Molecular Motors Put a Spring in Your Step

first_imgWhen you feel in spring in your step, thank tiny molecular motors in your muscles and tissues that make it possible.A paper in Science by researchers primarily from University of Washington, Seattle, proposed the novel idea that the molecular motors in muscle cells store elastic energy.  Observing flight muscles in moths, they deduced that the springiness of these motors provides an additional boost to the power generate by muscles:Muscles not only generate force. They may act as springs, providing energy storage to drive locomotion. Although extensible myofilaments are implicated as sites of energy storage, we show that intramuscular temperature gradients may enable molecular motors (cross-bridges) to store elastic strain energy…. These results suggest that cross-bridges can perform functions other than contraction, acting as molecular links for elastic energy storage.Researchers from Europe, publishing in PNAS, found that collagen and fibrin exhibit non-linear strain response upon loading.  This is another factor that provides resilience in movement.We show that the nonlinear mechanical response of networks formed from un–cross-linked fibrin or collagen type I continually changes in response to repeated large-strain loading. We demonstrate that this dynamic evolution of the mechanical response arises from a shift of a characteristic nonlinear stress–strain relationship to higher strains. Therefore, the imposed loading does not weaken the underlying matrices but instead delays the occurrence of the strain stiffening. Using confocal microscopy, we present direct evidence that this behavior results from persistent lengthening of individual fibers caused by an interplay between fiber stretching and fiber buckling when the networks are repeatedly strained…. Thus, a fibrous architecture in combination with constituents that exhibit internal plasticity creates a material whose mechanical response adapts to external loading conditions.This behavior is so interesting, they pass the news on to biomimetics engineers: “This design principle may be useful to engineer novel materials with this capability.”Once again, the CEH Law is confirmed: Darwin-talk is inversely proportional to the amount of detail discussed about biological systems. (Visited 33 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Design of aircraft is rarely a crash factor

first_imgLoss of control in-flight and runway overruns, typically in bad weather –not aircraft design – continue to be the biggest factors in air crashes in the first six months of 2013.While last year was the safest year ever for flying according to the International Air Transport Association with only 15 fatal airline accidents with 414 fatalities the aviation industry is working on programs to reduce the rate further.*But this year –so far – is even safer with only 6 major accidents with 46 fatalities for airlines and charter operators.Commenting on the figures airlineratings.com Editor Geoffrey Thomas said that where once aircraft design was a factor this is rarely the case today.“This safety report builds on our ‘Best and worst crash rates’ feature published on June 18, 2013,” said Mr Thomas.“Relating to that report it is important to clarify that an aircraft’s crash rate has almost nothing to do with the design or quality of the aircraft.”“Intending passengers should look more at the operator’s safety rating and then how and where they operate the aircraft – not necessarily the aircraft itself,” said Mr Thomas “Take aircraft such as the twin-engine LET410 and Twin Otter turboprop which have been involved in some accidents over recent years but none were related to the design of the aircraft. In fact the L410 has not been involved in any incidents or accidents this year,” said Mr Thomas.“In fact the latest models the rugged LET410 UVP-E20 and L420, being in production since 1990 have an excellent safety record and have been certified by many authorities including those in Australia, the US and Europe.“These aircraft [LET410] have made a name for themselves on the continent of Africa with their remarkable “hot and high” performance, excellent Short Take-off and Landing capabilities, durable structure and their ability to operate under extreme climatic conditions,” said Mr. Thomas.“Crash rates for aircraft must be treated with extreme caution as aircraft such as the LET410 and Twin Otter operate where most aircraft cannot and provide critical lifelines to communities in rugged mountainous regions and jungles almost always onto grass or gravel runways.”It is also important to look carefully at the model of the aircraft. For instance the airline industry differentiates when major upgrades occur such as with the 737 and DC-9 designs that date to the 1960s.Early models of the Boeing 737 and DC-9 have a higher crash rates than later versions which have had extensive systems upgrades as technology improves and industry wide safety lessons are learnt.According to Boeing data the earliest 737 series has a crash rate of .88 per one million departures, while the next series upgraded models have a rate of .26, while the latest series the 737NG has a rate of just .15.“It is the same with the LET410 series,” said Mr Thomas“The latest models are not to be compared with earlier versions from the 1970s and the manufacturer Czech based Aircraft Industries is now developing the new LET410NG which features a glass cockpit and General Electric H80 engines.*IATA’s data is based on twin-engine turbine aircraft above 5,700kg for turboprops and 15,000kg for jets. Airlineratings.com adopts the same standards.last_img read more

