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Funeral Held for U.S. Soldier at Center of Donald Trump Fight
News Image"We have to remember that one thing - that it wasn't just one soldier who lost his life"
Sat, 21 Oct 2017 16:55:23 -0400
50 Years Ago This Week: Washington's Biggest Peace Protest
News ImageAlso in this issue: long hair and KGB spies
Mon, 23 Oct 2017 09:00:27 -0400
These two brains both belong to three-year-olds, so why is one so much bigger?
News ImageTake a careful look at the image of two brains on this page. The picture is of the brains of two three-year-old children. Its obvious that the brain on the left is much bigger than the one on the right. The image on the left also has fewer spots, and far fewer dark fuzzy areas. To neurologists who study the brain, and who have worked out how to interpret the images, the difference between these two brains is both remarkable and shocking. The brain on the right lacks some of the most fundamental areas present in the image on the left. Those deficits make it impossible for that child to develop capacities that the child on the left will have: the child on the right will grow into an adult who is less intelligent, less able to empathise with others, more likely to become addicted to drugs and involved in violent crime than the child on the left. The child on the right is much more likely to be unemployed and to be dependent on welfare, and to develop mental and other serious health problems. What could possibly cause so radical a divergence in brain development? The obvious answer is that it must have been some illness or terrible accident. The obvious answer is wrong. he primary cause of the extraordinary difference between the brains of these two three-year-old children is the way they were treated by their mothers. The child with the much more fully developed brain was cherished by its mother, who was constantly and fully responsive to her baby. The child with the shrivelled brain was neglected and abused. That difference in treatment explains why one childs brain develops fully, and the others does not. Neurologists are beginning to understand exactly how a babys interaction with their mother determines how, and indeed whether, the brain grows in the way that it should. Professor Allan Schore, of UCLA, who has surveyed the scientific literature and has made significant contributions to it, stresses that the growth of brain cells is a consequence of an infants interaction with the main caregiver [usually the mother]. The growth of the babys brain literally requires positive interaction between mother and infant. The development of cerebral circuits depends on it. Prof Schore points out that if a baby is not treated properly in the first two years of life, the genes for various aspects of brain function, including intelligence, cannot operate, and may not even come into existence. Nature and nurture cannot be disentangled: the genes a baby has will be profoundly affected by the way it is treated. The details of how the chemical reactions that are essential to the formation of new brain cells and the connections between them are affected by the way a mother interacts with her baby are extremely technical. Suffice it to say that there is now a very substantial body of evidence that shows that the way a baby is treated in the first two years determines whether or not the resulting adult has a fully functioning brain. The damage caused by neglect and other forms of abuse comes by degrees: the more severe the neglect, the greater the damage. Eighty per cent of brain cells that a person will ever have are manufactured during the first two years after birth. If the process of building brain cells and connections between them goes wrong, the deficits are permanent. This discovery has enormous implications for social policy. It explains two very persistent features of our society. One is the way that chronic disadvantage reproduces itself across generations of the same families. There is a cycle of deprivation lack of educational attainment, persistent unemployment, poverty, addiction, crime which, once a family is in it, has proved almost impossible to break. The way that the development of a childs brain is dependent on the way that the child is treated by its mother explains why this depressing cycle happens. Parents who, because their parents neglected them, do not have fully developed brains, neglect their own children in a similar way: their own childrens brains suffer from the same lack of development that blighted their own lives. They, too, are likely to fail at school, to be liable to get addicted to drugs, to be unable to hold down a job, and to have a propensity to violence. The second persistent feature is the dismal failure of rehabilitation programmes that aim to diminish the rate at which persistent young offenders commit crimes. Many different approaches have been tried, from intensive supervision to taking young offenders on safaris, but none has worked reliably or effectively. Recent research indicates that a large majority perhaps more than three quarters of persistent young offenders have brains that have not developed properly. They have, that is, suffered from neglect in the first two years of life, which prevented their brains from growing. As a consequence, they may be incapable of responding to the same incentives and punishments that will steer those with more fully developed brains away from crime. That result may lead you to conclude that nothing can be done about the social problems that result from