for genetic meddling, however, is like saying we know that NASCAR drivers don’t need seatbelts because kids have been building soapbox racers without them for years. Nature, had the mix not been near ideal to begin with, would have prevented such crossbreeding. Despite Hollywood’s desires, one can’t simply crossbreed a human and a fly, or even a bee and a mosquito, for that matter – their genetics are too different to naturally mix. And even if it did somehow occur, if it did not make for a hardier result, then natural selection would have quickly kicked in. No, I am talking about real, scientific genetic mucking – the kind we imagined would result in the destruction of the world from giant killer tomatoes or man-eating cockroaches in our B-grade science-fiction films. Radiation mutants. Enterprising agrarians have been blasting plants with radiation of all sorts ever since we started messing around with atomic science at the dawn of the 20th century. In the 1920s, just when Einstein and Fermi were getting in their grooves, Dr. Lewis Stadler at the University of Missouri was busy blasting barley seeds with X-rays – research that would usher in a frenzy of mutation breeding to follow. With the advent of nuclear technology from the war effort, X-rays expanded into atomic radiation, with the use of gamma rays leading the pack. The United States even actively encouraged the practice for decades, through a program dubbed “Atoms for Peace” that proliferated nuclear technology throughout various parts of the private sector in a hope that it would improve the lives of many. And it did. Today, thousands of agricultural varieties we take for granted – including, according to a 2007 New York Times feature on the practice, “rice, wheat, barley, pears, peas, cotton, peppermint, sunflowers, peanuts, grapefruit, sesame, bananas, cassava and sorghum” – are a direct result of mutation breeding. They would not be classified as GM foods, in the sense that we did not use modern transgenic techniques to make them, but they are genetically altered nonetheless, to the same or greater degree than most modern GMO strains. Unlike modern GM foods – which are often closely protected by patents and armies of lawyers to ensure the inventing companies reap maximum profits from their use – the overwhelming majority of the original generations of radiation-mutated plant varieties came out of academic and government sponsored research, and thus were provided free and clear for farmers to use without restriction. With the chemical revolution of the mid-20th century, radiation-based mutations were followed by the use of chemical agents like the methyl sulfate family of mutagens. And after that, the crudest forms of organic genetic manipulation came into use, such as the uses of transposons, highly repetitive strands of DNA discovered in 1948 that can be used like biological duct tape to cover whole sections the genome. These modified crops stood up better to pests, lessened famines, reduced reliance on pesticides, and most of all enabled farmers to increase their effective yields. Coupled with the development of commercial machinery like tractors and harvesters, the rise of mutagenic breeding resulted in an agricultural revolution of a magnitude few truly appreciate. In the late 1800s, the overwhelming majority of global populations lived in rural areas, and most people spent their lives in agrarian pursuits. From subsistence farmers to small commercial operations, the majority of the population of every country, the US included, was employed in agriculture. Today, less than 2% of the American population (legal and illegal combined) works in farming of any kind. Yet we have more than enough food to feed all of our people, and a surplus to export to more densely populated nations like China and India. The result is that a sizable percentage of the world’s plant crops today – the ones on top of which much of the modern-era GMO experiments are done – are already genetic mutants. Hence the slippery slope that serves as the foundation of the resistance from regulators over the labeling of GM food products. Where do you draw the line on what to label? And frankly, how do you even know for sure, following the Wild-West days of blasting everything that could grow with some form or another of radiation, what plants are truly virgin DNA? The world’s public is largely unaware that many of the foods they eat today – far more than those targeted by anti-GMO protestors and labeling advocates – are genetically modified. Yet we don’t seem to be dying off in large numbers, like the anti-RNAi researchers project will happen. In fact, global lifespans have increased dramatically across the board in the last century. The Rise of Careful The science of GM food has advanced considerably since the dark ages of the 1920s. Previous versions of mutation breeding were akin to trying to fix a pair of eyeglasses with a sledgehammer – messy and imprecise, with rare positive results. And the outputs of those experiments were often foisted upon a public without any knowledge or understanding of what they were consuming. Modern-day GM foods are produced with a much more precise toolset, which