Acting on Uganda’s anti-Aids progress

first_imgPupils in the ITLP programme perform in a play for members of their community in Uganda. In another production, complete with props, in Uganda, pupils show what they have learned. Playwright Judy Tate (in glasses) discusses the day’s work with participants of an ITLP workshop in Khayelitsha, Cape Town in June. (Images: ITLP)MEDIA CONTACTS• Uganda Aids Commission +25 64 14 288 065Valencia TalaneUganda has been hailed over the past two decades as one of the champions of the fight against HIV/Aids in Africa, thanks to the country’s proactive approach to dealing with the disease in the early 1990s.A massive government-led awareness campaign in 1989 led to a significant drop in new infections over the next few years. In 1992, 18% of the population had been infected, but the number dropped to less than half over the next decade and in 2001 was recorded at 6.4%.The good news was that the people of Uganda were avoiding infection in large numbers and so the focus could shift towards providing proper treatment for those who were already infected. The bad news, however, was that efforts to hold awareness drives waned, and the multi-sectorial approach of the government lost some of its hold. Soon enough, more and more Ugandans were becoming infected again. Figures released in 2011 show an infection rate of 7.2%.U-turn in infection ratesIt was in 2009, at a press conference held ahead of World Aids Day, that the secretary-general of the Uganda Aids Commission (UAC), Dr Kihumuro Apuuli, admitted that a shift in the government’s campaign focus had brought the country to the point where new infection numbers were once again rising, citing 2002 as the year that this became notable.Although the growth in new infections was slower than that of the 1990s, Apuuli’s organisation asserted that the general attitudes of people towards the disease needed to change. Their latest figures at the time showed that 65% of the cases were among married couples.The most affected population group is the 15-49 age demographic, and there are more women in the statistic than men, which intensifies the danger of mother-to-child infection in pregnant women.Authorities concede that the government alone will not be able to tackle the problem and achieve the results of 11 years ago, but with as much participation as possible at community level, the most vulnerable groups can get something out of the awareness campaigns.Messages through theatreEnter the International Theatre and Literacy Project (ITLP), a US-based NGO that brings theatre artists from all over America to developing countries to conduct workshops on writing plays and performing with school pupils and teachers. Started in 2005 by Marianna Houston, former director of the New York-based Theatre Development Fund, the ITLP has worked in countries like Tanzania, Malawi and Rwanda since its establishment.The programme’s focus is on community development and awareness of HIV/Aids, and by involving young people in the performing arts, it is able to convey messages to the broader community by way of writing plays which the pupils then perform for members of their communities, in the familiar environment of their villages.“Everyone gathers around and there’s a platform and someone has a little bit of a costume and you’re going to learn a lesson,” explained Houston in a recent interview with Media Global News, a news site with a focus on the developing world.“You’re going to learn how to put a condom on a banana, and you’re going to learn how to get tested for Aids, you’re going to learn about corruption…you’re going to learn something.”Throughout the performances, there are discussion intervals where audience members tackle the conflicts highlighted in the scene in order to find a solution.Houston feels that this form of awareness is more effective because the audience gets to learn from trusted members of their community, and this strengthens the likelihood of them changing their behaviour, and in turn helps reduce the impact of the disease.The benefits of theatreITLP’s workshops take place over a course of two weeks and are facilitated by the organisation on the one hand and the teachers at participating schools on the other. The pupils take part from Monday to Friday during a break in the school term, and at the end of the two weeks, they perform a play that they have written themselves.Although the plays are in English, summaries are made available that are translated into the language commonly spoken by members of the community.The work by the cast does not end there, however, as the pupils also get to perform the play again for the rest of the school when the term commences.“The programme contributes to new perceptions of themselves as young citizens capable of fostering a new kind of leadership in their communities and country,” said Houston.An added incentive for pupils who wish to participate in the programme is the chance to receive a scholarship, given by the ITLP to cover the cost of textbooks and tuition.In Tanzania, two of ITLP’s participants from St Margaret’s Academy got an opportunity to attend the Camp Treetops, a residential camp in New York as part of the ITLP-Nowicki scholarship, funded by film producer Stefan Nowicki.“Theatre is a very good method for communicating information [in] an oral history society,” said Houston. “The act of coming together at a performance reconnects communities with cultural roots.”last_img read more

