Rare-Earth Metals Found in Atmosphere of Exoplanet

KELT-9 b is the hottest exoplanet known to date.

In the summer of 2018, a joint team of astronomers from the universities of Bern and Geneva found signatures of gaseous iron and titanium in its atmosphere.

Now, these researchers have also been able to detect traces of vaporized sodium, magnesium, chromium, and the rare-Earth metals scandium and yttrium.

Exoplanets are planets outside our solar system that orbit around stars other than the Sun.

Since the discovery of the first exoplanets in the mid-90’s, well over 3000 exoplanets have been discovered.

Many of these planets are extreme compared to the planets in our solar system: Hot gas giants that orbit incredibly close to their host stars, sometimes within periods of less than a few days.

Such planets do not exist in our solar system, and their existence has defied predictions of how and why planets form. For the past 20 years, astronomers from all over the world have been working to understand where these planets come from, what they are made of, and what their climates are like.

An Extremely Hot Gas Giant

KELT-9 is a star located 650 light years from the Earth in the constellation Cygnus. Its exoplanet KELT-9 b exemplifies the most extreme of these so-called hot-Jupiters because it orbits very closely around its star that is almost twice as hot as the Sun. Therefore, its atmosphere reaches temperatures of around 4000 °C. In such heat, all elements are almost completely vaporized and molecules are broken apart into their constituent atoms – much like is the case in the outer layers of stars. This means that the atmosphere contains no clouds or aerosols and the sky is clear, mostly transparent to light from its star.

The atoms that make up the gas of the atmosphere absorb light at very specific colors in the spectrum, and each atom has a unique “fingerprint” of colors that it absorbs. These fingerprints can be measured with a sensitive spectrograph mounted on a large telescope, allowing astronomers to discern the chemical composition of the atmospheres of planets that are many light-years away.

The Exoplanet as a Treasure Trove

A team of researchers from the Universities of Bern and Geneva collaborated to use this technique, and made an interesting discovery: “Using the HARPS-North spectrograph on the Italian National Telescope on the island of La Palma, we found iron and titanium atoms in the hot atmosphere of KELT-9 b,” explains Kevin Heng, Director and Professor at the Center for Space and Habitabilty (CSH) at the University of Bern and a member of the National Centre of Competence in Research PlanetS. The team observed the KELT-9 system for a second time last summer, with the goal of confirming their previous detections, but also to proceed to search for additional elements that could be present in the data as well. Their survey included 73 atoms, among which some so-called rare-Earth metals. These substances are less common on Earth, but are applied in advanced materials and devices. Jens Hoeijmakers, who is the first author of the study which is now published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics and who is a Postdoc at the CSH in Bern and at Geneva Observatory, says: “Our team predicted that the spectrum of this planet could well be a treasure trove where a multitude of species can be detected that have not been observed in the atmosphere of any other planet before.”

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://www.infowars.com/rare-earth-metals-found-in-atmosphere-of-exoplanet/

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U.S. troops found nearly 5,000 abandoned chemical weapons in Iraq from 2004 to 2011

American troops found nearly 5,000 abandoned chemical weapons in Iraq from 2004 to 2011, but their discoveries were kept secret by the U.S. government, the New York Times reports.

According to the 10,000-word, eight-part interactive report (“The Secret Casualties of Iraq’s Abandoned Chemical Weapons“) by C.J. Chivers published on the paper’s website late Tuesday, at least 17 American service members and seven Iraqi police officers were exposed to nerve or mustard agents in Iraq after 2003.

On at least six occasions, American troops and American-trained Iraqi troops were wounded by the abandoned munitions, but news of the encounters was neither shared publicly nor widely circulated among the troops, the victims told the Times. Others said they were told to be vague or deceptive about what they found.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://news.yahoo.com/chemical-weapons-found-in-iraq-nyt-report-135347507.html

A correlation found between psychiatric disorders and events during the prenatal stage

Particular genetic variants in the human genome that are important for the development of the brain early in the life of the foetus are frequently found in psychiatric disorders. This is shown by a study carried out by iPSYCH.

