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Irish aviation officials are investigating after two airline pilots reported seeing unidentified flying objects off the southwest coast of Ireland last week, the Irish Examiner reports. A pilot of a British Airways flight contacted air control last Friday, November 9, asking if there were military scheduled in the airpace. Air control said there was nothing showing for that evening.

“It was moving so fast,” the pilot said, according to audio of the call released by LiveATC.net. “It appeared on our left hand side and rapidly veered to the north. We saw a bright light and then it disappeared at a very high speed.”

A second pilot, flying a Virgin Airlines plane, also called into air traffic control. “A meteor or another object making some kind of re-entry. It appears to be multiple objects following the same sort of trajectory. They were very bright from where we were.”

In a statement to CBS News, the Irish Aviation Authority said the reports will be “investigated under the normal confidential occurrence investigation process.”

In March, two airline pilots claimed to see UFOs fly over their planes in Arizona’s airspace. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) admitted that it didn’t know what the object was either, and released audio of the radio broadcasts.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/pilots-report-seeing-ufo-sky-off-ireland-2018-11-12/?ftag=CNM-00-10aag7e

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By Yasemin Saplakoglu

Drinking a cup of tea or eating a handful of berries a day may help protect against heart disease, a new study suggests.

The research, presented November 10 at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions annual meeting, found that daily consumption of small amounts of flavonoids — compounds found in berries, tea, chocolate, wine and many other fruits and plants — was associated with a lower risk of heart disease.

This association (which is not to be confused with a cause-and-effect finding) is not new; previous research has also found a link between flavonoids and heart disease risk. But the new study — one of the largest done to date — adds stronger evidence to the idea that flavonoids may protect the heart, said co-lead study author Nicola Bondonno, a postdoctoral researcher at the School of Biomedical Science at the University of Western Australia.

In the study, Bondonno and her team analyzed data from nearly 53,000 people who had participated in the long-running Danish Diet, Cancer and Health Study, which began in the 1990s. At the beginning of that study, participants filled out a questionnaire with information about what types of foods they ate and how often they ate them. The researchers then tracked the participants’ health for more than two decades.

After a 23-year follow-up period, around 12,000 of the participants had developed some sort of heart condition.

The researchers found that people who reported eating around 500 milligrams or more of flavonoids daily had a lower risk of developing ischemic heart disease (where the heart’s major blood vessels are narrowed, reducing blood flow to the heart), stroke and peripheral artery disease (where blood vessels in the body are narrowed, reducing blood flow throughout the body). This association was the greatest for the latter, the researchers found.

Bondonno noted that 500 mg of flavonoids is “very easy to eat in one day.” You would get that amount of flavonoids from “a cup of tea, a handful of blueberries, maybe some broccoli,” she said. They also found that, on average, it didn’t make too much of a difference how much more flavonoids healthy people consumed once they passed the 500 mg/day threshold.

The reason flavonoids could have a protective role against heart disease is because of their anti-inflammatory properties, Bondonno told Live Science. Inflammation is a risk factor for heart disease, she said.

The researchers noted that the association between flavonoids and reduced heart disease risk varied for different groups of people. The link between flavonoids and reduced risk of heart disease in smokers, for example, wasn’t observed at 500 mg of flavonoids a day; rather, smokers needed to eat more flavonoids for the link to be apparent. Similar results were seen in people who drank alcohol and in men. However, it was in these three groups that the researchers found that flavonoid intake was associated with the greatest reduction in risk.

In their analysis, Bondonno and her team made sure to take people’s whole diets into consideration, because people who tend to eat lots of fruits and vegetables (and in turn, consume a lot of flavonoids), tend to have better diets in general, eating more fiber and fish and less processed food, which are all “associated with heart disease,” Bondonno said. When they adjusted for these diets in their report, they found that the association between flavonoid intake and reduced heart disease risk was still there, but a bit weaker. In other words, flavonoids may not play as big a role in heart disease risk as a healthy diet would in general.

