Belemnites are nektopelagic cephalopods which developed a widespread pattern of distribution in the Jurassic, and most authors have accepted that their centre of origin was Europe. Available data suggest that the belemnites developed a global distribution only in the Toarcian, some 15 Ma after their first appearence in the European Hettangian. Development of the Boreal and Tethyan belemnite realms took place in the Middle Jurassic and continued through to the Cretaceous. New data from Argentina and the Antarctic Peninsula reaffirms the development of the global distribution of belemnites in the Toarcian, and sheds new light on the biogeographical patterns for the Jurassic of the southern hemisphere. This has considerable implications for understanding the development of faunal realms in the Mesozoic.
Facing a pandemic, Broad does a quick pivot From the lab to COVID front lines This week, the swabs are being tested in human subjects who will receive a normal swab in one nostril and a prototype of the Wyss-designed swab in the other. If the new swabs can collect a sample that contains detectable genetic information while being as easy-to-use and comfortable as the existing swabs, IPB will ramp up production of the final injection-molded design, which will be used in future clinical trials and, the team hopes, become widely adopted by the medical community in testing patients for COVID-19.“The speed with which all this is happening is incredible — it is always a challenge to efficiently design a new product even within a standard time frame, and the pandemic has brought challenges that need to be resolved in weeks, even days, which has reminded us how well we can adapt to unexpected situations,” said Martínez, a research assistant who has been working on the design and iteration of the Wyss’ prototype swabs. “Besides addressing the immediate need for swabs, we think that this new design can have sustained use beyond the pandemic because its manufacturing process is cheaper and more streamlined, making it viable in economies outside the United States and hopefully preventing such a shortage from happening in the future.”Cross-country collaborationsFrom the beginning of the project, the team has been committed to ensuring that their swabs are accessible to hospitals and research facilities around the country to expedite testing. Along with BIDMC, they are part of the Mass. General Brigham Center for COVID Innovation that includes members from the majority of hospitals in the Greater Boston area. The center’s Swab Working Group meets regularly via videoconference to update each other on their progress and needs, and has made their designs and prototypes freely available through GitHub. The group also facilitates talks with manufacturing partners to coordinate the production, packaging, and delivery of the swabs to hospitals and testing centers, including local companies in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.“I’ve been really impressed by how collaboratively all these hospitals and companies are working with each other — it shows that the people involved are genuinely invested in developing solutions to save lives during this crisis, in any way they can,” said Perry, a staff engineer at the Wyss Institute who is working on packaging and sterilization solutions for the swabs. “… it is always a challenge to efficiently design a new product even within a standard time frame, and the pandemic has brought challenges that need to be resolved in weeks, even days, which has reminded us how well we can adapt to unexpected situations.” — Ramsés Martínez, Wyss Institute As need for equipment mushrooms during pandemic, new Harvard and EdX online course rushes in to help fill knowledge gap Innovating to train medical pros on using mechanical ventilators Reaching out and making connections across miles and time zones is what has allowed this week’s trials to take place at SUNY Downstate in New York City and TGen’s Pathogen and Microbiome Division, TGen North, in Arizona. TGen North Clinical Laboratory is testing the new Wyss swabs side-by-side against existing swabs on volunteers from its research labs, and is also processing COVID-19 tests for several counties and tribal nations in northern Arizona.“We’ve noticed that the biggest bottleneck in clinicians sending us samples to test is that the swabs they use are in short supply, and are backordered at all the major manufacturers,” said Tim McDaniel, the senior vice president of Emerging Opportunities at TGen. “Having additional manufacturers with the ability to produce swabs on a massive scale will be a huge benefit to medical groups around the country, and we are proud to be helping evaluate the Wyss swabs to further that effort.”At SUNY Downstate, the swabs are being used alongside existing swabs to collect samples from health care workers in the emergency, intensive care, and inpatient departments as part of a small trial to determine if people who are infected with the coronavirus but aren’t showing symptoms can still transmit the virus to others. The hospital’s Department of Pathology is also working with the Wyss Institute on plans for a larger clinical trial to evaluate the swabs’ performance based on data from the ongoing trial.“One of the silver linings of this pandemic is that it has really galvanized institutions to reach out to each other and work on solving shared problems together,” said Noriyuki Murakami, a clinical assistant professor in Downstate’s Department of Medicine and an academic hospitalist overseeing residents at the University Hospital of Brooklyn. “This is the first time we’ve collaborated with the Wyss Institute, and it’s been a great development for SUNY Downstate — we hope this trend continues with other institutions as well.”Ingber added, “the solution to this crisis will come from the responses of scientists, engineers, and clinicians working individually and collaboratively around the world. We at the Wyss Institute are proud to be part of the solution; this is precisely why the Institute was created in the first place.” Related Researchers at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University, in collaboration with health care, research, and industrial partners, have designed a new, fully injection-molded nasopharyngeal swab that can be manufactured quickly and inexpensively at high volume to help address the nationwide and international shortage of swabs for COVID-19 testing and research.The swabs are moving into human trials at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and Translational Genomics arch Institute (TGen), an affiliate of City of Hope, which should be completed by the end of next week, and are in preclinical evaluation at six additional hospitals. Data from the two trials will be used to inform larger trials with COVID-19 patients, and California-based medical device manufacturer IPB, Inc. has been working around the clock to ramp up production of the new swabs to reach 200,000 per day by May 15.