Bruce Bochy’s gut rarely steered him wrong — and it didn’t in his decision to retire

first_imgThe writing has been on the wall for months, and on Monday, Bruce Bochy read it: 2019 will be his last season as the Giants’ manager.Bochy’s announcement wasn’t surprising. That said, the timing and setting did catch more than a few off guard.But it’s telling that San Francisco’s greatest manager didn’t want some fussy press conference or a video montage tribute to mark his final campaign — he merely dropped a bombshell during his daily media availability in the Giants’ dugout at the team’s …last_img

Brain Cells Have a Twist-Open Gate

first_img(Visited 16 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 The structure of an important potassium-ion gate in the membrane of brain cells has been found to open like a camera iris.In Nature, Eitan Reuveny described a paper in the same issue by Whorton and MacKinnon that reveals how an important molecular gate named GIRK2 works in the membranes of brain cells.  These gates control the passage of potassium ions (K+) to the outside of the cell, a process that changes the electrical charge between inside and outside, allowing conduction of electrical signals.  His description, “Ion channel twists to open,” compares the twisting motion of the components to a camera iris: “The conformational changes that open the inner helical gate are comparable to the widening of a lens aperture by hand-rotating the aperture ring.”But whose hands rotate the ring?  The cylindrical channel that allows passage of K+ ions is surrounded by four complex proteins that lock into the cell membrane.  Activation of these “hands” by G-protein coupled receptors makes them turn the channel, opening it just a bit wider, but not enough, to allow the ions through.  From there, random perturbations may permit the ions to “burst” through the narrow opening as observed in living cells.  The channel also contains a “selectivity filter” to ensure only K+ ions can make it through.Reuveny began by explaining the importance of these channcels:Ion channels are the main units responsible for the electrical activity in our body. They constitute a large family of some 400 proteins in humans. A subfamily of these proteins consists of four GIRK channels, which specialize in converting chemical signals — mostly those of neurotransmitter molecules such as acetylcholine, dopamine, serotonin and adrenaline — into electrical ones in heart cells and neurons. They are therefore essential for controlling heart rate and the activity of neural circuits.Roderick MacKinnon received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2003 for his work on ion channels (see “Wonders of the Salt Gate” 1/17/02, also 3/12/02, 5/29/02, 5/01/03).  This paper contributes to the “long-awaited crystal structure of the mammalian GIRK2 channel in complex with two subunits of a G protein (a dimer of the Gβ and Gγ subunits), providing information about their mechanism of opening,” Reuveny said.  Ion channels such as GIRK2 literally “pump” ions against the direction of osmosis in order to set up the voltage necessary for electrical transmission.It’s nice to see MacKinnon still at work uncovering the secrets of these cellular gates a decade after receiving his Nobel.  In the past 10 years, has he seen the light of the Darwinists?  Has he found evolution essential to explain how these exquisite molecular gates work?  Nope.  Neither MacKinnon or Reuveny even mentioned it.Thinking about the action of these gates in slow-motion is amazing enough.  Realize, though, that they act lightning-fast, allowing your heart rate to adjust and allowing chemicals and ions to speed through the brain at the speed of thought.  Just like in 2002, this is phenomenal evidence for intelligent design.last_img read more

