No Right to Email NLRB Looks Through the Looking Glass Sees Absolutely

first_img Citation: No Right to E-mail: NLRB Looks Through the Looking Glass & Sees Absolutely No Problem (2007, December 29) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2007-12-e-mail-nlrb-glass-absolutely-problem.html A recent decision by the National Labor Relations Board, (NLRB), has newspaper guild members grounded along the Northwest rocky shores of Cape Disappointment. As most seafarers know the cross currents and tricky passage along the rocky coast of Washington and Oregon have been the watery grave of many of fine vessels. The case decided December 16, 2007 by the NLRB, The Guard Publishing Company d/b/a, The Register Guard case, can be read at: www.nlrb.gov/shared_files/Boar … sions/351/V35170.pdf .The Gist of the Story:A newspaper located in Eugene, Oregon, The Register Guard disciplined an employee/president of the union, (Eugene Newspaper Guild) for using the e-mail system to disseminate union business. This issue was combined with other unfair labor practices involving the company´s refusal to withdraw its proposal to ban e-mail use for union business only, and impinging on the unions rights to communicate with its employees. The problem started with a union rally, wherein the newspaper sent e-mails to all employees that the rally posed a safety risk because there were suspected “anarchists” that would be attending. No anarchists showed and this incident began a cat and mouse game to correct the e-mail mis-reporting the safety issue and Herculean attempts to miss the jagged rocks of the company’s prohibition on non-business related e-mails. The good ship, Eugene Newspaper Guild got a pass on the first e-mail correcting the story, but the ship grounded on unfettered solicitations and hairs were split on what are basic rights to communicate by e-mail. The hair splitting really got interesting when the NLRB found that since the Guild did not formally request at the bargaining table that the newspaper withdraw the ban on union e-mails proposal, there was no bad faith in bargaining. The union had filed an unfair labor practice that was dismissed administratively. Since there was no “insistence” by management of an unlawful proposal—no problem. A real head scratcher. The fact the employer allowed United Way communications and other personal e-mails made no difference because this NLRB jumped over precedent and relied on a case in a US District Court. In order to find discrimination there must be discrimination of “like” communications. It would take the form of if one employee sent an e-mail dissuading union membership, the union would be allowed the same right to e-mail. Since the likelihood of this occurring is nil, the current criteria for finding discrimination essentially shuts down modern technology in communications. . The NLRB recently handed down a decision relating to the use of e-mail by an Oregon newspaper guild, (union) and found what is and what was, isn’t necessarily true no more. NY Times, union agree to new contract This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Some Overall Points:As a brief primer on the subject, employees have certain rights to organize and hold elections for representation by unions. These are known as Section 7 rights under the National Labor Relations Act. A companion of these rights are sections 8 (a) 1 and 8 (a) 5 which prohibit employers from disciplining or harassing employees in exerting the right to engage in forming unions, participating in bargaining collectively for wages, hours and working conditions. The hook is managements right to keep the workplace tidy and run the everyday operations of the company. Thus, the good ship, Eugene Newspaper Guild, had a treacherous route to chart before clear skies and open water could be realized. The good ship, Eugene Newspaper Guild, had a compass, precedent set by other decisions by the NLRB which narrowed the passage way to almost stream access. I will not put the reader to sleep with selling Avon versus selling a personal car exceptions and the other rock slides that have occurred in the past decades. The basic route available to the good ship, Eugene Newspaper Guild was the basic principle that a company cannot discriminate by prohibiting only union communications. What the Guild was not prepared for was re-defining what is a rock and what is safe passage. A rock is only a rock if it is shaped like another rock. If it is not identically shaped, it is not a rock. It´s not okay to prohibit only union e-mail business, but did the company insist on the proposal. More importantly, did the Guild object in the proper manner. By filing an unfair labor practice was this an indication of a rejection of the “unlawful proposal? “No,” says the NLRB. There is a big dissent in the opinion, one Board member alludes to the Rip Van Winkle approach by the tired out of date NLRB. This is noteworthy, but the newspaper industry itself has become somewhat of an anachronism. Syndicated and local newspapers are clawing for ways to stay afloat. New Internet products including blogs, and real time news reporting from laptop reporters located in all parts of the world could care less about traditional filtered news. While there is a mainstay of loyal readers for local news, the plight of newspaper personnel or any unionized group is a hard sell. Google and Microsoft have made millionaires out of their staff without a union. For everyone else, it is the stupid economy of trying to make a livable wage. Explore furtherlast_img read more

