Primates expect others to act rationally

first_imgWhen trying to understand someone’s intentions, nonhuman primates expect others to act rationally by performing the most appropriate action allowed by the environment, according to a new study by researchers at Harvard University.The findings appear in the Sept. 7 issue of the journal Science. The work was led by Justin Wood, a graduate student in the Department of Psychology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), with David Glynn, a research assistant, and Marc Hauser, professor of psychology at Harvard, along with Brenda Phillips of Boston University.“A dominant view has been that nonhuman primates attend only to what actions ‘look like’ when trying to understand what others are thinking,” says Wood. “In contrast, our research shows that nonhuman primates infer others’ intentions in a much more sophisticated way. They expect other individuals to perform the most rational action that they can, given the environmental obstacles that they face.”The scientists studied the behavioral response of more than 120 primates, including cotton-top tamarins, rhesus macaques, and chimpanzees. These species represent each of the three major groups of primates: New World monkeys, Old World monkeys, and apes. All three species were tested in the same way, and the results showed the same responses among the different types.In the first experiment, the primates were presented with two potential food containers, and the experimenter either purposefully grasped one of the containers or flopped a hand onto one of the containers in an accidental manner. For all three species, the primates sought the food container that was purposefully grasped a greater number of times than the container upon which the hand was flopped. This indicates that the primates inferred goal-oriented action on the part of the experimenter when he grasped the container, and were able to understand the difference between the goal-oriented and accidental behavior.In the second experiment, the researchers asked if the primates infer others’ goals under the expectation that other individuals will perform the most rational action allowed by the environmental obstacles. Again, the primates were presented with two potential food containers. In one scenario, an experimenter touched a container with his elbow when his hands were full, and in another scenario, touched a container with his elbow when his hands were empty. The primates looked for the food in the container indicated with the elbow more often when the experimenter’s hands were full. The primates considered, just as a human being would, that if someone’s hands are full then it is rational for them to use their elbow to indicate the container with food, whereas if their hands are empty it is not rational for them to use their elbow, because they could have used their unoccupied hand.Developmental psychologists have long understood that young children are able to engage in this type of rational action perception, but scientists have not understood whether this ability is unique to human beings or is shared with other animals. This study suggests that this ability evolved as long as 40 million years ago, with nonhuman primates.“This study represents one of the broadest comparative studies of primate cognition, and the significance of the findings is reinforced by the fact that these results were consistent across three different species of primates,” says Wood. “The results have significant implications for understanding the evolution of the processes that allow us to make sense of other people’s behavior.”The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Science Federation.last_img read more

$50 million in loans to small businesses available in Texas

first_imgAUSTIN — Governor Greg Abbott announced Monday that Goldman Sachs and the LiftFund, along with other community development financial institutions (CDFIs), are partnering to provide $50 million in loans to small businesses in Texas that have been affected by COVID-19 as part of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.These loans, made through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), will primarily be used for payroll so that employees can continue to receive paychecks and small businesses can retain their employees and will be partially or wholly forgiven.“Small businesses and their employees are at the heart of the Texas economy, and they need support during these difficult times,” Abbott said. “These loans will help us revitalize our economy and restore Texans’ livelihoods as we respond to COVID-19. I thank Goldman Sachs and the LiftFund for providing this lifeline to Texas small businesses and their employees by providing them with the support they need to overcome the challenges posed by COVID-19. This partnership is an important first step in our journey to economic recovery in the state of Texas.” LiftFund is a non-profit organization, headquartered in San Antonio, that helps small business owners with limited access to capital. The company offers small business loans and minority business loans for entrepreneurs.LiftFund partners with SBA lenders and other lending institutions to provide startup loans, SBA 504 Loans, and microloans in Texas, and throughout the South Eastern U.S. In 2018, LiftFund had 591 donors, 118 investors, 500 partners, and 100 employees.The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm that provides a wide range of financial services to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and individuals.Founded in 1869, the firm is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in all major financial centers around the world. Next UpJohn Waldron, president and chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs, said he has seen first-hand the determination and resilience of small business owners in Texas, having worked alongside them for years through Goldman’s 10,000 Small Businesses program.“Goldman Sachs understands that our communities and economy rely on small business, and we are doing everything we can to support this vital engine of economic growth and employment,” he said.Goldman Sachs will provide the capital as part of its $550 million commitment to COVID-19 relief, and LiftFund, alongside other CDFIs, will administer the funding to qualified small businesses. If all stipulations are met, small business can have their loans forgiven in full by the SBA.center_img Business owners can apply for a PPP loan and find more information about the program on the LiftFund website.The governor was joined for the announcement by President and CEO of LiftFund Janie Barrera.Also joining the Governor were Brent Reaves, owner of Smokey John’s Bar-B-Que in Dallas, Patricia and Clint Butler, owners of Coffeecionado Community Roasters in San Antonio, and Michele and Mitch Allen, owners of iRun Texas in San Antonio.The Butlers and Allens will be the first to benefit from this partnership to provide PPP loans in Texas.last_img read more