Pathogens Don’t Exist

first_img(Visited 364 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 It takes a partnership to have a disease, say two microbiologists who argue for ditching the word “pathogen.”Pathogens – disease germs – seem so real, it looks really cranky to claim they don’t exist.  Isn’t the Ebola virus a terrible pathogen that doctors are fighting in Africa?  But listen to Casadevall and Pirofsky in Nature today:The term pathogen started to be used in the late 1880s to mean a microbe that can cause disease. Ever since, scientists have been searching for properties in bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites that account for their ability to make us ill. Some seminal discoveries have resulted — such as the roles of various bacterial and fungal toxins in disease. Indeed, our oldest and most reliable vaccines, such as those for diphtheria and tetanus, work by prompting the body to produce antibodies that neutralize bacterial toxins.Yet a microbe cannot cause disease without a host. What actually kills people with diphtheria, for example, is the strong inflammatory response that the diphtheria toxin triggers, including a thick grey coating on the throat that can obstruct breathing. Likewise, it is the massive activation of white blood cells triggered by certain strains of Staphylococcus and Streptococcus bacteria that can lead to toxic-shock syndrome.Disease is one of several possible outcomes of an interaction between a host and a microbe. It sounds obvious spelled out in this way. But the issue here is more than just semantics: the use of the term pathogen sustains an unhelpful focus among researchers and clinicians on microbes that could be hindering the discovery of treatments.Imagine a staph germ just sitting there in the environment.  It’s not hurting anyone.  It might even have a beneficial function.  It’s your fault.  It’s your darn body that gets carried away in an overreaction, they seem to be saying.  That is certainly a novel way to think about disease germs!Could we find treatments easier by changing our focus from the evil germ to the uncooperative interactions of innocent cells with our bodies?  “Context is everything,” Casadevall and Pirofsky argue, providing several examples of how the same microbe can cause different effects in different people.  There are clear-cut cases of knocking out the “virulence factors” in tetanus and diphtheria, but success against pneumonia-causing agents has been difficult.Work on vaccines has provided further indications of there being flaws in the idea that discrete factors, akin to toxins, enable all microbes to cause disease.  What is more, many of the ongoing attempts to develop new vaccines by identifying and targeting virulence factors have so far proved fruitless.  Despite decades of searching, no classical virulence factor suitable for vaccine development has been identified for the tuberculosis bacillus or malaria parasite.What do they suggest?  They acknowledge that getting “pathogen” out of the dictionary is not going to happen, but we should recognize the metaphor’s limitations.  It’s a “reductionist” approach, they say, to treat the host as a constant and the microbe as a variable.  Instead, researchers need to focus more on the host-microbe interaction:New tools are needed to measure the spectrum of inflammatory, biochemical and other forms of damage resulting from the interaction between hosts and microbes. The discovery and development of these tools must be driven by new sessions at conferences, special issues of journals and dedicated funding streams. We think that such a shift in approach would uncover all sorts of possibilities for preventing infectious diseases.Related Health IssuesToxin sharing:  A related article in Science Daily talks about “virulence agents” like “microbe toxin genes,” in Lyme disease bacteria, but then shares the surprising news that “Microbe toxin genes have jumped to ticks, mites and other animals.”  There seems to be some kind of arms-trade agreement going on. We’re all familiar with the picture of the evil germ injecting its poison into the host, but—Now, in a surprising twist, Mougous and colleagues [U of Washington] have found that many animals have taken a page from the bacterial playbook. They steal these toxins to fight unwanted microbes growing in or on them. The researchers describe their findings in a report to be published online Nov. 24 in the journal Nature.This finding opens the possibility that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, in the internal battle for homeostasis.  By horizontal gene transfer, animals can hack the software bacteria use to fight their own enemies.  But then, is warfare a proper metaphor at all?How the toxins function in organisms other than ticks remains to be explored. The researchers now are looking at the possibility that other bacterial toxins have been repurposed by animals for antibacterial defense.Toxic fruit:  PhysOrg has a story about fruit flies that have adapted to the toxic fruit of a certain tree.  All other species of fruit flies are killed by it, but this one species is not repulsed by the odor.  “The flies are strongly attracted by the fruits of the morinda tree: they feed on its fruits, and females prefer to lay their eggs on these.”  What’s poison to one is food to another.Snake venom:  Snakebite: now there’s a really scary situation for humans.  Once inside the body, those toxins can wreak havoc on nerves, muscles and tissues, and even cause death.  But take a look at the “new model of snake venom evolution proposed” in Science Daily.  Maybe the snake wasn’t nefariously plotting to cause us pain.Researchers [at U of Texas] have found genetic evidence that highly toxic venom proteins were evolutionarily ‘born’ from non-toxic genes, which have other ordinary jobs around the body, such as regulation of cellular functions or digestion of food.The researchers are identifying the functions of these toxins “before they evolved into toxins.”  Obviously they are not toxic to the snake, who manufactures and stores them.  Are snakes just repurposing their original household tools for later needs, like hunting and defense?Castoe said that with an uptick in genetic analysis capabilities, scientists are finding more evidence for a long-held theory. That theory says highly toxic venom proteins were evolutionarily “born” from non-toxic genes, which have other ordinary jobs around the body, such as regulation of cellular functions or digestion of food.“These results demonstrate that genes or transcripts which were previously interpreted as ‘toxin genes’ are instead most likely housekeeping genes, involved in the more mundane maintenance of normal metabolism of many tissues,” said Stephen Mackessy, a co-author on the study and biology professor at the University of Northern Colorado. “Our results also suggest that instead of a single ancient origin, venom and venom-delivery systems most likely evolved independently in several distinct lineages of reptiles.”This thinking meshes a little with the ideas from Casadevall and Pirofsky: it’s misleading to consider snake venom a “pathogen” of sorts.  We must focus on the interaction of the substance within the host body.   Those genes would tend to become more expressed at higher levels—up to a point:Based on their data, the new paper presents a model with three steps for venom evolution. First, these potentially venomous genes end up in the oral gland by default, because they are expressed in low but consistent ways throughout the body. Then, because of natural selection on this expression in the oral gland being beneficial, tissues in the mouth begin expressing those genes in higher levels than in other parts of the body. Finally, as the venom evolves to become more toxic, the expression of those genes in other organs is decreased to limit potentially harmful effects of secreting such toxins in other body tissues.This is not Darwinian natural selection; it’s just adjustment of existing genetic information (how much it is expressed, and in what tissues).  The snakes don’t want to shoot themselves in the foot!  (Note: snakes do not have feet.)  Snakes are not evil sinners, but some evolutionary models are:The team calls its new model the Stepwise Intermediate Nearly Neutral Evolutionary Recruitment, or SINNER, model. They say differing venom levels in snakes and other animals could be traced to the variability of where different species, or different genes within a species, are along the continuum between the beginning and end of the SINNER model….“What is a venom and what species are venomous will take a lot more evidence to convince people now,” Castoe said. “It provides a brand new perspective on what we should think of when we look at those oral glands.”What all these stories have in common is the repurposing of existing genetic information as interactions between organisms are explored in various environments.We offer these news items to creation ecologists who would like to consider possible avenues for the origin of “natural evil.”  The Curse as described in Genesis 3 may not have involved creation of harmful agents de novo.  Instead, it may have involved minor adjustments to existing structures, or relaxation of controls on the maintenance of structures, or relaxation of controls on interactions between organisms.  Instead of a controlled, harmonious ecosystem, it became a more chaotic ecology, with organisms getting by as best they could, within certain constraints (God’s continuing care for His creation).  Anyway, these are new and interesting ways to think about the issues.last_img read more

