Jason Kenneys open for business message finds receptive audience on Bay Street

first_img Share this storyJason Kenney’s ‘open for business’ message finds receptive audience on Bay Street Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Email May 3, 20198:56 PM EDTLast UpdatedMay 8, 20193:40 PM EDT Filed under News Sponsored By: Barbara Shecter Twitter More Jason Kenney’s ‘open for business’ message finds receptive audience on Bay Street ‘The problem is that we have in Ottawa a government that is layering more and more anti-business, anti-investment policies on top of one another,’ Kenney told the Post advertisement Facebook Reddit Recommended For YouFerring Collaboration with Digital Health Innovators WOOM Aims to Help More People Build Families FasterTrans Mountain construction work can go ahead as National Energy Board re-validates permitsDavid Rosenberg: Deflation is still the No. 1 threat to global economic stability — and central banks know itBank of Canada drops mortgage stress test rate for first time since 2016The storm is coming and investors need a financial ark to see them through Comment 47 Comments Peter J. Thompson/National Post He acknowledged, however, that his message of unity faces real challenges on certain issues with other provinces, including British Columbia and Quebec, as well as with the federal government, which he is battling on several fronts from carbon taxes to legislation.“The problem is that we have in Ottawa a government that is layering more and more anti-business, anti-investment policies on top of one another,” Kenney said. “And obviously we have a challenge with B.C. on TMX (Trans Mountain Expansion Project) and Quebec on a proposed energy east pipeline.”But he pledged to sit down with his fellow premiers to try to find common ground, as long as it doesn’t interfere with Alberta getting a “fair price for our energy and a fair deal in the federation.”Kenney said he is also hopeful he can appeal to what he views as the “pro-business orientation” of the new Quebec government of Francois Legault.“Things have changed…. I’m hopeful we can find a win-win for them,” Kenney said.Even in B.C., he said he sees a possible wedge to counter resistance to increased oil shipments and that he will try make inroads as the province deals with what he called “sky high” gas prices.“So I think there are some openings for us to pursue with those provinces,” he said.  As he discussed his distaste for such rankings, Kenney renewed his attack on HSBC, which he called a “high-profile hypocrite” on the issue. He pledged to try to recruit other provinces to join Alberta in retaliating against the decision not to fund oilsands projects by boycotting all government business with the global bank.“We’ll no longer accept the application of a double standard to our energy industry,” Kenney said. “If HSBC were to decide to leave fossil fuels altogether, fair game … but we’re sure as heck not going to allow them to (go unchallenged as they) finance Putin and Saudi (Arabia) while boycotting Canada.”HSBC, which has a Canadian unit, has pledged to continue doing business in Canada in the face of Kenney’s attacks. The Alberta Premier told the Financial Post he doesn’t think he has to worry about a similar fight with Canada’s large domestic banks.“A third of their book (of business) is based on energy (companies). They absolutely need them, and the Canadian economy needs us,” Kenney said. “So that’s my message today. It’s about shared prosperity, and the Canadian financial services industry — the banking industry — is inextricably linked to the Alberta energy sector.”Kenney met with Ontario Premier Doug Ford before his speech in Toronto on Friday, and he said the pair bonded on their shared “open for business” attitude.“I’m pushing on an open door” with Ford, Kenney said after it was reported that Ford called him a “great ally.”Newly minted Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks at the Canadian Club in Toronto on May 3, 2019. What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation ← Previous Next → Join the conversation → Jason Kenney used his first major speech as Alberta’s Premier to try to convince Bay Street that what’s good for Alberta is good for all of Canada — a message that appeared to land on receptive ears.The self-proclaimed federalist, who often took a combative stance while campaigning on pledges go after those who hurt Alberta’s oil and gas industry, stressed common ground at a packed luncheon in Toronto on Friday, where he said the health of the energy sector is “a Canadian issue.”The standing ovation that greeted him surprised even Kenney, who laid out his plans to move quickly to establish Alberta’s “open for business” credentials with tax cuts and regulatory relief to speed up approvals.“I was frankly blown away by the response,” he said in an interview following the speech, adding that he has heard of some capital spending and real estate decisions being “unfrozen” in the wake of the election victory of his United Conservative Party last month. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney launches eastward and westward challenges as pipeline fight intensifies Ottawa will exempt oilsands from new reviews unless Alberta premier Jason Kenney lifts emissions cap HSBC defends itself after months of jabs from Jason Kenney over its oilsands lending policy But while appealing to Bay Street is key to his plan to make Alberta to “the most pro-business jurisdiction in Canada,” Kenney did not back off some targets that could chip away at that support.Among them is HSBC Holdings PLC, a global bank that had indicated it would stop funding oilsands projects or pipelines connected to them. Kenney also targeted large institutional investors, who he criticized for taking too narrow a view when making investment decisions based on environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations.“We think simply scoring carbon output is far too narrow a criteria for investors or public policy,” Kenney told the Financial Post, adding that he believes not enough weight is being given to social impacts such as labour rights, human rights and indigenous rights, as well as environmental impacts beyond emissions.“We are going to make the case to major institutional shareholders in Toronto, New York, and Europe that they need a broader matrix to make ethical investment decisions,” he said. “We believe on that broader matrix we would score ahead of the OPEC countries or Russia … in which all these companies invest.”We think simply scoring carbon output is far too narrow a criteria for investors Featured Stories Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks at the Canadian Club in Toronto on May 3, 2019.Peter J. Thompson/National Post last_img read more

WatchWatch live analysis on Bank of Canadas interest rate hold

first_imgWatch live analysis on Bank of Canada’s interest rate hold Join us for breaking commentary and analysis on the Bank of Canada’s rate decision Financial Post Staff Join the conversation → Comment Facebook January 3, 20191:30 PM ESTLast UpdatedJanuary 9, 20191:00 PM EST Filed under News Economy Email 0 Comments Reddit Share this storyWatch live analysis on Bank of Canada’s interest rate hold Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Related Stories Twitter Job creation is strong, but wage growth disappoints. What that means to the Bank of Canada More The Bank of Canada left its trend-setting interest rate unchanged at 1.75 per cent today as the sharp decline in oil prices temporarily dims its economic outlook for the coming months.Before long, however, the central bank expects the economy to expand with renewed vigour. More rate hikes, it stressed, will be necessary “over time.”In its first policy announcement of 2019, the bank said the recent drop in crude prices will result in slower-than-expected growth in an economy that has otherwise been performing well.Watch FP Live for analysis of the Bank of Canada’s decision and economic forecast. last_img read more