means less unintended collateral damage. Of course it also opens up a veritable Pandora’s box of new possibilities (glow-in-the-dark corn, anyone?) and with it a whole host of potential new risks. Like any sufficiently powerful technology, such as the radiation and harsh chemicals used in prior generations of mutation breeding, without careful control over its use, the results can be devastating. This fact is only outweighed by the massive improvements over the prior, messier generation of techniques. And thus, regulatory regimes from the FDA to CSIRO to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) are taking increasing steps to ensure that GM foods are thoroughly tested long before they come to market. In many ways, the tests are far more rigorous than those that prescription drugs undergo, as the target population is not sick and in need of urgent care, and for which side effects can be tolerated. This is why a great many of the proposed GM foods of the last 20 years, including the controversial “suicide seeds” meant to protect the intellectual property of the large GM seed producers like Monsanto (which bought out Calgene, the inventor of that Flavr Savr tomato, and is now the 800-lb. gorilla of the GM food business), were never allowed to market. Still, with the 15 years from 1996 to 2011 seeing a 96-fold increase in the amount of land dedicated to growing GM crops and the incalculable success of the generations of pre-transgenic mutants before them, scientists and corporations are still in a mad sprint to find the next billion-dollar GM blockbuster. In doing so they are seeking tools that make the discovery of such breakthroughs faster and more reliable. With RNAi, they may just have found one such tool. If it holds true to its laboratory promises, its benefits will be obvious from all sides. Unlike previous generations of GMO, RNAi-treated crops do not need to be permanently modified. This means that mutations which outlive their usefulness, like resistance to a plague which is eradicated, do not need to live on forever. This allows companies to be more responsive, and potentially provides a big relief to consumers concerned about the implications of eating foods with permanent genetic modifications. The simple science of creating RNAi molecules is also attractive to people who develop these new agricultural products, as once a messenger RNA is identified, there is a precise formula to tell you exactly how to shut it off, potentially saving millions or even billions of dollars that would be spent in the research lab trying to figure out exactly how to affect a particular genetic process. And with the temporary nature of the technique, both the farmers and the Monsantos of the world can breathe easily over the huge intellectual-property questions of how to deal with genetically altered seeds. Not to mention the questions of natural spread of strains between farms who might not want GMO crops in their midst. Instead of needing to engineer in complex genetic functions to ensure progeny don’t pass down enhancements for free and that black markets in GMO seeds don’t flourish, the economic equation becomes as simple as fertilizer: use it or don’t. While RNAi is not a panacea for GMO scientists – it serves as an off switch, but cannot add new traits nor even turn on dormant ones – the dawn of antisense techniques is likely to mean an even further acceleration of the science of genetic meddling in agriculture. Its tools are more precise even than many of the most recent permanent genetic-modification methods. And the temporary nature of the technique – the ability to apply it selectively as needed versus breeding it directly into plants which may not benefit from the change decades on – is sure to please farmers, and maybe even consumers as well. That is, unless the scientists in Australia are proven correct, and the siRNAs used in experiments today make their way into humans and affect the same genetic functions in us as they do in the plants. The science behind their assertions still needs a great deal of testing. Much of their assertion defies the basic understanding of how siRNA molecules are delivered – an incredibly difficult and delicate process that has been the subject of hundreds of millions of dollars of research thus far, and still remains, thanks to our incredible immune systems, a daunting challenge in front of one of the most promising forms of medicine (and now of farming too). Still, their perspective is important food for thought… and likely fuel for much more debate to come. After all, even if you must label your products as containing GMO-derived ingredients, does that apply if you just treated an otherwise normal plant with a temporary, consumable, genetic on or off switch? In theory, the plant which ends up on your plate is once again genetically no different than the one which would have been on your plate had no siRNAs been used during its formative stages. One thing is sure: the GMO food train left the station nearly a century ago and is now a very big business that will continue to grow and to innovate, using RNAi and other techniques to come. The Casey Extraordinary Technology team has