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Shooting blanks

When my 12-year-old son encounters any phenomenon that doesn’t yet fit into his worldview, he’ll sometimes ask, “Dad, is that a ‘thing,’” meaning, is it something worth caring about? This isn’t just my son’s problem, of course; at times we all face bewildering novelty. And if it’s a thing like a new technology that makes us confront our deeply rooted feelings about nature, we might find ourselves turning away from it. I wonder if that’s why the idea of wildlife contraception has not—except as a curiosity—entered the public conversation. Wildlife contraception isn’t new. Wildlife biologists were injecting deer with steroids to control fertility in the 1960s, but the steroids passed easily into the food chain and caused all sorts of side effects in wildlife. Now we use immunocontraceptives, protein-based vaccines that are reversible and cannot enter the food chain. They cause no harmful side effects in treated animals. click to enlarge Several immunocontraceptive vaccines have been tested and proven effective in the field. Among the best-tested is PZP, which is produced by my colleagues at the Science and Conservation Center in Billings. Antibodies produced in response to PZP prevent pregnancy by blocking sperm from attaching to eggs. It is delivered to mares, does or other female animals by hand-inj...  

Huawei, CPIC to develop IT architecture for insurance industry

At the Huawei Cloud Congress 2014 in Shanghai, Huawei announced that it joined hands with China Pacific Insurance (CPIC) to develop a technology application laboratory to develop ICT architectures for the insurance industry. ALSO READ: Huawei offers enterprise Software Development Kit platform Huawei and CPIC will combine their expertise in ICT and insurance, and leverage new technologies to promote and lead the transformation of insurance companies in the mobile Internet era. As part of the long-term partnership, CPIC and Huawei will develop applications based on cloud computing, big data and other new technologies, and work together on the investment-linked insurance business and other areas. Yan Lida, president, Enterprise Business Group, Huawei, said: “By leveraging Huawei’s experience in providing ICT technology to the financial services industry and R&D capabilities in enterprise networking, cloud computing and big data, we will work together to develop future-orientated ICT architectures for CPIC.” Eric Xu, rotating CEO, Huawei; Yan Lida, president, Enterprise Business Group, Huawei, Ma Yue, president, Enterprise Business Group in China, Huawei; and Huo Lianhong, president, CPIC; and Gu Yue, executive vice president, CPIC were present at the signing ceremony. Huawei will develop new ICT infrastructures...  

12 open education videos for China

Last summer was special for the Creative Commons China Mainland team, Wenzhou Medical University, and Guokr.com. These three parties co-hosted an Open Education Resources (OER) summer camp on Luxi Island off the coast of China. For Wenzhou Medical University, the summer camp had been a part of their routine volunteering activities for five consecutive years, but it was the first time they partnered with the CC China Mainland Project; a team that brought a need in rural China to the camp's participants. The first OER summer camp received great feedback, not only from volunteers of Wenzhou Medical University that participated, but from the officials of Luxi Island, and more importantly, from the students of Luxi Public School. The first successful, but not flawless camp, greatly encouraged us to make the second one even better. The course, "How to make herbarium," was regarded as the most interesting course. We thought there was a lot of room for improvement overall, especially that more CC-licensed OERs should be included. In addition to OERs available online, we wondered if we could make some interesting online courses ourselves for the kids within our reach. Photo by WANG Hongying / CC BY-SA 4.0 "We hope to make a difference,” said volunteers from Wenzhou Medical University. "Why not make some courses based on our knowledge as medical students? We believe that would be more interesting and flexible." Wenzhou Medical University's student center provides opportunities f...  