childhood neglect. But that would be wrong. There is a way to break the cycle, and it is not terribly difficult to achieve. It consists in intervening early and showing mothers who neglect their children how to treat them in a way which will lead their babies brains to develop fully. Early intervention, as the policy is called, has been tried in parts of the US for more than 15 years. It consists in ensuring that mothers identified as at risk of neglecting their babies are given regular visits (at least once every week) by a nurse who instructs them on how to care for the newborn child. Data from the city of Elmira in New York State, where such programmes have been in place longest, show that children whose mothers had received those visits did much better than children from a comparable background whose mothers were not part of the programme: they had, for instance, 50 per cent fewer arrests, 80 per cent fewer convictions, and a significantly lower rate of drug abuse. Graham Allen, the Labour MP for Nottingham North, has been a fervent advocate of introducing early intervention programmes into the UK since at least 2008. That year, he collaborated with Iain Duncan Smith, now Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, on Early Intervention: Good Parents, Great Kids, Better Citizens, a report for the Centre for Social Justice which set out evidence that the neglect of children in the first two years of life damages the development of their brains. The report also looked at the social problems that resulted, and examined the effects that early intervention could have in helping to solve those problems. Mr Allens own constituency is one of the most deprived in England: it has the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in Europe, and one of the lowest rates of participation in higher education. There is no doubt that early intervention can make a tremendous contribution to improving our society, Mr Allen says. Not the least benefit is the financial one. The amount it saves taxpayers, by reducing benefits, by cutting care home places for kids who would otherwise have to be taken from their parents, by reducing prison places, and so on, is staggering. Andrea Leadsom, the Conservative MP for South Northamptonshire, agrees. She is a passionate advocate of early intervention programmes. I know they work because I have seen them in operation, she says. I helped to run an early intervention centre in Oxford, one of the first early intervention programmes in England. I have helped to institute such programmes in Northamptonshire. I can bear witness to the astonishing benefits. "The biggest problem at the moment is that the programmes are far too small. In Oxford, the centre sees perhaps 300 babies a year. But there are 17,000 babies born in Oxford every year, which means there are 34,000 babies in Oxford in the first two years of life who might benefit from the programme. "We need central Government to get behind early intervention so that it happens on a big enough scale everywhere. Frank Field, the Labour MP for Birkenhead, is another passionate advocate of early intervention. He has also introduced small-scale schemes in his own constituency, and is working hard to find ways to get such schemes adopted more widely. There is a remarkable cross-party consensus that early intervention is a vitally important policy which needs to be supported nationally. Both David Cameron and Ed Miliband have endorsed early intervention, and insisted that it should be implemented. But nothing is happening to make sure that it is. Quite the opposite, notes Mr Allen. The funding I thought was earmarked for it is being taken away. The plans that I have put forward are being hollowed out. Its crazy, adds Mrs Leadsom. This is a policy that has the potential to transform our society, to mean that the next generation of babies will grow into more responsible, less crime-prone, and better educated adults. "We know what needs to be done to get those results: we need to ensure that mothers who are at risk of neglecting or abusing their babies in the first two years of life are instructed how to care for them and interact with them properly. But no one in central government is pushing it. In fact, theyre taking away the early intervention grant in order to pay for the pupil premium for two-year-olds. Frank Field is just as depressed about the prospects of getting early intervention adopted by the Government. The Prime Minister asked me to write a report on early intervention, he says. My hopes were up when I delivered it several weeks ago. But as far as I can tell, he hasnt even read it. What explains the failure to adopt early intervention programmes nationally? The greatest obstacle may simply be that the biggest benefits will not be obvious for 15 years. The babies who benefit from early intervention today will take more than a decade to grow into teenagers who do not commit the crimes they would have perpetrated had their mothers not been helped by an early intervention programme. Elections, however, are every five years. That means the benefits will not accrue to the politicians in power now, but to their successors which could be why those in power now are reluctant to expend effort and money on early intervention programmes. I hope that isnt true, says Graham Allen. Because if it is, it would mean we are politically incapable of implementing the one policy that will certainly make our society immeasurably better. And what more profound condemnation of our political system could there be than that?