been tracking the leading lights of the RNAi medical industry for some time. Recently, one of our small biotech upstarts struck a potentially massive, exclusive deal with an agricultural giant to seed its own RNAi research program. Success could mean billions for both firms. If you’d like to know what company we believe will profit most from the next generation of GM food development, subscribe to CET. Bits & Bytes Last Chance for RIM? (CNN Money) Few companies have been written off as frequently as Research in Motion, whose Blackberry was once state of the art and which now finds itself fighting for its life. Its stock just soared 9% merely because it said release of the new Blackberry 10 is still on schedule for early next year. Whether the 10 will be able to put a dent into the Apple/Android monolith remains to be seen, but for RIM it could be the last, best hope. Giant Media Merger (LA Times) What do you get when you mate Han Solo with Minnie Mouse? We’re about to find out – fiscally, if not physically – with Tuesday’s announcement that Disney is acquiring Lucasfilm for a cool $4 billion. Disney is projecting it’ll get its money back within three years, while George is, well, retiring – as he is now well able to do. Google Settles Final AdWords Dispute (Ars Technica) Several companies have taken Google to court over AdWords, saying Google shouldn’t be allowed to key advertisements to their names, which are protected trademarks. The last and one of the most persistent has been Rosetta Stone, a language-software maker that sued Google in 2009, but lost in federal court. However, its case was revived on appeal, and yesterday it finally was settled on confidential terms. How Easy Is a Tablet to Use? (TechCrunch) Pretty damn easy, as it turns out. In a remarkable experiment, OLPC (One Laptop per Child) researchers in Ethiopia handed a Motorola Xoom tablet to each of a group of illiterate village children aged four to eight. Click the link to learn the amazing results.last_img read more

Leaders can have many different styles — just comp

first_imgLeaders can have many different styles — just compare President Donald Trump to Malala Yousafzai to your boss or the coach of your kid’s soccer team.But a study published Thursday suggests that people who end up in leadership roles of various sorts all share one key trait: Leaders make decisions for a group in the same way that they make decisions for themselves. They don’t change their decision-making behavior, even when other people’s welfare is at stake.That may come as a bit of surprise, given that most lists of key leadership qualities focus on things like charisma and communication skills.”Previous research has mostly focused on these kinds of either personality characteristics of a leader, or situations where individuals are likely to lead,” says Micah Edelson, a neuroscientist at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. “But we don’t know much about the cognitive or neurobiological process that is happening when you are choosing to lead or follow — when you’re faced with this choice to lead or follow.”He notes that the decisions of leaders can affect the lives of many others. “It’s not always that easy to make such a choice, and it’s something that could be even a little bit aversive to you, to make a choice that impacts other people,” says Edelson. “And there are some people that seem to be able to do it; some people don’t. So we were interested in looking at that.”He and his colleagues had volunteers come to the lab, and gave them questionnaires that are widely used to predict whether someone is likely to be in a position of leadership. They also collected information about people’s real-world leadership experience, such as what rank they’d achieved in the military (which is compulsory for men in Switzerland) or in the popular Swiss Scouts organization.Then they put the participants into small groups and had them play a series of games in which individuals had to make choices about whether to take a risky action to get a reward.”These are choices about uncertain gambles that have some probability of success and potential gains and losses,” Edelson explains.The player could choose to either make the choice alone, or defer the decision to a majority vote.The games were played under two conditions: Sometimes the decision affected only the individual player’s winnings and other times the decision affected what the entire group received.What the researchers found is that people in general tended to avoid taking responsibility for what happens to others; deferral rates were the highest when decisions affected other people’s pocketbooks.But the people who changed their decision-making behavior the least were the ones who generally served as leaders in the real-world and scored high on leadership questionnaires. Unlike others, they did not require more certainty before being ready to personally make a decision that would affect the whole group.”On average, people tend to increase the certainty threshold when the choices affect the entire group. But higher-scoring leaders just keep their thresholds almost constant,” says Edelson, who says preliminary work using MRI brain