Category Archives: Science

White House Wants to End Some Eco Based Subsidies

By: Reuters

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Monday the Trump administration wants to end subsidies for electric cars and other items, including renewable energy sources.

Asked about plans after General Motors Co (GM.N) announced U.S. plant closings and layoffs last week, Kudlow pointed to the $2,500-to-$7,500 tax credit for consumers who buy plug-in electric vehicles, including those made by GM, under federal law.

“As a matter of our policy, we want to end all of those subsidies,” Kudlow said. “And by the way, other subsidies that were imposed during the Obama administration, we are ending, whether it’s for renewables and so forth.” 

Asked about a timeline, he said: “It’s just all going to end in the near future. I don’t know whether it will end in 2020 or 2021.”

The tax credits are capped by Congress at 200,000 vehicles per manufacturer, after which the subsidy phases out. GM has said it expects to hit the threshold by the end of 2018, which means under the current law, its tax credit scheme would end in 2020. Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) said in July it had hit the threshold. Other automakers may not hit the cap for several years. 

Experts say the White House cannot change the cap unilaterally. U.S. President Donald Trump last week threatened to eliminate subsidies for GM in retaliation for the company’s decision.

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Could Premature Apology Be Bad For Children ?

By: Laura Bailey

Parents who force unremorseful kids to apologize to others before they’re truly sorry may do more harm than good.

That’s because the point main point of an apology—to express remorse and repair relationships—is lost because children may dislike the apologizer even more after the insincere apology than before. Children know when you mean you’re truly sorry.

The new study from the University of Michigan looked at whether children distinguish between willingly given and coerced expressions of remorse—and they do. The findings suggest that exploring ways to help your child learn to have empathy for the victim, thus ensuring a sincere apology, is more constructive than immediately coercing a reluctant “I’m sorry.”

“Make sure the child understands why the other person feels bad, and make sure the child is really ready to say ‘I’m sorry.’ Then have them apologize,” said study author Craig Smith, research investigator at the U-M Center for Human Growth and Development.

“Coercing your child to apologize is going to backfire. Other kids don’t view that apologizer as likable. The teachable element of having the child apologize has gone away and the goal of the apology prompt—to help your child express remorse, soothe someone else’s hurt feelings and make your child more likable—is lost.”

Smith and colleagues looked at how children ages 4-9 viewed three types of apology scenarios among peers: unprompted apologies, prompted but willingly given apologies, and coerced apologies.

They found that kids viewed willing apologies the same, whether prompted or unprompted by adults. But the coerced apologies weren’t seen as effective, especially by the 7-to-9-year-olds, Smith said.

All children viewed the transgressors as feeling worse after the apology than before, but the 7-to-9-year-old children thought the coerced apologizers’ bad feelings were rooted in self-interest (concern about punishment, for example), rather than remorse.

And, children of all ages thought the victims felt better after receiving a willing apology, but they saw the recipient of the forced apology as feeling worse than the recipients of the willing apologies.

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Indigenous Woman Forced To Sterilize If They Wanted To See Their Children

By: CBC

As a senator calls for a nationwide review of the forced sterilization of Indigenous women, a lawyer representing a proposed class action detailed the women’s accounts of being sterilized without proper and informed consent.

“In the throes of labour … they would be approached, harassed, coerced into signing these consent forms,” said Alisa Lombard, an associate with Maurice Law, the first Indigenous-owned national law firm in Canada.

The women would be told that they could not leave until their tubes were tied, cut or cauterized, she added, or that “they could not see their baby until they agreed.”

At least 60 Indigenous women are pursuing a class-action lawsuit launched last year, alleging they underwent forced sterilizations over the past 20 to 25 years in Saskatchewan. Each woman is claiming about $7 million in damages.

In most of the cases — some happening as recently as 2017 — the “women report being told that the procedure was reversible,” Lombard said. 

She said the procedures, known as tubal ligation, have had a huge effect on the women.

“Many have had bouts and persistent depression, anxiety — many are no longer with us because of those ailments and those circumstances.”

In a statement to The Current following Tuesday’s broadcast, Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott described forced sterilization as “a serious violation of human rights.”

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Swedes Receiving Tech Injections

By: NPR

Technology continues to get closer and closer to our bodies, from the phones in our pockets to the smartwatches on our wrists. Now, for some people, it’s getting under their skin.

In Sweden, a country rich with technological advancement, thousands have had microchips inserted into their hands.

The chips are designed to speed up users’ daily routines and make their lives more convenient — accessing their homes, offices and gyms is as easy as swiping their hands against digital readers.

They also can be used to store emergency contact details, social media profiles or e-tickets for events and rail journeys within Sweden.

Proponents of the tiny chips say they’re safe and largely protected from hacking, but one scientist is raising privacy concerns around the kind of personal health data that might be stored on the devices.