US team creates diamond aerogel in lab by emulating Mother Nature

first_img An amorphous carbon aerogel can be transformed into a nanodiamond aerogel at pressures of 20GPa. Video credit: ChemistryWorldUK Possible applications for the new material are diverse; ranging from flat panel television screens to highly efficient thermal window coatings, to possibly being used as a component in a quantum computer. It’s also possible they could make their way towards being used as part of medical implants due to diamonds being more highly biocompatible than other materials currently in use.All of that will have to wait though, at least for a while, as the current technique was only able to produce diamond aerogel in sample sizes on the order of twice the size of a human hair’s thickness. (PhysOrg.com) — Researchers working out of Lawrence Livermore and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, have devised a process whereby an ordinary carbon aerogel is used as a base to create a new type aerogel comprised of diamond, making it not only denser, but translucent. In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, (PNAS), the team describes a process where a carbon aerogel is set in a pool of neon gas, then subjected to pressure and then heat, causing diamond crystals to form, resulting in a diamond aerogel. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2010 PhysOrg.com An aerogel is a highly porous material that is created by replacing the liquid in a gel substance, with gas, which results in a solid. In the new process, carbon aerogel is used to replicate the means by which diamonds are created in a natural environment. Here the carbon aerogel is placed in a diamond cell cavity where it is infused with neon gas (to keep the pores from collapsing). The whole works is then encased in a diamond shell and pressurized to 20GPa followed by a blasting from a laser that heats it to 1200K; once again to simulate the way that diamonds are formed naturally at great geological depths. The key to the process was keeping the pores from collapsing; neon gas was used because at pressures greater than 5GPa, it becomes a solid, thereby holding the walls of the pores in place as pressure and heat are added. The result is crystalline diamond with the lowest density ever created, (approximately 40 milligrams per cubic centimeter) according to team member, Peter Pauzauskie. He also said in a recent interview that diamond aerogel could likely be made that could be molded, like plastic to form whatever shape was desired. Seeing stardust: New image shows speck of comet dust from NASA missioncenter_img More information: Synthesis and characterization of a nanocrystalline diamond aerogel, PNAS, Published online before print May 9, 2011, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1010600108AbstractAerogel materials have myriad scientific and technological applications due to their large intrinsic surface areas and ultralow densities. However, creating a nanodiamond aerogel matrix has remained an outstanding and intriguing challenge. Here we report the high-pressure, high-temperature synthesis of a diamond aerogel from an amorphous carbon aerogel precursor using a laser-heated diamond anvil cell. Neon is used as a chemically inert, near-hydrostatic pressure medium that prevents collapse of the aerogel under pressure by conformally filling the aerogel’s void volume. Electron and X-ray spectromicroscopy confirm the aerogel morphology and composition of the nanodiamond matrix. Time-resolved photoluminescence measurements of recovered material reveal the formation of both nitrogen- and silicon- vacancy point-defects, suggesting a broad range of applications for this nanocrystalline diamond aerogel. High resolution SEM image of recovered diamond aerogel showing fine grain and pore sizes. Image (c) PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1010600108 Citation: U.S. team creates diamond aerogel in lab by emulating Mother Nature (2011, May 10) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-05-team-diamond-aerogel-lab-emulating.html Explore furtherlast_img read more