scanning supports the idea that leaders and followers differ in how their brains process information about gains, losses, and risk in the context of thinking about others.Other neuroscientists say the work, published in the journal Science, is fascinating.”It seems a very reasonable finding,” says Tali Sharot, a cognitive neuroscientist at University College London. “It works with our intuition, but in the same way it’s not something that you’d necessarily think about that distinguishes leadership.”Sharot cautions that it’s not clear whether this decision-making behavior is what led people to their leadership position, or if they’ve developed it as a result of real-world leadership experience.And this study doesn’t say anything about who ends up being a “good” leader, either.But Sharot says the researchers have identified something about leadership that can hold true regardless of a leader’s style.”You can have authoritarian leaders who like to have the ultimate control,” she says. “You can have democratic leaders who want to lead according to the will of the people. You have leaders who are risk-takers, leaders who are risk-adverse and conservative and so on.”But what’s really interesting about this work, she says, is that these different types of leaders’ decision-making behavior stays the same regardless of whether the outcome affects only themselves or other people. “What this paper shows is that all these types of individuals, all these types of leaders, have something in common.” Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams made a plea in A

first_imgU.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams made a plea in April for more Americans to be prepared to administer naloxone, an opioid antidote, in case they or people close to them suffer an overdose.”The call to action is to recognize if you’re at risk,” Adams told NPR’s Rachel Martin. “And if you or a loved one are at risk, keep within reach, know how to use naloxone.”Nearly every state has made it easier for people to get naloxone by allowing pharmacists to dispense the drug without an individual prescription. Public health officials are able to write what are called standing orders, essentially prescriptions that cover everyone in their jurisdiction.Some states require training in how to use naloxone, typically given as a nasal spray called Narcan or with an EpiPen-like automatic injection, in order for someone to pick up naloxone. But the medicine is simple to use either way.After the surgeon general called for more people to be prepared with naloxone, we decided to ask Americans about their knowledge about the opioid antidote’s availability, attitudes toward using it and experience with the medicine in the latest NPR-IBM Watson Health Health Poll. The survey queried more than 3,000 households nationwide in May.We wondered how many people know about naloxone and the fact that someone doesn’t have to be a medical professional to administer it. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they were aware of the antidote and that it could be given by laypeople; 41 percent said they weren’t.We then asked people who knew about naloxone if they would need a prescription to get it. The answers were pretty evenly divided among three options: yes, no and not sure/no response.”Why, with all the attention we’ve had in the media, why don’t more Americans know about naloxone?” asks Dr. Anil Jain, vice president and chief health information officer for IBM Watson Health. “When people did know, why did people think they needed a prescription?” While the survey doesn’t get at the causes, Jain says, the findings underscore the need for greater public awareness.Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen says the lack of knowledge among Americans at large isn’t all that surprising. “Policy alone is necessary but not sufficient,” she says. “People still don’t know to go to the pharmacy to get access to naloxone, especially individuals at the highest risk.”To change that, she says, “you have to have continued education and the delivery of services” where people need them.In Baltimore, the health department maps where overdoses are happening and sends outreach workers to the areas. But money is an issue, even at a negotiated cost of $75 per naloxone kit, Wen says. There isn’t enough naloxone to go around. “Every week we take stock of how many naloxone kits we have for the rest of fiscal year,” she says. “Who’s at most risk? Those are who we give the naloxone to.”The NPR-IBM Watson Health Poll asked people if they would be willing to use Narcan, the nasal spray form of naloxone, to help a person who had overdosed. Fifty-eight percent said they would and 29 percent said no. Thirteen precent weren’t sure or didn’t respond. Only 47 percent of people 65 and older said they would be willing to do it.When asked about the auto-injector option, 68 percent of respondents said they would be willing to administer naloxone that way and 22 percent of people said they wouldn’t be.Finally, we asked whether people had obtained naloxone, and 10 percent said they or someone in their household had. Among those people, 81 percent said the naloxone had been used, but the sample size for this question was small, making interpretation difficult.The nationwide poll has an overall margin of error of plus or minus 1.8 percentage points. You can find the questions and full results here. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