Around the size of a grain of rice, the chips typically are inserted into the skin just above each user’s thumb, using a syringe similar to that used for giving vaccinations. The procedure costs about $180.

So many Swedes are lining up to get the microchips that the country’s main chipping company says it can’t keep up with the number of requests.

More than 4,000 Swedes have adopted the technology, with one company, Biohax International, dominating the market. The chipping firm was started five years ago by Jowan Osterlund, a former professional body piercer.

After spending the past two years working full time on the project, he is currently developing training materials so he can hire Swedish doctors and nurses to help take on some of his heavy workload.

“Having different cards and tokens verifying your identity to a bunch of different systems just doesn’t make sense,” he says. “Using a chip means that the hyper-connected surroundings that you live in every day can be streamlined.”

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Tim Cook ( CEO of Apple) Demands Federal Privacy Laws

By: James Vincent of The Verge

Apple CEO Tim Cook has called for new digital privacy laws in the United States, warning that the collection of huge amounts of personal data by companies is harming society.

Speaking at a privacy conference in Brussels, Cook gave an impassioned and forceful speech. He reiterated familiar talking points like Apple’s commitment to privacy (and, by implication, its rivals lackof commitment) while spelling out public concerns in recent years regarding data collection, surveillance, and manipulation.

Cook said that modern technology has led to the creation of a “data-industrial complex” in which private and everyday information is “weaponized against us with military efficiency.” He added that this mechanism doesn’t just affect individuals, but whole societies.

“Platforms and algorithms that promised to improve our lives can actually magnify our worst human tendencies,” said Cook. “Rogue actors and even governments have taken advantage of user trust to deepen divisions, incite violence, and even undermine our shared sense of what is true and what is false. This crisis is real. It is not imagined, or exaggerated, or crazy.”

Cook did not mention triggers for this crisis, but his comments clearly reference recent events like the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the personal data of millions of Facebook users was harvested by a consulting firm with the aim of swaying users’ political views. Similarly, while Cook never mentioned by name tech companies like Facebook and Google, it’s clear that these were targets in his criticism of indiscriminate data collection.

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Pepsi Showing Interest in Cannabis

By: Lauren Hirsch of CNBC

PepsiCo is taking a hard look at the cannabis industry as other beverage makers explore the market.

“I think we’ll look at it critically, but I’m not prepared to share any plans that we may have in the space right now,” Chief Financial Officer Hugh Johnston told Jim Cramer and Sara Eisen on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street on Tuesday.

Cannabis, which is federally illegal in the U.S., but legal in some states and in Canada, has attracted increasing attention from food and beverage companies as either an opportunity for future growth, or conversely, a threat to their brands.

Corona beer maker Constellation this summer announced an additional $4 billion stake in Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth, following up on a previous investment in October.

Coca-Cola last month said it is “closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages,” after reports surfaced it may be eyeing the cannabis-infused drink market.

The CBD is derived from the marijuana plant that some people believe provides therapeutic relief. It does not include THC, which is what gives cannabis-users a “high.”

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New Glued Cans Will Reduce Plastic Consumption by 75% Making Carlsberg The First Brewery Of Its Kind

By: Telegraph Reporter

Carlsberg beer cans are to be stuck together with glue as it becomes one of the first brewers to abandon plastic rings.

The Danish firm said the move, which has been heralded as a world-first, to attach its multi-packs with adhesive will reduce the use of plastic to package products by 75 per cent.

After a three-year development process, Carlsberg insists the dots of glue bonding its new “Snap Packs” are strong enough to withstand journeys from shelves to homes, yet sufficiently brittle to break when twisted.

The eco-friendly packaging innovation will be debuted in the UK, where 30 per cent of Carlsberg’s beer output is drunk every year.

At a launch event in Copenhagen, inventor Christopher Stuhlmann revealed how a trip to his local DIY store helped convince him that his brainwave could become a reality

arlsberg beer cans are to be stuck together with glue as it becomes one of the first brewers to abandon plastic rings.

The Danish firm said the move, which has been heralded as a world-first, to attach its multi-packs with adhesive will reduce the use of plastic to package products by 75 per cent.

After a three-year development process, Carlsberg insists the dots of glue bonding its new “Snap Packs” are strong enough to withstand journeys from shelves to homes, yet sufficiently brittle to break when twisted.

The eco-friendly packaging innovation will be debuted in the UK, where 30 per cent of Carlsberg’s beer output is drunk every year.

At a launch event in Copenhagen, inventor Christopher Stuhlmann revealed how a trip to his local DIY store helped convince him that his brainwave could become a reality

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Man Paralyzed Walks Again With Brain Controlled Implants

By: Adam Forest of Independent

A 29-year-old man who was paralysed from the waist down after a snowmobile accident has made medical history by walking independently after pioneering surgery.