Blue light enables genes to turn on

first_img Bright lights, not-so-big pupils Custom-designed LED arrays and LED-coupled optical fibre devices used for blue light triggered transgene expression in mammalian cells grown subcutaneously into mice. Credit: Science/AAAS This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further Citation: Blue light enables genes to turn on (2011, June 24) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-06-blue-enables-genes.html (Medical Xpress) — With a combination of synthetic biology and optogenetics, researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology published a paper in Science outlining their new technique which enables certain genes to be turned on simply by the switch of a light. More information: A Synthetic Optogenetic Transcription Device Enhances Blood-Glucose Homeostasis in Mice, Science 24 June 2011: Vol. 332 no. 6037 pp. 1565-1568. DOI:10.1126/science.1203535ABSTRACTSynthetic biology has advanced the design of genetic devices that can be used to reprogram metabolic activities in mammalian cells. By functionally linking the signal transduction of melanopsin to the control circuit of the nuclear factor of activated T cells, we have designed a synthetic signaling cascade enabling light-inducible transgene expression in different cell lines grown in culture or bioreactors or implanted into mice. In animals harboring intraperitoneal hollow-fiber or subcutaneous implants containing light-inducible transgenic cells, the serum levels of the human glycoprotein secreted alkaline phosphatase could be remote-controlled with fiber optics or transdermally regulated through direct illumination. Light-controlled expression of the glucagon-like peptide 1 was able to attenuate glycemic excursions in type II diabetic mice. Synthetic light-pulse–transcription converters may have applications in therapeutics and protein expression technology. © 2010 PhysOrg.com Optogenetics uses genetics and different optical methods to create and activate cells in living tissue with the use of light. Synthetic biology combines science and engineering to create new biological functions that are not found naturally.Led by synthetic biologist Martin Fussenegger, the team used melanopsin which is a molecule that is found on neurons within the retina and is light sensitive. These molecules are responsible for keeping the biological clocks synchronized with day and night. When light hits these molecules, the melanopsin stimulates a molecular change that causes in influx of calcium ions and an electrical pulse.The researchers placed the melanopsin gene into embryonic kidney cells, thus making them light sensitive. When exposed to blue light, these cells create an influx of calcium ions. However, instead of an electrical pulse, the light triggers a transcription factor known as NFAT that moves into the cells nuclei and bind to DNA sequences that are known as promoters. This binding activates certain genes within the cells.To test their technique, researchers used diabetic mice and engineered cells to create a glucagon peptide when exposed to blue light. The mice were implanted under the skin with hundreds of microcapsules that held around 10 million of these engineered cells. When the mice were exposed to the blue light, they had an increase in insulin production and more regulated glucose.While this technique is still in the early stages, there is hope that these light sensitive cells can be used for diabetic treatment and to boost the production of biological drugs which are currently used in cancer treatments.More research needs to be done on the potential side effects. The release of calcium into the cells triggered by the light exposure may have unintended side effects and it is this reasoning that kept the group from starting this project for some time. Currently they are looking at using the technique to manufacture pharmaceutical drugs.last_img read more