Glen Newcomer, Oct. 9

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest We started harvesting a couple of weeks ago and since then we have been working on soybeans. We have a third of our soybeans cut so far. We have not shelled any corn yet, but we are getting ready to switch over to that now that we are having some rain delays.We have been having sporadic rains that have really prohibited us from getting aggressive on harvesting soybeans. Most of the soybeans that we have been harvesting have been in the 10% to 11% range. It has been difficult to manage or harvest soybeans around the optimal moisture of 13%.We have been staying current on keeping up with soybean harvest as they mature. The last several days it has been raining which has slowed us down. I believe that we will be able to cut straight through with the rest of the varieties. All of the beans are now ready to be harvested.Yields have been sporadic. They have been a reflection of the stresses we have seen during the growing season and the different soil types. We have seen beans in the 60s and we have had beans in the 30s. It has been all over the board.From neighboring farmers we have heard about variable moisture in the corn from the high teens to the mid 20s and yields appear to be very good. There are a few stalk concerns at this time. Over the weekend we had some high winds and the drought stressed corn had some stalk breakage, but the vast majority is still standing fine.The crop is coming off rapidly. When the weather breaks this next time I believe everyone around here will be going at it very aggressively. I am happy we went back and replanted the soybean acres that we did. It clearly shows the advantage to having the plant population out there.last_img read more

FCC Report Finds Better Broadband Needed for Schools and Libraries

first_imgaudrey watters However, nearly 80% of all survey respondents say their broadband connections do not fully meet their current needs. 55% say that slow connection speed is the primary reason their needs aren’t met. 39% says that cost of service is the major barrier to meeting their Internet needs. 27% cite installation costs as the barrier. Rural schools and libraries, in particular, struggle to provide adequate bandwidth to their users.What Are E-Rate Recipients Using Broadband For?Email tops the list of the most-used app by E-rate users. 98% of respondents say that’s what Internet access is regularly used for and 69% say it’s the most essential app. For libraries, online reference materials are the most important and most used app. 86% of library staff and patrons regularly use online reference materials, and 62% say it’s the most essential tool they access online.Schools and libraries both indicate that they see usage increasing. For example, 56% of all E-rate survey respondents say they plan on expanding their usage of digital textbooks in the next 2 years, and 45% say they plan to implement or expand their use of handheld devices for educational purposes. Currently, the average student-to-computer ratio of those schools responding to the survey is 5.86 to 1.According to the FCC, this data will help the agency make better policy decisions for the E-rate program. The FCC has made better broadband access one of its major goals. The FCC has released a report on the state of broadband connectivity at those schools and libraries that receive funds from the federal E-rate program. The E-rate program provides more than $2.25 billion in funding annually in order to offer discounts for schools and libraries so that they can obtain affordable telecommunications services and Internet access.The report is based on data from a survey conducted in 2010 that looks at broadband usage in schools and libraries. The survey found that almost all respondents have some form of broadband connection to at least one facility. Just 2% use satellite and 3% use dial-up in order to access the Internet.Most schools and libraries that responded have Internet speeds greater than 3 Mbps (55%). 10% have speeds greater than 100 Mbps. More than half of the school districts that responded (60%) say they subscribe to a fiber optic connection. Private schools are more than twice as likely as public schools to have either cable (31% to 16%) or DSL (29% to 16%). And 66% of respondents say they provide some wireless connectivity for students, staff and library patrons. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Tags:#E-Learning#web Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts last_img read more