Enevate secures funding from LG Chem to develop fast charging battery technology

first_imgSource: Enevate Corporation Source: Electric Vehicles Magazine Enevate Corporation, a California battery tech firm that’s done some pioneering work on silicon-dominant anodes and cells, has received funding from South Korea battery giant LG Chem.Enevate says its HD-Energy technology allows Li-ion batteries to be charged to 75 percent capacity in 5 minutes, while also providing higher energy density than batteries currently on the market. Enevate’s batteries can safely charge and discharge at temperatures as low as -40° C, and are designed to capture more energy during regenerative braking, extending range in cold climates.“The strategic investment from LG Chem indicates the significance of our technology because it could directly address consumer concerns with EVs, such as charge time and range anxiety, cost, and safety,” says Enevate CEO Robert A. Rango. “We look forward to our strategic partnerships with companies such as LG Chem to commercialize advanced batteries that will accelerate the adoption of EVs worldwide.”last_img read more

Guide To Buying A Tesla Model 3

first_imgTesla Model 3 Fully Charged Visits Colorado To Check Out The Tesla Model 3 Source: Electric Vehicle News The Model 3 is one of the best-selling cars in the U.S. and there are reasons for that:long-range of up to around 260 miles or 310 miles depending on the versiongreat performancesall-wheel drive optionone of the most affordable long-range electric car (from $46,000 + $1,200 D&H)high safety (5 stars from NHTSA)can use Supercharging networkover-the-air software updatesmodern design (exterior and interior)15” center touch screen to control the carAutopilot assist systemand more…Sections:0:37 Tesla Model 3 Overview1:31 Designing & Ordering7:55 EV Tax Credit10:36 Preparing for Delivery13:41 Driving & Traveling18:20 Software & Touchscreen22:36 Maintenance & Care23:48 Conclusion What to know before you buy.Andy Slye shared thoughts and advice on buying a Tesla Model 3 after six months of owning one.Slye considers the Model 3 a fantastic car, the best he’s ever driven, but before you decide it’s good to watch the guide and check out whether it’s the car for you or which version will be best suited to your needs.“This is my complete guide to buying & owning a Tesla Model 3. By the time you finish watching you should know exactly what the Model 3 is all about, if it’s a good fit for you, how to order & design yours Model 3, and how to prepare for ownership.”center_img Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on November 13, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News Tesla Model 3 Mountain Road Trip Experience: 500 Miles Driven Autogefühl Checks Out The Tesla Model 3 In Paris: Videolast_img read more

How Does Tesla Autopilot Fare Driving Directly Into The Sun Video

first_img Professional Test Driver Demos Tesla Model S Navigate On Autopilot Tesla Autopilot cameras have pros and cons when it comes to direct sunlight.Tesla Autopilot still has plenty or quirks. This is precisely why Tesla didn’t attempt to launch its upcoming full self-driving technology prematurely. With each update, we see plenty of positives. However, there are also issues that the electric automaker must resolve.Being that the Autopilot system only relies on cameras and radar, there have been issues with regard to different levels of light and objects that blend into others, etc. The facts continue to show that while the feature may be the best on the market to date, it’s far from perfect.Additional Tesla Autopilot Coverage: Tesla owner and YouTuber Scott Kubo has a habit of providing Autopilot update videos. In fact, it’s just about all he focuses on. He’s uploaded a handful of other content, but Autopilot is clearly his thing.In Kubo’s latest share, he addresses issues related to Autopilot dealing with direct sunlight. Fortunately, he is impressed with the car’s lane-keeping feature. However, he does note that automatic lane changes caused some problems.While the auto lane change feature is a nice bonus, at least it’s something that may not be expected at this point. If you try and the car fails, you simply take over and change lanes yourself. Being that Tesla Autopilot is still a “hands-on” system, the expectation is that users are aware and in control at all times. This means, if a feature isn’t initiating properly due to some circumstance, it’s your job to handle it.We’re confident that Tesla is aware of such issues and will continue to make necessary updates and adjustments for improvement.What are your issues with Autopilot. Let us know in the comment section below.Video Description via Scott Kubo and YouTube:Tesla Autopilot Driving Directly Into the SunHow well does Tesla’s camera-based autopilot perform when driving directly into the sun? Lane-keeping was pretty good, but auto-lane changes were problematic.This was tested on v9.2018.48 and v9 2019.5.6 Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on March 4, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News Source: Electric Vehicle News Let’s Dive Into Recent Changes To Tesla Autopilot Feature Availability Check Out Crystal Clear View Of Tesla Autopilot Line Detection: Videolast_img read more

Lagonda AllTerrain Electric Concept Previews Future EV Crossover

first_imgMajor key alert!Aston Martin’s Lagonda brand is taking the covers off its latest concept car at the Geneva Motor Show. Dubbed the All-Terrain Concept, the latest Lagonda previews the storied brand’s forthcoming crossover SUV.Following in the tread marks of last year’s aero-inspired Lagonda Vision Concept, the All-Terrain Concept cribs its looks from the nautical world. The finished product is handsome, if a smidge too minivan-like for our tastes.More Lagonda Info First Electric Aston Martin’s Lagonda Will Be An SUV With the car in its autonomous driving mode, the driver and front passenger can swivel their seats around to face those in the crossover’s rear bucket seats. Those in the back enter by way of rear-hinged doors that afford easy ingress and egress. Arguably, the standout interior detail of the All-Terrain Concept is its physical key, which levitates in between the two front seats by way of electromagnets.Power for the All-Terrain Concept comes courtesy of electricity, with the crossover’s battery pack located under its floorboards. Meanwhile, a shelf under the rear cargo floor extends out and serves as a seating perch for tailgating or whatever it is Lagonda drivers do.While the All-Terrain Concept is just that (a concept), the Geneva show car is due to spawn a production variant in 2022. Lagonda will build the crossover at its facility in St Athan in Wales. Inside, the Lagonda All-Terrain Concept is as luxurious as any yacht. The driver faces a steering wheel with an integrated gauge cluster in the hub. The wheel, however, is not necessary to drive the Lagonda All-Terrain Concept, as the crossover offers an autonomous driving mode. New Aston Lagonda SUV To Be Electric, On Sale In 2021center_img Electric Lagonda All-Terrain SUV Concept To Debut In Geneva Source: Electric Vehicle News Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on March 5, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle Newslast_img read more

Check out this slick custom redesigned Zero SRF electric motorcycle

first_imgUntitled Motorcycles, a custom motorcycle design shop, is showing off its custom redesigned Zero SR/F electric motorcycle. The bike takes a sharp turn from the standard SR/F streetfighter appearance, and yet is still recognizable as the SR/F that gave it life. more…Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1zk7Eb8r-s&list=PL_Qf0A10763mA7Byw9ncZqxjke6Gjz0MtThe post Check out this slick custom redesigned Zero SR/F electric motorcycle appeared first on Electrek. Source: Charge Forwardlast_img read more