Researchers studied a total of 8 million genetic variants and found that some of them occur particularly often in people who have one of more of the following psychiatric disorders: schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, autism and ADHD.

This background is provided by Professor Thomas Werge from the Mental Health Services & University of Copenhagen and the Lundbeck Foundation’s Initiative for Integrated Psychiatric Research, commonly referred to as iPSYCH, which has received a total of DKK 361 million in funding from the Lundbeck Foundation. He explains:

“When we take a closer look at these genetic variants, one of the things we can ascertain is that they are tied to genes that are active in connection with the establishing of synapses in the brain during the prenatal stage—that is to say, the formation of the wiring that runs from nerve cell to nerve cell. And this means that the causes of mental disorders may actually originate all the way back from the point during pregnancy when the brain of the foetus was being formed.”

Thomas Werge headed the study, which has just been published in the scientific journal Nature Neuroscience. The Danish contribution involved researchers from Aarhus University, Statens Serum Institut (SSI) and the Technical University of Denmark. Researchers from Australia, Switzerland and USA also took part.

Enormous battery of blood tests

Researchers who study psychiatric disorders have long held an assumption that across psychiatric diagnoses, there will be common characteristics in the form of specific genetic variants. This assumption also builds on the fact that a range of psychiatric disorders can often be seen to appear at the same time—both in families and individuals.

Whether or not this is the case has been tested in a range of studies, but never in a way that actually involves an entire population, explains Thomas Werge: “And that is exactly what we have done, because we have looked at a whole population in Denmark. By doing things in this way, you can achieve the highest possible degree of statistical certainty, as it’s now possible to exclude a long list of biases and thus chance findings, which have to do with factors such as the selection of material for the study. At the same time, we get a very detailed picture of all the forms of mental disorders that can affect a person.”

The study behind the article in Nature Neuroscience is based on the that are taken from nearly all newborn babies in Denmark with parental consent. These heel prick samples, or PKU tests as they are known, are accessible for research work, but only in anonymised form.

The PKU archive is the only one of its kind in the world and by looking at the DNA profiles from all samples taken during the period between 1980 and 2005, Thomas Werge and his colleagues were able to carry out a unique study:

The samples were correlated with the Danish healthcare system’s CPR (civil registration number) registrations, which is to say that the database behind the individual PKU samples—in addition to containing the DNA of the person in question—would also contain in anonymised form much of the of the same person that is stored in the Danish public healthcare system, including information on psychiatric diagnoses.

“In 2012, when we looked at the registers holding detailed information on all of the PKU samples taken in the period 1980-2005—approximately 1.5 million in total—we could see that 46,000 people from this group had, during that time, received one or more major psychiatric diagnoses. We then compared their DNA with the DNA from a sufficiently large number of persons in the register who had not received a psychiatric diagnosis,” says Professor Thomas Werge.

A question of vulnerability

What do these discoveries mean? Is it the case that the genetic variants in the study that were shown to appear especially frequently in people diagnosed with one of the five major will necessarily trigger the disease?

“No, it’s not that simple,” says Professor Thomas Werge. “But knowledge of specific predisposing processes enables us to carry out a qualified search for matching environmental factors that are active in the same time period during foetal brain development, and that may make particularly vulnerable people ill, but have little effect on less liable individuals.”

Andrew Schork from iPSYCH says, “Our study shows that the foundation for both early and late-stage mental disorders is in part located in the foetal stage; that is to say, very, very early in life, and long before the present clinically.”

According to Thomas Werge, it ought to be possible to utilise knowledge of the correlation between mental vulnerability and genetics in preventative contexts: “Hopefully, this knowledge can help us to identify damaging or protective environmental factors enabling us to provide improved guideline on dos and don’ts during pregnancy.

More information: Andrew J. Schork et al. A genome-wide association study of shared risk across psychiatric disorders implicates gene regulation during fetal neurodevelopment, Nature Neuroscience(2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41593-018-0320-0

Provided by: Aarhus University

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-02-psychiatric-disorders-events-prenatal-stage.html

Islamic State Flag Found Near Suspected Sabotage on Railway

An Islamic State (IS) flag was discovered near a damaged overhead power cable on a Berlin railway track, according to German police.