Further, the study was conducted only in Danish people, and though these results shouldn’t be extrapolated, “these kinds of associations have been seen in other populations,” Bondonno said.

The findings have not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

https://www.livescience.com/64060-flavonoids-heart-health.html

Graduate student Zijie Wang has pleaded guilty to poisoning a co-worker in the chemistry labs at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada. He had been dosing his coworker’s
food with N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), used to induce cancer in rats, which initially made the victim vomit and gave him diarrhea. The victim – who survived and testified in court on November 2 – had installed a camera on his desk and recorded Wang pipetting a substance into his food.

Wang is due to be sentenced on December 11 for ‘administering a noxious thing to endanger life or cause bodily harm’ and aggravated assault.

Local media reports that the victim was also Wang’s former roommate, as well as his colleague, having lived with him between December 2016 and May 2017. The victim asked the court ‘What kind of hatred would make a person attempt to kill his roommate?’, the Queen’s University Journal reported.

All of Wang’s colleagues had been through ‘unpleasant experiences’ with him, the victim added. He reportedly told the court that he will ‘suffer for life’ wondering if he’ll develop cancer. He has now developed two small bumps on his chest, and fears they could be cancerous. Worse still, the university is not renewing the victim’s contract, he testified.

The victim’s first recollection of the poisoning was 8 January, when he tried to eat an apple pie he had brought into work, stopping after finding the second bite too bitter. Within four hours he was reportedly vomiting and suffering from diarrhea. A week later, on 15 January, he found another apple pie that he ate at work at first tasted normal, but then tasted bitter in the middle. This time he didn’t fall ill.

The following week a cinnamon raisin bread loaf that the victim had brought in similarly tasted bitter. He asked a colleague to try some, and they agreed it didn’t taste right. The victim had
also detected a strange flavor in water he had been drinking.

Detecting a pattern, the victim set up a camera and recorded Wang poisoning a loaf of bread while he was in a group meeting on January 29. The Queen’s University Journal reports that when Wang was arrested, he initially said he’d only used ethanol. The victim didn’t find out about his exposure to NDMA until a toxicology report months later.

According to Linkedin, Wang did his bachelor’s degree in materials chemistry at Sun Yet-Sen University in Guangdong. He then moved to Queen’s, where he is a PhD candidate in Guojun Liu’s group in the chemistry department. As a master’s degree student in 2015, working in Liu’s group, Wang functionalised cotton fabrics so that they can separate oil from an oil-in-water emulsion rapidly and cleanly.

NDMA has been used to poison people in several cases, including a fatal poisoning at Fudan University in Shanghai, China in 2013. Clare Selden from University College London explains that researchers use NDMA to induce liver cancer in rats to then test treatments that might cure it. Usually, scientists would need to give several doses to the rats to do this. Rather than facing the difficulty of repeatedly catching and injecting them, they will put NDMA in rats’ water, a process which resembles the Wang case.

In Chinese hamsters a single injection of a dose exceeding 30mg/kg is usually fatal, while a single 20mg/kg injection induced cancer in 80% of hamsters 25 months after treatment. The 30mg/kg dose equates to a 70kg person being given 2.1g of NDMA. One of the victim’s partially-drunk water bottles contained 5.8g and another 4.1g, according to the Queen’s University Journal.

However Selden warns against projecting risks from animal models to humans, and also that drinking and eating NDMA differs from it being injected. ‘No one can tell you for sure if somebody’s going to get cancer, but if you’ve ingested a known carcinogen you ought to imagine that your chances will go up,’ she adds.

by Isobel Asher Hamilton

– China’s state press agency has developed what it calls “AI news anchors,” avatars of real-life news presenters that read out news as it is typed.

– It developed the anchors with the Chinese search-engine giant Sogou.

– No details were given as to how the anchors were made, and one expert said they fell into the “uncanny valley,” in which avatars have an unsettling resemblance to humans.

China’s state-run press agency, Xinhua, has unveiled what it claims are the world’s first news anchors generated by artificial intelligence.