New teams join African pools in Super Rugby

first_img29 September 2015The Lions will be the first team to play a Super Rugby match in Japan when the new-era, 18-team competition kicks off in February 2016.They will face the Tokyo franchise at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium on Saturday, 27 February as confirmed by the draw, which was issued by Sanzar yesterday. Sanzar (South African, New Zealand and Australian Rugby) is the body charged with running two of the world’s pre-eminent Rugby Union competitions – Super Rugby and the Rugby Championship.The Cheetahs will similarly become the first team to play the new entrant from Argentina, when they host the Buenos Aires-based team in Bloemfontein on the competition’s opening evening, Friday, 26 February.The Kings return to the competition with a derby against the Sharks, while the opening round is completed for a game at Newlands, where the Stormers will host the Bulls.The six South African teams are grouped into two African pools along with the new entrants from Japan and Argentina. The existing 10 Australasian teams will be divided into New Zealand and Australian pools.The winners of each pool will earn automatic entry into the knockout Vodacom Super Rugby Finals Series. The next highest-ranked team from the African conference will also be placed in the Finals Series along with the three next highest- ranked teams from the Australasian conference.Unbridled excitementSanzar interim chief executive officer Brendan Morris said fans could look forward to the upcoming season with a great deal of optimism and enthusiasm. “We are in the envious position to be delivering our great brand of rugby to new cities and international markets, unlocking a host of commercial opportunities and delivering the unbridled excitement of Super Rugby to a legion of new and existing fans,” he said.“As successful as our competition has been in the past, we cannot rest on our laurels. We want to grow our fan base and ensure existing fans stay loving our game. We will be working hard alongside our national unions, teams, broadcasters and venues to keep finding new and innovative ways to ensure Super Rugby continues to be the best provincial rugby competition in the world both on and off the field,” Morris said.The African pools play home and away against the other teams in their pool; they also play either home or away against the teams in the other African pool and their programme is completed by matches against all the teams from either the Australian or New Zealand conference.Africa Conference 1, which will play against the Australian conference in 2016, is made up of the Bulls, Cheetahs, Stormers and the Japanese team.Africa Conference 2, which will play against the New Zealand conference in 2016, features the Kings, Lions, Sharks and the Argentinian team.To lessen the travel burden on the South African teams, three of the Japanese entrant’s matches against South African teams will be played in Singapore. The Cheetahs will add another first to the list by appearing at the Singapore National Stadium in round three, followed by the Bulls (round five) and Stormers (round 12).New trophyThe new-look competition will also be contested for a new trophy, made by Blue Sky Design. The chrome and gold-plated piece is intended to capture the prestige, grandeur and resilience of one of the world’s toughest sporting competitions.The 360-degree design features eight blade legs, representing the eight teams that will qualify for the Finals Series, arranged to provide an iconic representation of a rugby ball and evoke visual nostalgic links to the former trophy. It is now eternal property of the Highlanders.The 13.5kg prize has a flat base catering for engraving and seamless expansion as more teams etch their name into Super Rugby history as champions in the coming years.About Super RugbyAccording to Sanzar, in 1986, the Australian teams of New South Wales and Queensland played against Auckland, Canterbury and Wellington from New Zealand, as well as a composite Fiji side.“For five years the tournament was played, a South Pacific Championship or Super Six, which led to ‘expansion’ when South Africa re-entered the rugby world and it was reborn into the Super 10 in 1993, where it ran until 1995, prior to the game becoming professional.“In 1996, as Sanzar was formed, the Super 12 was created, a professional competition and the first official ‘international domestic’ tournament featuring the strongest teams – which would become franchises – across New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.”In 2011, Super Rugby expanded to 15 teams, with the Melbourne Rebels the new franchise, and split into three conferences, each with five teams and based in one of the three nations.Rugby World CupThere are eight Sharks players, seven Stormers, three Cheetahs and six Bulls players who are representing South Africa’s Springboks in the Rugby World Cup in England this month. South Africa is in Pool B. Although the Springboks lost in their first match against Japan on 19 September, they beat Samoa 46-6 on 26 September, putting them second on the log of Pool B. Scotland is number 1. The Springboks will fly the flag high against Scotland on 3 October at St James Park in Newcastle.Source: News24Wirelast_img read more