A disabled campaigner who is battling to protect t

first_imgA disabled campaigner who is battling to protect the rights of wheelchair-users to travel on buses has won permission for his appeal to be heard by the Supreme Court.Doug Paulley (pictured) has been told by the court that it will hear his discrimination case – which is backed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) – against transport company First Bus.Paulley, from Wetherby, took the case against First Bus following an incident in February 2012.He had been planning to travel to Leeds, but was prevented from entering the bus because the driver refused to insist that a mother with a pushchair should move from the wheelchair space.He told Disability News Service that he was “relieved” and “really glad” about the Supreme Court’s decision, although it is unlikely to be heard until the latter part of 2016 at the earliest.He said: “It would have been a travesty if they had not [agreed to hear the appeal], given the huge support from lots of disabled people and that [the appeal] is being bank-rolled by the EHRC.”Paulley said the case wouldn’t have got so far “without so many disabled people sticking their necks out and campaigning around it and making it such a public issue”.And he said the case going to the Supreme Court would “certainly make a lot of people think and talk about it”.He said he now rarely used buses because of the effect the “extra layer of stress” caused by the incident – and the uncertainty he now feels when he uses a bus – had had on his mental health problems.Disabled campaigners were left “appalled” in December when three court of appeal judges found in favour of First Bus, and against Paulley.That judgement over-turned a county court ruling that wheelchair-users should have priority in the use of dedicated wheelchair spaces over parents with pushchairs, and that the “first come, first served” policy of First Bus breached the Equality Act.Instead, the court of appeal said that a bus driver needs only to request – and not demand – that a buggy-user vacates the space if it is needed by a wheelchair-user.A First Bus spokesman said today (Thursday): “The court of appeal decision in 2014 gave our customers, drivers and the wider industry much-needed clarification around the priority use of the wheelchair space on board buses.“The court’s judgment endorsed our current policy, which is to ask other passengers in the strongest polite terms to make way for wheelchair-users.“We note Mr Paulley has been given permission to appeal the court of appeal decision.  We will continue to make the case that our current policy both complies with the law and remains the most practical solution for all concerned.”The importance of Paulley’s case was highlighted this week when it was mentioned several times in the first evidence session of a committee set up by the House of Lords to examine the impact of the Equality Act 2010 on disabled people.The Conservative peer Lord Northbrook was one of those who mentioned the Paulley case, when he questioned whether the law on service-providers’ duties to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people was “sufficiently precise”.Meanwhile, on the same day that the Supreme Court announced its decision, campaigners revealed that another transport company, National Express, had scrapped its own “first come, first served” policy on its buses, and replaced it with a wheelchair priority policy.The move followed a question asked by disabled athlete Susan Cook at the company’s annual general meeting (AGM) on 6 May, after which she had secured a meeting with two of the company’s top executives.Cook was supported by the user-led, campaigning charity Transport for All, and ShareAction, which helps people attend company meetings and raise issues with directors.Cook said: “It was great to use my power as a shareholder to secure a meeting with the company and persuade them to change their policy.“I’m glad National Express saw sense on this issue and I’m looking forward to going to more AGMs to raise disability rights issues in future.”Lianna Etkind, campaigns and outreach coordinator at Transport for All, said: “Being able to use public transport is an essential part of a full and active life, getting to work, having access to healthcare and education, or a social life, with freedom and independence.“We’re pleased National Express listened to reason and have decided to change their policy on wheelchair priority. It was great to work with Susan and ShareAction to bring about this change.”National Express has already announced plans to introduce a “turn up and go” service on its c2c train services in Essex from September, so disabled people needing assistance will be able to arrive at stations and have staff help them, without needing to book in advance.National Express will be the first private train company to offer this service in the UK and has also pledged to be the first train operator to make a route completely accessible.last_img read more