Xinhua revealed two virtual anchors at the World Internet Conference on Thursday. Both were modeled on real presenters, with one who speaks Chinese and another who speaks English.

“AI anchors have officially become members of the Xinhua News Agency reporting team,” Xinhua told the South China Morning Post. “They will work with other anchors to bring you authoritative, timely, and accurate news information in both Chinese and English.”

In a post, Xinhua said the generated anchors could work “24 hours a day” on its website and various social-media platforms, “reducing news production costs and improving efficiency.”

Xinhua developed the virtual anchors with Sogou, China’s second-biggest search engine. No details were given about how they were made.

Though Xinhua presents the avatars as independently learning from “live broadcasting videos,” the avatars do not appear to rely on true artificial intelligence, as they simply read text written by humans.

“I will work tirelessly to keep you informed as texts will be typed into my system uninterrupted,” the English-speaking anchor says in its first video, using a synthesized voice.

The Oxford computer-science professor Michael Wooldridge told the BBC that the anchor fell into the “uncanny valley,” in which avatars or objects that closely but do not fully resemble humans make observers more uncomfortable than ones that are more obviously artificial.

https://www.businessinsider.com/ai-news-anchor-created-by-china-xinhua-news-agency-2018-11

If any intelligent aliens share our cosmic neighborhood, we may be able to get their attention using a powerful laser beacon.

A 1- or 2-megawatt laser beamed through a 100- to 150-foot-wide (30 to 45 meters) telescope here on Earth could create a signal detectable by alien astronomers up to 20,000 light-years away, a new study suggests.

“This would be a challenging project but not an impossible one,” lead author James Clark, a graduate student in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, said in a statement.

“The kinds of lasers and telescopes that are being built today can produce a detectable signal, so that an astronomer could take one look at our star and immediately see something unusual about its spectrum,” Clark added.

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Pew! Pew! Pew! Powerful Laser Beacon Could Show Aliens Earth Is Inhabited
Laser technology on Earth could be used to emit a beacon strong enough to attract attention from as far as 20,000 light-years away, a new study suggests.
Credit: MIT News
If any intelligent aliens share our cosmic neighborhood, we may be able to get their attention using a powerful laser beacon.

A 1- or 2-megawatt laser beamed through a 100- to 150-foot-wide (30 to 45 meters) telescope here on Earth could create a signal detectable by alien astronomers up to 20,000 light-years away, a new study suggests.

“This would be a challenging project but not an impossible one,” lead author James Clark, a graduate student in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, said in a statement.

“The kinds of lasers and telescopes that are being built today can produce a detectable signal, so that an astronomer could take one look at our star and immediately see something unusual about its spectrum,” Clark added.

For example, three different telescopes in the roughly required size range are scheduled to come online in the early to mid-2020s — the Giant Magellan Telescope, the European Extremely Large Telescope and the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). The first two scopes are being built in the Chilean Andes, whereas TMT will observe the heavens from the Hawaiian peak Mauna Kea.

And the U.S. Air Force worked to develop a megawatt-class laser for the now-defunct Airborne Laser project, which was designed to knock out missiles midflight.

The alien-hailing laser envisioned by Clark and study co-author Kerri Cahoy, an associate professor at MIT, would beam infrared radiation: long-wavelength light that’s invisible to the human eye. The resulting infrared signal would be powerful and distinct enough that the sun’s heat signature wouldn’t drown it out, the researchers determined.

Partner Series
Pew! Pew! Pew! Powerful Laser Beacon Could Show Aliens Earth Is Inhabited
Laser technology on Earth could be used to emit a beacon strong enough to attract attention from as far as 20,000 light-years away, a new study suggests.
Credit: MIT News
If any intelligent aliens share our cosmic neighborhood, we may be able to get their attention using a powerful laser beacon.

A 1- or 2-megawatt laser beamed through a 100- to 150-foot-wide (30 to 45 meters) telescope here on Earth could create a signal detectable by alien astronomers up to 20,000 light-years away, a new study suggests.