Leaflets in Arabic were also found and authorities are investigating if the propaganda is related to the apparent sabotage.

“Since the beginning of the investigation, several pieces of evidence have been secured,” saidpolice.

Additionally, a torn steel cable was found at the scene of Sunday’s suspected attack on the tracks.

Given the possibility of this being a terrorist attack, federal police have taken over the investigation to officially deduce any “political motivations” linked to the findings.

Correspondingly, in October, German authorities discovered a threatening letter written in Arabic alongside mangled steel cables that were stretched across the tracks of a high-speed railway line between Nuremberg and Munich.

As of this writing, it is unclear if the two incidents are connected.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://europe.infowars.com/islamic-state-flag-found-near-suspected-sabotage-on-railway-german-police/

Bacteria Found in Dirt Stops Growth of SuperBugs Resistant to Antibiotics

Researchers analyzing soil from Ireland long thought to have medicinal properties have discovered that it contains a previously unknown strain of bacteria which is effective against four of the top six superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics, including MRSA.

Antibiotic-resistant superbugs could kill up to 1.3 million people in Europe by 2050, according to recent research.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) describes the problem as “one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today”.

The new strain of bacteria was discovered by a team based in Swansea University Medical School, made up of researchers from Wales, Brazil, Iraq and Northern Ireland.

They have named the new strain Streptomyces sp. myrophorea.

The soil they analyzed originated from an area of Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, which is known as the Boho Highlands. It is an area of alkaline grassland and the soil is reputed to have healing properties.

The search for replacement antibiotics to combat multi-resistance has prompted researchers to explore new sources, including folk medicines: a field of study known as ethnopharmacology. They are also focusing on environments where well-known antibiotic producers like Streptomyces can be found.

One of the research team, Dr. Gerry Quinn, a previous resident of Boho, County Fermanagh, had been aware of the healing traditions of the area for many years.

Traditionally a small amount of soil was wrapped up in cotton cloth and used to heal many ailments including toothache, throat and neck infections. Interestingly, this area was previously occupied by the Druids, around 1500 years ago, and Neolithic people 4000 years ago.

The main findings of the research were that the newly-identified strain of Streptomyces:

* Inhibited the growth of four of the top six multi-resistant pathogens identified by the WHO as being responsible for healthcare-associated infections: Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Klebsiella pneumonia, and Carbenepenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumanii

* Inhibited both gram positive and gram negative bacteria, which differ in the structure of their cell wall; usually gram-negative bacteria are more resistant to antibiotics
It is not yet clear which component of the new strain prevents the growth of the pathogens, but the team are already investigating this.

Professor Paul Dyson of Swansea University Medical School said:

“This new strain of bacteria is effective against 4 of the top 6 pathogens that are resistant to antibiotics, including MRSA. Our discovery is an important step forward in the fight against antibiotic resistance.

Our results show that folklore and traditional medicines are worth investigating in the search for new antibiotics. Scientists, historians and archaeologists can all have something to contribute to this task. It seems that part of the answer to this very modern problem might lie in the wisdom of the past.”

Dr. Gerry Quinn from the research team said:

“The discovery of antimicrobial substances from Streptomyces sp.myrophorea will help in our search for new drugs to treat multi-resistant bacteria, the cause of many dangerous and lethal infections.

We will now concentrate on the purification and identification of these antibiotics. We have also discovered additional antibacterial organisms from the same soil cure which may cover a broader spectrum of multi-resistant pathogens.”

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://www.infowars.com/bacteria-found-in-dirt-stops-growth-of-superbugs-resistant-to-antibiotics/

Toxic Chemicals Found in Children’s Car Seats

In a new study, Indiana University scientists found toxic flame retardants in newly manufactured children’s car seats, sparking concerns about children’s health. Of the 18 children’s car seats tested, 15 contained new or traditional hazardous flame retardant chemicals.

“New replacement flame retardants, often marketed as safer alternatives, are lurking in children’s products without rigorous safety testing and may pose risks for children’s health,” said Marta Venier, associate scientist at IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs and principal investigator on the study. “The abundance of emerging flame retardant chemicals in children’s car seats and the key role these products play as potential sources of chemical exposure is a cause for concern.”