3 Things To Know

New Report US Cannabis Market Could Hit 227B by 2023

first_img cannabis, biotech and entrepreneurship reporter Add to Queue 3 min read Image credit: HighGradeRoots | Getty Images New Report: US Cannabis Market Could Hit $22.7B by 2023 Green Entrepreneur provides how-to guides, ideas and expert insights for entrepreneurs looking to start and grow a cannabis business. Get 1 Year of Green Entrepreneur for $19.99 A new report projects the cannabis market in the United States will reach $22.7 billion in sales by 2023. The estimates in the Brightfield Group report imply a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20 percent over the next four years.The recreational market is expected to lead the charge, at least in 2019, delivering 33 percent growth, driven by a variety of factors including the stabilization of the market in California and new adult-use markets coming online. The Brightfield Group, a predictive market intelligence services provider for the CBD and cannabis industry, last year predicted the hemp-derived CBD market would hit sales of $22 billion by 2022.Related: Report: CBD Market To Hit $22 Billion By 2022New states, new leaders.Brightfield Group’s estimates assume the number of active adult-use states (meaning those currently selling products, versus those with laws in place but no real sales) will surge from seven in 2019 to 16 by 2023. The number of active medical markets is also anticipated to rise from 28 to 35. The report explains that as more states move to legalize adult-use cannabis through ballot initiatives, momentum for legalization should increase as well.“Major shifts in socio-political support for legalization have spurred momentum as progressive proposals have been put forth in states like Illinois, and other midwestern states, such as Ohio, open to medicinal usage.”According to the research firm, West Coast states which currently dominate the market in terms of sales, will soon lose their preeminence to East Coast and Midwestern states. Only California will remain a leader, followed by New York and Massachusetts, which will command 10 percent of the total market share each, Brightfield Group expects. The firm also envisions Midwestern states such as Illinois and Michigan will deliver stronger sales numbers than states with more established adult-use programs, like Colorado and Nevada.”Some of the country’s largest states have been bitten by the cannabis bug,” said Bethany Gomez, director of research for Brightfield Group. “With states like Michigan, Illinois, New York and New Jersey expected to open recreational markets over the next five years, the landscape of the cannabis market will shift entirely from West to East. The first movers of four or five years ago —  Colorado, Oregon, Washington — are slowing to single-digit growth rates, while these more populous markets will rapidly take their place.”Related: A University in Michigan Is Offering a Bachelor Degree for Marijuana EntrepreneursWhile sentiment toward the medical uses of cannabis changes nationwide, driving policy change as well, a convoluted picture on the federal level calls for more clarity in standardized legislation. This would provide “needed consistency, helping states model and craft legislation to fit their constituents and markets with proven models and in-market clarity.”Beyond the evolution of the market size and distribution of the pie, Brightfield Group’s report looks into the positive effects of the Farm Bill, as well as the potential passage of the STATES Act and the SAFE Banking Act on the future of the cannabis industry. They also predict a move toward market standardization, an explosion of multi-state operators, ongoing corporate consolidation and continued expansion of the CBD market. Subscribe Now Next Article Javier Hasse –shares Brought to you by Benzinga May 22, 2019 cannabis industry Legal marijuana will no longer be an exclusively West Coast phenomena as East Coast and Midwestern states legalize huge new markets. VIP Contributorlast_img read more

Researchers develop promising reconstruction method based on 3Dprinted esophageal grafts

first_img Source:Mary Ann Liebert, IncJournal reference:Kim, W. et al. (2019) Tissue-Engineered Esophagus via Bioreactor Cultivation for Circumferential Esophageal Reconstruction. Tissue Engineering. doi.org/10.1089/ten.tea.2018.0277 Dr. Chung and colleagues from Korea present an exciting approach for esophageal repair using a combined 3D printing and bioreactor cultivation strategy. Critically, their work shows integration of the engineered esophageal tissue with host tissue, indicating a clinically viable strategy for circumferential esophageal reconstruction.”John P. Fisher, PhD, Tissue Engineering Co-Editor-in-Chief, Fischell Family Distinguished Professor and Department Chair, and Director of the NIH Center for Engineering Complex Tissues at the University of Maryland Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 18 2019The loss of complete segments of the esophagus often results from treatments for esophageal cancer or congenital abnormalities, and