And The Apple Award Goes To …

first_imgFor the first time, the FCPA Apple Award is given to a legal person (MetLife Inc.) and by extension its CEO Steven Kandarian.In terms of background, in January 2015 MetLife filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., challenging the decision of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) to designate MetLife as a “systemically important” non-bank financial institution under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.As has been widely reported (see here from the Wall Street Journal) U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer recently struck down the order of the FSOC designating MetLife as a systemically important nonbank financial institution under the Dodd-Frank Act.While the circumstances prompting this Apple Award have nothing to do specifically with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the circumstances present parallels to FCPA enforcement.In short, it is so refreshing in this seemingly “cooperate with the government and roll over and play dead era” that a company stood up to the government, exercised its due process rights, and forced the government to prove it case.As detailed in the Wall Street Journal article about Kandarian, the decision to litigate with the government was met with internal questions such as “what are the chances that we will win?.” Some viewed the decision to litigate as risking “customer and regulator opprobrium.”However, according to the article, Kandarian felt that MetLife was swept up in “the overreaction and overzealousness of regulators to prove they were doing something.” If you don’t see the potential parallels here to FCPA enforcement (i.e. the DOJ and SEC have specific FCPA units that seem to be growing bigger with each passing year), you may want to stop reading to check your pulse.An independent MetLife director is quoted in the article as saying “[Kandarian] kept saying repeatedly if we believe that the decision is wrong as a matter of law, then it was important that we as a company take advantage of our rights to due process and correct what we believe is an irrational decision, as long as we did it in a respectful way.”As correctly noted in this recent Wall Street Journal op-ed about the case, it “bears watching well beyond Wall Street” because “it is a challenge to the power of the entire federal bureaucracy.” As noted in the article, MetLife stood up to the government’s ipse dixit (a Latin phrase that means, essentially, “because I said so”).As highlighted in this previous post titled “Ipse Dixit,” “because I said so” often seems to be the DOJ and SEC’s enforcement theory specifically regarding alleged FCPA books and records and internal controls violations. The post highlighted defense arguments in the SEC’s enforcement action against James Ruehlen and Mark Jackson and tellingly on the eve of trial, the SEC approached the defendants offering to settle the case.While outside the FCPA context, the MetLife victory is a reminder how the business community’s excessive FCPA risk aversion is, at least in part, responsible for the current aggressive FCPA enforcement climate. Indeed, as Homer Moyer, a dean of the FCPA bar, has observed:“One reality is the enforcement agencies’ [FCPA] views on issues and enforcement policies, positions on which they are rarely challenged in court. The other is what knowledgeable counsel believe the government could sustain in court, should their interpretations or positions be challenged. The two may not be the same. The operative rules of the game are the agencies’ views unless a company is prepared to go to court or to mount a serious challenge within the agencies.”Likewise, as an in-house lawyer at leading company commented to me, what is happening in the FCPA space is a version of the “tragedy of the commons.”As FCPA practitioner Paul Calli rightly recognized in this recent FCPA Flash podcast, when companies the subject of FCPA scrutiny hire counsel who are the architects of, or at least the product of, “the cooperate and play dead FCPA culture that often exists”, the end result (settlement) is often a foregone conclusion.In closing, while I know little about the Financial Stability Oversight Council and the specifics of designating a company a “systemically important” non-bank financial institution under Dodd-Frank, I am confident that if more companies subject to FCPA scrutiny based on aggressive enforcement theories would do what MetLife did, the current FCPA enforcement climate would look much different.And guess who would benefit from a business organization that exhibits a spine?Not just that company, but other  similarly situated companies.*****The FCPA Apple Award recognizes informed, candid, and fresh thought-leadership on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or related topics. There is no prize, medal or plaque awarded to the FCPA Professor Apple Award recipient. Just recognition by a leading FCPA website visited by a diverse group of readers around the world. There is no nomination procedure for the Apple Award. If you are writing something informed, candid and fresh about the FCPA or related topics, chances are high that I will find your work during my daily searches for FCPA content.last_img read more

Mark Cuban Cleared of All Insider Trading Charges The Full Story

first_imgAfter nearly three and a half hours of deliberation, nine jurors found Dallas billionaire Mark Cuban innocent of insider trading Wednesday afternoon.The verdict marks the end of the three-week trial, just days before the federal courts will run out of cash if the government shutdown continues. The six-year legal battle is likely the most expensive case the SEC has ever taken to trial.The heart of the dispute dates back to 2004 when Cuban had an eight-minute phone conversation with Mamma.com CEO Guy Fauré. During the call, Fauré asked Cuban if he wanted to participate . . .You must be a subscriber to The Texas Lawbook to access this content. Lost your password? Username Not a subscriber? Sign up for The Texas Lawbook.center_img Password Remember melast_img read more

Scientists identify neural circuit that gives rise to anxiety

first_imgMay 29 2018Neuroscientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have identified a neural circuit in the amygdala, the brain’s seat of emotion processing, that gives rise to anxiety. Their insight has revealed the critical role of a molecule called dynorphin, which could serve as a target for treatment of anxiety-related disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).Though they are distinct, fear and anxiety operate hand in hand, as anxiety almost always follows brief fearful experiences and can in turn influence fear responses to a perceived threat. However, very intense fearful experiences, especially those that are life threatening, are often “over-learned” and can lead to an unhealthy level of anxiety or to anxiety disorders. Such brain disorders are the most common, affecting about 18% of the adult US population.Previous studies indicate that two regions in the amygdala–the central amygdala and the BNST (bed nucleus of the stria terminalis)–coordinate short-term and long-term responses to various kinds of threatening stimuli. “What we haven’t known are the underlying circuit and cellular mechanisms in these regions that control the generation of anxiety,” says CSHL Professor Bo Li, who led the research.The central amygdala forges strong inhibitory connections with the BNST. To learn about what happens to these connections during anxiety, his team genetically manipulated one specific type of neuron called SOM+ because of a peptide they express called somatostatin. Li’s prior work showed that these “SOM+” neurons are necessary for the learning of fear responses. The team knocked out a gene called Erbb4 in SOM+ neurons – a gene that’s been linked to disorders including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.Related StoriesWearing a hearing aid may mitigate dementia riskNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to helpStudy provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with agingSandra Ahrens, a postdoctoral investigator in the Li lab, led experiments showing that when Erbb4 was deleted from SOM+ neurons in the central amygdala, mice displayed heightened anxiety. The team traced the mechanism behind this anxiety within a circuit that runs between the central amygdala and the BNST.The process leading to anxiety began with increased excitation of SOM+ neurons in the central amygdala. This led to a large increase in signaling by dynorphin, a peptide made by these neurons. This aberrant signaling interfered with normal inhibition of SOM+ neurons in the BNST and resulted in their becoming overactive. The net result was a display of anxious behavior.Dynorphin signaling was in this way identified as the driver of elevated anxiety. The team not only showed this in mice with neurons lacking Erbb4, but also, importantly, in genetically normal mice that were exposed to stress. “That’s why we think this is an important circuit in anxiety,” says Li. “By manipulating it in mice, we are actually able to ameliorate anxiety.”Li states: “Our results suggest that dynorphin can drive anxiety and therefore could be a cellular target for treating increased anxiety induced by stress. Our next step is to understand whether the receptors for dynorphin are expressed in the SOM+ neurons in the central amygdala itself or if they’re expressed by some other inputs onto the BNST.” Source:https://www.cshl.edu/last_img read more

