Predicting chemical risks

first_imgBy Cat HolmesUniversity of GeorgiaTwo University of Georgia scientists have been awarded $4.1 million in grants to conduct research and create mathematical models that help predict the risks of chemicals in the environment. With the models, scientists could avoid having to test thousands of combinations and doses on humans.People are growing more concerned over the effects on people of chemicals in the environment, said Jeff Fisher, head of the environmental health sciences department in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.This has created a climate ripe for the use of pharmacokinetic modeling, which can predict the ways human bodies interact with chemicals, he said.”Pharmacokinetic models predict things. But there must be real laboratory data to see if the simulations are correct,” said James Bruckner, a toxicologist in the UGA College of Pharmacy. “I do experiments with animals. That data and human data are used to construct the models.”Fisher said federal agencies have begun to use pharmacokinetic models to address issues they don’t have data on and to extrapolate to low doses for “what-if” exposure scenarios.”Eventually,” he said, “such models could be used in risk-assessment policy and to set federal exposure standards.”Some of the pharmacokinetic models Fisher and Bruckner create will address certain chemicals’ effects on children. Testing children’s chemical sensitivity poses serious problems.”How can you give a potentially toxic or carcinogenic substance to a child for whom there is no benefit in order to conduct research?” Bruckner said. “Pharmacokinetic modeling is an obvious answer.”A $750,000 EPA grant will allow the two scientists to examine the pharmacokinetics of pyrethroids, a commonly used pesticide, on the human body as it matures.Another grant allows them to study the metabolism of two common solvents, trichloroethylene and methylene chloride, from birth to maturity. It’s funded by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) of the Centers for Disease Control at $25,000 a year.”We’re investigating whether the risk is greater when the chemicals are found together,” Fisher said.Trichloroethylene figures largely in two other grants totaling $1.8 million. These were awarded as part of a larger research effort through the Medical University of South Carolina on behalf of the Department of Energy.A number of studies have tested whether trichloroethylene can cause cancer. But the doses given the research animals were very high, Fisher said. He and Bruckner hope to find out whether low-level exposures cause cancer.A lot of money is riding on the answer.”It’s a matter of whether you want to spend $100 million to clean up each site,” Bruckner said. “I was just out in California, where they’re spending $20 million a year now to pump water with a really low level of trichloroethylene into the San Francisco Bay, and there’s a water shortage. The question is, ‘Is it necessary?'”With another ATSDR grant, for $500,000, Fisher and Bruckner will study how perchlorate, a common groundwater contaminant, and PCBs interact on the thyroid gland.Perchlorate, a solid rocket oxidizer also used in air bags, bazookas and fireworks, is known to inhibit the thyroid’s uptake of iodine. There is also some fear, Bruckner said, that it might cause thyroid cancer.Finally, the scientists got a three-year, $750,000 U.S. Air Force grant to test a relatively new, widely used jet fuel called JP-8. For a few years now, there have been complaints of dermatitis, dizziness and shortness of breath from people exposed to the fuel.”It’s a huge mixture made of hundreds of hydrocarbons,” Fisher said. “There hasn’t been a lot of toxicology work done on these bigger molecules. Animal studies show inhibition of immune function, lung injury and contact dermatitis.”A pharmacokinetic model, he said, could provide a way to understand the occupational and community health risks.<last_img read more

Do you support user fees for public lands?