“This would be a challenging project but not an impossible one,” lead author James Clark, a graduate student in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, said in a statement. [13 Ways to Hunt Intelligent Aliens]

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“The kinds of lasers and telescopes that are being built today can produce a detectable signal, so that an astronomer could take one look at our star and immediately see something unusual about its spectrum,” Clark added.

For example, three different telescopes in the roughly required size range are scheduled to come online in the early to mid-2020s — the Giant Magellan Telescope, the European Extremely Large Telescope and the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). The first two scopes are being built in the Chilean Andes, whereas TMT will observe the heavens from the Hawaiian peak Mauna Kea.

And the U.S. Air Force worked to develop a megawatt-class laser for the now-defunct Airborne Laser project, which was designed to knock out missiles midflight.

The alien-hailing laser envisioned by Clark and study co-author Kerri Cahoy, an associate professor at MIT, would beam infrared radiation: long-wavelength light that’s invisible to the human eye. The resulting infrared signal would be powerful and distinct enough that the sun’s heat signature wouldn’t drown it out, the researchers determined.

“I don’t know if intelligent creatures around the sun would be their first guess, but it would certainly attract further attention,” Clark said, referring to putative alien astronomers who pick up the signal.

There would be some safety concerns with the laser beacon, however. For instance, the beam, while invisible, could still damage the eyes of anyone who looked directly at it, the researchers said. And the laser could also interfere with the imaging gear of any spacecraft that happened across its path.
So it might be wise to set up the system off our planet, if possible.

“If you wanted to build this thing on the far side of the moon where no one’s living or orbiting much, then that could be a safer place for it,” Clark said. “In general, this was a feasibility study. Whether or not this is a good idea, that’s a discussion for future work.”

Powerful lasers could also eventually help us — or our tiny robotic emissaries, anyway — journey to the home worlds of our putative alien neighbors. For example, the Breakthrough Starshot project aims to use a huge laser array to accelerate tiny, sail-equipped nanoprobes toward exoplanetary systems en masse, at 20 percent the speed of light. If everything goes according to plan, the first fleet of these robotic explorers could launch toward the nearby exoplanet Proxima b within the next 25 years or so, project representatives have said.

The new study was published online Monday (Nov. 5) in The Astrophysical Journal.

https://www.space.com/42349-laser-beacon-intelligent-alien-life.html

Cannabis exposure during adolescence may interfere with the brain’s maturation, at least in rats, according to research presented at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego this week. Scientists find that a synthetic cannabinoid can throw dopamine signaling out of whack and alter the development of the prefrontal cortex.

As states continue to legalize both medical and recreational marijuana, more and more teens are using the drug. According to the Scripps Research Institute’s Michael Taffe, who moderated a press conference today (November 6), 35 percent of high school seniors in the US have smoked pot in the past year, and 14 percent say they have smoked it every day for a month at some point in their lives.

This has cannabis researchers interested in how marijuana use affects teens’ developing brains. In one study described during the event with reporters, José Fuentealba Evans of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and his colleagues injected adolescent rats with a synthetic cannabinoid and found that such exposure had a “huge increase” in dopaminergic activity in the nigrostriatal pathway of the striatum compared with rats that received a placebo, he explains. This excitatory circuit plays a role in reward processing and addiction, for example, and such changes may encourage risky behavior.

In another study presented today, Jamie Roitman’s group at the University of Illinois at Chicago found that rats given this same drug had fewer inhibitory neurons in regions of the prefrontal cortex, as well as reduced levels of the perineuronal nets that help stabilize those circuits, compared with control animals. This part of the brain, which matures late in development as excitatory synapses are pruned and inhibitory synapses proliferate, controls the highly active motivational circuits, such as the nigrostriatal pathway, that mature earlier, Roitman explains.