Power grid upgrades may cause blackouts warns Braesss paradox

first_img , Physical Review Letters Citation: Power grid upgrades may cause blackouts, warns Braess’s paradox (2012, October 23) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-10-power-grid-blackouts-braess-paradox.html The underlying mechanism of the phenomenon for power grids is somewhat different than it is for traffic networks. In traffic networks, Braess’s paradox arises due to a suboptimal Nash equilibrium, in which no driver can benefit by changing their strategy while the other drivers keep theirs unchanged. As a result, the individual “selfish” strategy of each driver prevents everyone from reaching their destination sooner. In the power grid scenario, on the other hand, the paradox originates due to what the researchers call “geometric frustration.” Adding a new link creates new cycles, along which all phase differences must add up to multiples of 2π to make all the phases well-defined. When a new link doesn’t satisfy this condition, it doesn’t synchronize with the other oscillators and the grid loses its phase-locked steady state. Witthaut explained the underlying mechanism using an analogy of a motor and generator:”Consider an electric motor powered by a generator,” he said. “Both rotate with 50 or 60 Hz with a fixed difference between their rotation angles. That means: The angle or phase of the generator will always be slightly larger than that of the motor. Just like two analog clocks, one going slow by a fixed time. This phase difference determines the power flow between the generator and motor and vice versa. The transmission line thus gives rise to a constraint for the phase difference of the generator and motor.”Now consider a complex network of generators and motors. A stable operation of the power grid corresponds to a synchronous state of the generators and motors: They rotate with exactly the same frequency and fixed phase differences. Building a new transmission line introduces new possible pathways to distribute the electric power, reducing the ohmic losses, which is a desired effect. But at the same time, the new transmission line introduces a new constraint for the phases of the generators/motors it connects. In certain situations this constraint is too much – the power grid cannot satisfy all the constraints and becomes unstable.”A similar phenomenon is known in the physics of magnets, where it is called geometric frustration. Anti-ferromagnetic interactions tend to make all nearby magnetic moments anti-parallel, thus also introducing constraints for the alignment of the magnetic moments. In a ‘frustrated’ magnet, the geometry is such that all these constraints cannot be satisfied simultaneously – just as in an oscillator network subject to Braess’s paradox.”Geometric frustration occurs in most, but not all, complex networks. The researchers found that geometric frustration is more likely to occur in new power lines that are located in regions of a network where many of the existing power lines are already heavily loaded. Overloaded lines are, in general, more likely to lose synchrony and cause a power outage. By closely studying a network’s topological features, it should be possible to predict the effects of adding a new link at a certain location, and avoid potentially costly power outages.The results of this study can be viewed together with the findings of another recent study the researchers collaborated on, which demonstrated that decentralized power generation supports self-organized synchronization. This is because decentralization decreases the risk of heavily loaded lines. The finding is good news for the transition to distributed renewable energy sources, which are decentralized by nature.”In a second article published in Physical Review Letters, we have analyzed how structure affects synchronization in a complex power grid,” Timme said. “In particular, we have studied how replacing a few large, centralized power plants with many small distributed sources affects the stability of the grid. We have found three major effects: First, synchronization is easier to realize in a distributed power grid. More precisely, one needs less transmission capacity to ensure a stable synchronous operation. Second, a distributed grid is more vulnerable to dynamic perturbations, i.e., fluctuations of the power consumption. However, third, it is more robust to structural perturbations, in particular the breakdown of single transmission lines.” (Phys.org)—In order to meet increasing energy demands, power companies have the option of adding new power lines to the existing grid. But in a new study, researchers have found that, contrary to common intuition, adding certain new power lines may cause power outages across the grid due to desynchronization. This finding is an example of Braess’s paradox, which was originally discovered in traffic networks to show that adding a road to a congested traffic network may counterintuitively increase overall driving time. This study is the first time that Braess’s paradox has been found in oscillator networks. More information: Dirk Witthaut and Marc Timme. “Braess’s paradox in oscillator networks, desynchronization and power outage.” New Journal of Physics 14 083036 (2012). dx.doi.org/10.1088/1367-2630/14/8/083036Martin Rohden, et al. “Self-Organized Synchronization in Decentralized Power Grids.” Physical Review Letters 109, 064101 (2012). dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.109.064101 Solar and wind energy may stabilise the power grid In this power grid model, the dashed lines represent potential new links at arbitrarily chosen locations. Two of these links (dashed red) are potentially subject to Braess’s paradox and could destabilize grid operation. Braess’s paradox can be caused by a nonlocal collective effect in which links in a nearby region are prone to overload. Credit: Witthaut and Timme. ©2012 IOP Publishing Ltd and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaftcenter_img Journal information: New Journal of Physics Copyright 2012 Phys.org All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Dirk Witthaut and Marc Timme from the Network Dynamics Group at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization (MPIDS) and the University of Göttingen, both in Göttingen, Germany, have published a paper on Braess’s paradox in electric power grids in a recent issue of the New Journal of Physics.”Given the change of our energy supply from large, centralized power plants to many distributed sources of renewable energy, an extension of the power grid is inevitable,” Timme told Phys.org. “However, upgrading the grid in an effective way is a complex task with lots of unexpected challenges. In our paper, we show that building new transmission lines does not automatically improve the performance of the grid. Instead, some possible lines can actually destabilize it. This finding is of technical as well as economic interest: building such an inappropriate line would actually have enormous costs, but reduce grid performance and stability.”The key problem with adding certain lines is desynchronization. As the researchers explain, synchronization is essential in many networks such as electric power grids in order to ensure stability. In a power grid, synchronization means that every piece of equipment that generates or consumes power must oscillate at the same frequency (50 Hz in Europe; 60 Hz in the US). If the phase-locked synchronization is destroyed, the grid becomes unstable and power outages can occur.At first glance, it would seem that adding new transmission lines to the grid should maintain the synchronization and stability of the network. And, on average, the researchers indeed found that additional links do maintain stable operation. However, they also found that certain specific additional links can decrease the total grid capacity, which can decrease or even destroy synchronization in the entire grid. By the same token, removing certain links may increase stability, just like removing certain roads can counterintuitively decrease vehicle congestion. Explore furtherlast_img read more