current methods to re-establish continuity are inadequate. Now, working with a rat model, researchers have developed a promising reconstruction method based on the use of 3D-printed esophageal grafts. Their work is published in Tissue Engineering, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.Eun-Jae Chung, MD, PhD, Seoul National University Hospital, Korea, Jung-Woog Shin, PhD, Inje University, Korea, and colleagues present their research in an article titled “Tissue-Engineered Esophagus via Bioreactor Cultivation for Circumferential Esophageal Reconstruction”. The authors created a two-layered tubular scaffold with an electrospun nanofiber inner layer and 3D-printed strands in the outer layer. After seeding human mesenchymal stem cells on the inner layer, constructs were cultured in a bioreactor, and a new surgical technique was used for implantation, including the placement of a thyroid gland flap over the scaffold. Efficacy was compared with omentum-cultured scaffolding technology, and successful implantation and esophageal reconstruction were achieved based on several metrics.last_img read more

Nearly 200K People Have Signed Up to Steal Alien Secrets from Area

first_img Flying Saucers to Mind Control: 22 Declassified Military Secrets Top 10 Conspiracy Theories Why Do People Believe in UFOs? Originally published on Live Science.by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeVikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 min and see why everyone is addicted!Vikings: Free Online GameUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndoArticles VallyDad Cuts Daughter’s Hair Off For Getting Birthday Highlights, Then Mom Does The UnthinkableArticles VallyUndoLivestlyThe List Of Dog Breeds To Avoid At All CostsLivestlyUndoGundry MD Total Restore SupplementU.S. Cardiologist: It’s Like a Pressure Wash for Your InsidesGundry MD Total Restore SupplementUndoBirch Gold GroupThis IRS Tax Law is Sweeping the U.S.Birch Gold GroupUndo Pack your shades, your sunscreen and your coziest tinfoil hat, because the late-summer event of the season is happening in Nevada’s scenic Area 51, and you’re invited. According to a tongue-in-cheek Facebook event called “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us,” a ragtag army of alien hunters will meet up near the top-secret Air Force base in the predawn hours of Sept. 20, coordinate a plan of attack, then raid the grounds in search of captive aliens. Per the event’s hosts (a page that posts memes and a guy who streams video games on Twitch), the delicate operation will involve running supernaturally fast — faster than the guards’ bullets can fly — but will be worth it to “see them aliens.” So far, nearly 200,000 Facebook users have signed up to attend, with another 200,000 “interested” in the affair. [15 Far-Out Facts About Area 51]Headbutting Tiny Worms Are Really, Really LoudThis rapid strike produces a loud ‘pop’ comparable to those made by snapping shrimps, one of the most intense biological sounds measured at sea.Your Recommended PlaylistVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9接下来播放Why Is It ‘Snowing’ Salt in the Dead Sea?01:53 facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接https://www.livescience.com/65899-area-51-summer-raid.html?jwsource=cl已复制直播00:0000:3500:35  This event is, of course, a joke (please, do not raid this or any other military base). Area 51 — a massive plot of desert about 80 miles (129 kilometers) northwest of Las Vegas — is a top-secret military installation that is infamously well-guarded by fences, radars and heavily armed “camo dudes” in white trucks. After more than 60 years of operations, the base’s primary purpose remains classified and its grounds restricted to the public, fomenting an aura of spooky secrecy that has intrigued all manner of skeptics and conspiracy theorists for decades. This much is known about the base: It’s huge, covering a total of 2.9 million acres (1.2 million hectares) and 5,000 square miles (12,950 square km) of restricted airspace. Officially, the base is part of the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR), which is affiliated with Nellis Air Force Base; according to the Air Force, it is the largest combined air and ground space for peacetime military operations in the free world. Since the Air Force set up shop there in 1955, Area 51 has hosted hundreds of nuclear weapons tests and has served as a training-and-testing ground for all manner of top-secret stealth aircraft, Live Science previously reported. If you believe the most popular conspiracy theory about the base, one of those aircraft may be an alien saucer that crash-landed in Roswell, New Mexico, in the late 1940s. The U.S. military claimed that the mysterious object was a weather balloon (a 1994 Air Force report confirmed this to be true — albeit, a souped-up weather balloon designed to detect far-off nuclear fallout). However, conspiracy theorists insisted that the wreck was indeed an alien spacecraft, which had been subsequently transported to Area 51 to be broken apart, studied and put back together again. This theory gained traction in the 1980s, when a man claiming to have worked at Area 