first_imgBy: SASE Singh; M.Sc. – Finance, ACCASomething big is happening with the gold stock at the Bank of Guyana right now. Last year was a watershed in the size of the official gold stock, as it fell to its lowest level since 2001, and the Bank of Guyana continues to shed its stock of gold clearly for political reasons rather than economically sensible reasons. Who sells a product when the price is low? (See graph below with price).The value of the stock of gold at the Bank of Guyana in March 2019 was G$1,934 million, compared to the PPP days in 2014 when the value of the gold at the Central Bank was G$25,014 million. (See graph in blue below).This is nothing to celebrate when one watches the price of gold from 2014 to March 2019. From the graph in yellow above, one can see that the price of gold has not climbed above US$1,300 an ounce for most of this period, yet the Central Bank chooses to sell most of its gold lock, stock, and barrel since 2014. The only conclusion one can find for such a fire sale is that the US dollars were needed to prop up the rapidly dwindling foreign reserves. If one were to reflect on the implosion in sugar exports since 2014, one can understand why this gold was sold at great loss to Guyana.It is an irrefutable fact that with the major gold investors, much of the foreign currency generated by those companies leaves Guyana and never returns, unlike the rice, sugar, bauxite, timber, seafoods, and rum exports. The Central Bank depends on these foreign currency flows. The fact shows that, in 2013, sugar exports brought in US$114.2 million to the Central Bank. In 2018, the sugar sector brought in only US$27.1 million. That is a reduction in foreign currency inflows from the sugar sector of some 86 per cent, or US$87.1 million. That is a hole needed to be filled, thus the gold sales.Similarly, there has been a reduction in the foreign currency earnings from the rice sector between 2013 and 2018 of some US$53.7 million (22 per cent). Foreign currency earnings from bauxite, timber, pharmaceuticals, garment, and molasses all declined.In 2013, foreign currency earning from the garment industry was US$6.8 million. At the end of 2018, it was US$0.3 million. This represents a total collapse in garment exports. While countries like Haiti and El Salvador (no better than Guyana), are expanding their garment industry, here in Guyana we have a clueless bunch in Government and at places like GO-INVEST who refuse to see the opportunities that this industry can create for the people. In 2013, the World Bank in a report wrote off the Haiti garment industry. Today Haiti exports some US$833 million in garments to the world. Same story with El Salvador.What have Team Granger done since they came to power? Destroy! Destroy! Destroy! These people have the reverse Midas touch. Everything they touch is destroyed. They did it to the sugar industry. They did it to the forestry sector. They did it to the garment industry.Their hallmark remains massive acts of incompetence and policy paralysis, embellished with their runaway acts of corruption. Take, for example, the national airport. They said they spent US$35 million on sand, when the sand pits were less than 5 miles away. US$35 million in sand my foot!In the final analysis, similar to what happens in a horse race when the thoroughbred moves east, the “kangala” moves west. Reading a CNBC Report from January 2019, it stated that in 2018, around the world, Central Banks bought the most gold by volume to add to their stock since 1967. Meanwhile, the “kangalas” in Guyana who are making the decisions continue to sell our stock of gold at these low prices. When will the dotishness end?last_img read more

first_imgHamilton came home seven seconds clear of Dutchman Max Verstappen with Kimi Raikkonen taking third for Ferrari after passing his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo with five laps remaining.Hamilton’s consummate performance came after fellow four-time champion and pre-race leader Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari crashed into his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas on the opening lap.Both suffered damage and, under an early Safety Car, limped to the pits for repairs.They rejoined from the back of the field to finish fifth and seventh respectively, either side of Kevin Magnussen of Haas, who was sixth.Vettel had to serve a five seconds penalty, which he took at his second pit stop.Carlos Sainz came home eighth for Renault, to the delight of the crowd, ahead of team-mate Nico Hulkenberg and Charles Leclerc, who secured a point for Sauber with another impressive performance.“Great work guys, great work everyone,” said Hamilton, who had watched England defeat Panama 6-1 in the World Cup before the race.