“Experts have recently estimated that the United States needs to more than triple the number of daily COVID-19 tests in order for the country to be safely reopened by mid-May, but the current swabs are complicated to make, and producers just don’t have the ability to increase production to that level in such a short period of time,” said Richard Novak, a senior staff engineer at the Wyss Institute who has been leading the multi-institutional effort to develop a fully injection-molded swab, working with the Wyss Institute’s Founding Director Donald Ingber.The project began just over a month ago when clinician-researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) reached out to Ingber asking for help to solve the hospital’s swab shortage as the COVID-19 pandemic was blossoming. Ingber, Novak, and a team of Wyss researchers joined the multidisciplinary effort, quickly realizing that not only could they design a swab replacement, the Wyss Institute’s unique position at the intersection of academia and industry meant that it could bring together clinicians who needed swabs, researchers who were developing them, and manufacturers who could rapidly produce them at low cost, streamlining the process to get the swabs into the hands of doctors and nurses as quickly as possible.“The Wyss Institute site on the Longwood campus is physically connected to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, so it makes sense that they would think of the Wyss Institute as an innovation partner with the capability to solve this type of open-ended problem,” said Ingber, who is also the the Judah Folkman Professor of Vascular Biology at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, and professor of bioengineering at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). “We were in the midst of figuring out how to shift our staff to work remotely while also starting new COVID-19-related research efforts at the Institute; but the shortage of swabs is such a pressing problem that the decision to help solve it was a no-brainer.”,Designing and delivering a better swabThe nasopharyngeal swabs that have been used in hospitals for more than 50 years consist of two pieces: an injection-molded plastic handle and an absorptive tip made of a soft material such as cotton, polyester, or flocked nylon. Each swab is manufactured in a multi-step process, then assembled, sterilized, and packaged, all of which requires significant time and expense. As part of the overall effort to create a more streamlined alternative, other teams have leveraged 3D printing to meet this challenge, which has led to some useful short-term solutions. However, 3D printing is currently costly and can only be done at scale by a limited number of suppliers. The Wyss team set out to create a new design that could be manufactured using injection molding rather than 3D printing, because injection molding is faster, less expensive, and is routinely used by a broad range of experienced medical device manufacturers worldwide.“We’ve essentially had to build a medical device company from scratch because we’re trying to create a new product, demonstrate that it works, and ship it to customers who need it quickly, and to do that, you need to figure out production, manufacturing, packaging, quality control, clinical trials, etc.,” said Novak. In addition to Novak and Ingber, the Wyss team includes members from across the institute who have contributed their diverse skills to address different facets of the project, including Dave Perry, Ramsés Martínez, Isabel Chico-Calero, Adama Sesay, Pawan Jolly, and Jenny Tam.In mid-March, Ramy Arnaout and James Kirby, who lead the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory at BIDMC, began collaborating with the Wyss team, who developed and tested new swab designs that they 3D printed and showed each other via video calls and email, as social distancing measures prevented them from physically working in the same space. Over repeated trials, they eventually settled on a design with a flexible, honey-dipper-like tip that could be injection-molded. The Wyss team has now sent prototype injection-molded swabs produced by Proto Labs to eight hospitals and health centers for preclinical testing, in which clinicians are evaluating the swabs’ performance on a variety of fronts including their comfort and ease of use, as well as their ability to collect a large enough sample with detectable amounts of viral RNA. How the institute converted a clinical processing lab into a large-scale COVID-19 testing facility in a matter of days Technology developed at Harvard provides early boost to Mass. COVID testing
While freshman orientation staffs waited expectantly for the first cars to pull up in front of their dorms Friday morning, families of new students began to explore Notre Dame’s campus. Friday marked the first day of “Frosh-O,” a weekend packed with events meant to welcome freshmen to their new “home under the dome.” Freshman Bernie Floeder of Shoreview, Minn., said he is excited to move into Fisher Hall and begin his life at Notre Dame. “Notre Dame was by and far the school that I was most interested in,” Floeder said. “When I visited here, it seemed like this was the place – excellent academics, people ready to help you and a great campus.” Junior Sarah Fleming, Badin Hall’s freshman orientation commissioner, said her staff is anxious to welcome the Class of 2016 to campus by easing them into life at Notre Dame. “Our staff is super excited to meet the new Badin Hall freshmen,” Fleming said. “We’ve been waiting for this since April. All summer our staff has been working … to coordinate things … we have our dorm all decorated and the music blaring outside.” Fleming said the weekend is structured so that the freshmen would first bond with their hallmates and then with other classmates around campus. “We planned it so that Friday events would be Badin