Wolf Hall Miniseries, Starring Tony Winner Mark Rylance, to Be Broadcast on PBS

first_img Richard III Rylance will play Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall, which is set during the reign of Henry VIII. Featuring a script by Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) and directed by Peter Kosminsky, the series follows Cromwell’s rise from the son of a blacksmith to right-hand man to the King. No other casting has been announced. Related Shows Mark Rylance Show Closed This production ended its run on Feb. 16, 2014 It’s shaping up to be a busy six months for Mark Rylance: After ending his Broadway engagement as the star of both Twelfth Night and Richard III, the two-time Tony Award winner will begin filming the previously announced miniseries adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s bestselling historical novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. According to The New York Times, PBS’s Masterpiece will broadcast the miniseries in 2015. Star Files View Comments A Best Actor Tony winner for Boeing-Boeing and Jerusalem, Rylance most recently starred and co-directed the new play Nice Fish at the Guthrie Theatre and directed Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones in a London revival of Much Ado About Nothing. Richard III and Twelfth Night begin previews on October 15 at the Belasco Theatre and open on November 10, directed by Tim Carroll.last_img read more

Smith: Where are we headed?

first_imgby Mike Smith In national politics the only meaningful victory is one where you completely vanquish your opponent. A compromise is a defeat. An attempt to understand an opposing view is interpreted as lacking conviction in your cause, or, worse, disloyalty to a political party. One side is portrayed as always despicably wrong, while the other side contends it is always virtuous and right. Promotion of your cause must come at the complete denigration of your opponent’s view, or even the destruction of their character. There are no rhetorical boundaries. You say anything in order to win the debate.This is, unfortunately, Washington, D.C., nowadays and the reality of our politics. Nothing illustrates this more than the ongoing debate over the future direction of health care. This debate is emblematic of all that is wrong with our politics.Republicans want to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as most call it; Democrats want it retained. Some Democrats have said that repeal of the Affordable Care Act will mean Americans will die. Some Republicans counter that retaining Obamacare is too expensive and will ultimately result in the collapse of our health care system — although they have yet to put forth an alternative plan. By design politicians want us to believe that we either will die or we’ll wind up destitute, depending on which political side of the health care debate we fall on. For the most part, both sides are engaged in rhetorical gamesmanship, where certain words are hyped to catch our attention — or perhaps to scare us — but with the ultimate goal of dividing rather than uniting us.Obamacare is indeed becoming unaffordable, and in many parts of the country options are limited. If trends continue, it is unsustainable in its current form. It is a broken system that needs to be fixed. Democrats must admit to this fact. But on the other hand, Obamacare has provided millions of Americans with health care coverage, and if you wish to replace it then you must provide details of what a new health care system will look like, what it will cost and who is covered. Republicans must admit to this fact.But in modern-day politics acknowledging these facts dilutes the message. So facts often become bothersome details, obstacles to the ultimate goal of winning. There has to be a conqueror and a conquered. It’s political warfare without any possibility of a truce. There are always opportunities for compromise, but both sides look past those possibilities because to do otherwise is a sign of political weakness. In the end, all of this frustrates most Americans. This should worry politicians of both parties. If Americans lose confidence in, and support for, our governmental institutions such as Congress, the presidency, and our court systems, then our political system could be in jeopardy.History has shown that a democracy is constantly vulnerable. As Americans, we think of our democracy as indestructible, even perpetual. But is it? The playwright Sam Shepard is quoted as saying, “Democracy’s a very fragile thing. You have to take care of democracy. As soon as you stop being responsible to it and allow it to turn into scare tactics, it’s no longer democracy, is it? It’s something else. It may be an inch away from totalitarianism.”The question that we must all ask ourselves is where are we headed as a country? But perhaps just as important is the answer to this question: Where are our leaders taking us?Mike Smith is the host of the radio program, “Open Mike with Mike Smith,” on WDEV 550 AM and 96.1, 96.5, 98.3 and 101.9 FM. He is also a political analyst for WCAX-TV and WVMT radio and is a regular contributor to Vermont Business Magazine, The Times Argus and Rutland Herald. He was the secretary of administration and secretary of human services under former Gov. Jim Douglas.last_img read more