Technology breakthrough could enable detection of fetal genetic abnormalities in early pregnancy

first_imgBiomedical engineers Dr Marnie Winter and Professor Benjamin Thierry from UniSA’s Future Industries Institute (FII) and the ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology (CBNS) are part of a team of researchers who have isolated fetal cells from maternal blood using a tiny microfluidic device, allowing for improved genetic testing.The technology breakthrough is published today (Thursday 14 June) in Advanced Materials Technologies.Lab-on-a-chip (LOC) technology integrates laboratory functions on a chip ranging from a few millimeters to a few square centimeters. The special design of the device allows large volumes of blood to be screened, paving the way for an efficient, cheap and quick method of separating fetal cells from maternal blood cells.“We are hopeful that this device could result in a new, non-invasive prenatal diagnostic test able to detect a wide range of genetic abnormalities in early pregnancy from a simple blood sample,” Dr Winter says.Currently, prenatal diagnostic tests involve an amniocentesis procedure or taking a sample of cells from the placenta (chorionic villus sampling), both of which carry a risk of inducing miscarriage.Related StoriesGene modulation goes wireless hacking the “boss gene”Healthy lifestyle lowers dementia risk despite genetic predispositionFungal infection study identifies specific genetic vulnerability among Hmong people“From about five weeks into the pregnancy, fetal cells originating from the placenta can be found in a mother’s bloodstream. Using modern microfluidic technology, we can now isolate these extremely rare cells (about one in a million) from the mother’s white blood cells and collect them for genetic analysis,” she says.The UniSA researchers, working in collaboration with Dr Majid Warkiani from the University of Technology Sydney and specialists from the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, SA Pathology and Repromed, adapted the device from one initially developed to isolate tumor cells from the blood of cancer patients.“Many pregnant women would be aware of the new tests based on circulating fetal DNA that – with a simple blood test – help determine the risk of having a baby with Down syndrome.“These tests have revolutionized prenatal care, but they can only detect a small subset of genetic conditions and are not always accurate. We hope this LOC technology will be able to reliably detect a greater range of genetic abnormalities, providing more information to families and healthcare providers,” Dr Winter says.Professor Thierry, who leads UniSA’s Bioengineering group, says there is significant scope to further develop the lab-on-a-chip concept.“We are collaborating with industry partners to translate this technology in routine clinical prenatal diagnostics and make it available in the future to screen low and medium-risk pregnancies,” he says.Source: http://unisa.edu.au/ Jun 18 2018A wide range of fetal genetic abnormalities could soon be detected in early pregnancy thanks to a world-first study led by University of South Australia researchers using lab-on-a-chip, non-invasive technology.last_img read more

Researchers receive grant to evaluate efficacy of tobacco cessation methods

first_img Source:https://www.kucancercenter.org/ Jun 27 2018Researchers at The University of Kansas Cancer Center have received a five-year National Institutes of Health R0-1 grant to compare and evaluate the efficacy of optimized versus non-optimized tobacco cessation approaches for African American smokers.African Americans suffer tremendous tobacco-related morbidity and mortality despite their tendency to smoke fewer cigarettes per day and begin smoking later in life. They are, however, less likely to quit smoking, exposing themselves to smoke for a longer period of life. Smoking is linked to about 80 to 90 percent of all lung cancer cases, and African Americans suffer from lung cancer more than any other population in the U.S.Nikki Nollen, PhD, principal investigator for the study, is a member of KU Cancer Center’s Cancer Control & Population Health research program, which was developed to identify better ways to bring cancer control efforts into high-risk and underserved communities, including African Americans.Related StoriesStudy: Tobacco and alcohol usage are common in British reality television showsResearchers mobilize globally to improve smoking cessation tools as World No Tobacco Day approachesNicotine delivery devices are harmful and do not help smokers to quitDr. Nollen was drawn to this research because she observed in both smoking cessation studies and in clinical practice, when smokers are provided a medication to help them quit, they are generally expected to continue that medication regardless of how well it is working.”I’ve witnessed smokers in previous trials experience difficulties with their medications very early on, and the vast majority of these patients never fully quit. Asking a smoker to continue taking a medication not working for them seems counterintuitive to me,” Dr. Nollen said. “Imagine if this was the approach to managing hypertension, diabetes or virtually any other chronic disease.””What if,” she asks, “the effectiveness of the tobacco cessation approach was monitored and then modified accordingly throughout treatment?”To test this theory, nearly 400 African American smokers will be treated using one of two smoking cessation approaches. One group will receive an optimized therapy that is adjusted based on the smoker’s success in abstaining from tobacco use. They will receive smoking cessation counseling, a nicotine patch and up to two pharmacotherapy medications based on verified smoking status at weeks two and six. Participants who effectively quit on the current medication will continue on that medication. Participants who are still smoking will be switched to a different medication.The other group will receive the same smoking cessation counseling and a nicotine patch for the duration of the study.”Our 12-week study will evaluate a major shift in the approach to tobacco dependence treatment and, if effective, could have broad treatment implications for the nearly six million African American adult smokers in the United States,” Dr. Nollen said.last_img read more