Mon, 23 Oct 2017 08:06:08 -0400
Stephen Hawking makes one of his most famous research papers available online
News ImageMore than 50 years ago, Stephen Hawking wrote his doctoral thesis on how universes expand. On Monday morning (GMT), that research became available for anyone to read through a digital library maintained by the University of Cambridge. SEE ALSO: Researchers watched as gold was made millions of light-years from Earth By making my PhD thesis Open Access, I hope to inspire people around the world to look up at the stars and not down at their feet; to wonder about our place in the universe and to try and make sense of the cosmos," Hawking said in a statement. Hawking's 1966 thesis, " Properties of expanding universes," is the most requested item in the University of Cambridge's open access repository. The catalogue record gets hundreds of views per month, according to the the university. In recent months, hundreds of readers have made requests to download the entire thesis. Hawking gave his permission to make the document available, and Cambridge officials hope his decision prompts current students to provide the same public access to their work and encourage its former academics to do the same. (The university has been home to 98 Nobel Prize recipients.) The historic Cambridge University Library maintains the physical papers of scientists like Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin and has made their research data available online. "Anyone, anywhere in the world should have free, unhindered access to not just my research, but to the research of every great and enquiring mind across the spectrum of human understanding," Hawking said. WATCH: Astronauts finally brought a fidget spinner to space
Sun, 22 Oct 2017 19:01:00 -0400
More than 1.3 million demand EU weedkiller ban
News ImageActivists on Monday handed the EU a petition signed by more than 1.3 million people calling for a European ban on the weedkiller glyphosate, produced by chemicals giant Monsanto and others, over fears it causes cancer. The petition was given to the European Commission, the executive of the 28-nation EU which has recommended the license for the herbicide be renewed for ten years in mid-December. "The first action is for the European Commission not to reauthorise glyphosate," Greenpeace EU director Jorgo Riss told reporters after handing the petition to commissioners.
Mon, 23 Oct 2017 09:58:04 -0400
Elon Musk wants to whisk you from NYC to DC in 30 minutes with a new Hyperloop
News ImageElon Musk revealed in July that he had received verbal government approval for The Boring Company to build an underground system that will take commuters from New York to Philadelphia to Baltimore to Washington, D.C.
Sun, 22 Oct 2017 17:37:51 -0400
President Trump on North Korea: 'We're Prepared for Anything'
News ImageHe doubled down on his previous threats
Sun, 22 Oct 2017 12:44:58 -0400
Happy Mole Day! Mayors Celebrate Scientific Date with Research Push
News ImageMove over Pi Day: Mayors across the U.S. are celebrating the day of the mole which began at 6:02 a.m. today (10/23) in honor of the vast number of atoms or molecules in a mole of matter (6.02 X 10^23) by advocating unfettered scientific research. A handful of the mayors will share their reasons for signing the pledge on Facebook Live at 4 p.m. EDT today, including Nancy McFarlane, the mayor of Raleigh, North Carolina, since 2011, and a former pharmacist and businesswoman. McFarlane said she plans to talk about how cities will combat climate change, despite President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement.
Mon, 23 Oct 2017 14:07:00 -0400
Police May Have Found the Body of a 3-Year-Old Who Disappeared After Being Sent Outside as Punishment
News Image"The indications are that it is most likely her"
Mon, 23 Oct 2017 09:08:49 -0400
'It was going to eat her' - Aussie teen survives shark scare
News ImageAn Australian teenager has survived a terrifying encounter with a great white shark, with her harrowing screams alerting her father who was certain it was about to "eat her". Sarah Williams, 15, was fishing for squid from a kayak off the South Australian coast near Normanville on Sunday when the shark struck. "This shark has just rolled and all I saw was the dark side and the white belly and just huge fins and just white water everywhere," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.
Sun, 22 Oct 2017 20:59:17 -0400
Technology takeover in the kitchen
News ImageHas artificial intelligence gone too far?