Brand South Africa’s “Making it uniquely South Africa”

first_imgBrand South Africa’ is embarking on an exciting series titled “Making it uniquely South Africa”. The series showcases young and old entrepreneurs across different creative industries that have found opportunities, utilised their skills and manufactured products that promote Nation Brand pride and competitiveness.The importance of showcasing these individuals puts the spotlight on the country’s creative and multiskilled craftspeople. It encourages buying locally-produced products which result in job creation and a strengthened economy.In the State of the Nation Address, President Ramaphosa emphasised that; “increasing local demand, and reducing the consumption of imports, is important because it increases the opportunities for producers within South Africa to serve a growing market. Through this, we will intensify the “buy South Africa” programme.”The series crafted around the big idea “South Africans, making products for SA and the world” will unfold on the various Brand South Africa social media platforms, media channels such as Soweto TV, which will drive levels of engagements and remind everyone of the beautifully diverse South Africa that has the resources and skills to produce impeccable quality.Four artists share their story of what has shaped their designs and made it recognisably South African. These artists include:Thabiso Mjo, Creative Director of interior and product design firm Mash.T Design StudioMpho Vackier, an engineer and an interior designerAndile Dyalvane, a renowned ceramicist and Design Indaba Emerging Creative alumnus, Majolandile ‘Andile’ is the founder of Imiso Ceramics, a Woodstock-based studio that produces exclusive but functional once-off pieces.Professor Pitika Ntuli, a South African sculptor, poet, writer, and academic who spent 32 years of his life in exile in Swaziland and the UK.Speaking about the Making it uniquely South Africa series, Brand South Africa’s General Manager for Marketing Ms Sithembile Ntombela said; “We are continuously finding solutions to drive economic growth, by showcasing inspiring new ways of creativity in the different industries and in different countries. We want the world to take note and see how South Africans are remarkable. The series is anchored on the notion that we are all responsible in constructing a positive narrative we want the world to hear.”Share your “Making it uniquely South Africa” story and follow the series @Brand_SAlast_img read more

US-Africa summit a major breakthrough: Zuma

first_img7 August 2014African leaders and the United States have agreed to work together to build stronger trade ties between the two continents, South African President Jacob Zuma said at the close of the historic US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington on Wednesday.Hailing the summit as a major success, Zuma touted the inroads made at the summit, including more than $33-billion in investments in Africa announced by US President Barack Obama.The summit, the first of its kind to be hosted by a US president, was seen by many as an attempt by Obama, who has African origins, to recalibrate relations between America and Africa. Some say it was also a legacy issue for Obama, whose father hails from Kenya.However, Zuma said that the conference had succeeded in bringing almost all African leaders together under one roof to discuss common interest with the United States, a crucial market for African goods.Africa is home to six of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies and a rapidly expanding middle class, Zuma said, and this week’s summit was an affirmation both of Africa’s growth and of US willingness to take Africa on board as the two regions seek to expand their growth.South Africa’s inclusion in Agoa ‘no longer an issue’He added that, following the summit, the question of whether South Africa would continue to be part of a renewed Agoa no longer an issue.“That to us is very important, because before we came here some people were saying South Africa is now developed and doesn’t need Agoa. That is no longer the issue, because everyone has realised that South Africa is one of the key players in the integration of the continent and [that] if you pull South Africa out of that you really will be in a sense destabilising that process.”A ministerial meeting at the US State Department ahead of Wednesday’s summit had also eased lingering doubts regarding the Obama administration’s support for the renewal of the African Growth Opportunity Act (Agoa) when the Act’s current term comes to an end next year.“Given the manner in which this summit has helped to foster our relationship, it’s going to be very difficult for any future American leader to come and ignore that this summit has taken place and what it has achieved,” Zuma said.Support for Africa’s stand-by forceHe said a great part of the summit’s deliberations had focused on boosting US business ties with Africa, the continuation of Agoa, good governance as well as peace and security.The US also pledged to provide financial support for Africa’s stand-by force, which is expected to start operating in October.The good news is that America has changed its earlier stance on conflict resolution on the continent, and will not attempt to send any troops to Africa in times of crisis but will instead leave this to the continent’s leaders and the African Union.Since 2009, the US has committed to provide nearly $892-million to develop African peacekeeping capacity and strengthen African institutions. The US has also come out strongly in support of the work done by more than 67 000 African peacekeepers serving with the African Union and United Nations in Africa.US ‘not just playing catch-up with ChinaZuma played down suggestions made by some analysts that the US was simply playing catch-up with China, which is increasingly expanding its presence in the continent.“The view is that anyone who wants to make business in Africa is welcome. The Chinese have a role to play. Even Obama says they have a relationship with China. China’s presence in Africa is not an issue that was discussed. What we discussed was that Africa is opening up and whoever wants to come and invest is welcome.“Africa is saying here we are, we are ready to do business, and whoever wants to do business with Africa must come. A relationship should be based on mutual benefit and understanding,” Zuma said.There were fears, earlier this week, that the US stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict and the current outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in west Africa would overshadow the summit.But in his final press conference at the end of the summit, Obama said leaders from both sides had emerged more determined to strengthen ties between the US and one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest growing regions.New financing to promote US exports to Africa“The summit advanced our shared interests in increased US-Africa trade and US investment in Africa and highlighted America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people,” Obama said.“By enabling discussion of tangible actions that can be taken to deepen the US-Africa partnership, the Summit fostered stronger ties between the United States and Africa.”The summit’s theme – “investing in the next generation” – reflected the common ambition that the US shared with Africa “to leave our nations better for future generations by making concrete gains in peace and security, good governance, and economic development,” he said.On Wednesday, Obama announced $33-billion in new financing to promote US exports to and investment in Africa.He made the announcement at the first US-Africa Business Forum, where he said that $7-billion would go to new financing to promote US exports to and investments in Africa under the Doing Business in Africa Campaign.US companies will also sign deals in clean energy, aviation, banking, and construction worth more than $14-billion, in addition to $12-billion in new commitments under the President’s Power Africa initiative from private sector partners, the World Bank, and the government of Sweden.Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