Common foods found to cause large glucose spikes in healthy people

first_imgThe most common way to measure blood glucose is by testing a fasting blood sample which will reveal the level at that particular point in time. Another common way is to test levels of glycated haemoglobin, “HbA1C,” which reflects average blood glucose for the last 3 months. Unfortunately, neither of these measurements reveals the dynamic changes that occur throughout the day. More recently, continuous glucose monitors — relatively new devices — have been used by some patients with diabetes to understand these daily variations.In the new study, however, continuous glucose monitoring in healthy participants showed that large fluctuations in blood glucose happen much more commonly than expected. When looking at the glucose “spikes” from 57 study participants, the authors found that people can be classified into 3 distinct “glucotypes” or glucose behaviors: those whose glucose does not vary much (low), those who spike often (severe), and those in between (moderate).Related StoriesALS mobility and survival could be improved by increasing glucoseNew biomaterial could encapsulate and protect implanted insulin-producing cellsNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancerTo assess how different people react to the same meal, the team provided three different standardized breakfasts to study participants: corn flakes with milk, bread with peanut butter, and a nutrition bar. The individual responses to these meals were unique, suggesting that people metabolize the same nutrients in an individualized way. Certain commonly eaten foods such as corn flakes were also found to cause a large glucose spike in most participants. As food has a major impact on glucose fluctuations, the team is building models to predict the foods that personally affect each individual.“We were very surprised to see blood sugar in the prediabetic and diabetic range in these people so frequently” said Michael Snyder, PhD, Professor and Chair of Genetics at Stanford and senior author of the study. “The idea is to try to find out what makes someone a “spiker” and be able to give them actionable advice to shift them into the low glucotype.”“Our next study will delve into the physiological causes of glucose dysregulation” Snyder continued. “These include not only genetic variation, but also microbiome composition, and pancreas, liver, and digestive organ functions.” In this manner the Stanford team hope to better control glucose dysregulation and prevent diabetes and its associated complications such as cardiovascular disease. Jul 26 2018Food has a major impact on glucose fluctuations and certain commonly eaten foods were found to cause a large glucose spike in most participants.The amount of glucose circulating in the blood changes throughout the day and night and it is influenced by the food we eat, activity, hormones, health, and more. It is well known that glucose levels above or below certain thresholds can cause damage to organs; however, a new study publishing 24 July in the open access journal PLOS Biology by researchers at Stanford University reveals that “normal” blood glucose levels are often not normal at all—they stray much farther from the healthy ranges than we assumed. Source:https://www.plos.orgcenter_img Food has a major impact on glucose fluctuations and certain commonly eaten foods were found to cause a large glucose spike in most participants. Credit: pbio.2005143 and Pixabaylast_img read more

New mobile research app platform may eliminate barriers existing in pregnancy research

first_img Source:https://www.scripps.edu/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Sep 6 2018For years, pregnant women have been underrepresented in biomedical research. Current treatments, interventions and guidelines do a poor job of taking into consideration the diverse characteristics of all pregnant women.”For example, the guidelines for recommended weight gain during pregnancy are very general, and don’t take into consideration factors such as race, height, age or number of previous pregnancies,” says Jennifer Radin, PhD, an epidemiologist and digital medicine expert at the Scripps Research Translational Institute.This lack of representation in research has jarring consequences. Rates of maternal morbidity and mortality in the United States are among the highest in developed countries.Radin and her colleagues seek to apply a digital approach to addressing the many knowledge gaps that exist for pregnancy. In an article published in npj Digital Medicine describing their early experience, the team demonstrate how scientists can use a smartphone-based research platform to recruit a large and diverse population of pregnant women to participate in a research study: in this case, a study that uses surveys and sensor collected data to better understand individual pregnancy health.To implement the study, Radin and colleagues partnered with WebMD, a leading provider of health information services. The highly trafficked WebMD Pregnancy app has been downloaded by over 1.6 million people since 2013. The study platform, built using Apple’s ResearchKit technology, was embedded into this popular app and connected the researchers with a highly engaged audience of potential study participants.Over the course of the first nine months of the planned multi-decade program, 2,058 participants from 50 states (who matched the inclusion criteria) were enrolled into the study. These participants completed a total of more than 14,000 surveys, and shared over 107,000 daily measurements of activity, heart rate, sleep and blood pressure.Related StoriesResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairMaternal prepregnancy surgery linked to increased risk of opioid withdrawal in newbornsSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds research”Pregnant women are curious about their health. They want to understand what is normal for women like them and how they can keep themselves and their developing baby healthy,” Radin explains. “Increasingly, they turn to apps to search for information and to ask other women about their pregnancy experiences. They are also using sensors to track and monitor their individual health.”A large burden of pregnancy morbidity and mortality impacts African American women, women living in rural areas, and women with co-morbidities, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Radin and her colleagues believe that a mobile research app platform, combined with sensors that enable the collection of frequent and more detailed data, will eliminate many of the barriers that exist for traditional clinic-based studies (e.g. lack of access to care centers, time constraints, transportation challenges) which often lack participant diversity.”We’re now focusing on expanding the reach of our research app platform, by making it available to both iOS and Android users,” says Steven Steinhubl, MD, director of digital medicine at Scripps Research Translational Institute. “We also want to provide individualized information back to participants and ultimately find ways to improve pregnancy health for all women.”In addition to Radin and Steinhubl, authors of the study “The Healthy Pregnancy Research Program: Transforming Pregnancy Research Through a ResearchKit App” include Andrew I. Su and Eric Topol of Scripps Research; Hansa Bhargava and Benjamin Greenberg of WebMD; and Brian M. Bot and Megan Doerr of Sage Bionetworks.last_img read more

An ant a plant and a bear oh my

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Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Emailcenter_img In a mountain meadow in Colorado, ecologists have come across yet another example of the amazing interconnectedness of nature’s flora and fauna. Black bears, by eating ants, help one of the meadow’s key plant species thrive.  “This is yet another example of the hugely important and sometimes unexpected roles that top predators play in ecosystems,” says Todd Palmer, an ecologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville who was not involved with the work. The bears’ influence is indirect, but may be significant enough that land managers should take a broader perspective when making decisions about bears in their territories, adds Joshua Grinath, an ecology graduate student at Florida State University in Tallahassee who discovered this connection.Ecologists are increasingly realizing that no species exists in a vacuum, but understanding the effects of their interactions can be challenging. For example, researchers had thought that the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park in the United States 20 years ago led to an increase in willows and aspens there because the wolves made elk fearful of browsing the saplings. But recent data suggest that elks aren’t really intimidated by wolves. So the forest’s revival is a mystery. Grinath came upon another predator-plant connection while studying the partnership between ants and treehoppers on a common plant called rabbitbrush. These tiny sap-sucking insects secrete a sugary liquid the ants eat in return for taking care of the treehoppers. One summer, a bear moved into Grinath’s study site and started digging up the underground ant nests, eating both larvae and adults. So he decided to see what effect the bears had on his study subjects. Over 4 years, he and his colleagues monitored 35 ant nests in this subalpine meadow for bear damage. During that time, bears damaged or destroyed 26% to 86% of the nests. He soon realized that plants lacking ants grew better and produced more seeds.Now Grinath knows why. The ants aren’t directly harming the plants, he and colleagues concluded after a series of field experiments. Instead, the presence of the ants scares off predatory insects, in turn enabling treehoppers and other plant-munching insects to thrive and take a serious toll on plant growth. “The ants are providing an enemy-free space for all these herbivores,” Grinath says.  Where bears have eaten the ants, predators return and help protect the plants, he and his colleagues reported online ahead of print in Ecology Letters.“The study really highlights the complexity of effects that a predator can have on a whole community of species that are interacting with each other,” says Corinna Riginos, an ecologist at Teton Science Schools in Jackson, Wyoming, who was not involved with the work. “Most likely, other big predators also have just as many surprising and complex effects on the many species they live with.”Judith Bronstein, an ecologist at the University of Arizona in Tucson, was also impressed, as such interactions can be hard to tease out. “In this case, many of the strongest effects are indirect ones whose importance couldn’t have been predicted in the absence of controlled experiments,” says Bronstein, who was not involved with the work. (The experiments performed by Grinath’s team included removing all ants from some rabbitbrushes, allowing just a few ants on others, and leaving  the ants alone on still other plants. In other tests, they manipulated the number of insect predators on the plants.)In this situation, it’s not just who eats whom, but also a question of who helps whom. Such mutualisms, as these partnerships are called, “can play a powerful role in the organization and functioning of nature,” Palmer says.Bears are changing their diets—with some eating more ants and others becoming increasingly reliant on garbage and human food—so ant populations may increasingly be affected. But “it’s hard to say” whether the bears’ eating habits have a big enough impact “to affect the abundance of rabbitbrush across the landscape,” Riginos says. Adds Palmer, “The jury is out until large-scale and longer term experiments are conducted.”But Grinath thinks there is cause for concern: “These types of ecological relationships could unravel” if bears and their habitats aren’t managed carefully, he says, and plant populations could change as a result.last_img read more