Doctors in the US state of Minnesota implanted a remote-controlled electrode in the patient’s back to stimulate surviving nerves in his spinal cord.

Thanks to the groundbreaking surgery, Jered Chinnock, from Tomah, Wisconsin, was able to stand up and walk just over 100 metres – the length of an American football – while pushing a front-wheeled walker.

It was the first time Mr Chinnock had walked by himself since his accident on the slopes five years ago.

“It’s very exciting, but still very early in the research stage,” said neurosurgeon Dr Kendall Lee, who co-led the team from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

“The reason why this is important is because the patient’s own mind, thought, was able to drive movement in his legs. Just as important is that we were able to get him to stand independently and take his own steps.”

Mr Chinnock said: “The walking side of it isn’t something where I just leave my wheelchair behind and away I go.”

But the Wisconsin man said he was hopeful that he might one day be able to “leave the wheelchair behind, even if it is to walk to the refrigerator.”

Dr Lee explained that as soon as the remote-controlled electrode was turned off, Mr Chinnock became paralysed again.

The innovative technique used by the Mayo Clinic team, which was reported in the journal Nature Medicine, involved inserting an electrode in the epidural space – the fat-filled hollow region surrounding the spinal cord.

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Canadian Government Takes a Jab At U.S. Pharmaceuticals

By: Jeff Lagerquist of Yahoo

Canadian officials are considering how to take aim at the massive U.S. pharmaceutical industry in the event of a full-blown trade war with the United States, according to an Ottawa-based law professor with knowledge of the situation.

The plan would target valuable U.S. patents, granting Canada’s generic pharmaceutical firms the right to copy, sell and potentially export American drugs.

Amir Attaran, a biomedical scientist and University of Ottawa law professor, said the move would stun Wall Street and the White

House, while mobilizing the powerful U.S.

pharmaceutical lobby behind Canada’s cause.

“Canadian officials are aware of and studying the proposal in case the United States decides to impose a major retaliation on Canada,” he told Yahoo Canada Finance on Tuesday.  “I’m positive it’s being considered.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland travelled back to Washington to resume NAFTA negotiations on Wednesday. U.S. officials have demanded a deal by Oct. 1., upping the pressure to resolve long-held sticking points such as the dispute resolution mechanism, cultural protections, and the supply-managed dairy industry.

Attaran spelled out how Canada could employ a pharma-based retaliation strategy in a magazine column in June. He declined to disclose who in the federal government is now considering the plan, saying only that it is not the officials negotiating the trade deal with the U.S.

Global Affairs Canada did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

“I think one plausible reaction for the Canadian government would be to say if the Americans operate radically outside of NAFTA, as by penalizing our car industry, we will pursue their pharmaceutical industry’s interests,” Attaran said. “At that point, you have exited the negotiating model of resolving our differences, and you are resorting to brute force.”

The Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America was the fourth largest U.S. lobby group in 2017, spending nearly US$26 million that year, according to the nonpartisan Centre for Responsive Politics. The Washington D.C.-based trade group’s members include drug industry giants Pfizer, Sanofi, and Johnson & Johnson.

Attaran said a threat by Canada to suspend U.S. patents on Canadian soil would be impossible for those companies to ignore.

“Pharma would be putting in phone calls out to everyone in Congress whom they made campaign donations to. And that is nearly everyone,” he said. “Pharma spends more on lobbying than banking and defence combined, and each of those are a huge lobby.”

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Japanese Billionaire Yusaku Maezawa To Be First Private Citizen To Fly Around The Moon With Space X

By: Michael Sheetz of CNBC

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa signed with SpaceX to fly around the moon on the company’s next generation rocket, CEO Elon Musk announced on Monday.

Maezawa will attempt to be the first to return to the moon in nearly half a century, launching aboard a Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), which SpaceX is developing. BFR is the flagship for Musk’s vision of creating a permanent, self-sustaining human presence on Mars, and testing on the behemoth rocket is expected to begin next year.

The trip is expected to launch in 2023.

“Ever since I was a kid, I have loved the moon. It’s always there and continues to inspire humanity,” said Maezawa, one of the richest people in Japan, who made his fortune as the founder of online retailers Start Today and Zozotown.

SpaceX announced in February 2017 that two passengers would be flying around the moon in the company’s Crew Dragon capsule, launched by its Falcon Heavy rocket. But earlier this year, Musk said SpaceX was considering using BFR instead and on Monday confirmed that Maezawa is “the same person” who was announced before, just with a larger group now onboard.

BFR is a massive, 35-story tall rocket designed to launch and land like SpaceX’s Falcon 9, but also carrying dozens of people on board instead of just satellites. Musk confirmed BFR’s “design has been changed,” after receiving questions about new renders of the rocket posted online.

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