first_img I am not in favor of fees for the use of public land. If we really want people to enjoy them, we should fully fund them using existing tax dollars. Plus, the cost of collecting user fees often exceeds 50 percent of the fees collected. —Mark Wenger, Williamsburg, Va. I support user fees as long as 100 percent of the money is kept at the park where it is collected, instead of going into a national fund to be doled back out. I have recently visited a national park where collections were done based on vehicle instead of occupant, and it was free to enter on foot or on your bike. Many of these same parks offer yearly passes for locals at significantly discounted rates. We can only expect so much from our government. While we can vote for the environment and support organizations and companies that are stewards of the environment, I don’t have a problem with ponying up for a user fee as long as it is properly managed. —Barry Lucas, Knoxville, Tenn. I don’t mind paying a fee—as long as it is used to keep the park and its trails in good shape. I don’t trust the government to support the parks. All they do is help their own interests, and they never give a single dollar to anything we really need. —Chris Hinton, Greenville, S.C. The current administration in Washington has cut the funding so much that it has choked the national forests and parks into raising fees even higher. The people who need it most can’t afford to access it. —Micah Wheat, Black Mountain, N.C. I don’t agree with fees. I think our government should use tax dollars for employee salaries and maintenance instead of so much foreign aid. This would allow those less fortunate in the U.S. to use parks, trails, and campsites without a fee. —Tracy, Staunton, Va. I don’t think anyone should have to pay a fee to enjoy the trails, rivers, and views on our publicly owned lands. The parks belong to everyone; we all pay for them with our taxes. I do think there should be a fee for driving your car into the park. Driving a car is not necessary to enjoy the park, but it does damage the outdoor experience through air and noise pollution. The money generated could be used to maintain the roads and support park public transportation. If someone chooses to walk, bike, or take a park bus to the trailhead, they would have free access. —Jon Livengood, Knoxville, Tenn. Facing a massive federal deficit, the government is cutting funding even further for our national and state parks and forests. Already the forests and parks do not get enough money to pay the rangers and maintain the trails. I’ll gladly pay a few bucks to help the upkeep of these parks and forests. Heck, we pay $10 just to see a lousy movie at the theatre. —Larry Angrimson, Woodbridge, Va. 47% say yesLet’s face it: most users do not plan to volunteer, have never volunteered, or volunteer only once or twice, and then believe they have fulfilled their duty to maintain the park. Without the entrance fees, facilities lose the ability to meet the financial needs of the area, and the slim participation among volunteers necessitates purchasing equipment and staff to manage the land. You have to maintain the tools used to cut trails and staff the park with rangers. The free parks I visit are supported by only a few volunteers. Entrance fees help everyone take part in sustaining the life of the land. —Aaron Basmajian, Richmond, Va.last_img read more

Enabling consumers to pay at the pump by asking Alexa

first_img continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Brookfield, Wis.-based fintech and payment provider Fiserv and Irving, Texas-based ExxonMobil announced that they are launching voice-enabled pay at the pump capabilities using Alexa-enabled vehicles, Echo Auto, and other Alexa-enabled mobility devices later this year.Demonstrated for the first time at CES 2020 in Las Vegas, transactions processed using Amazon Pay, will allow consumers to securely use the payment information stored in their Amazon account, and powered by digital commerce technology from Fiserv.“We’re excited to bring new technology and better experiences to the gas station,” Eric Carmichael, Americas fuels marketing manager, ExxonMobil, said. “We build and seek out technology that will wow our consumers, providing both ease of use and security.”“As consumer expectations change, there is growing demand for frictionless interactions that span the digital and physical worlds,” Devin McGranahan, senior group president, Global Business Solutions at Fiserv, said. “The age of connected commerce is here, and voice-activated smart devices will play a pivotal role in the future of payments by streamlining the way consumers make purchases every day.”last_img read more

Arena Hospitality Group has signed an agreement on the transition to the Leading Market of the Zagreb Stock Exchange