“Adolescence is much more dopamine controlled, as you’re waiting for the prefrontal cortex to come online and execute planning and control over behavior,” she tells The Scientist. Thus, adolescents who use cannabis may be “at risk of changing the structure of the brain while it’s maturing.”

https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/cannabinoid-exposure-during-adolescence-disrupts-neural-regulation-65047

pizza

By Christina Maxouris and Saeed Ahmed

When Julie Morgan and her husband, Rich, lived in Battle Creek, Michigan, they would stop by Steve’s Pizza for dinner every payday.

That was 25 years ago. To celebrate her birthday this year, the couple — who now live in Indianapolis — wanted to take a trip to their favorite pizza place.
Instead, they ended up in the ER, where Rich Morgan was told his cancer had worsened and that he had weeks — maybe days — to live. He was placed in hospice care.

Steve’s Pizza doesn’t deliver. But when a manager at the store heard the couple’s story, he decided to take two pies to them himself — even though they were 225 miles away.

During the course of their marriage, the Morgans moved around several times. But for them, Steve’s has always been the benchmark by which all pizzas were measured.

“I can’t possibly describe how delicious this pizza is — but several moves and all these years later, it is still the gold standard and we’ve never found a better pizza yet,” Julie Morgan wrote on Facebook.

When her dad, David Dalke, found out about their birthday plan — and how Rich’s sudden diagnosis dashed it — he called Steve’s Pizza hoping they might send a note to the couple.

“I said ‘I know you’re busy.’ I explained the situation and said, ‘If you ever make it happen, just a text message to Rich and Julie that you’re sorry they couldn’t make the trip,'” Dalke told CNN.

That’s all he was hoping for: a note.

“About five minutes later he called me and he said, ‘I want to know what kind of pizza they like,” Dalke said.

It was an unusual request, but Dalke told him anyway: Pepperoni and mushroom.
On the other end of the line was Dalton Shaffer — the 18-year-old grandson of Steve, original owner of the pizzeria. Shaffer told Dalke it was near the end of the night, and as soon as he closed the store, he’d head to the house with their two favorite pizzas.

“I said, ‘Wait a minute, did you understand that I am in Indianapolis? I’m not next door?'” Dalke said.

It’s about a three-and-a-half-hour drive between the two cities. But Shaffer said he didn’t have to think twice and got on the highway without telling anyone from his family or the store.

“It was kind of a spontaneous reaction,” Shaffer told CNN. “I’m happy I did it, and on the trip down I was happy doing it.”

Dalke kept the lights on and waited until 2 a.m., when Shaffer pulled into their driveway.

Shaffer handed Dalke the two pizzas, and got ready to drive back to Michigan — another three-and-a-half-hour drive.

“I told him to come in, have something to eat, drink. I asked if he wanted me to put him up for the night,” Dalke said. “But he said ‘I’ve got to get up because I’ve got to go to work the next day.'”

Shaffer wouldn’t take any money. He just drove back home, completing a 450-mile, seven-hour journey.

His remarkable act a week ago has inspired people everywhere since Julie Morgan posted about it on Facebook.

Dalke said what the world needs is “more Daltons.”

“There’s so much goodness in people — and there are people in this world that will stretch out, and care and not think twice about it,” he said. “We’re going through grief but, by golly, there’s something good that’s happening.”

And that’s the message Shaffer hopes to spread with his act of kindness.

“I have already gotten a ton of phone calls from people saying they were inspired in the future to help other people and to be able to do things like that. To me, that right there is what I want,” he said.

“I just want people to think about the family and pray for them.”

Update 5:19 pm ET: Since publishing this story CNN learned that Rich Morgan died Saturday after a two-year battle with cancer, according to his wife, Julie Morgan. She wrote, “He fought so hard and dealt with his illness with incredible grace, courage and humor. He was a man of faith and integrity who was always driven to do the right thing. There are no words to express how deeply we loved and admired him, and how much he loved us in return. Thank you so much for the outpouring of prayers and support.”

https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/21/health/iyw-pizza-delivery-hospice-trnd/index.html