Female dragonflies found to fake death to avoid male advances

first_img Explore further (Phys.org)—A biologist with the University of Zurich has discovered a species of dragonfly whose females play dead to avoid copulating with other males once her eggs have already been fertilized. In his paper published in the journal Ecology, Rassim Khelifa recalls his first experience with a female mooreland hawker dragonfly playing dead, and what he found after further study of the species. Journal information: Ecology Citation: Female dragonflies found to fake death to avoid male advances (2017, May 1) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-05-female-dragonflies-fake-death-male.html © 2017 Phys.org More information: Rassim Khelifa. Faking death to avoid male coercion: extreme sexual conflict resolution in a dragonfly, Ecology (2017). DOI: 10.1002/ecy.1781center_img Male choosiness emerges when females have multiple partners Credit: CC0 Public Domain As Khelifa describes it, he was out collecting larvae in the Swiss Alps one day, when he happened to notice one dragonfly chasing another—suddenly, the one being chased simply stopped flying and crashed to the ground, belly up. The pursuer, he notes, paused for a moment, then moved on. As Khelifa approached the dragonfly on the ground he noted it was female and then was surprised when she suddenly awoke, turned over and flew away.Intrigued, and suspecting the behavior was intentional, Khelifa initiated a study of the species in their native environment, watching 31 male/female pursuits over time. He reports that the females tried the fake death routine 27 times, and that it worked 21 times. He notes further that in each of the fake death attempts, the female had just left her eggs, or was on her way to tend to them again.After noting the fake death behavior, Khelifa reports that it makes sense for the female hawker, because unlike other species of dragonfly, the males do not quit attempting to mate once finding success, nor do males assist in protecting the eggs. He notes also that with the hawker species, the males have the ability to pull sperm from prior males out of the female reproductive tract with their penises, and perhaps even worse, can cause damage if he mates with a female that has already laid her eggs.Khelifa also notes that the females tended to hide among dense vegetation when searching for food, likely another means for warding off ardent male pursuers. He points out that the feigned death behavior is the first observed in a dragonfly, but suggests it likely occurs with other species with females that go it alone after laying their eggs. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

In quest of the coldest possible antihydrogen

first_img More information: G. Cerchiari et al. “Ultracold Anions for High-Precision Antihydrogen Experiments.” Physical Review Letters. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.120.133205, Also at arXiv:1712.08275 [physics.atom-ph] Citation: In quest of the coldest possible antihydrogen (2018, April 11) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-quest-coldest-antihydrogen.html © 2018 Phys.org Journal information: Physical Review Letters Currently, one of the major goals in ultracold science is to cool antihydrogen atoms to as close to absolute zero as possible. Ultracold antihydrogen would pave the way toward ultraprecise antimatter experiments that could help answer some of the most perplexing questions about antimatter. For example, how does gravity act on antimatter? Why don’t we see any antimatter in the universe? And could it be possible to create antiatoms of all of the elements from the periodic table in the lab? Graph showing new data of electron transitions in the lanthanum anion. Credit: G. Cerchiari et al. ©2018 American Physical Societycenter_img In a new paper published in Physical Review Letters, a team of physicists from Germany and the US has investigated one of the most promising candidates for precooling antihydrogen, which is the negatively charged lanthanum ion. The reason why lanthanum anions may play a key role in antimatter experiments is that they have just the right electronic properties to undergo laser cooling, a procedure that can cool a system down to some of the coldest possible temperatures. Once the lanthanum anions are laser-cooled, they can then be used to sympathetically cool antiprotons, which are one of the two basic constituents of antihydrogen atoms (the other is the positron, which is a positively charged electron). Ultracold antihydrogen can then be produced from the antiprotons that have been sympathetically cooled by the laser-cooled anions.In order to successfully implement this approach, however, it’s necessary to investigate several properties of the lanthanum anion as they relate to laser cooling. As the scientists explain in the new paper, the complicated electronic structure of lanthanum anions make this type of analysis very challenging, and previous efforts have resulted in large inconsistencies between theoretical and experimental data. To address these challenges, the scientists performed new experiments using cutting-edge spectroscopy techniques, and also presented a new theoretical approach. In their theoretical approach, they separated the treatment of the electronic correlations into two problems. As the lanthanum anion has 58 electrons, the researchers treated the lanthanum anion as a Xenon-like core (with 54 electrons) with four additional valence electrons. By addressing the core electrons and the valence electrons separately, they were able to calculate theoretical data that closely matched the experimental data. One of the encouraging results was that they found a stronger-than-expected cooling transition, which suggests the promising potential of lanthanum anions for producing ultracold antihydrogen.”We have now fully characterized the relevant transition in the lanthanum anion, including all its decay channels, and know that the ion can be laser-cooled. Exactly 40 years after the first laser cooling of a positive ion, the laser cooling of a negative ion is just around the corner,” coauthor Alban Kellerbauer, at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics, told Phys.org. “To summarize, we accurately measured the transition frequency and, most importantly, the cross-section (which can be used to directly calculate the transition rate). The theoretical calculations were mostly on branching ratios and also on transition rates, including the measured one of the laser cooling transition. The calculated and measured values (of the Einstein coefficient, which is yet another way of expressing the cross-section/rate) agree well, which supports the much smaller uncertainties of the calculated values as compared with previous efforts.” Explore further Physicists zoom in on mysterious ‘missing’ antimatter This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Studying the swimming patterns of bacteria near surfaces