first_imgArena Hospitality Group dd today signed a contract on the Zagreb Stock Exchange for the transfer from the Official to the Leading Market of the Zagreb Stock Exchange. We started the transformation of Arena Hospitality Group in 2016, and today’s listing is another important step forward for our company, said Reuel Slonim, President of the Management Board of Arena Hospitality Group dd, adding: “We have transformed the former Arenaturist, a society with a rich history and heritage, domestic and extremely seasonal, into an international company with a year-round business. By expanding our portfolio beyond the borders of the Republic of Croatia, we became the first Croatian hotel company listed on the Zagreb Stock Exchange, which, among other things, manages hotels in Berlin, Cologne, Budapest… I would like to remind you of June 2017, an extremely important moment for us. The first public offering of shares in the Croatian hotel sector was concluded, and the amount of HRK 788,4 million represents the largest fundraising of a Croatian company since 2007. We have invested part of the funds raised in our luxury camp dedicated to glamping offer – Arena One 99 Glamping, we continue to invest in our largest camp Arena Kažela, along with other investments that we are actively considering. ” Congratulating Arena Hosiptality Group dd, Ivana Gažić pointed out: The leading market is the most demanding market segment and we are extremely glad that Arena Hospitality Group dd decided to take this step because it also testifies to the company’s commitment to the highest principles of transparency and corporate governance. We believe that we will soon have more issuers in this segment, thus together strengthening transparency and positively affecting investor confidence, liquidity, as well as the value of the market as a whole.” The contract was signed by Reuel Slonim, President of the Management Board of Arena Hospitality Group dd, and Ivana Gažić, President of the Management Board of Zagreb Stock Exchange dd In addition to the announced investment in the Arena Kažela camp, Arena Hospitality Group will also invest in the renovation of the Hotel Brioni, which should be the first to be categorized with 5 stars. Renovation will begin in September 2019, and the estimated amount of investment is more than 160 million kuna. last_img read more

Former Fox News figure takes over as White House press secretary

first_imgA graduate of Georgetown University and Harvard Law School, McEnany worked for Fox and CNN before joining the Republican National Committee communications team. She then became the Trump 2020 reelection campaign spokeswoman.She enters the White House as Trump is in open war with several major news outlets over critical coverage of his response to the coronavirus pandemic. The crisis and the economic fallout have reshaped Trump’s reelection bid, which was previously based on a once-booming economy that is now deteriorating terribly by the day.McEnany has been criticized over past comments including support for Trump’s conspiracy theory that former president Barack Obama was not born in the United States — a falsehood seen by many as racist.She has also drawn fire over a comment she made on Fox Business in February downplaying the coronavirus threat, saying, “We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here, we will not see terrorism come here, and isn’t that refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of President Obama?”McEnany faces the immediate question of whether she will actually brief journalists, as press secretaries have traditionally always done, or maintain Grisham’s policy of talking largely to Fox News.A hallmark of the Trump White House is that he likes to act as his own spokesman, tweeting and giving frequent press conferences, rather than going through the press office.In her nine-month tenure, Grisham gave no formal press briefings.Topics : Kayleigh McEnany, a former Fox News figure who is fiercely loyal to President Donald Trump, took over Wednesday as his new press secretary, entering the high-profile job at a time of turmoil in White House relations with the press.McEnany, 31, made the formal announcement a week after her predecessor Stephanie Grisham stepped down.”Honored to join the @WhiteHouse as President Trump’s @PressSec,” she tweeted. “I look forward to connecting the American People to @realDonaldTrump’s agenda and sharing the historic successes of this Administration.”last_img read more

Remarks by Governor Wolf on Treatable Cancer Diagnosis

first_img February 24, 2016 Remarks,  Videos Pennsylvania State CapitolHarrisburg, PATRANSCRIPT:Hi everybody, I just wanted to — I think you got the news — I want to do three things today. First of all, mention that my wife and I just recently found out that I have a mild case of prostate cancer. We detected it early, fortunately, so it’s easily treatable. And I want to do three things.First of all, just make sure that you are aware of this, in the interest of openness and transparency.Second, to make clear that what I’m going through is treatable and actually will not impair my ability to do my duties as governor.And third, I just want to make the point that I found this in a routine checkup and because I had the routine checkup it was detected early and I can do something about it. I want to make sure that this is an example of why routine checkups actually matter and make a difference.Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf Remarks by Governor Wolf on Treatable Cancer Diagnosiscenter_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