Findings identify receptors modulating macrophage responses to spinal cord injury

first_imgShare LinkedIn Macrophages are cellular sentinels in the body, assigned to identify “attacks” from viruses, bacteria, or fungi and sound the alarm when they are present. However, these cells are a “double edged sword” in spinal cord injury, providing both neural repair-promoting properties and pathological functions that destroy neuronal tissue“We know from previous research that macrophages are versatile, and signals at the injury site can stimulate repair or destruction–or confusingly, both,” said John Gensel Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Physiology in the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center at the University of Kentucky. “But the mechanisms through which these signals stimulate the good and/or bad functions in macrophages are not known. So the next big question to answer in the efforts to understand and treat SCI was, ‘Why?’”Gensel teamed up with Phillip Popovich, Ph.D, Professor in the Department of Neuroscience and Director of the Center for Brain and Spinal Cord Repair (CBSCR) at The Ohio State University to explore the mechanisms governing the positive and negative processes that occur in macrophages following spinal cord injury. Share on Twitter Share on Facebookcenter_img Pinterest “On the cellular level, the body’s response to spinal cord injury is similar to the immune response to attacks by bacteria or viruses,” Gensel said. “The functions that macrophages adopt in response to these stimuli were the focus of our study.”Gensel and Popovich looked at more than 50 animals with spinal cord injury to try to identify which macrophage receptors promoted neuronal repair and which directed the destructive process.“We found that activating bacterial receptors boosted the macrophage response and limited damage to the spinal cord following injury, while activating fungal receptors actually contributed to pathology,” Gensel said.While this study oversimplifies the complex process by which macrophages promote repair and destruction of neuronal tissues, it nonetheless sheds light on opportunities to modulate macrophage responses after spinal cord injury, potentially reducing – or even reversing – damage and the resulting side-effects.“The implications are exciting: we now can look for treatments targeted to the receptors that jump-start the macrophage’s restorative effects without activating the receptors that modulate the destructive processes in that same cell.”The study has been published as a Featured Article in the most recent issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. Emaillast_img read more