51 told the news media that he had actually seen scientists reverse engineer alien saucers there. This man, it turns out, was a liar who never set foot on the base (he also lied about the colleges he went to and other past employment); but his stories gained enough attention that Area 51 had a new, permanent reputation as that eerie place in the desert where scientists might be tinkering with aliens. Subsequent tests of experimental, top-secret aircraft at the base have only strengthened this far-out legacy. The allure of the mysterious desert base is undeniable. So, what happens if you do attempt to trespass into Area 51 and liberate the juicy alien secrets contained within? For starters, you’ll probably be stopped at gunpoint by guards dressed in camo, as two intrepid adventurers experienced in 2016 after trying to sneak a camera through the base’s back gate. According to signs posted around the base, these infamous “camo dudes” are permitted to greet trespassers with deadly force — but, if past encounters are any indication, trespassers are more likely to be met with a hefty fine and a court date. When an SUV filled with tourists accidentally crossed into the base’s restricted area a few years ago, the driver and four passengers were each cited with a $650 fine and a misdemeanor charge. The unwary passengers eventually got their charges dropped, but the driver had to pay up — and was banned from leading tours in the area for several years. If you happen to join the joke raid proposed for this September, keep that man’s story in mind. When it comes to unearthing the truth of Area 51, you may have only one shot. Choose your plan wisely.last_img read more

Rahul Gandhi quits as Congress President

first_img COMMENT SHARE SHARE EMAIL July 03, 2019 SHARE Urges party to find successor At the receiving end of fervent appeals to stay on, with a worker even attempting suicide to this end, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday publicly underlined his resolve to quit and released the letter he had written to the Congress Working Committee accepting responsibility for the party’s defeat in the just-concluded general elections.The Wayanad MP told reporters that he has urged the CWC to select his successor at the earliest. Discussions are reportedly veering around Sushil Kumar Shinde and Mallikarjun Kharge as frontrunners for the post. The CWC is likely to meet soon to elect the president, which will have to be ratified by a session of the All India Congress Committee.Gandhi, meanwhile, told reporters that there is no question of him continuing any longer than it is absolutely necessary.“I am no longer the Congress president. I have already resigned. The CWC should convene a meeting immediately and decide on the new Congress president,” he said.In the four-page letter released to the media through Twitter, Gandhi said it is essential to fix accountability for the losses suffered by the Congress under his leadership.It is an honour for me to serve the Congress Party, whose values and ideals have served as the lifeblood of our beautiful nation. I owe the country and my organisation a debt of tremendous gratitude and love.Jai Hind pic.twitter.com/WWGYt5YG4V— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 3, 2019“As President of the Congress Party, I am responsible for the loss of the 2019 election. Accountability is critical for the future growth of our party. It is for this reason that I have resigned as Congress President,” he said in the letter. He said rebuilding the Congress requires hard decisions and numerous people will have to be made accountable for the failure of 2019. “It would be unjust to hold others accountable but ignore my own responsibility as President of the party,” he said.He also ruled out the suggestion that the next Congress President should be his nominee. He said in the letter that the party will make the best decision regarding who can lead it with courage, love and fidelity.The idea of IndiaGandhi urged the party to transform radically to fight the Sangh Parivar. “I have no hatred or anger towards the BJP but every living cell in my body instinctively resists their idea of India. This resistance arises because my being is permeated with an Indian idea that is and has always been in direct conflict with theirs. This is not a new battle; it has been waged on our soil for thousands of years. Where they see differences, I see similarity. Where they see hatred, I see love. What they fear, I embrace,” he said.He maintained that his fight has never been a simple battle for political power. He said an election will not be free if one party has a complete monopoly on financial resources.“It is now crystal clear that our once cherished institutional neutrality no longer exists in India. The stated objective of the RSS, — the capture of our country’s institutional structure — is now complete. Our democracy has been fundamentally weakened. There is a real danger that from now on, elections will go from being a determinant of India’s future to a mere ritual,” the Wayanad MP saidcenter_img Congress President Rahul Gandhi   –  Bloomberg Indian National Congress Published on COMMENTSlast_img read more