House Republicans Torn over How to Tackle FY17 Appropriations

first_imgIf House Republicans appeared to achieve a degree of unity after Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) agreed to lead the chamber last year, it wasn’t long lasting.The party is split among multiple camps on how to handle fiscal 2017 appropriations. Many members, including the GOP leadership, are content to stick with the spending levels for defense and non-defense programs outlined in last October’s two-year budget deal, which raised the discretionary spending caps by $30 billion for FY 2017. A vocal contingent of conservatives, though, is pressing for a lower overall topline. A third bloc, defense hawks, is pushing to provide additional dollars for the Pentagon.At Friday’s conference meeting, Ryan made it clear that if lawmakers want an opportunity to return to “regular order” and pass 12 individual spending bills, the party would need to unite behind the bipartisan budget agreement, reported CQ Roll Call. Ignoring the deal and writing a budget resolution with a lower topline or only raising defense spending, he said, would guarantee that appropriations bills bog down in the Senate. The result almost certainly would be Congress’ reliance on a continuing resolution or an omnibus spending bill to keep the government running.The House also could decide not to draft a budget resolution or individual spending bills but that outcome, Ryan said, would be a huge disappointment.While nothing was resolved at the closed-door meeting, members seemed pleased that the speaker would let them decide the way forward, rather than impose a plan devised by party leadership. A decision on what topline spending figures to pursue and whether to draw up a budget resolution is not expected until the chamber returns from recess next week, according to the story.Differences between the various camps over the budget remain stark, no less polarizing than when former Speaker John Boehner led the House.“If you want to do phony work and you want to go out to the floor and talk about a bunch of phony stuff that sounds nice and put it up on YouTube and go back to your district and say we’re really the only ones fighting, then option one or two are your choice,” Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said. “If you actually want to do real work, then option three is your choice.” Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img read more

Game of Thrones season 8 opening credits hint at events to come

first_img Tags More on Game of Thrones Watch Game of Thrones season 8 episode 2 trailer now Game of Thrones season 8 premiere leaked on DirecTV Now Game of Thrones season 8 episode 1: The 6 funniest lines Speaking of the Wall…Once the credits move to the gigantic map, they begin at the Wall, which now has a huge chunk missing, thanks to you-know-who.Last Hearth, we hardly knew yeThe credits now move on to a new location. Last Hearth is the ancestral home of House Umber, and if you watched the premiere, you know what happens there. Note the icy tiles representing the White Walkers reaching out to it, showing the path of the dead as they march. Also note the spiral pattern that plays out in a gruesome scene from the episode.Winterfell is comingNext, the camera shoots to Winterfell, the Starks’ beloved home. Winterfell has always been in the credits, but not like this. Here the camera swoops through the godswood and then dives inside the castle itself. It races through the Stark crypt, where there’s a statue of Lyanna Stark, among others. Her life, and the son she delivered before dying, is only going to keep returning as a plot point here. And there are plenty of rumors that the crypt will figure heavily in this season’s episodes. Could the dead be resurrected? It’s been known to happen.King of the hillKing’s Landing is next, the capital of the Seven Kingdoms, home of the Iron Throne and the Red Keep. Look for Qyburn’s scorpion and dragon skulls from past historical battles. Just a reminder that no one is bowing down to the terrifying dragons without a fight. And there’s the Iron Throne, which really doesn’t look worth all this blood and death. The Lannister lion is shown above it now, but maybe not for long.More to comeThe credits aren’t going to be stagnant, so stay alert for clues in future weeks.”I’ll say that there are differences (in the credits) in every single episode,” art director Kirk Shintani told BuzzFeed. “From episode to episode, pay attention, because there’s lots of hints scattered around.” 57 Photos Now that the final season premiere of Game of Thrones has aired, it’s time to roll things back and take a dragon’s-eye view of those new opening credits. (Spoilers ahead.)The credits have always been complex and rewarded repeat and close viewings. The elaborate opening spins through the map of Westeros and changes from week to week. But they’re even fresher this season, as the creative team that designed the credits wanted a whole new chance to remake them.”We wanted to explore the idea that there was more under the surface than previous seasons,” creative director Angus Wall told BuzzFeed in an interview published Sunday. “And that there was an interior and a depth in terms of the layers beneath the surface that we had only hinted at before.”Astrolabe newnessThe credits begin inside of an elaborate astronomical instrument called an astrolabe. If you’re quick on the pause button, you can see it’s covered with murals depicting past plotlines that shaped the story, from the Red Wedding to the birth of Daenerys’ dragons to the fall of the Wall. Look for the Red Comet, an omen of major events, such as the dragons’ return. Share your voicecenter_img Game of Thrones Post a comment Game of Thrones stars, from season 1 through today TV and Movies 0last_img read more