first_img Explore further Bacteria often move near the surface of water or aqueous substances, which occurs for a number of reasons. First, nutrients in aqueous environments typically accumulate at their surface. In addition, host cells, which are particularly susceptible to becoming infected by pathogenic bacteria also sit on, or are part of, a surface (i.e. a cell tissue). Researchers have been investigating the near-surface swimming patterns of bacteria for several years. Past studies suggest that these patterns are determined by hydrodynamic interactions between bacteria and the surface they are navigating, which ultimately trap the bacteria in smooth circular trajectories that lead to inefficient surface exploration. Physics research into the near-surface swimming patterns of bacteria suggests that an individual bacterium experiences an attraction toward the surface, as well as an effective torque caused by the rotation of the flagellar bundle, which forces it to move in circles. This well-documented observation can be explained by fundamental physics principles. When considering the picture painted by these observations, however, it is hard to understand how bacteria are able to survive, as their hydrodynamic near-surface interactions would appear to be a serious obstacle to their survival. What makes their endurance in such unfavourable circumstances even more puzzling is the fact that in evolutionary terms, bacteria should be able to easily explore surfaces in order to find nutrients and/or to localize colonization sites. Citation: Studying the swimming patterns of bacteria near surfaces (2019, April 5) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-04-patterns-bacteria-surfaces.html Journal information: Nature Physics Credit: Perez Ipiña et al. Molecular characterization of the autotransport process of Yersinia adhesin A (YadA) The theory developed by Peruani and his colleagues allowed them to conclude that the frequency at which the observed ‘stops’ were occurring was far from random. Rather than hindering the bacteria’s activity, this frequency appeared to maximize their surface exploration.The study carried out by this team of researchers led to two very important observations. Firstly, the researchers realized that bacteria use transient adhesion as a mechanism to regulate surface exploration. Secondly, they observed the existence of an optimal stop frequency, which maximizes surface exploration. Enteroheamorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) and other pathogenic bacteria appear to be able to tune this frequency to its optimal value. “These two observations provide a better understanding of how bacteria explore surfaces, which is a necessary step to elucidate how they search for host cells, and how bacteria infect them,” Peruani said. “An important message from this study is that a physical understanding on how bacteria move on surfaces cannot be based exclusively on hydrodynamic interactions. Adhesion interactions also plays a crucial role. Moreover, it is the interplay between adhesion and the activity of the flagellar bundle that allows bacteria to reorient and escape from the circular traps imposed by hydrodynamic interactions.”The observations gathered by Peruani and his colleagues offer valuable new insights into the well-documented near-surface swimming patterns of bacteria. The researchers are now planning further studies aimed at understanding how pathogenic bacteria search for and infect host cells. For different species of bacteria, they expect to observe different search and colonization strategies. However, they also suspect that the number of strategies they will observe will be significantly smaller than the number of existing species of pathogenic bacteria.”A quantitative, physical understanding of bacterial infections, which is still missing, may provide hints on how to prevent bacterial infections,” Peruani added. “Our study, for instance, indicates that surface adhesion plays a crucial role in surface exploration. On the other hand, surface adhesion depends on the specific adhesins of the bacteria, as well as on the physical properties of the surface, and we will certainly try to think of ways to modify those physical properties.” A team of researchers at Université Côte d’Azur and Centre Scientifique de Monaco has recently carried out a study aimed at better understanding the near-surface swimming patterns of bacteria. Their paper, published in Nature Physics, could shed some light on how bacteria explore surfaces, how they search for host cells and how they infect these cells. “We were very intrigued by these issues and suspected that this reductionist fluid mechanics approach could not be the full story,” Fernando Peruani, one of the researchers who carried out the study, told Phys.org. “We thought bacteria should be able to cope with this handicap: getting trapped in a circular orbit is certainly not an efficient way to explore a surface. With this idea in mind, we decided to study how different bacterial species move on surfaces with the goal of understanding how surface exploration is actually performed.” The work of Peruani and his colleagues is part of a broader project aimed at better understanding how pathogenic bacteria infect host cells. In their recent study, they used video microscopy and tracked bacteria in a relatively large observation window, in order to obtain long bacterial trajectories. They later analyzed the statistics of these trajectories to closely observe the bacteria’s near-surface swimming patterns. “The abrupt changes in the speed displayed by the bacteria, which indicated that bacteria were intermittently stopping, immediately intrigued us,” Peruani said. “We then looked at the distribution of times bacteria were moving and not moving and understood that if a Markov chain formalism was used to describe the data, three states were required. This observation played a key role in our research.”Subsequently, the researchers revisited the data they had collected and analyzed the periods in which the bacteria had ‘stopped.’ They observed that bacteria were often tethered to the surface and were spinning around one of the tips of the cell body. “The evidence was clear: bacteria were exploring the surface by performing transient adhesion events,” Peruani said. “The next step was to construct a theory for a swimmer that has an internal state, controlled by a Markov chain, that adopts three possible values, each of them associated with a different equation of motion. This was a technical challenge, but the effort paid off.” Credit: Perez Ipiña et al. More information: Bacteria display optimal transport near surfaces. Nature Physics DOI: 10.1038/s41567-019-0460-5. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41567-019-0460-5 Credit: Perez Ipiña et al. © 2019 Science X Network This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