Study: Antibody binds to all influenza A subtypes

first_imgJul 29, 2011 (CIDRAP News) – A team of European researchers reported yesterday the discovery of a human monoclonal antibody that binds to all types of influenza A viruses, raising the prospect of a new flu treatment and improving the chances of developing a broadly protective or “universal” flu vaccine.Writing in Science, the team said the antibody, called FI6, recognizes all 16 types of hemagglutinin found in influenza A viruses and that it protected mice and ferrets from lethal doses of two different flu subtypes.A number of researchers in recent years have reported finding human antibodies that target multiple influenza A subtypes, but the new findings are the first report of an antibody that recognizes all of them.”FI6 is the only antibody that has been discovered to date that binds and neutralizes both Group 1 and Group 2 human and animal influenza A viruses,” says a press release issued on behalf of Humabs Biomed, a Swiss company that participated in the research. Humabs, of Bellinzona, Switzerland, collaborated with the Institute for Research in Biomedicine, also of Bellinzona, and the United Kingdom Medical Research Council.Group 1 viruses include H1, H2, H5, H6, H8, H9, H11, H12, H13, and H16 subtypes, while group 2 includes H3, H4, H7, H10, H14, and H15. The type A subtypes that now most commonly infect humans are H1N1 and H3N2, but human are also susceptible to avian flu viruses such as H5N1, H7N7, and H9N2, and to H2, which caused the pandemic of 1957-58.The new findings relate only to influenza A viruses, not influenza B strains, which circulate at varying levels every year.Thousands of cells screenedIn their hunt for exceptional human antibodies, the researchers used a special single-cell culture method to screen or “interrogate” 104,000 plasma cells from eight donors, their report says. Four plasma cells from one donor yielded an antibody that reacted with H1, H5, and H7 viruses.The researchers reproduced this antibody and, using various tests, found that it showed binding and neutralizing activity against all 16 influenza A hemagglutinins. Further, they designed an optimized variant of FI6, called FI6v3, that lacks certain unnecessary mutations, the report says.The team tested the prophylactic effects of the antibody by administering it to mice and then exposing them to normally lethal doses of a lab strain of H1N1 virus. The mice were fully protected when they received an FI6 dose of 4 micrograms per kilogram of body weight.The authors also tested the effects of the antibody when used to treat mice previously exposed to lethal doses of flu virus. When given 1 or 2 days after infection, a dose of 15 mcg per kg protected mice from death. And in other experiments, the antibodyreduced weight loss and prevented death in mice infected with an H3 virusprotected ferrets from a lethal challenge with a 2004 strain of H5N1 virusIn other work, the team used x-ray crystallography to determine that the antibody bound to a particular region in the “F subdomain” of the hemagglutinin. They describe the site as conserved, meaning it is the same in different hemagglutinin types. Their report goes into great detail about how the antibody meshes with the surface contours of the hemagglutinin.Previous reports have noted that the globular head of the hemagglutinin protein, which studs the surface of flu viruses, mutates often to keep the immune system from recognizing it, whereas the stalk or stem of the protein is much more stable.”The results of prophylaxis and therapy that we report identify FI6 as the first example of a neutralizing monoclonal antibody for potential use against all influenza A viruses,” the authors conclude.Study wins praiseGary Nabel, MD, PhD, director of the Vaccine Research Center at the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, praised the report while cautioning that it will take time to translate the findings into something clinically useful.”It’s a very elegant paper,” he said. “It clearly gives a new window on antibody recognition of flu and neutralization of flu, and it offers potentially a better reagent in terms of inhibiting flu. So it’s all good.”He commented that very recent studies have demonstrated sets of antibodies that bound to multiple influenza A viruses in group 1 or group 2, but not both. “So we were going under the assumption that there was some difference between group 1 and group 2 that antibodies couldn’t distinguish, and clearly this report says otherwise,” he said.Nabel said the study offers some insights about the ways the immune system can approach conserved sites on the hemagglutinin. “The more we understand about how antibodies bind to highly conserved sites, the better off we’ll be. . . . Not to mention that if this proves efficacious in treating infection, that would be another nice implication.”He said it would not be too difficult to produce the antibody in quantity for use as a flu treatment, but added, “I think the real question is whether the pharmaceutical industry sees that there’s enough of a market to do that and whether there is a way to do the kind of clinical trial that could show the efficacy of a flu antibody.”To use the discovery to make a broadly protective vaccine, researchers will need to isolate and exploit the hemagglutinin region targeted by the antibody, Nabel said.”Ideally what you do is refine it further to just the stem region that the antibody is seeing,” he said. “You remove that stem region from the rest of the hemagglutinin, which is, in a way, a distraction to the immune system, and then present that in its mot obvious way to elicit the antibody response.”Nabel said this challenge is “not trivial” and will take years: “I think anything less than 5 years would be aggressive, and everything would have to just roll out without complications, which kind of never happens,” he said. “But there are a lot of people working on the problem, there are a lot of different approaches, and universal flu [vaccine] is high on the radar screen, so I think we’ll be seeing a lot of activity there.”Corti D, Voss J, Gamblin SF, et al. A neutralizing antibody selected from plasma cells that binds to group 1 and group 2 influenza A hemagglutinins. Science 2011 Jul 28 (early online publication) [Abstract]See also: Jul 28 EurekAlert press releaseJul 28 UK Medical Research Council press releaseJan 14 CIDRAP News story “Antibodies from H1N1 patients raise hope for more versatile flu vaccines”last_img read more