Former MP Lobi quits BNP

first_imgAli Asghar LobiFormer MP and party’s executive committee member Ali Asghar Lobi has quit BNP on health grounds, reports UNB.Lobi, also ex-president of Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) and former convener of Khulna city unit BNP, sent his resignation letter to BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on 24 January last, his personal secretary Farhin Akhter told local reporters on Monday.In the resignation letter, she said, Lobi mentioned that he decided to quit politics as he has been suffering from various diseases.Lobi was elected MP in the by-election to the Khulna-2 constituency, vacated by BNP chairperson Khaleda in the 2001 election.He was an influential leader of BNP during the party’s rule from 2001-2006 due to his close ties with Khaleda’s son Tarique Rahman.Lobi was arrested by the joint forces on 6 February, 2007 during the 1/11 political changeover, and got released on bail early 2009. Later, he became inactive in politics.last_img read more

California Tech Money Headed To Houston For Cancer Immunotherapy Research

first_img To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: WikipediaKatie Couric interviews cancer immunotherapy scientists who will join the $250 million, nationwide research collaboration. From left: Carl June, University of Pennsylvania; Jim Allison of MD Anderson; Antoni Ribas, UCLA; Lewis Lanier, UCSF, Crystal Mackall, Stanford Medicine; Jedd Wolchok, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.The Silicon Valley entrepreneur Sean Parker, who helped start Napster and Facebook, is pouring $250 million dollars into immunotherapy research for cancer. Researchers at MD Anderson Cancer Center, along with researchers at five other cancers centers in the U.S., will take part in the partnership.The focus of The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy in San Francisco are techniques that prod the body’s own immune system to attack cancer.One example is the breakthrough melanoma drug Yervoy. Dr. Jim Allison, now at MD Anderson, developed Yervoy after learning how to unleash the power of the immune cells called T-cells.Parker recognizes that immunotherapy is at a critical tipping point, and needs support to continue basic research that won’t turn a profit right away, Allison said. “Sean has a passion for immunotherapy and I think he sees it as really novel, and a whole different way of looking at things,” Allison said, speaking by phone from Los Angeles before the announcement ceremony.Immunotherapy research operated at the margins of cancer science for decades, but after the launch of Yervoy in 2011, followed by similar drugs, the field attracted immense attention and is now hailed for its innovations.“He respects that, he’s been sort of a disruptor himself over the years, with Napster and Facebook and stuff like that,” Allison said.Six cancer centers will participate in the partnership, sharing research money and also scientific results.“What we’ve learned at MD Anderson in the last couple of years is you really have to look inside the tumor and see what’s going on if you if you want to know why therapies are working and not working,” Allison said.Allison says researchers at MD Anderson are already doing that type of analysis, using a mass cytometry machine they purchased with money from the Parker Foundation. The half-million dollar instrument can analyze tumor tissue and identify 40 different characteristics, such as the presence or absence of certain proteins inside or outside a malignant cell.Allison will co-direct the Parker-backed efforts at MD Anderson, along with Dr. Padmanee Sharma, a specialist in genitourinary cancers and immunology research.“I think it’s wonderful,” Sharma said. “I think finally immunotherapy will have the resources it needs, that we can develop combination strategies and research some of the strategies that are currently not working for all tumor types.”The other centers in the partnership are Stanford, UCLA, UC San Francisco, the University of Pennsylvania and Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York.The Parker Institute aims to unify “research programs, intellectual property licensing, data collection, and clinical trials across multiple centers under the umbrella of a single non-profit biomedical research organization,” according to a press release. Listen 00:00 /00:26 X Sharelast_img read more