– ‘Good day for England’ –“It’s a good day for England.”The race began in stifling heat with air temperatures soaring over 30 degrees Celsius and the track close to 46 degrees, to which a gusting mistral wind added further challenges.Champion: Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium © AFP / GERARD JULIENThere was immediate drama on the opening lap when, at Turn One, Vettel rammed into the rear of Bottas’s Mercedes in an incident that immediately required the deployment of the Safety Car.Hamilton, from his record 75th pole position, made a clean departure, but in another incident at Turn Three two of the home French drivers were involved in another crash as Pierre Gasly of Toro Rosso collided with Esteban Ocon of Force India.Both suffered comprehensive damage to their cars and had to retire, leaving Romain Grosjean to carry the French flag after surviving an incident when Vettel, minus a front wing on his Ferrari, made contact with his Haas car.Bottas, with a punctured rear left tyre, and Vettel managed to steer their damaged machines back to the pits for repairs and rejoined the fray at the back of the field.Racing resumed on lap six when Hamilton surged away ahead of Verstappen with Sainz third for Renault.The Spaniard was under pressure from Ricciardo and he was overtaken by the Australian and then fell to fifth when Raikkonen flew past.By lap 23, Hamilton was in command ahead of Verstappen by six seconds with Ricciardo, Raikkonen and a charging Vettel, back up to fifth, leading the chase.Bottas, less effective in his efforts to recover in a car that suffered floor and other damage, was down in 10th.Rain threatened, but on lap 25, Verstappen pitted for fresh soft tyres, followed a lap later by Sainz. Vettel rose to fourth behind Hamilton and the two Red Bulls.Ricciardo pitted for second after 28 laps, rejoining fifth behind the German, but it was clear Hamilton was enjoying his Sunday afternoon drive as he led Raikkonen, second, by 20 seconds.He eventually pitted after 33 laps and came out behind Raikkonen, who led him by three seconds with Verstappen third.The Finn came in one lap later to rejoin fifth soon after Ricciardo had blasted past an uneven-looking Vettel, who ran wide at Le Beausset.Bottas finally climbed back to sixth to restore the three big teams’ routine occupation of the top positions and, with 12 laps remaining, caused a surprise when he pitted again.It was a slow stop, at 8.7 seconds, and dropped him to ninth just as Vettel pitted again, taking his penalty before he rejoined fifth for the final charge0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Victory charge: Lewis Hamilton on his way to victory on Sunday © AFP / GERARD JULIENLE CASTELLET, France, Jun 24 – Lewis Hamilton roared to victory with a polished lights-to-flag drive for Mercedes in Sunday’s restored French Grand Prix to regain top spot in the world championship.The four-time world champion led from start to finish, bar one lap following his pit stop, as he claimed his first win in France, his third this year and the 65th of his career.last_img read more

first_img0Shares0000NAIROBI, Kenya, September 22- Head coach Mike Friday hailed the performance of The Morans and Shujaa as both Kenyan teams booked their tickets into the Main Cup quarters of the Safaricom 7s tournament on Saturday.The two sides, registered victories in their second group stage games with convincing wins over Rwanda and Western Province on Day 2of the competition at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium. Morans who were the first on the pitch were the stronger against the South African Western Province as they cruised to an emphatic 40-7 victory while Shujaa followed up with a 24-7 triumph over their East African counterparts.“Everything is going on well so far; the boys are believing in themselves and putting into action what they have been practicing.“Shujaa were in the group of death and they did well to hold off the strong Samurai and were accurate in all departments,” Friday stated.The former England coach is confident the national team which will draw players from both The Morans and Shujaa are in good stead ahead of the start of the HSBC World Series in October at the Gold Coast 7s in Australia.“We still have a few improvements to make on our contact area, for now we are a bit passive and thee is need to be aggressive in the coming games.“It’s a journey, a learning curve but we have showed great character and particularly the conditioning process that has been under coach Chris Brown is in full display by the boys,” he added.The Morans win came from tries by Tony Obondo in the first half before Phillipe Mana levelled for the visitors just before the break for a 7-7 score at the breather.However after the break, the home team supported by the huge crowds at the packed stadium rallied to quick tries from Daniel Sikuta and Dennis Muhanji to restore the lead, before Fabian Olando, Lavin Asego and Dennis Ombachi completed the rout.Davis Musungu was the first on the score sheet with a try in the first half followed by Michael Agevi as Shujaa went into the beak leading 10-0 against Province.Albert Irytsman made an early try for the South Africans as they tried to come back after the break but the local charges responded through William Ambaka and Collins Injera to make a final score of 24-7.In the morning fixtures, Shujaa overcame a stubborn Samurai to post a close 14-12 victory in the first Pool A fixture as Morans humiliated neighbours Uganda Cranes with a 28-0 thrashing in the corresponding Pool B encounter.Shujaa showed their