A splash of Europe

first_imgThe story of a man who runs away from his girlfriend and bumps into a bride who has run away from her wedding, may sound like a typical Bollywood potboiler, but isn’t.The romantic comedy titled Committed from Cyprus is among a repertoire of 21 latest and award winning European films from as many countries, set for screening at the 20th edition of European Union Film Festival (EUFF), inaugurated on April 8  and is set to go on till April 20.The Instituto Cervantes, the India Habitat Centre and at the Hungarian Information and Cultural Centre are among the venues for the EUFF organised by the delegation of European Union and embassies of EU member states with support of the Federation of Film Societies of India. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’“We have a wonderful collection of films and we decided this year that we wouldn’t have films on one particular topic, like in previous years. We decided just to bring to India the new films, the recent film that was the only criteria,” Joao Cravinho, Ambassador, European Union to India said.The films deal with subjects ranging from love, resilience, heroism, frustration and triumph. Stories of individuals and their families choosing their destinies while looming behind them is a turbulence, backdrop of history, politics also find place. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix“In this edition, among others we have the story of a man who runs away from his girlfriend but then bumps into a bride who has run away from her wedding! We have the story of a female bullfighter from Spain who takes the country by storm, in an adaptation to Snowhite.“We have the Dutch film which brings us the character of Sophie, a happy woman with a perfect marriage who finds love or something else with a choreographer who loves her cooking.So a wide range of very exciting movies,” Cravinho said. Films provide glimpses into the life and times of people they portray and help break barriers of languages to bring people together across the world.“It is heartening to see that the EU film festival through its 20 years of journey in India has provided an ideal bridge between two vibrant cultural scenes with rich film traditions and has developed into a significant annual event in the calendar of film aficionados,” he said.Watching a movie in theatres also brings people of diverse thoughts and cultures together under one roof and makes them go through similar emotions and thus helps bring individuals together.“In Europe, just like India, we have a massive film industry. More or less the same size in terms of films produced each year. We discovered in Europe this cultural industry employs 6.7 million people and accounts for 3.5 per cent of GDP, that is not just of course the cinema but whole cultural industry. At an age when we tend to look more at economics, it is good to remember that culture is also a very much part of our economics,” Cravinho said.The festival was inaugurated by Cravinho and Aivars Groza, Ambassador of Latvia to India. Latvia currently holds the EU Presidency. The EU comprises 28 countries.Many of the films have won awards. A selection of the films set to be screened include Blancanieves (Snowhite) is a Spanish film based on the fairy tale Snow White by the Brothers Grimm and is centered on a female bullfighter.A Woman’s Revenge is a Portuguese film that captures the life of Roberto who is one of those men to whom the simulation has become the greatest art. The Last Sentence (Sweden) is based on the life of journalist Torgny Segerstedt.Shanghai Gypsy (Slovenia) is a story about four generations of a gypsy family. The Candidate (Slovak) is a cynical black humoured thriller situated in Slovakia during a presidential campaign.last_img read more