Quantum levitation could prevent nano systems from crashing together

first_img(Phys.org) — Since the first demonstration of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) in the mid-‘80s, the technology has not proven as useful as originally anticipated. One of the problems is that the tiny components tend to stick together due to strong surface adhesion forces on the nanoscale, an effect that engineers call “stiction.” Now in a new study, scientists suggest that this problem might be solved by inducing quantum levitation between components, which they demonstrate by simply adding a thin metallic coating to one of the interacting surfaces. Journal information: Applied Physics Letters Explore further Researchers see exotic force for first time More information: Mathias Boström, et al. “Ultrathin metallic coatings can induce quantum levitation between nanosurfaces.” Applied Physics Letters 100, 253104 (2012). DOI: 10.1063/1.4729822 By preventing stiction, quantum levitation may offer a way to prevent surfaces used in MEMS and nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) from crashing together due to other attractive van der Waals forces that exist between them. Since the thickness of the nanocoating changes the dielectric properties of the interacting surfaces, researchers would have to precisely determine the correct thickness for a desired levitation distance. If the technique works, it may provide a much needed revitalization of the fields of MEMS and NEMS.In the future, the researchers plan to extend their investigations to other materials, such as zinc oxide and hafnia, which are widely used in microelectrical and microoptical devices. They also have an upcoming paper (arxiv.org/abs/1206.4852v1) in which they investigate the repulsive and attractive forces between excited Cesium atoms that are confined in a nanochannel, which are very different from those in free space.“Two Cesium atoms that are close together and in an excited state can form unusually large molecules when they are between two gold surfaces,” explained coauthor Mathias Bostrom of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway, and Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. “The effects from retardation for these excited state interactions between atoms are very similar to what we found for the Casimir-Lifshitz force between a gold-coated silica surface and a silica surface in toluene. Hence we found long-range attraction that brings the atoms together and short-range repulsion enabling bound states (preventing the atoms from crashing together, i.e., forming super large molecules).”Finally, the researchers plan to further investigate how quantum levitation may be used for NEMS systems by looking at anisotropic effects, which are the different properties that arise when parallel or perpendicular to the material interface.“Our colleagues in Oslo (Professor Clas Persson of the University of Oslo and his team) have calculated the actual optical properties of the materials (the dielectric function) for thin gold sheets which will be used to investigate how anisotropic effects may influence NEMS systems with gold nanocoatings. It is likely that the range with repulsive forces (preventing the system from crashing together) may be influenced in such improved calculations. Our aim is to do such calculations this autumn.” Two pieces of silica – one with a gold nanocoating – will experience a repulsive Casimir-Lifshitz interaction beyond a critical distance. Without the gold nanocoating, the interaction would be attractive at the same distance. Image credit: Boström, et al. ©2012 American Institute of Physics The team of researchers, from institutions in Norway, Australia, and Sweden, has published the study on quantum levitation between nanosurfaces in a recent issue of Applied Physics Letters.The odd thing about this levitation is that it stems from the Casimir-Lifshitz force, which has the unusual property of being either attractive or repulsive. As a type of van der Waals force, it arises between nearby particles due to their inherent electrical properties. In this study, the scientists looked at the Casimir-Lifshitz force that occurs between two silica surfaces in a liquid (either bromobenzene or toluene). Normally, this force is attractive, but it weakens as the silica particles move further apart. This weakening is called retardation, and the researchers found that they could decrease the distance at which retardation occurs by coating an ultrathin layer of gold on one of the silica surfaces. This small modification shifts the retardation regime from a separation distance of several nanometers down to a few nanometers by modifying the dielectric properties of the coated silica surface. In fact, retardation weakens the attraction so much that the force becomes repulsive when the surfaces are separated by a few nanometers or more, at a critical distance called the levitation distance. Below the levitation distance, the force again becomes attractive, while above this distance it becomes increasingly repulsive up to a maximum point. At still larger distances, the repulsion stabilizes below the maximum value. The ability to control the Casimir-Lifshitz force is not completely new. Scientists have known about these effects theoretically since the 1970s, but only recent advances in nanotechnology have allowed for experimental investigations. “The interaction between two silica objects in toluene is attractive,” coauthor Bo Sernelius of Linköping University in Sweden told Phys.org. “Previous studies have shown that, if one of the objects is replaced by a solid gold object, the interaction turns repulsive for distances beyond the levitation distance. Thus there is a potential barrier that reduces the chance for the objects to come close and stick to each other. We found, and this is new, that if instead of having a solid gold object we had a silica object with a thin gold coating, the levitation distance shrunk and the barrier became higher. The chance of preventing stiction increased considerably.” Copyright 2012 Phys.org All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. Citation: Quantum levitation could prevent nano systems from crashing together (2012, July 2) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-07-quantum-levitation-nano.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more