The research was conducted in conjunction with the Ecology Center, an independent nonprofit organization in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The car seats tested in this study were purchased by the Ecology Center and shipped to Indiana University for analyses. All of the car seats were newly manufactured between January 2017 and February 2018 and were made in China, Canada, or the United States. In total, the researchers tested 36 different fabric and foam samples from 18 car seats.

For the first time, two cyclic phosphonate esters (PMMMPs) were measured at high levels in North America, suggesting their use as a replacement flame retardant for compounds that are known to be harmful. PMMMPs were found in 34 of the 36 car seat sampled at levels much higher than those of traditional flame retardants. Little is known about their health effects. Two other emerging flame retardants (tris(2,4-di-t-butylphenyl) phosphate (TDTBPP) and resorcinol bis(diphenyl phosphate) (RDP)) were also measured in baby products for the first time.

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were observed in 75 percent of the samples tested, despite being phased out of use in the United States in 2013 over health concerns. However, PBDEs were detected at such low levels that it is unlikely they were added intentionally. They may have been impurities or found in parts containing recycled materials. Conversely, decabromodiphenyl ethane (DBDPE) was detected in four samples at high levels, suggesting that it was intentionally used. DBDPE is a brominated flame retardant known to cause oxidative stress, hormone disruption and thyroid problems.

Unlike other baby products, children’s car seats are required to meet the flammability standards for car interiors outlined in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 302, which was created in 1971 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Flame retardants are routinely used as a cost-effective way to meet this standard. However, flame retardants have been linked to a variety of negative health effects, including hormone disruption, impaired brain development, liver damage and cancer. Children are more susceptible to these effects than adults because of their smaller size and their tendency to put their hands and objects in their mouths.

Children can be exposed to flame retardants in car seats by breathing in chemicals that leach into the air out of fabrics and foam. This is especially problematic for children during the summer months, when heat increases the rate at which flame retardants enter the poorly ventilated, semi-closed car environment. Children can also be exposed to flame retardants by ingesting the dust which accumulates inside the vehicle, through skin contact or by chewing on their car seats.

“We found that car seat manufacturers are intentionally moving away from certain toxic chemicals compounds that they know to be harmful, which is good news,” said Yan Wu, a postdoctoral researcher at Indiana University and the lead author of the study. “However, we know very little about the replacement chemicals they’re using. Car seats are vital for protecting children during a vehicle crash, but more research is needed to ensure that those seats are chemically safe as well.”

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://www.infowars.com/toxic-chemicals-found-in-childrens-car-seats/

FLASHBACK: Containers of Hurricane Donations Found Rotting in Puerto Rico Parking Lot

At least 10 trailers full of food, water and baby supplies donated for victims of Hurricane Maria were left to rot at a state elections office in Puerto Rico, where they broke open and became infested by rats.

Radio Isla, a local radio station, posted a video Friday showing cases of beans, water, Tylenol and other goods covered in rat and lizard droppings.

The Puerto Rico elections commission offices had been used as a collection center for goods donated from around the country for victims of the devastating hurricane that struck the island last year. For weeks, hurricane survivors lacked running water and electricity. Widespread power failures and a severe diesel shortage kept stores, restaurants and banks closed, making it difficult for people to purchase groceries.

Records show that an additional 1,427 people died in the months after the storm, compared to previous years.

The goods donated by private entities and nonprofit groups were collected at the elections commission offices, and then distributed by the National Guard. Once the crisis subsided, goods were moved to trailers in the parking lot of the election bureau’s San Juan offices but apparently not delivered, despite continuing problems on the island. Authorities on Friday acknowledged that they have been there for nearly a year.

“I agree, it should have been handed out as soon as possible,” said Maj. Paul Dahlen, a spokesman for the National Guard.

He said some of the materials arrived after the National Guard ended its mission in May. He could not explain why no other agency distributed the materials after that.

But the head of the elections commission said that he has been calling the governor’s office and the National Guard regularly inquiring about plans to distribute the material, to no avail.