In Palmyra archeaologists tally the losses after Islamic State retreats

first_imgSpecialists should be able to reconstruct the shattered sculptures, given enough time and money, says Maamoun Abdulkarim, the head of DGAM in Damascus. He is already in discussions with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization officials about plans for bringing back the larger sites. It could take just 5 years to restore Palmyra, he estimates, given sufficient money and help from the international community. Still, the destruction could have been even greater, researchers say. Many important sites appear to have survived, including a military camp and theater dating to Roman times, a historic tax collecting center, and a temple to the Babylonian god Nabu. Some specialists, however, are skeptical of that timeline and predict restoration will pose complex problems, including how any reconstruction should reflect Palmyra’s recent violent history. “It’s not just a heritage site anymore. It’s a war zone, it’s a grave, it’s a place where people were executed,” says Allison Cuneo of ASOR. She notes that IS fighters used a Roman amphitheater to stage the executions of at least 25 men. “That theater where they killed all those soldiers is a place where they were holding plays and ballets,” she says. “Now, people are going to remember it as the place where their son was killed.” Others worry that talk of restoration is premature. Amr Al Azm, a Syrian archaeologist now at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio, notes that the Russian military forces that helped the Syrian government retake Palmyra are slowly withdrawing from the country. And a cease-fire that provided the government with a tactical advantage is coming to an end. Another shift in the balance of power, he worries, could put Palmyra’s treasures back in the hands of IS.  Thorough field assessments are not yet possible, because crews are removing thousands of mines and booby-trapped explosive devices left behind by IS group fighters. In the meantime, Danti and his ASOR colleagues have been examining recently released satellite images. They show that at least a dozen Roman-era towerlike tombs, built to house the dead of wealthy families, have been destroyed, according to the forthcoming ASOR report. Five of the stone tombs were destroyed within the past 5 months, the images suggest. Photos taken by journalists show that the museum has been ransacked, with pieces of statues littering the floor. Curators moved much of the museum’s collection to Damascus before Palmyra became a battleground, according to Syria’s Directorate-General for Antiquities and Museums (DGAM), but left behind some larger objects.  Palmyra has long held a special place in Middle Eastern studies. The city, which sits in central Syria about 200 kilometers northeast of Damascus, reached its cultural peak in the first through third centuries C.E., when it was a Roman empire trading center that attracted Greek, Persian, and Arab merchants. The cultural blending left a distinctive mark, including unique sculptures, tombs, and temples.center_img Officials are already discussing plans to restore damaged sites to their former glory. But some experts disagree about how restoration should proceed, whereas others worry that such talk is premature given that IS still poses a threat to the city and that there is no end in sight to the 5-year-old Syrian conflict. “Things in Palmyra went from frying pan to fire, and now it’s back to frying pan,” Danti says. Zach Zorich is a journalist based in Fort Collins, Colorado. Archaeologists are getting their first look at how a nearly year-long occupation by the group known as the Islamic State (IS) has affected the World Heritage Site of Palmyra in Syria. Government forces retook the historic city late last month, and although satellite images and recent photos show substantial damage to the city’s ancient art and architecture—some of it deliberate—researchers are encouraged that the destruction was not worse. “I’m cautiously optimistic,” says Michael Danti of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR), a scholarly organization based in Boston, which this week released an assessment of the damage. IS fighters destroyed many of these cultural treasures after they captured Palmyra in May 2015, and researchers are beginning to tally the losses. Danti says the path of devastation documented by satellite images and local residents reveals the group’s priorities. First, IS fighters destroyed Tadmor prison, a 20th century structure where the Syrian regime jailed political prisoners, perhaps in a bid to curry favor with city residents. Then, the group’s focus became “cultural cleansing,” Danti says. It razed ancient sites that were holy to Islamic groups whose beliefs IS rejects, including the tomb of the Sufi saint Shagaf as well as a number of Sufi and Shia cemeteries and shrines. IS fighters then targeted prominent sites with less direct religious connections, including a massive Roman triumphal arch and a famous statue of a lion in the Palmyra museum that had once adorned a temple of the Semitic goddess al-Lat. The battle to retake the city took an additional toll, with bombs and artillery shells hitting mosques and other major structures. “A whole landscape has been attacked, not just the World Heritage Site,” Danti says.last_img read more