Live in a Queensland silo, literally

first_imgSilo home in the Atherton Tablelands, Kairi, QLD. Picture: Realestate.com.auMore from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home5 hours agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor5 hours agoAgent Kathlyn Johnson of LJ Hooker – Atherton said the original machinery had been kept as part of the renovation of the unique home.“I’m pretty sure these are the only silos that have been converted into a residence in Queensland,” she said.“Undoubtedly,” she said, “it was one of the most unique homes on the Atherton Tablelands today”. Anna Gardiner and Terry Stratton outside their silo home. Picture: David Anthony Silo home in the Atherton Tablelands, Kairi, QLD. Picture: Realestate.com.auA RARE home built into a heritage-listed grain silo in Queensland is so unique no one can put a price on it yet.Terrence Stratton and Anne Gardiner had decided to live in a Queensland silo, literally, seven years ago, when they picked up a 1,085sq m block that had a complex of former maize silos.The property in Kairi, about an hour and a half southwest of Cairns in Far North Queensland, had been owned by Tablelands Maizegrowers, who received heritage listing for the silos in 2007. Silo home in the Atherton Tablelands, Kairi, QLD. Picture: Realestate.com.au Silo home in the Atherton Tablelands, Kairi, QLD. Picture: Realestate.com.auThe renovation work was done to reflect the 1920s era the silos were built in.But Ms Johnson said there was still much more that could be done to the property to make the most of its stunning dominance over the area.“It’s my first time selling one like this, that’s why we’re putting it as expressions of interest because we just don’t know what the pricepoint is,” she said.“The current owners have thought of everything, and have now decided to put their pride and joy on the market, in the hope that a new owner will finish what they have started and take their unusual heritage listed building to the next level.”Tenders close May 31.last_img read more

Tri-level family home has best views looking out to Moreton Island

first_img42 Evergreen Street, Mitchelton.A change of circumstances has prompted Anne Robertson and Tim Black to sell their tri-level home at Mitchelton.The pair lived at 42 Evergreen St for four years, having built the home in 2012.“We absolutely fell in love with the land when we saw it,” Ms Robertson said.“This is such a beautiful neighbourhood.”42 Evergreen Street, Mitchelton.The four-bedroom home sets the scene for outstanding living, and offers a stunning open-plan design – perfect for entertaining while capturing the surrounding views.Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 1:45Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -1:45 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD540p540p360p360p270p270pAutoA, selectedAudio Trackdefault, selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenClose Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Summer Dream Home: Currumbin01:45 Related videos 01:45Summer Dream Home: Currumbin01:34Paradise for sale…01:16Dream home: Broadbeach Waters01:33Dream Home: New Farm01:36Dream Home: Brookfield01:00Mermaid BeachMs Robertson said she absolutely loved the views from her house.“With the open-plan living upstairs, you can see views of the suburb and out to Moreton Island,” she said.More from newsFor under $10m you can buy a luxurious home with a two-lane bowling alley5 Apr 2017Military and railway history come together on bush block24 Apr 2019The amazing kitchen at 42 Evergreen Street, Mitchelton.With a passion for cooking, Ms Robertson said the kitchen was where she loved to unwind.“I love to cook, and the butler’s pantry is just wonderful,” she said.“It’s a nice place to prepare meals while taking in the views. There’s bushland at the back of the property too, so it’s a nice natural backdrop.”The property is on a fully-fenced 742sq m block.42 Evergreen Street, Mitchelton.With plenty of entertaining done at the home over the years, Ms Robertson said the home would suit a family with older children.“There’s a number of living areas, two large decks and the main bedroom is set up like a parent’s retreat with a big private deck,” she said.42 Evergreen Street, Mitchelton.Harcourts Solutions agent Katrina Gibbons points out that the home is 8km from Brisbane’s CBD and close to public transport, local schools and shops.“If you love Farmers Markets, then you will really enjoy Jan Powers Farmers Markets which is held on the first Sunday of every month on Blackwood St,” Ms Gibbons saidlast_img read more