intention of domination on home soil leading 14-0 at half time through tries from Injera and Ambaka who impressed the home crowd with his blistering run.Samurai who edged out the home team at last year’s Main Cup semis came back stronger in the second half with Samuel Dickson making two quick tries. However, the home team managed to hold on to the victory until the final whistle to the relief of the supporters. In their final game, they made it three straight wins after hammering Uganda Cobs 55-0 much to the relish of the crowd.In their opening encounter Morans begun on a high tempo by stuffing the Cranes with Chris Asego opening the scores early in the game with a try that was converted by his brother Lavin.Ombachi made the second try which Lavin was on point in the conversion to make it 14-0 before the break.The Morans continued with their rampage in the second half with more tries from David Ambunya and Kevin Ochieng with Asego and Linus Simiyu converting for the 28-0 victory.In other results, the developmental side, University Select team were whitewashed 33-0 by South Africa in Pool D as the Chairman Select couldn’t match up to the visiting Bristol Barracudas led by former Kenya 7s captain Humphrey Kanyange going down 31-7 in their Pool C encounter.SELECTED RESULTSBristol Barracudas 31- 7 Chairman SelectKenya (Morans) 28 – 0 Uganda CranesSamurai 14 – 12 ShujaaChairman Select 21 – 19 SpainRwanda 7- 40 KenyaWestern Province 7 -24 ShujaaHamilton Raiders 15- 21 Chairman SelectShujaa 50- 0 Uganda Cobs0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

first_imgMontgomery scored 23 of his game-high 27 points over the final threequarters in a 72-65 victory that moved the host Indians (19-5, 7-0) one step closer to clinching the Foothill League title with three games left in the regular season. “It was tough for me to find my rhythm early in the game,” Montgomery said. “I started feeling more comfortable in the second quarter, and my shots started falling.” Montgomery scored 12 of his 15first-half points in the second quarter, including six consecutive over a minute-and-a-half stretch to give the Indians a 37-27 halftime lead. With Montgomery struggling early on, Levi Wenrich scored the first four points of the game, and Brad Wyche added the final six of the first quarter to cap an 11-0run that gave Hart a 15-10 lead heading into the second quarter. “Michael does a lot for us, but we’re not a one-man show,” Hart coach Tom Kelly said. Valencia (12-10, 3-4) played with a sense of urgency to open the second half as Jake Piva, Shane Vereen and John Otavka each scored to cut the deficit to four points. But Montgomery and Marcus Moloznik combined for 12 of Hart’s next 13 points to push the Indians’ lead to 50-36 with 3:06 left in the third quarter. The Valencia High boys’ basketball team had to be pleased with holding Hart of Newhall junior Michael Montgomery to just one field goal over the first six-plus minutes of Tuesday night’s game. One problem: Valencia failed to maintain the pressure on Montgomery, and it proved to be a costly mistake. center_img Valencia tried to rally in the fourth quarter, but Montgomery, who also had five rebounds, five assists, three blocks and three steals, had an answer every time. He connected on a pair of free throws to give Hart a 60-48 lead with 5:34 remaining, and his breakaway one-handed dunk with 5:02 left gave the Indians an insurmountable 14-point lead. Otavka, the Vikings’ leading scorer who averages 16 points per game, scored 10 points on 3-of-13 shooting from the field. Vereen finished with 18 points and five assists. sean.ceglinsky@dailynews.com (818) 713-3607 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhy these photogenic dumplings are popping up in Los AngelesThe Security Council, repeatedly accused of taking too long to come up with a response to the fighting, would leave out several key demands from both Israel and Lebanon in efforts to come up with a workable arrangement. Diplomats said the vote would take place in the evening. A host of senior diplomats were on hand for the draft’s adoption, underscoring the significance of the moment. Rice, British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett and French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy all planned to cast their country’s ballots. “You never get a deal like this with everybody getting everything that they want,” Beckett said. “The question is, has everybody got enough for this to stick and for it to be enforceable? Nobody wants to go back to where we were before this last episode started.” Despite Lebanese objections, Israel will be allowed to continue defensive operations, and a dispute over the Chebaa Farms area along the Syria-Lebanon-Israel border will be left for later. Israel won’t get its wish for an entirely new multinational force separate from the U.N. peacekeepers that have been stationed in south Lebanon since 1978. There is also no call for the release of Lebanese prisoners held by Israel or a demand for the immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops. Although the draft resolution emphasizes the need for the “unconditional release” of the two Israeli soldiers whose July 12 capture by Hezbollah sparked the conflict, that call is not included in the list of steps required for a lasting cease-fire. UNITED NATIONS – France and the United States asked the U.N. Security Council on Friday to adopt a draft resolution that calls for an end to the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, and authorizes the deployment of 15,000 U.N. peacekeepers to help Lebanese troops take control of south Lebanon as Israel withdraws. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert endorsed the emerging cease-fire deal late Friday after a day of dramatic brinksmanship including a threat to expand the ground war. A senior U.S. official said Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora had assured Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that Lebanon supports the text. Olmert will recommend that his government approve the deal in its scheduled meeting on Sunday, but his nation’s military offensive will continue for the time being, Israeli officials said. Earlier in the day, Israel ordered an expanded ground offensive in southern Lebanon, and troops massed along the border in preparation. The carefully crafted draft offers the best chance yet for peace after more than four weeks of war that has killed more than 800 people, destroyed Lebanon’s infrastructure and inflamed tensions across the Middle East. Diplomats acknowledged each side would have to make sacrifices but said the negotiators’ key goal had been to come up with a draft that spells out a lasting political solution to the hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah along the Israel-Lebanon border. The standoff has bedeviled the region for more than two decades. At the heart of the resolution are two elements: It seeks an immediate halt to the fighting that began July 12 when Hezbollah militants kidnapped two Israeli troops along the Blue Line, the U.N.-demarcated border separating Israel; and it spells out a series of steps that would lead to a permanent cease-fire and long-term solution. That would be done by creating a new buffer zone in south Lebanon “free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the government of Lebanon and UNIFIL” – the acronym of the U.N. force deployed in the region since 1978. The force now has 2,000 troops; the resolution would expand it to a maximum of 15,000. South Lebanon had been under de facto Hezbollah control for several years until Israeli forces occupied parts of it after the start of the fighting last month. The political solution would include implementation of previous Security Council resolutions calling for Hezbollah’s disarmament. Under the resolution, UNIFIL would be significantly beefed up to help coordinate when 15,000 Lebanese troops deploy to the region. As Lebanese forces take control of the south, Israeli troops would withdraw. Israel is chiefly concerned that Hezbollah not be allowed to regain its strength in south Lebanon once a cessation of hostilities goes into effect. It had originally demanded the creation of a new multinational force separate from UNIFIL, which it claimed was powerless. The United States, which had shared Israel’s concerns, believes that UNIFIL would essentially become so strong that it will not resemble the weaker force it once was. “It is, as we see it in this resolution, a robust force and one that’s capable of meeting the job,” State Department spokesman Tom Casey said. A senior U.S. official in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the U.S. and France envision a 10-day timeframe between the moment a halt to the hostilities is declared and the moment UNIFIL troops go into action in the south. The draft asks U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to come up with proposals within 30 days on resolving various border disputes including the one over Chebaa Farms. Lebanon had wanted a direct demand in the draft that Chebaa Farms be put under U.N. control. Lebanon had also wanted the draft to call for the release of Lebanese prisoners held by Israel. Yet the draft only asks that the issue of those prisoners be worked out. — Associated Press reporter Paul Burkhardt at the United Nations and Anne Gearan in Washington contributed to this story.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

first_imgSome 62 billion e-mails are sent every day. That’s billion with a B. It’s all part of a deluge of too many books, magazines and TV news crawls that is causing Americans to stop paying attention, according to a new book, “Your Attention Please.” Say what? The Associated Press spoke with the authors – journalist Paul B. Brown and Alison Davis, CEO of Davis & Company, a communications consultancy – about life in the too-much-information age. AP: You say in your book that an information glut is causing sensory overload, that people read a lot but retain very little. How did we get to this point? AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe joys and headaches of holiday travel: John PhillipsDavis: The whole information age is only really about two decades old … and it’s a major reason we feel so overloaded. But there’s proliferation of media, proliferation of messages. It’s