only, so that the girls would build relationships with one another,” Fleming said. “Saturday and Sunday the events are with the rest of campus, but then Sunday after the final goodbyes to their parents we have a lot of events planned one after another because some girls might find it difficult to say goodbye to their guardians.” Freshman Andrew Petrisin, who hails from McKinney, Tex., said he decided to attend Notre Dame after a visit to campus last fall. “I came here for the Michigan State football game and immediately fell in love with the whole place,” Petrisin said. “This was always the No. 1 choice.” Freshman Katie Kaes of Cincinnati, Ohio, said she was familiar with the University before coming to campus, but she is excited to make Notre Dame her home. “I’ve been around Notre Dame my whole life, and I’ve loved it my whole life,” Kaes said. “When my sister got there I just learned more about it, and really wanted to go here … I’m so excited to meet my roommates and to get to know more about Notre Dame than what I’ve already experienced.” After visiting Notre Dame during Reilly Weekend, freshman Steven Doyle said he knew this was an amazing place. “All the people in Alumni Hall have been really welcoming,” Doyle said. “Everyone’s been really helpful here. I’m looking forward to having a great time.” Junior Pat Raycroft, freshman orientation commissioner for Zahm House, said he planned his weekend in the same way. First, the staff would help their freshmen build a sense of brotherhood, and then they would encourage new residents to connect to the rest of Notre Dame’s community. “The biggest thing we want our freshmen to take out of the weekend is brotherhood – that they have guys around them in their house that are willing to do anything for them,” Raycroft said. “We tried to strike a balance between interhall and intrahall stuff so that they would not only get a good orientation to Notre Dame, but a good orientation to Zahm.” Junior Maggie Wieland, Cavanaugh Hall freshman orientation co-commissioner, said the overall goal is to welcome the Class of 2016 to the Notre Dame family from the first moment they step onto campus. “All of the planning, all of the craziness – it’s all for them,” Wieland said. “We want to make sure that they love it here as much as we do.”
Gardeners are likely to see a whole community of living things in their compost piles — from millipedes and roaches to worms and small mammals. While most of this activity is natural and great for compost, some uninvited guests can indicate a problem with the compost pile.University of Georgia Cooperative Extension offers the Georgia Master Composter program, which suggests the following tips to guide gardeners through the complex ecosystem that is their backyard compost bin. This information is designed to help them identify potential composting pitfalls by keeping track of the bin’s residents.Most are good guysMost of the critters that gardeners see when they peer into their compost piles need to be there in order for compost to happen. Earthworms, white worms, sow bugs, pill bugs, millipedes, snails, slugs and mites all help break down the organic matter in the compost pile. They work with a web of microscopic organisms and fungi to turn garden and kitchen scraps into the black gold composters are after.Other insects and invertebrates are there to eat this all-star team of decomposers, and that’s OK too. Centipedes, springtails, beetles and other predators add nutrients to the pile in other ways and keep the primary decomposer populations in check.That said, when compost piles reach a certain stage in their decomposition, they become too hot to host many of these insects. So, an absence of insects is not necessarily a problem.The bad guysThere are insects and animals that composters need to watch out for because they almost always indicate a problem with the compost bin.AntsAnts like to use dry, undisturbed soil for their nests. If you’re seeing a lot of ants in your pile, it’s likely that the pile is too dry and that you’re not turning it enough. Compost piles work best when the entire pile is as damp as a wrung-out sponge and should be turned at least once a week.Fly Larvae and fliesMaggots, politely known as fly larvae, are often a sign that your compost is too wet or contains too much kitchen waste. They won’t harm the compost. However, if they become a nuisance, gardeners should try covering their compost during rainy periods in an effort to keep the pile a little drier.Also, avoid “dump and run composting” to minimize the presence of flies. Whenever you add food scraps to your pile, be sure to bury them into the pile — don’t just dump it and leave it.CentipedesCentipedes usually appear in dry compost piles. They’re predators who feed on other insects in the pile. They are not a problem, but gardeners should keep an eye out, because they can bite and sting if provoked.Mice and ratsMice and rats will visit your compost pile often if it’s a reliable source of kitchen scraps. If they become a problem, turn your pile more frequently and be sure to bury your food waste in the pile. If you continue to have a problem with mice and rats, you may want to stop adding food scraps to your pile for a while, or use traps to control them.Rodent-resistant bins are available for those who continue to have problems with mice and rats.SnakesSnakes only hang around compost bins if their preferred food source — rats and mice — can be found nearby. If gardeners see snakes coming out of their compost bins, it’s a good sign that they have a rodent problem. Turning the compost more often should solve both problems.Possums and raccoonsPossums and raccoons are only after one thing: food scraps. As with mice, turning the compost often and burying food scraps should cut down on nighttime visitors to the compost pile. However, some raccoons have been known to dig through a pile to find something that smells especially scrumptious.This is one reason why composters should avoid putting meat scraps in their piles. To further dissuade raccoons from digging through compost, gardeners can use an enclosed plastic compost bin or line the sides, bottom and tops of their bins with wire mesh.Keep a weighted lid on top of the pile if the raccoons in your neighborhood are particularly crafty. For more information on maintaining a compost pile, refer to the UGA Extension publication “Composting and Mulching (C 816)” at extension.uga.edu/publications/.