Ohio’s Buehler vying for National FFA office

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Ohio’s candidate to become National FFA Officer for 2017-2018 is Mary Buehler, former president of the Ohio FFA Association. She continues to be in contention for national office.“It’s really neat to transition from state president to national officer candidate,” Buehler said. “A lot of those people that I met throughout my year last year — those members — they are what have inspired me to run as a national officer and I’ve been getting a lot of texts and messages from them as encouragement and I just hope I can represent Ohio to the best of my ability.”Buehler must go through a number of interviews that whittle down the amount of blue corduroy-clad young people hoping to lead the organization over the next year.“It started back in June. I was chosen for a candidate for Ohio so it’s been all sorts of prep and studying since then. I drove to Indy on Friday evening and we started the process bright and early at 7 a.m. on Saturday. I’ve had three rounds of interviews so far and one more to go before we find out who’s going to be advancing on.”Buehler offers advice to FFA members experience the 90th National FFA Convention.“I would say just to soak up the awesomeness that is convention. It’s so empowering to be in such a big sea of blue and to meet people from all across the nation. There’s a lot of really neat people. Lock in that encouragement and inspiration and bring it back home with you.”last_img read more

Stags shame Chiefs

first_imgLacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netUnfazed by the home crowd, San Sebastian’s Michael Calisaan stood tallest as the Stags overcame the Arellano Chiefs, 65-56, in a bruising encounter for their first victory in the 93rd NCAA basketball tournament at Arellano Gym in Manila.Hardly intimidated playing in hostile territory, Calisaan dished out a double double with 12 points and 13 rebounds apart from anchoring the Stags’ airtight defense that shut down the Chiefs down the stretch.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena “I’m used to it,” said Calisaan, referring to the scenario of playing against the home crowd. “I grew up playing in inter-barangay and inter-town leagues which usually means playing against the crowd. But coach told us to continue playing aggressive, despite the foul trouble.”The Stags evened their card at 1-1, bouncing back from a 67-76 loss to the San Beda Red Lions in Saturday’s opener.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool stars“We knew we needed to really stepped up on our defense in the fourth quarter,” said San Sebastian coach Egay Macaraya.Determined to take the crowd out of the game, the Stags got off to a rousing start by outscoring Arellano, 24-8, in the opening period of the first “NCAA on Tour” match this season. Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ LATEST STORIES The Las Piñas-based school is seeking to uphold the Altas’ victory over the Blazers because they were penalized twice— first with a technical free throw and later, a forfeiture order.“We’re still deliberating on it today (yesterday),” said NCAA Management Committee chair Fr. Glynn Ortega, O.A.R., of host San Sebastian.In a statement, Perpetual said it was surprised why commissioner Arturo “Bai” Cristobal and the Mancom allowed the game to push through.Even St. Benilde coach TY Tang agreed that “the game should have been over before it started.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Nextcenter_img View comments MOST READ El Nido residents told to vacate beach homes Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Gilas fate hangs on future pro stars But the Chiefs drew strength from Kent Salado as they came to within 50-52 with a little over four minutes left.Calisaan and RK Ilagan joined forces to close out the game with a 13-6 burst, while Arellano’s Salado and Archie Concepcion lost their cool and were slapped with unsportsmanlike fouls.Marwin Taywan was also ejected for hitting Allyn Bulanadi’s head.Arellano, which overpowered Mapua, 91-82, also on Saturday, dropped to 1-1.Meanwhile, Perpetual Help would challenge the decision of the NCAA, which forfeited the Altas’ 69-65 win over St. Benilde on Tuesday for wearing the wrong uniform color.ADVERTISEMENT Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Gameslast_img read more