Messer supplies gases in Changshou Chemical Park in Chongqing

first_imgSubscribe Get instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270.last_img

Linde partners with 3D Medlab

first_imgIn collaboration with additive manufacture 3D Medlab the joint project is the first-of-its-kind and represents a milestone in the field of orthopedic device development.Multifaceted, latticed components aim to mimic human body parts and can better assimilate into the patient’s own bone and tissue structure, leading to fewer rejections and quicker healing times.Additive manufacturing can optimise production of such components ensuring high-quality repeatability of the process and requiring less post-print finishing. However, the atmosphere in the printing chamber needs to be optimal and reproducible.Atmospheric gases play a fundamental role in the printing process and any impurities that remain in the chamber, even once purged, can have a detrimental effect on the part being manufactured.Additionally, fumes created during the production process can remain on the part, requiring post-production cleaning.Even extremely small variations in oxygen content can impair the mechanical or chemical properties of metals sensitive to oxygen – such as titanium and aluminum alloys – and can affect the composition of the end product.For the Linde/3D Medlab research trials, the titanium alloy in question is Ti-6AI-4V. “As a customer at the forefront of medical device manufacturing, anything less than optimal product outcomes is critically important to avoid, so it is testament to our gases expertise and know-how that we have been selected to partner in this endeavor,” said Pierre Forêt, Senior Expert Manufacturing at Linde.The atmospheric trials involve a new helium/argon gas mixture created especially by Linde for the project to make the process smoother and cleaner, along with use of Linde’s ADDvance O2 precision, a first-of-a-kind oxygen measuring and analysis technology to ensure the optimal mix of gases within the print chamber. Along with the new gas mixture, ADDvance O2 precision will give 3D Medlab precise, granular control over the oxygen concentration and humidity levels in the print chamber.last_img read more

Simon Hughes to speak on data plans

first_imgJustice minister Simon Hughes MP is to speak on the government’s plan to strengthen the Data Protection Act at the Privacy Laws and Business annual conference. The event in Cambridge opens on 30 June.tinyurl.com/cab7cpxlast_img

Baker McKenzie announces bumper promotion round

first_imgInternational firm Baker McKenzie has announced its biggest partner promotion round in four years, with 85 partners elected globally, including eight in London.Of the new partners, 35 are women (41%) in line with the firm’s ’40:40:20′ gender target announced last year, which aims for a work force of 40% men and 40% women by July 2025. The remaining 20% will be ‘flexible’, consisting of men, women and non-binary people.Despite the pandemic, the firm has promoted four more partners than last year and 18 more than in 2018. Some 68 lateral hires have also taken place over the last financial year.Global chair Milton Cheng said the hires are ‘a clear sign of the importance we place in the long-term growth strategy of the firm.’Alex Chadwick, London managing partner, added: ‘I am incredibly proud to welcome such an outstanding and accomplished group to our partnership in London. Each and every one of our new partners has proved to be extremely talented, skilled and dedicated to our clients. It’s great to be able to recognize these individuals for the significant contributions they have made and will continue to make to the firm.’Earlier this month, Baker McKenzie rolled out optional flexible working measures for its London lawyers, encouraging staff to reduce their working weeks and to take sabbaticals.last_img read more