A survey on scientific integrity in the US government was marked as

first_img Originally published by E&E News.A periodic survey of U.S. federal scientists by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) caused a bit of a kerfuffle at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last month.For the ninth time since 2005, the science advocacy group sent out a survey to more than 63,000 federal scientists across 16 agencies to gather information about what’s happening inside the federal government in relation to scientific integrity. A survey on scientific integrity in the U.S. government was marked as spam. It wasn’t Andrew Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy at UCS, said his staff reached out to the agencies to let them know the survey was forthcoming: a memo EPA apparently missed.”The unannounced, unauthorized, and perhaps illegal message found below this message was sent to me today,” Brian Melzian, an EPA oceanographer in Rhode Island, wrote in a 12 February email to EPA’s Computer Security Incident Response Center (CSIRC) and others obtained by UCS.”Because the U.S. EPA employees have NOT received any information about this ‘Study,’ this study may NOT be legitimate, legal, and proper for EPA employees to complete,” he wrote.Melzian continued: “Finally, if the message found below is legitimate and not bogus, these organizations have been grossly negligent and incompetent for distributing this message without first being authorized and approved by EPA.”Rosenberg said while UCS did inform EPA the survey was coming, he is not required to do so and it’s up to the agencies to choose whether and how they inform employees about it.The survey comes at a particularly sensitive time as climate and other science advocates worry the Trump administration has politicized and delegitimized scientific inquiry (Climatewire, 9 August 2017). By Arianna Skibell, E&E NewsMar. 10, 2018 , 7:35 AM Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country I worry there is some degree of intimidation going on there that’s keeping them from filling it out. Joel Clement, Union of Concerned Scientists Survey still openWhile the survey will remain open for another couple of weeks, the response rate so far has been low—a fact Rosenberg attributes to fear of retaliation.”It suggests the climate and culture for scientists is really fearful,” he said. “The culture we’ve seen more broadly in this administration has been either dismissal or hostility toward science.”A spokesman for EPA said it didn’t make sense to him that employees would be afraid to fill out the survey since it is anonymous but declined to comment further.As of 2 March, response rates for EPA hovered around 2 percent, with 296 completed surveys, compared with NOAA’s response rate, which was 4.1 percent with 460 completed surveys. Still, in 2015 NOAA’s response rate was 19.6 percent with 2,388 completed responses.While EPA employees did not participate in 2015—the agency said it would conduct its own scientific integrity survey—it did join in previous years. In 2007, under President George W. Bush, the agency’s response rate was 29.3 percent with 1,586 completed surveys, according to UCS records.The poor response rate this year at EPA may also stem from the EPA CSIRC’s recommendation that the survey be marked as spam.Tammy Stein with EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center forwarded UCS’s email to CSIRC, the technology office, and all regional information security officers and wrote: “Suspicious activity.”CSIRC responded to Stein saying an analysis of the UCS survey request determined the email was SPAM “stemming from an unknown entity.””CSIRC recommends that if this email was unsolicited, that you treat the email as SPAM, do not click any links, and delete the email,” the email states.However, the following day an email from the Office of General Counsel’s Ethics Office states that employees are allowed to participate in the survey if they do so on their own time and do not use a government computer.Rosenberg said even with permission, employees might feel cautious about taking the survey. He said receiving a note from the Ethics Office, regardless of the contents, can act as a red flag.”You read the email and if you’re a cautious civil servant you’d say, I’m not touching this,” he said. “EPA is now saying the staff level is below the years of the Reagan administration after big cutbacks, so people have a good reason to worry about their jobs.”He added: “What you want them to be doing is worrying about science, not worrying about their jobs.”Joel Clement, the former top climate policy expert at the Interior Department before he resigned last summer, said he’s also concerned about why employees aren’t filling out the survey.”I worry there is some degree of intimidation going on there that’s keeping them from filling it out,” he said. “It certainly matches their approach at Interior right now, which is to avoid consulting with the career staff, to cut them out of the decisionmaking process and in some cases to intimate them.”Clement, who resigned in protest from Interior after he was transferred to an office that oversees oil and gas royalties, joined UCS as a senior fellow earlier this year. He said the morale at Interior now is “probably as bad as it’s ever been.”He said, in particular, the dismantling of Interior advisory committees has taken its toll on staff. Without the landscape conservation cooperatives (LCCs), which the Fish and Wildlife Service oversees, an effective avenue for engaging stakeholders and affecting meaningful policy has been lost, he added.”These were multi-stakeholder, problem-solving committees addressing things like climate impacts,” he said. “They were doing all the right things in terms of sustainable solutions, but because they were an Obama-era program, they shut down the steering committees.””Anything that has a whiff of climate change is being hobbled or deleted,” he said.Reprinted from E&E Daily with permission from E&E News. Copyright 2018. E&E provides essential news for energy and environment professionals at www.eenews.netcenter_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) The headquarters of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C. 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How a Pennsylvania industrial engineer became the oddson favorite to win a