UK roundup: PPF, MNOPF, BlackRock

first_imgFigures from the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) show that the scale of deficits in private sector UK defined benefit (DB) pension schemes has decreased for the second month running, but only very marginally.The aggregate deficit for 6,057 schemes – calculated on their ability to provide PPF-level benefits – fell by £1bn (€1.4bn) to £241.3bn over May.The previous month, the schemes’ funding improved by £50bn as the level of deficits fell from £292.6bn to £242.3bn, after a spike in March.Deficits had been gradually rising throughout the year until the last two months’ improvement, driven mainly by falling UK Gilt yields, with asset increases failing to offset the damage. In May, aggregate assets in the schemes rose by 0.6% to £1.28trn, outstripping liabilities’ 0.4% rise after yields fell by 1 basis point.Liabilities for the schemes now stand at £1.52trn.In other news, Ensign Pensions is to launch a new defined contribution (DC) master trust that will be open to all companies in the maritime sector.Ensign Pensions is the consulting business owned by the Merchant Navy Officers Pension Fund and Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund.The current DC scheme for the maritime sector, the Merchant Navy Officers Pension Plan (MNOPP), has also agreed to wind up and merge its 1,500 members into the new scheme.The new Ensign Retirement Plan (ERP) will offer members access to the flexibilities brought in by the government this April, while having minimum required contribution rates above the statutory levels.The ERP will hand over the day-to-day management and investment to BlackRock, which will also be responsible for providing the DC flexibilities.Ensign said the fee levels would remain “competitive” and the annual charge for the default investment fund well below the 75-basis-point cap imposed by the UK government.Andrew Waring, appointed chief executive, said he wanted to the industry-wide fund to become a benchmark for multi-employer DC schemes in the UK.A consultation over the winding up of the MNOPP with its current employers has begun, with the trustees expected to have completed this by August.last_img read more

Norges Bank offers paths for SWF to stay invested in oil and gas stocks

first_imgCredit: Kristina KasputieneThey echoed a Ministry report that said it could not be ruled out that today’s petroleum producers might also be tomorrow’s most important producers of renewable energy.“By keeping oil and gas companies in the investment universe, the Ministry will make it possible for the fund to continue to be invested in these companies,” Slyngstad and Olsen wrote.They said this would be relevant first and foremost when it came to the fund’s environment-related mandates.NBIM also said that alternative energy stocks could be kept in the GPFG’s benchmark index even if it eventually removes oil and gas producers and distributors.The initial proposal to remove oil and gas stocks included cutting alternative energy providers due to the way its benchmark index classifies companies.At the moment, oil and gas stocks in the index are split into three sectors: oil and gas producers, oil services and distribution, and alternative energy.The manager found that – as opposed to the first two sectors – for alternative energy companies, there was no relationship between oil prices and returns relative to the broad equity market.“The Ministry could therefore consider retaining companies classified by FTSE as alternative energy companies in both the benchmark index and the investment universe,” NBIM said in the letter. Norway’s giant sovereign wealth fund could keep oil and gas stocks in its investment universe despite its manager previously recommending cutting NOK300bn (€31bn) of oil and gas equities.Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), which manages the NOK8.4trn Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), had made the recommendation in November in a bid to reduce the Norwegian government’s overall financial exposure to oil and gas.However, responding at the end of April to a request from the Norwegian Finance Ministry for more information, Øystein Olsen, chairman of Norges Bank, and Yngve Slyngstad, chief executive of NBIM, wrote: “We have not assessed the impact of the advice in our letter of 14 November 2017 against other instruments that might be used to reduce the vulnerability of the Norwegian economy to a permanent drop in oil prices.”Slyngstad and Olsen raised the possibility that even though Norway’s wealth could be less vulnerable to permanent changes in oil prices were the fund not invested in oil and gas stocks, the government could use “other instruments” to achieve the same end. However, such an assessment fell outside Norges Bank’s role. In addition, index providers’ classification of individual companies did not necessarily capture the full breadth of their activities, the pair said. For example, a firm classified as an integrated oil and gas company could in fact do much more business in alternative energy than a pure alternative energy company.last_img read more