Chinese farmer fitted with 3D-printed skull 'makes full recovery' after surgery

A Chinese man who had 3D-printed skull surgically attached to his head has completely recovered, prompting doctors to call the operation a “success”, news agency Xinhua reported. The 46-year-old farmer, surnamed Hu, suffered from a crushed skull after falling from the third floor of a building in Xian city, Shaanxi province.  Hu underwent surgery on August 28 to have his skull fitted with the 3D-printed prosthetic, which was considered a medical first. Xijing Hospital chief Guo Shuzhong said Hu did not show “any sign of infection or rejection towards the implanted mesh and his brain is well-protected now”, according to Xinhua. After his accident, Hu had trouble with his eyesight, and ability to speak and write, but he could for some months walk and eat normally. After the operation, his cerebral nerves have healed enough so he can speak simple words. His language ability is expected to gradually improve, the report said. Doctors at Xijing Hospital in Xian grafted a titanium mesh skull piece on his head during the operation, which lasted three and a half hours, the report said. They inserted the artificial skull, which weighs 9.9 grams, underneath skin and muscle, it said. After more than two weeks, Hu’s head has nearly returned to its original shape and the scarring from the surgery is almost gone, the Xinhua report said. Surgeons elsewhere in the world have used artificial hip bones and jaws created from a 3-D printer – which fu...  

European Markets Poised For Higher Open After Fed Decision

The European markets are poised for a higher open on Thursday, after the U.S. Federal Reserve Wednesday reiterated its pledge to keep interest rates low for a "considerable time." The Fed assessed that "there remains significant underutilization of labor resources."The Fed also announced its widely anticipated decision to scale back its asset purchase program by another $10 billion to just $15 billion per month. The central bank said it still expects to end the program at its next meeting.On the economic front, Switzerland's trade surplus decreased in August as imports rebounded, data from the Swiss Federal Customs Administration showed. The trade surplus fell to 1.39 billion francs in August from 3.9 billion francs in the previous month.U.K Office for National Statistics is scheduled to release its retail sales report at 4:30 am ET. Retail sales, including automobile fuel, are expected to grow by 4 percent year-over-year in August following the 2.6 percent rise in July. Sales, including fuel, are estimated to increase 0.4 percent month-over-month, after the 0.1 percent climb in July.The DAX futures are gaining 22.00 points, the CAC 40 futures are advancing 15.50 points and the FTSE 100 futures are rising 8.50 points. The Swiss Market Index futures are climbing 25.00 points.The European markets closed mostly higher on Wednesday. The DAX rose 0.30 percent, and the CAC 40 added 0.50 percent. The Swiss Market index gained 0.24 percent while the FTSE 100 index settled down 0.17 ...  

Women's tennis looks to raise bar again in 2014-15

In the 2011-2012 season, Columbia women’s tennis finished the season with a winning record for the very first time.  In 2012-2013, it won its first Ivy League title. In 2013-2014, it made program history by qualifying for the NCAA Tournament. The Lions will try to continue on that upward trajectory in 2014. “This year, we are looking to do the same thing, and even win a few rounds at NCAAs,” senior co-captain Crystal Leung said. Over the last four years, the Lions have developed into a team that looks like it can be a perennial contender for the Ancient Eight crown. Junior Kanika Vaidya is the highest-ranked player in the Ivy League outside of Princeton, earning a No. 85 ranking after a 21-11 campaign. Sophomore Tina Jiang ranks No. 102 after going undefeated last year. In doubles, Leung and Jiang, whose performance last season culminated with an appearance in the NCAA Doubles Championships, will open this season ranked No. 19. While Columbia’s first-years are not ranked, head coach Ilene Weintraub, CC ’02, has high expectations for newest members of the squad. “I’m excited to see them compete. Rima [Asatrian] will make a huge contribution this year. She will be one of the best players on the team and help us in the top of the lineup,” Weintraub said. “It’s always very exciting when a first year can make a tremendous impact. Alex Solovyev and Adi Milstein will round out the squad and help us by a...  