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Washington Examiner:Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s statement that the Trump administration is looking “very closely” at using at using a Cold War-era law to save coal and nuclear plants sparked skepticism from energy experts and industry officials, who questioned how legislation designed to protect national security could apply.The Defense Production Act of 1950 was created as America’s security and economy were recovering after World War II and early in the Cold War period. President Harry S. Truman used the newly passed law at the start of the Korean War, capping wages and imposing price controls on the steel industry. Energy experts say using the Defense Production Act for that reason would stretch the law beyond what it’s meant for because there is no imminent national security threat from the [FirstEnergy] plants closing in several years.“What DOE is doing now is essentially scrubbing all potential statutes to find something that could be the most legally defensible case,” Devin Hartman, electricity policy manager at the R Street Institute, a free-market think tank, told the Washington Examiner. “The constitutionalist in all of us should just be crying out and saying this isn’t what any of these statutes were meant to do. Abusing something like a defense statute for civilian purposes undermines national security and our rule of law.”Tom Pyle, president of the free-market American Energy Alliance and Trump’s former Energy Department transition team leader, said the administration will run into the same problems with the Defense Production Act. “They are clearly in a tough spot,” Pyle told the Washington Examiner. “The Department of Energy realizes these approaches are pretty dramatic and probably not doable. So what they are doing is struggling with the idea of needing to gently tell the industry we can’t do these Hail Mary passes. It’s impossible to do legally, and they’d be stretching the intent of the law to the point it could be challenged in court.”Mike McKenna, a conservative environmental adviser with close ties to the Trump transition team, argues those considerations are not worth the effort. “It is ridiculous,” he told the Washington Examiner. “If we think coal has value that is not being properly accounted for, let’s figure that out and find a way to account for it. This is using a cleaver in lieu of a scalpel.”More: Trump’s ‘Hail Mary’ To Save Coal And Nuclear Plants Draws Skepticism Conservatives Pan Coal, Nuclear Bailout Plan
ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Organizations often prioritize risk management only during bad times, says Steve Houle, vice president, advisory service, for Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union.“That’s the wrong way to manage,” says Houle, who addressed the 2019 CUNA Finance Council Conference Tuesday in New York City. “While credit unions are strong, we need to focus now on potential risks we’re facing. During bad times, we just react. Then it’s too late.”Creating a “risk appetite statement” can help credit unions maintain a strong risk management focus, he says.A risk appetite statement should explicitly note the level and nature of risk you’re willing and able to take to pursue your mission. continue reading »
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Dutch consultant Montae is to adapt pension fund software from Swedish financial advice firm Söderberg & Partners for the Dutch market.As part of the arrangement, Söderberg is to take a stake in Montae.The consultancy firm said that the job involved adjusting software that enables freedom of choice for members of collective pension plans.Söderberg, which employs 1,600 staff, is already active in Denmark, Norway and Finland. In Sweden, participants have much more freedom of choice for their pension and can, for example, select their own investment funds for part of their pension assets.Planned reforms in the Netherlands could mean similar flexibilities are introduced under a new pensions contract.Mike van Engelen, Montae’s founder, said this meant Söderberg had significant experience developing and providing tools for employers and pension funds to assist participants making choices digitally.“They have developed standard tools with the correct communication and education for participants,” he added.According to Van Engelen, using Söderberg’s software would be cheaper than developing programs for individual employers.He said: “Medium-sized and larger companies in particular are interested in this software, for example, if they intend to switch from defined benefit [DB] to defined contribution, and if they want to offer more choice within a DB plan.”Montae, which has offices in Rijswijk and Eindhoven, is to open a new branch in Utrecht next year.Montae focuses on pensions advice and board support. It serves approximately 20 pension funds.Earlier this year, Söderberg took a stake in Dutch pensions advisor and communication company Floreijn Group .At the time, Floreijn said it expected to benefit from Söderberg’s experience in robo-advice for individual workers in defined contribution plans.