first_img No more flying soloAsk Houlahan about her childhood, and her answer—“I grew up everywhere”—reflects her military upbringing. Houlahan’s father and one of her grandfathers were U.S. Navy pilots, and her dad’s job flying P-3 Orion antisubmarine reconnaissance planes meant the family would always be along the water. By the time she was a teenager, Houlahan was a certified scuba diver, an open-water swimmer, and a budding marine biologist. Her easy access to both oceans and sky, combined with a strong parental push to study science, led her to put astronaut at the top of her career choices.In her mind, the process began by becoming a pilot. She won an Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) scholarship to attend Stanford. However, the military was not welcome on campus when she arrived there in 1985. So every Friday, Houlahan was one of 20 Stanford undergraduates who would pile into cars and drive 40 kilometers to San Jose State University for daylong training.Hostility to the military wasn’t the only obstacle she had to overcome. Engineering classes were typically offered Monday, Wednesday, and Friday—and Houlahan said Stanford made no attempt to accommodate the ROTC students who would be absent. “So ROTC meant you were basically missing one-third of your classes, for 4 years,” she recalls. “And that made it pretty hard to be a very good student.”The size of the ROTC class would eventually dwindle to four, with Houlahan as the only woman. And although her military heritage helped her persevere—“I knew exactly what I was setting myself up for,” she says—she made an unorthodox decision when the Air Force offered her one of its highly competitive slots for pilot training.“I turned them down,” she says. “I had already started dating my husband and was hoping that we would end up making a life together. I had grown up in a wandering lifestyle in which we moved every year. He wasn’t going into the military, and I visualized what his life would be like if I were in the military.”Her classmates and Air Force officials couldn’t believe it, she recalls. “I remember the Air Force was pretty disappointed, and my ROTC cadre was stunned. But it was a lifestyle choice. And we’ve been married for 28 years, so I think I made the right one.”After graduation, Houlahan spent 3 years at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, Massachusetts, which focuses on electronic communications systems. There she worked on air and space defense technologies “one or more generations in the future.” The challenges included figuring out “what types of information people need, and in what order, and with what visual displays, when ballistic missiles are raining down on you” and “how to communicate in a postnuclear war environment.”Corner office to the classroomAfter leaving the military, she made use of her MIT degree, which combined business and engineering courses, to help her husband run a fledgling sports apparel company, AND1. The startup, based here, soon grew to rival industry leader Nike. Its socially responsible benefits included 40 hours of paid community service annually for every employee, which Houlahan invariably used to improve educational opportunities for underserved populations. “And for me,” she says, “that meant women and girls in STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math] and communities of color.”Eventually, she decided that she needed to experience the problems facing the nation’s public schools before she could hope to have any impact. So she left an executive position at another startup her husband had co-founded and enrolled in a program for lifelong learners at the University of Pennsylvania, retaking chemistry and taking biology for the first time. She also was accepted into Teach for America, an on-the-job training program that placed her at Simon Gratz High School, a storied but troubled school here.For someone used to working in a corner office, Simon Gratz was an eye-opening experience. “We had some labs, but we didn’t have access to them for most of the year,” she says. A bigger problem, she soon realized, was that “teaching science to kids who are reading really, really below grade level is an impossibility. And my kids were reading at the third or fourth grade level.”Although Teach for America fellows, who are often fresh out of college, must stay in the classroom for 2 years to earn their teaching degree, Houlahan left the program after 1 year. She had learned enough, she says, to understand the importance of literacy in tackling many of the problems facing urban schools. She then joined Springboard Collaborative, a nonprofit based here that aims to improve literacy by creating a year-round learning environment for students that extends into the home and community.A wall of moneyHoulahan says that she and her husband have emphasized to their three children, now adults, the importance of putting their talents to the “highest, best use.” After Donald Trump was elected president, she says, she applied that imperative to herself.“I was raised to respect the democratic process, and the will of the people, and whoever is your commander in chief,” she says. “And this was the first time that I felt I couldn’t do that.”Anticipating that her response to that dilemma might lead her into electoral politics, Houlahan spent the next 3 months exploring what it would take to run a campaign. One day, she appended a note to a fundraising solicitation from Emily’s List, a nonprofit that supports women running for office and to which she regularly donated small amounts. “I want to run for Congress,” she wrote. “What does it take?”Once she made up her mind, Houlahan hit the ground running. She wanted to learn as much as possible about the district. She also wanted to raise enough money to scare off any challengers.“I wanted to put up as big a defense as I could,” she says, “because it doesn’t do anybody any good to fight among ourselves.” Her strategy has been wildly successful: As of 31 March, Houlahan had raised $2 million, a staggering haul for a political novice in the run-up to a primary.Raising vast amounts is “a necessary evil” for first-time candidates like herself who need to introduce themselves to potential voters, she says. “But it’s also a big part of what’s broken in campaigning.” If voters send her to Washington, D.C., she promises to seek ways “to lessen the role of money and increase transparency in campaigning.”Houlahan has also benefited from forces beyond her control. The two-term incumbent Republican who holds the seat, Representative Ryan Costello, dropped out of the race a week after the 20 March filing deadline. That leaves Greg McCauley, a tax lawyer and neophyte candidate, as the only eligible Republican.In another stroke of good luck for Houlahan, the district in which she is running has become decidedly more Democratic since she declared her candidacy. In January 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out a map apportioning all 18 congressional seats that was created by the state’s Republican-led legislature. The old PA-6 was nearly evenly split between those who voted for Trump and those who supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race. But Democrats enjoy a 10-point advantage in the newly redrawn district. As a result, political handicappers have shifted the seat from a toss-up to likely Democrat.If Houlahan wins, she will be looking for opportunities to promote her ideas on national security, the economy, and education. She says she’s “pro-business” but progressive on social issues. She’d also like to explore ways to shorten the campaign season—and lessen the incessant need to raise money.“I have been campaigning for 18 months for a job that, if I win, I will hold for 2 years,” she says wearily. “And as near as I can tell, I’ll start fundraising to get re-elected the day after I’m sworn in.”Even so, Houlahan is looking forward to meeting some kindred spirits in Washington, D.C. “I’m hopeful that, if I get elected, there will be a lot of people like me who want to be part of a wave of change. And if there are enough of us, maybe we’ll have the opportunity to make a difference.”*Correction, 9 May, 10:53 p.m.: This story has been updated to correct Houlahan’s age. 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Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Follow our rolling coverage of 2018’s science candidatesPHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA—Before Chrissy Houlahan decided to run for Congress in southeastern Pennsylvania, she made a list of things she felt anyone serving in that body needed to understand. At the top were how to protect the country, how to grow the economy, and how to educate the nation’s children.Houlahan, who holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, and a master’s degree in technology policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, realized she was well-suited to tackle all three questions with her experience as a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, an executive with two successful startup companies, and a chemistry teacher in an urban high school. But before throwing her hat into the ring, Houlahan applied one more lesson from her time in the classroom, on the job, and in the military: She gamed out a way to win the election.Some 15 months later, Houlahan has implemented that plan to perfection. Thanks in part to a near-flawless campaign and prodigious fundraising, she is now the only Democrat on the 15 May primary ballot for Pennsylvania’s sixth congressional district (PA-6), an area southwest of here. Because of some good fortune, she’s also a heavy favorite to win the general election in November for what is now an open seat.The 50-year-old Houlahan says she isn’t afraid of competition. “But it’s very draining if there are lots of us [Democrats] fighting among ourselves” in the primary election, she notes. And although she says her ultimate goal is to turn the district “from a red dot to a blue dot,” it’s no secret that she wants to be that blue dot.“Our system is in desperate straits, and you can either run away and hide or try to be part of the solution,” she says. When asked why she chose Congress for her first foray into politics, rather than a local post, she doesn’t mince words. “I don’t have time for that. The stakes are too high, and I think I’m qualified.” Public health scientist hopes to take his activism to Congress The science candidates: races to watch in 2018 Email Postdoc hopes Pennsylvania voters will help her re-engineer how to run for Congresscenter_img Chrissy Houlahan makes her pitch to voters in Pennsylvania’s sixth congressional district. How a Pennsylvania industrial engineer became the odds-on favorite to win a seat in Congress Follow our rolling coverage of 2018’s science candidates Pennsylvania is a key battleground in the fight for control of the next Congress, and scientists are in the middle of that fight. In February, the state’s highest court threw out a Republican-drawn map of the state’s 18 congressional districts and installed one that, for the most part, eliminates partisan gerrymandering. Those new districts helped push some Republican incumbents into retirement, while at the same time prompting many first-time Democratic candidates to run for seats that now appear winnable.The result is a political free-for-all in which veteran campaign watchers are hedging their bets on who the winners might be. “I haven’t seen a single poll, and without a poll, you can’t begin to make a guess,” says political scientist Terry Madonna of Franklin and Marshall College (F&M) in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he directs the Center for Politics and Public Affairs and runs the F&M Poll. A crowded field, he says, simply adds to the confusion. This story is the second in a three-part series on candidates with considerable scientific training who are running as Democrats for the U.S. House of Representatives in Pennsylvania. Their first test is the 15 May primary. By Jeffrey MervisMay. 8, 2018 , 9:00 AM Kelly Schulz Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more