“Whatever was left after the National Guard left was put in those containers,” Nicolás Gautier, interim president of the elections council, told CBS News. “In one of these containers was food for dogs and apparently several of the boxes were broken. After the placement in the van, that brings a lot of rats and it infected everything.”

Mr. Gautier said the rats had moved from the trailers into the elections commission offices.

A spokeswoman for the elections commission said the offices were being used as a storage point at the request of Puerto Rico’s first lady, Beatriz Rosselló, who founded a group that served as an umbrella for donations, United for Puerto Rico. The spokeswoman said the donated material was being managed by the National Guard.

United for Puerto Rico said it had no knowledge of the containers and had nothing to do with them. In a statement, the National Guard said the container captured on video was being used to hold food that had arrived after its expiration date, and had not been held back from distribution in order to protect peoples’ health. However, the video also showed cases of water, which was also in short supply at times after the storm.

The Guard said that the material in the trailers that isn’t spoiled, including batteries, electric fans and food, will be distributed to nonprofit groups in the coming days. It did not explain why the material had not been handed out earlier.

The New York Times viewed the containers on Friday, two days after Radio Isla shot the video, but by then, they had been padlocked.

“The containers have been there for a long time, but they weren’t necessarily filled at all times,” Major Dahlen said. “The good thing is now that thanks to investigative journalism, it will help move along the process and get it where it needs to go in the coming days.”

It is unclear how many trailers had been at the site throughout the year. On Wednesday, the radio station saw nine trailers, plus a 10th that was being removed by the Department of Corrections.

It was not the first time food donated for Puerto Rico’s hurricane victims has gone to waste. Tons of supplies collected and sent by a South Florida man went bad when it turned out that he had paid the charter flight companies with fake checks. The airlines put a lien on the materials, which got soaked and ruined in the damaged airport.

On Thursday the man who organized the drive, Emilio I. Vazquez, 47, of Coral Gables, Fla., was ordered to pay $1.5 million restitution and sentenced to 120 months in prison.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/10/us/puerto-rico-aid.amp.html

Bill Cosby is found guilty in sexual assault retrial

  • The jury in Bill Cosby’s sexual assault retrial found the disgraced comedian guilty of sexual assault after 14 hours of deliberation
  • He was convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004
  • The jury found him guilty of all on three counts of aggravated indecent assault
  • The 80-year-old actor now faces spending the rest of his life in prison as each count carries a sentence of up to ten years imprisonment
  • After the guilty verdict was read, defense attorney Tom Mesereau said the ‘fight is not over’ and urged that there would be an appeal
  • DA Kevin Steele commended Constand’s courage said that ‘justice was done’
  • Several women who have accused Cosby of sexual assault were at the courthouse on Thursday and celebrated the guilty verdict

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5661091/Jury-asks-hear-testimony-Cosbys-star-witness-second-day-deliberations.html

Hacker who turned Chelsea Manning in to FBI found dead

Authorities in Kansas have confirmed the death of the computer hacker who turned in Chelsea Manning to law enforcement for giving thousands of documents to WikiLeaks.

Adrian Lamo, 37, was found dead in an apartment on Wednesday, Wichita police officer Charley Davidson said.

“There’s nothing suspicious about his death,” Davidson said, though he would not elaborate.

The Regional Forensic Science Center has not released a cause of death yet, though toxicology tests typically take several weeks to complete.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

http://www.kansas.com/news/local/article205629184.html

Russian Nikolai Glushkov found dead in London ‘with strangulation marks’ is linked to killer of Alexander Litvinenko

It has now emerged Andrey Lugovoy, widely accused of murdering dissident Litvinenko with polonium, was jailed for attempting to spring Glushkov from prison in 2001.

At the time, Glushkov was behind bars for defrauding Russian airline company Aeroflot.

Lugovoy was sent down for 14 months but had his jail term cut short.

There were claims that he may have owed the FSB for getting him out and poisoning Litvinenko’s tea with a radioactive cocktail could have been part of his payback.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/5798295/russia-nikolai-glushkov-litvinenko-killer-jail-dead/