Sun, 22 Oct 2017 22:07:21 -0400
America's 1,200 Mountain Glaciers Are Shrinking Dramatically, Disturbing Images Reveal
News ImageDavid Shean, a researcherat the University of Washington in Seattle, has developed a new technique to measure glacier thickness that involves using high-resolution satellite images to track elevation changes. Using this tool, Shean was able to track elevation changes in 1,200 glaciers in the U.S.
Mon, 23 Oct 2017 12:35:33 -0400
Rex Tillerson Seeks Help From Arab Nations in the U.S. Effort to Isolate Iran
News ImageIn visits to Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Tillerson denounced Iran's "malign behavior"
Mon, 23 Oct 2017 02:48:27 -0400
Transgender fish filmed changing sex for BBCs Blue Planet II
News ImageMating is never easy when you have an unsightly bulbous appendage protruding from your head. But the male Asian Sheepshead Wrasse has even greater problems to contend with. The female wrasse is endowed with the extraordinary ability to unexpectedly switch gender, a change which not only scuppers any burgeoning relationship with the male but also creates another headache for him - a new love rival. The gender-bending ability of the wrasse has been captured in detail for the first time for BBC Blue Planet II which airs on Sunday. The female kobudai (left) becomes even bigger than the male after transforming Credit: Tony Wu Scientists believe the female wrasse makes the switch because she can pass on more genes as a male, although it is unclear why some change while others remain female. It is just one of dozens of filming and scientific firsts captured over four years by the production team who also recorded huge flying fish which snatch birds from the sky, boiling seas, and armour clad octopuses. A giant trevally leaps from the water to catch a tern in flight Credit: BBC Sir David Attenborough, who narrates the new series, said he was most impressed with new footage showing the efforts of the male anemone fish. There have been a lot of really important scientific discoveries, he told The Telegraph. Theres a little anemone fish off the reef living in the sand that is surrounded by dangers but it finds refuge in the tentacles of an anemone, because it alone is immune to their poison. But the female has to lay eggs, and she cant do that on the soft tentacles of an anemone. So the little male goes around trying to find something where she could lay safely. He finds an empty coconut shell, but the trouble is its miles away from the safety of the anemone. So he decides hes going pull the thing all the way back. So he struggles with it, and the triumph on his little face when he does. Filming The new series comes sixteen years after the original Blue Planet aired, and filmmakers have taken advantage of the latest marine science and cutting-edge technology to mount 125 expeditions across 39 countries, and spent more than 6,000 hours diving. The crews managed to film animal behaviour that until now has been rejected as just sailors myths. Two minutes with legendary nature presenter Sir David Attenborough 02:12 Mark Brownlow, Series Producer, said: Whats exciting is we are working with scientists and we are helping them further their science. Often the logistics is too massive for them to independently launch their own expedition but by collaborating we work together. A really good example is the common octopus near Cape Town and when this octopus feels threatened it picks up stones, and shells on the seabed and wraps them around itself and it seems to be a protective coat. Not only does it camouflage but it actually seems to be using the shells as a shield and we filmed that for the first time. Blue Planet II : The Prequel 05:06 The team said the programmes were the most authentic ever, after the BBC Natural History Unit has faced criticism in the past for filming footage in zoos rather than in the natural world. Sir David said: To say that we are distorting natural history would be absurd. However we wouldnt do that now, I dont think, because we are being very very meticulous to be correct and not in anyway misleading. We do our best to be as honest as we can, and the Natural History Unit is extremely careful about constructing stories from too many sources. False Killer Whales travelling with a pod of oceanic Bottlenose dolphins off the coast of the North Island, New Zealand Credit: Richard Robinson BBC James Honeybourne, Executive Producer, added: Its very important to us that we are true to nature. We are very honest about all the techniques we use to create that, to tell as story. If you film something thats microscopic you have to put added light on it, thats just the simple laws of physics. We dont want to point that out in every episode you dont want to break the spell, but we want to be upfront about that. Blue Planet IIstarts Sunday 29 October 8pm on BBC One.
Sun, 22 Oct 2017 19:01:00 -0400
Japan's Shinzo Abe Conjures Stunning Election Victory in a Boost for Donald Trump
News ImageThe Japanese prime minister bonded with Trump over reining in North Korea
Mon, 23 Oct 2017 04:45:48 -0400
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