just way too easy to send an e-mail to way too many people, and we all suffer as the recipients of this. AP: There has also been an explosion in other types of information, whether it’s advertising or even the TV news “crawl” at the bottom of the screen. Why do TV news stations think we can process six pieces of information at once? Davis: In my view it actually started with MTV, which debuted in the early ’80s (and) really picked up the pace of information. … And then everybody sort of glommed on to this idea that it should be really fast moving. … To capture people’s attention, what they’ve created is an information overload glut even when you’re just watching a sporting event or just watching the news. It’s an attempt to keep you watching, but I think what it does is, it makes people kind of tune out a bit. Brown: I have a 23-year-old son … who will watch four football games simultaneously, and each of the four games that he’s watching they do all these information boxes. And he’s now used to it. And so as a result of this, you’re not going to give 24-year-olds less information, you’re going to give them more information. And it’s going to get worse. … I can’t do it. I cannot physically watch football with him. … We will watch the same game on separate televisions for that very reason, because he has to keep flipping around, looking at scores, how is this affecting his fantasy football league, and I’m saying, “Can I just watch the Patriots, please?” AP: Your book offers tips for communicators. Care to share some? Davis: The No. 1 core of our advice is, the more your communication is aimed at meeting somebody else’s needs, (namely) the person you’re trying to reach – the less it’s about you and the more it’s about them – the more likely they’re going to engage. Brown: What follows from that is, shorter is better. You know the great Mark Twain line: “If I had more time, I’d write you a shorter letter.” (That’s) absolutely right. A CLOSER LOOK More than 18,000 magazines and 60,000 books are published every year in the United States. The U.S. Postal Service delivers more than 200 billion pieces of mail a year. An estimated 62 billion e-mails are sent every day, with e-mail generating about 400,000 terabytes of new information every year. (One terabyte equals one trillion bytes.) By comparison, a typical academic research library contains about 2 terabytes of information. The Internet contains about 170 terabytes of information, which is 17 times more than the Library of Congress print collections. About 5 billion instant messages are sent every day. The average office printer consumes 24 reams of paper a year.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

first_img8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market frederic lardinois A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts Few consumer technologies are as encumbered by arcane acronyms as modern cell phones. Right now, the buzzword in the mobile industry is 4G. The problem, though, is that none of the current networks actually fulfill the International Telecommunication Union‘s requirements for being called 4G. The technologies that are currently in the market and being labeled as 4G are LTE and WiMAX. These represent such a major generational shift from today’s 3G networks that it is obvious why marketing departments prefer the 4G moniker, even though the official standard bodies don’t consider them to be official 4G technologies.This series on wireless standards is brought to you by Intel.Let’s cut through the marketing speak and look at how we got here, what today’s so-called 4G networks offer, what the common acronyms mean, and how they are different from today’s 3G networks. Understanding 3GMost modern 3G phones (including the iPhone 3G) currently use a technology called HSPA (High Speed Packet Access). It was this technology that allowed users to really use the Internet on their mobile phones, send pictures and watch streaming video at usable speeds. HSPA tops out at about 3.6 Mbps. Then, with the introduction of HSPA+ – with speeds up to 7.2 Mbps (and with some modifications up to 21 Mbps and a theoretical limit of up to 168 Mbps), wireless speeds started to rival those of many wired connections in users’ homes and really allowed for the full spectrum of Internet services to be usable on mobile devices. Just to complicate matters, 3G devices that support speeds around 7.2 Mbps are often called 3.5G devices.Today’s So-Called 4G Over the last year or so, we have seen the introduction of two so-called 4G technologies: LTE (Long Term Evolutions) and WiMAX. In the U.S., Sprint is using the WiMAX standard for its networks and Verizon is using LTE. With CLEAR, Clearwire is also offering a WiMAX-based broadband network that targets consumers who want fast Internet speeds on their laptops and at home, though the reach of the company’s network is still limited to a select number of cities in the U.S.One of the major differences – besides the faster speeds – between these networks and 3G is that voice – which until now travelled over a separate line – now runs over the same network as the data, and telephony on the phone basically