Men's tennis opens season with Ivy Plus Invite

As the men’s tennis team gears up for the fall season, all eyes are on the Lions to see if the team can top last year’s lofty accomplishments. This weekend, the Ivy Plus Invitational will give the defending Ivy Champions an opportunity to start on the right foot. The Ancient Eight—as well as several other programs from around the country—will play in the tournament hosted by Princeton. Along with the Ivy teams will be players representing Michigan, Tulane, Miami (Florida), Notre Dame, and Pepperdine. Senior Winston Lin, the No. 8 singles player in the country, said that the Light Blue, which didn’t lose any of its top players, is ready to hit the ground running this weekend. “As a team, we’ve started where we left off,” Lin said. “We know the drill. We’ve done it once already. Everyone kind of knows what’s expected of them.” But there are some players that worked especially hard over the summer and that are challenging last season’s pecking order. “It’s a little early, this is still our first tournament, so we haven’t seen what all the guys can do yet. When you’re seeing all the guys pushing each other for a spot in the top six, it makes everyone work harder because no one wants to lose their spot,” Lin said. According to Lin, head coach Bid Goswami has held challenge matches to intensify the competition for the final couple spots on the team’s...  

Asia forex rattled by Federal Reserve rates view; ringgit at 4-month low

SINGAPORE: Emerging Asian currencies dropped on Thursday as the US Federal Reserve's outlook for rising rates stoked concerns that regional assets may lose some of their high-yield appeal. The Malaysian ringgit fell to a near four-month low ahead of the central bank's monetary policy review later in the day. Economists were evenly split between Bank Negara raising interest rates again and holding steady. South Korea's won and the Philippine peso fell to their weakest level since April. The Indonesian rupiah slid to a near three-month low. The Fed on Wednesday suggested it could raise interest rates faster than expected when it starts increasing, although it renewed its pledge to keep borrowing costs near zero for a "considerable time." The dollar rose to a 14-month high against a basket of major currencies. The greenback hit a six-year peak versus the yen. Emerging Asian currencies have fallen this month on concerns that the US central bank may bring forward its timing of rate hikes as the world's top economy showed a picked in momentum. "It was only a small shift with a dovish comment and still USD strengthened," said Sean Yokota, head of Asia strategy for Scandinavian bank SEB in Singapore, referring to the Fed's Wednesday's stance. "People still aren't positioned for a stronger USD and higher US rates and more Asia FX weakness will come through." RINGGIT The ringgit fell 0.8 per cent to 3.2425 per dollar, its weakest since May 8. The Malaysian currency fell against the Si...  

Iraq premier: No foreign ground troops

Baghdad — Iraq's prime minister strongly rejected the idea of the U.S. or other nations sending ground forces to his country to help fight the Islamic State group, saying Wednesday that foreign troops are "out of the question."In his first interview with foreign media since taking office on Sept. 8, Haider al-Abadi told The Associated Press that the U.S. aerial campaign currently targeting the militants who have overrun much of northern and western Iraq has helped efforts to roll back the Sunni extremists. He also urged the international community to go after the group in neighboring Syria, saying the battle will prove endless unless the militants are wiped out there as well.The U.S. is trying to line up an international coalition to defeat the Islamic State group, which has carved out a proto-state spanning the Syria-Iraq border. President Barack Obama has outlined a plan that includes a broader military campaign in Iraq, increased support and training for Syrian rebel groups, and expanded airstrikes against the militants in Syria.Al-Abadi, a Shiite lawmaker who faces the enormous task of trying to hold Iraq together as a vast array of forces threaten to rip it apart, welcomed the emerging international effort, but stressed that he sees no need for other nations to send troops to help fight the Islamic State."Not only is it not necessary," he said, "We don't want them. We won't allow them. Full stop."Al-Abadi's comments provided a sharp rebuttal to remarks a day earli...  

Rupee plunges on US dollar's gains against currencies overseas

PTI    Mumbai   Last Updated: September 18, 2014  | 11:27 IST (Photo: Reuters) The rupee fell by 25 paise to 61.17 against the Greenback in early trade on Thursday at the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) market due to dollar's gains against other currencies overseas.Forex dealers said besides strengthening of dollar against other currencies in global market after the US Federal Reserve stating it would keep its easy-money policy, increased demand for the US currency from importers and a weak opening in the domestic equity market put pressure on the domestic unit.The rupee had ended 13 paise higher at 60.92 against the American currency in Wednesday's trade following sustained dollar selling by exporters.Meanwhile, the benchmark Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) Sensex fell by 118.09 points, or 0.44 per cent, to 26,513.20 in early trade on Thursday. ...  


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