Ateneo issues clarification: Bundit stays as Lady Eagles coach

first_imgBrace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC “I would like to inform everyone that Coach Tai is still with the team,” he said in a statement. “In fact, I just had a meeting with Coach Tai and our athletics people this morning. And I will soon be meeting with our players. I must acknowledge though that there are issues within the team, as in all teams, and that these will require some time to resolve.”Villarin had to step in to mend the reported rift between Bundit and the Lady Eagles, with much of the unresolved issues stemming from the players’ alleged displeasure over the mentor’s hard practices.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutAteneo team manager Tony Boy Liao said on Wednesday that Bundit was asked to go on leave by Ateneo athletics director Em Fernandez.But Villarin requested fans to avoid any speculation as the school tries to clear up the matter. “When I heard the news, I was saddened because we spent a lot of years together and I learned a lot from him,” she said. “I’m so thankful to him because I know I improved a lot as a player. I got my physical and mental toughness from him.”“Though we had a love-hate relationship, I still loved and respected him despite all the pains we had to endure during training, some of which even made me cry,” said middle blocker Aerieal Patnongon. Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. PSC gets boost from USSA hookup “I appeal to your patience and understanding as we try to resolve these internal issues,” said Villarin. “I also appeal to your better sense to refrain from any speculation or spreading of falsehood that may besmirch the reputation of our fine players, our good coach and our school.”Bundit led the Lady Eagles to four consecutive Finals appearances, highlighted by the school’s first women’s volleyball titles in Seasons 76 and 77.Members from that back-to-back title run, though, felt sorry for Bundit’s current situation.“Of course, it’s sad because he really gave a lot for the school,” said setter Jia Morado.Michelle Morente also acknowledged multititled mentor’s huge part in helping her become one of the best opposite spikers in college today.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Read Next QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Tai Bundit. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netAnusorn “Tai” Bundit is still the Ateneo women’s volleyball coach for now.Amid rumors of the Thai coach’s reported ouster, Ateneo president Fr. Jett Villarin, SJ admitted that there are concerns within the Lady Eagles, but those were not enough to merit the immediate ouster of the coach who turned the school’s volleyball program around.ADVERTISEMENT Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH MOST READ John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd PLAY LIST 02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion View commentslast_img read more

10 months agoAC Milan president Scaroni reveals new stadium plans

first_imgAC Milan president Scaroni reveals new stadium plansby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveAC Milan president Paolo Scaroni has revealed plans for a new stadium.Scaroni says Inter Milan are also involved in the talks.“I am representing the owners, who invested a great deal of money, and dealing with important elements like the new Milan stadium,” Scaroni told reporters at the Christmas party for the youth team.“We are thinking of building a new stadium along with Inter.”Scaroni also spoke of the current form under coach Gennaro Gattuso.“We aren’t going terribly well, but we are fourth and that is the important thing. We need Milan to get back into the Champions League. It’s important to stay in fourth place.” About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your saylast_img

Video: Arkansas RB Jonathan Williams Continues Rehab With Underwater Agility Drills

first_imgJonathan Williams doing rehab underwater.Jonathan Williams RehabArkansas running back Jonathan Williams hasn’t played all season due to a foot injury, but the bruising senior is working his way back to the gridiron. Whether he’ll next suit up for the Razorbacks or in the NFL, Williams is determined to make a full recovery. Last week, he posted video of himself running for the first time since the injury, and today he shared footage of himself doing underwater agility drills. Best of luck to Williams as he continues to progress in his rehab.last_img