becomes a VoIP application similar to Skype.With speeds of over 100 Mbps, wireless networks can easily rival the speeds of wired connections. Thanks to this, areas where it is currently too expensive to update wired networks may soon get access to real broadband. By doing away with the enormous costs of physically connecting every household to the wired networks, we will also hopefully see more competition among Internet providers. WiMAX operators like Clearwire are also able to offer so-called “triple-play” bundles that bring together Internet, phone and television services over the wireless connection. Real 4G: Coming in 2012While no actual 4G spec has been finalized yet, the current expectation is that the standard will call for a minimum speed of 1 to 1.5 Gbps. According to a recent report (PDF) by Rysavy Research for 3G Americas, the first networks that will actually fulfill these official requirements for 4G will probably use the LTE-Advanced specifications. The final specs for LTE-Advanced won’t be completed until March 2011, though, and the first networks with support for this standard won’t go online until 2012. The other real 4G spec that is currently being discussed is the IEEE 802.16m standard, backed by the WiMAX Forum. Faster speeds are not just the only advantage of these networks. The latency – that is the time it takes the network to respond to a request – is also greatly reduced over these networks.Image credit: Groupe Aménagement Numérique des Territoires.center_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#Sponsors#web#WiMAX last_img read more

first_imgCCH Tax Day ReportEnacted Wisconsin legislation conforms the state’s partnership and corporation franchise and income tax return due dates to the federal due dates, applicable to taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2016.The Wisconsin Department of Revenue has issued a notice that includes a chart showing the due dates (both unextended and extended) for 2016 tax returns affected by the legislation. The notice is available at https://www.revenue.wi.gov/Pages/TaxPro/News-170310.aspx.Although the legislation changed the partnership return due date to March 15, the notice provides that the department will accept as timely 2016 returns and payments filed and paid by the due date applicable under prior law (i.e., April 18, 2017) because the legislation was enacted close to the due date.Generally, for corporations, the legislation also changes the due date of the first installment of estimated tax from the 15th day of the 3rd month of the taxable year to the 15th day of the 4th month of the taxable year. However, if the corporation’s taxable year begins in April, then the first installment is still due in the 3rd month of the taxable year. The department’s notice includes a chart showing the 2017 corporate estimated tax due dates.Subscribers can view the enacted legislation.Act 2Act 2 (S.B. 2), Laws 2017, effective March 11, 2017, applicable as noted; News for Tax Professionals, Wisconsin Department of Revenue, March 10, 2017last_img read more

first_img An anisotropic universe would leave telltale patterns in the cosmic microwave background (bottom). But the actual CMB (top) shows only random noise and no signs of such patterns. Ever peer into the night sky and wonder whether space is really the same in all directions or whether the cosmos might be whirling about like a vast top? Now, one team of cosmologists has used the oldest radiation there is, the afterglow of the big bang, or the cosmic microwave background (CMB), to show that the universe is “isotropic,” or the same no matter which way you look: There is no spin axis or any other special direction in space. In fact, they estimate that there is only a one-in-121,000 chance of a preferred direction—the best evidence yet for an isotropic universe. That finding should provide some comfort for cosmologists, whose standard model of the evolution of the universe rests on an assumption of such uniformity.”It’s a much more comprehensive analysis than in previous cases,” says Anthony Challinor, a cosmologist at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom who was not involved in the work. “The question of how isotropic is the universe is of fundamental importance.”In 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus knocked Earth and humanity from the supposed center of the universe by noting that Earth goes around the sun, not the other way around. That observation gave birth to the Copernican principle, which holds that we have no special place in the infinite, centerless universe. In the early 20th century, with the advent of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity and the observation that the universe is expanding in all directions, that idea evolved into the cosmological principle, which assumes that the universe is the same everywhere and in every direction. In fancier terms, the universe is both homogeneous and isotropic.