Rendezvous with Romania

first_imgRomania is a country which gives one the best option if an individual is looking for a vacation to experience inspiring places – authentic, natural.Cultural is a word that best captures the essence of Romania – a dynamic country rich in history, arts and scenic beauty. Romania offers countless unique travel experiences that are waiting to be discovered.The Embassy of Romania and Aska Tourism & Consultancy Services Pvt Ltd recently organised an event in the Capital to promote tourism exchange between Romania and India. The event took place in the presence of Secretary of State for Tourism (Romania), Cristina Ionela Tarteata, Cabinet Director, Loredana Neacsu, Ambassador of Romania to India, Radu Dobre and MD of Aska Tourism & Consultancy Services Pvt Ltd, Rajbir Singh. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf It aimed to increase the awareness and attraction of Romania Tourism to encourage and support travel from India to Romania and vice versa. Tourism to Romania includes various segments like leisure tourism, health care, business, destination weddings and adventure tourism. The event included presentation about the Romanian tourism sector and the main offer in terms of tourism.”Romania itself offers countless unique travel experiences that are waiting to be discovered. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveA journey of three to four hours, by car or train, can take you from the Danube River to a beautiful, intact, medieval town; from Bucharest – Romania’s capital city – to the Black Sea; from Southern Transylvania to the historic regions of Bucovina or Maramures,” said Secretary of State for Tourism (Romania) Cristina Ionela Tarteata. “Take a step back in time as you visit one of the unique painted monasteries in Bucovina, the perfectly preserved hilltop citadel of Sighisoara or an authentic, centuries-old village in Maramures. Explore Romania’s many architectural treasures and experience its vibrant arts scene. We look forward to welcoming you to Romania!” she added. A number of century-old manor houses and residences, as well as unique hotels which stand out due to their interesting history, beautiful architecture, unique and traditional decorations, modern design, rooms with spectacular view, character and great value are presented in the section dedicated to distinctive, authentic accommodations in Romania. It is a southeastern European country known for its forested region of Transylvania, ringed by the Carpathian Mountains. Its preserved medieval towns include Sighişoara, and there are many fortified churches and castles, notably clifftop Bran Castle, long associated with the Dracula legend. Rugged stone churches and dazzling monasteries dot a pristine landscape of rocky mountains and hills.last_img read more

IIT KGP to launch 6month Artificial Intelligence course

first_imgKolkata: The Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur will launch a six-month Artificial Intelligence (AI) course at three centres in the country, a top official of the institute said Thursday. IIT-KGP, Director, Partha Pratim Chakrabarti told a press meet here that the certified programme is aimed at strengthening India’s talent pool in Machine Learning and AI. Chakrabarti said the courses, which will begin from March this year will be offered at IIT KGP’s Kolkata facility, at IIT KGP’s Kharagpur campus and at a rented premise at Bengaluru. Also Read – 3 injured, flight, train services hit as rains lash Bengal He said thousands of new jobs were being created in AI sector every year with AI growing at 10-15 per cent on annual rate and there was need to have more skilled people in the AI sector. “AI is the future which will more invade our lives in the coming days,” Chakrabarti said. Head, Centre for Artificial Intelligence, IIT KGP, Prof Sudeshna Sarkar said, the course with 300 students will consist of 16 modules – each having 12-hour duration. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed Around 2 lakh jobs in AI are expected to be created by 2020 in India, Sarkar said. She said the classes will be taken by IIT KGP faculty, reputed academic institutions and industry experts. There will be 60 per cent from the IIT KGP faculty and academics and 40 per cent from industry who will be teaching the students in the 16 modules, Sarkar explained. She said the demand is getting higher in AI in the country than the total number of AI-skilled professionals and there was need to bridge that gap. The course modules have been carefully designed to cover mathematical and algorithmic foundations, AI fundamentals and statistical and machine learning methods. “The courses will have a blend on fundamental theoretical principles as well as hands-on component and industry use cases and students will have the opportunity to work on live projects. “Every course module will be based on assignments and exams and a certificate will be awarded based on successful completion of the modules. It will be rigorous,” she said. The students will be selected competitively from working professionals and senior students. Tools and platforms will be introduced to make the students, from working professionals and senior students, technologically competent and ready for jobs. The AI course, application for which commenced on January 2 for screening and shortlisting, will start from March 10, this year.last_img read more