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(*)The principle has its limitations. As the existence of stars and galaxies shows, matter is not distributed exactly the same way everywhere. This, they assume, arises because the universe was born as a homogeneous soup of subatomic particles in the big bang. As the universe underwent an exponential growth spurt called inflation, tiny quantum fluctuations in that soup expanded to gargantuan sizes, providing density variations that would seed the galaxies. Yet, the standard model of cosmology rests on the assumption that, on the largest scales, these variations are insignificant, and space is homogeneous and isotropic.But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. Theoretically, it’s possible that space could be the same from point to point, but still have special directions—much as a diamond crystal has uniform density, but specific directions in which its atoms line up in rows. There were even some hints of such “anisotropy” in the early 2000s, when measurements from NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) spacecraft suggested that some subtle undulations in the motley CMB appeared to line up along a so-called “axis of evil”—which most researchers discount as a statistical fluke.Now, Daniela Saadeh and Andrew Pontzen, cosmologists at University College London, and colleagues have ruled out special directions with the most stringent test yet. They also use measurements of the CMB, this time taken with the European Space Agency’s Planck spacecraft, which collected data from 2009 to 2013 and provided far more precise CMB maps than WMAP. Instead of looking for curious imbalances in the CMB, they systematically worked the other way around. They considered all the ways that space could have a preferred direction and how such scenarios might imprint themselves on the CMB. Then they searched for those specific signs in the data. Credits: (Top to bottom) ESA and the Planck Collaboration; D. Saadeh et. al., zenodo center_img For example, space could be expanding at different speeds along different axes. Such differential expansion would cause the radiation from some directions to stretch to longer wavelengths than in others, and the upshot would be a big bull’s-eye pattern in the CMB. Or, space could be rotating about a particular axis, which would create a spiral pattern in the CMB. Finally, the newborn universe could have been agitated by distortions in space itself known as gravitational waves, which would stretch the whole cosmos in one direction and compress it in a perpendicular direction. That sort of motion would leave more complex spirals in the CMB. In all, the researchers identify five potential patterns or “modes” in the CMB that would signal some sort of special direction in space.Using a supercomputer, Saadeh, Pontzen, and colleagues look for evidence of any such patterns lurking faintly behind random variations in the CMB’s temperature—a process not unlike trying to pick out a weak picture through extreme static on an old-fashioned TV screen. To give their study even more bite, they also look for accompanying patterns in the polarization of the CMB’s microwaves, which Planck also mapped. For three of the five patterns, “polarization data is the killer thing,” Saadeh says.Others had performed similar tests for signs that the universe is spinning, but Saadeh, Pontzen, and colleagues improve the limit on such a signal by an order of magnitude. They also put limits on all other kinds of anisotropy, as they report in a paper in press at Physical Review Letters. “For the first time, we really exclude anisotropy,” Saadeh says. “Before, it was only that it hadn’t been probed.”But just how significant is that advance? That’s hard to judge, Challinor says, because there aren’t compelling alternatives to the standard model of cosmology that predict exactly how an anisotropic universe should be. “The problem is, what do you compare it to?” he asks. Still, he notes, “this assumption is fundamental cosmology” so “it’s very important to check.”last_img read more

first_img Weight loss seems to come easiest to those who want it least. Every year, hundreds of thousands suffer from the loss of appetite that comes with tumor-induced anorexia, which can accompany many late-stage cancers. Now, researchers from three major pharmaceutical companies have independently published papers showing that the culprit behind this condition—a protein called growth differentiation factor-15 (GDF15)—helps mice, rats, and monkeys lose weight without any apparent side effects.“The idea of having another medication to add to our armamentarium is exciting news,” says Katherine Saunders, an obesity medicine physician at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City who was not involved with the work. There are currently five U.S. Food and Drug Administration–approved obesity medications for long-term weight management, which can help patients lose 5% to 8% of their body weight on average. “That’s very limited,” Saunders says, adding that many drugs used to treat obesity don’t have the same level of specificity as GDF15.GDF15’s potential as a weight-loss agent was first discovered by Samuel Breit, an immunologist and physician at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, Australia. He saw levels of the protein rise 10 to 100 times higher than normal during tumor-induced anorexia in mice with prostate tumors and in humans with advanced prostate cancer. Breit also showed that GDF15 likely exerts its effects through the brain—though he says that until now the protein’s target has befuddled scientists.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(*)To find that target, Sebastian Beck Jørgensen, a diabetes and obesity researcher at Novo Nordisk in Maaloev, Denmark, and colleagues screened more than 2700 proteins that reside in human cell membranes, where they receive molecular signals from outside the cell and transmit their messages inward. Among all these possible partners, GDF15 bound to a single protein receptor called the GDNF family receptor α-like (GFRAL), whose function was previously unknown, the team reports this week in Nature Medicine.Next, the researchers searched through an entire mouse brain for cells whose GFRAL gene was turned on. Surprisingly, it was found only in two regions of the brain: the area postrema, known as the “vomit-inducing center,” and the nucleus of the solitary tract, which houses neurons involved in many behaviors, including ones implicated in appetite regulation. That would normally be a problem for drug development, because most receptors are walled off by the blood-brain barrier, a system of cells that keeps drugs, toxins, and microbes out of the brain. But because these two GFRAL-containing regions are part of a small portion of the brain that sit outside the barrier, Jørgensen and colleagues think they’ve got a good drug target. “[It] turns out to not be as complicated as we were anticipating,” he says.To prove that GFRAL was necessary for GDF15-powered weight loss, the team created a strain of mice that couldn’t produce the receptor, which they then compared with a group of regular mice. When fed a high-fat diet for 16 weeks, all the mice doubled in weight, from about 20 to 40 grams. Daily injection of GDF15 for 4 weeks reduced the regular mice’s food intake and thus helped them shed about 5 to 10 grams each, a significant fraction of their body weight. The mice without the GFRAL receptor didn’t lose any weight when given GDF15, but otherwise appeared similar to regular mice.In another experiment with rats, a higher daily dose of GDF15 caused their food intake to plummet by 75%, from 20 to 5 grams of food per day. Rats whose diets were restricted to the same small portions of food—but who were not on GDF15—lost similar amounts of body weight and fat, which supports the idea that GDF15 works primarily by suppressing appetite, and not by boosting metabolism and burning calories.Papers also published this week in Nature Medicine by Eli Lilly & Company in Indianapolis and Janssen BioTherapeutics in San Diego, California, also independently identified GFRAL as the receptor of GDF15, with similar diet-suppressing results. Additionally, Janssen researchers created a long-lasting version of GDF15 that was given to cynomolgus monkeys. It remained active in their bloodstream for 4 weeks and helped them drop 4% of their body weight.“We are very glad to see the major findings in all three papers are consistent with each other,” says Xinle Wu, who led the research team at Eli Lilly. A spokesperson for Janssen declined an interview request.One potential concern about GDF15 is that it acts on the vomit-inducing center of the brain. Janssen researchers noted no signs of nausea, uneasiness, or vomiting when GDF15 was given to monkeys. But Richard Palmiter, a neuroscientist who studies the regulation of appetite at the University of Washington in Seattle, says, “Since you can’t ask animals how they feel, there is a risk that this drug would make people feel sick rather than satiated.”So far, Jørgensen says his team hasn’t noticed any side effects from GDF15, which can occur when a drug binds multiple targets, or when a receptor is found throughout the body. So far, GDF15 seems selective to GFRAL, which itself is highly localized to two small brain regions. He adds that Novo Nordisk is tweaking GDF15, ideally to exert a stronger and longer-lasting effect. This modified form of the protein is what will likely be tested in human clinical trials, whenever they occur: All three companies are hush-hush on time frames. Jørgensen anticipates a GDF15-based drug would be most effective in combination with existing or future obesity treatments.W. Scott Butsch, an obesity medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, agrees. (Butsch is part of Novo Nordisk’s clinician’s advisory board, but was not involved nor aware of its research on GDF15.) “Obesity is a complex disease with no one-size-fits-all treatment. Combination therapy is the future,” he says. For instance, GDF15, which dampens appetite, could be used additively or synergistically with another drug that boosts metabolism. “We’ve moved beyond thinking that one drug will win the jackpot and cure everyone’s obesity.” Cancer-induced anorexia inspires potentially powerful antiobesity drug Camilo Torres/iStock Photo Three independent studies from three pharmaceutical companies suggest a new way to suppress diet and lose weight in mice, rats, and monkeys. By Ryan CrossAug. 30, 2017 , 1:54 PMlast_img read more