World’s first sustainable, industrial-scale agriculture began when crops became dependent on their ant farmers — ScienceDaily – News

Millions of years before humans discovered agriculture, vast farming systems were thriving beneath the surface of the Earth. The subterranean farms, which produced various types of fungi, were cultivated and maintained by colonies of ants, whose descendants continue practicing agriculture today.

By tracing the evolutionary history of these fungus-farming ants, scientists at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History have learned about a key transition in the insects’ agricultural evolution. This transition allowed the ants to achieve higher levels of complexity in farming, rivaling the agricultural practices of humans: the domestication of crops that became permanently isolated from their wild habitats and thereby grew dependent on their farmers for their evolution and survival.

In the April 12 issue of Proceedings of Royal Society B, scientists led by entomologist Ted Schultz, the museum’s curator of ants, report that the transition likely occurred when farming ants began living in dry climates, where moisture-loving fungi could not survive on their own. The finding comes from a genetic analysis that charts the evolutionary relationships of farming and non-farming ants from wet and dry habitats throughout the Neotropics.

About 250 species of fungus-farming ants have been found in tropical forests, deserts and grasslands in the Americas and the Caribbean, and these species fall into two different groups based on the level of complexity of their farming societies: lower and higher agriculture. All farming ants start new fungal gardens when a queen’s daughter leaves her mother’s nest to go off and found her own nest, taking with her a piece of the original colony’s fungus to start the next colony’s farm.

In the lower, primitive forms of ant agriculture — which largely occur in wet rain forests — fungal crops occasionally escape from their ant colonies and return to the wild. Lower ants also occasionally regather their farmed fungi from the wild and bring them back to their nests to replace faltering crops. These processes allow wild and cultivated fungi to interbreed and limit the degree of influence the lower ants have over the evolution of their crops.

vBut, as with certain crops that have been so heavily modified by human breeders that they can no longer reproduce and live on their own in the wild, some fungal species have become so completely dependent on their relationship with farming ants that they are never found living independent of their farmers. These higher agricultural ants cultivate highly “domesticated” crops, enabling them to live in vast communities and to work together through division of labor to fertilize their fungal crops, haul away waste, keep pathogens at bay and maintain ideal growing conditions.

“These higher agricultural-ant societies have been practicing sustainable, industrial-scale agriculture for millions of years,” Schultz said. “Studying their dynamics and how their relationships with their fungal partners have evolved may offer important lessons to inform our own challenges with our agricultural practices. Ants have established a form of agriculture that provides all the nourishment needed for their societies using a single crop that is resistant to disease, pests and droughts at a scale and level of efficiency that rivals human agriculture.”

Today, many agricultural ant species are threatened by habitat destruction, and as part of his studies, Schultz has been collecting specimens from the field and preserving them in the museum’s cryogenic biorepository for future genomic studies. In the current study, he and his colleagues compared the genomes of 119 modern ant species, most of which were collected during his decades of field expeditions.

Using powerful new genomic tools, the scientists compared DNA sequences at each of more than 1,500 genome sites for 78 fungus-farming species and 41 non-fungus-farming species. Their data-rich analysis gave the team a great deal of confidence in the evolutionary relationships they were able to map, Schultz said.

Their analysis clarifies the closest living non-farming relative of today’s fungus-growing ants and allows Schultz and his team to begin to look at the geographic backgrounds of these species and deduce when, where and under what conditions particular traits emerged. In this study, the team was interested in learning when ants began practicing higher agriculture — that is, when some fungal crops came to be dependent on the ant-fungus relationship for survival.

According to the evolutionary tree they constructed, the first ants to transition to higher agriculture likely lived in a dry or seasonally dry climate. The transition appears to have occurred around 30 million years ago — a time when the planet was cooling, and dry areas were becoming more prevalent.

Fungi that had evolved to live in wet forests would have been poorly equipped to survive independently in this changing climate. “But if your ant farmer evolves to be better at living in a dry habitat, and it brings you along and it sees to all your needs, then you’re going to be doing okay,” Schultz said.

Just as humans living in a dry or temperate climate might raise tropical plants in a greenhouse, agricultural ants carefully maintain the humidity within their fungal gardens. “If things are getting a little too dry, the ants go out and get water and they add it,” Schultz said. “If they’re too wet, they do the opposite.” So even when conditions above the surface become inhospitable, fungi can thrive inside the underground, climate-controlled chambers of an agricultural ant colony.

In this situation, fungi can become dependent on their ant farmers — unable to escape the nest and return to the wild. “If you’ve been carried into a dry habitat, your fate is going to match the fate of the colony you’re in,” Schultz said. “At that point, you’re bound in a relationship with those ants that you were not bound in when you were in a wet forest.”

Schultz said the conditions present during this evolutionary transition illustrate how an organism can become domesticated even if its farmers are not consciously selecting for desirable traits as human breeders might do. Ants that moved their fungi into new habitats would have isolated the organism from its wild relatives, just as humans do when they domesticate a crop. This isolation creates an opportunity for the farmed species to evolve independently from species in the wild, adopting new traits.

Funding for this study was provided by the Smithsonian and the National Science Foundation.


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You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.

Construction Videos – Deere & Company M/N 6068TF151 Diesel Engine on GovLiquidation.com



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Heavy Construction News – Scientist findings may have implications for current remediation strategies — ScienceDaily

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A new study led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego scientist Jane Willenbring challenges the long-held belief that asbestos fibers cannot move through soil. The findings have important implications for current remediation strategies aimed at capping asbestos-laden soils to prevent human exposure of the cancer-causing material.

Willenbring, along with University of Pennsylvania postdoctoral researcher Sanjay Mohanty, and colleagues tested the idea that once capped by soil, asbestos waste piles are locked in place. Instead they found that dissolved organic matter contained within the soil sticks to the asbestos particles, creating a change of the electric charge on the outside of the particle that allows it to easily move through the soil.

“Asbestos gets coated with a very common substance that makes it easier to move,” said Willenbring, an associate professor in the Geosciences Research Division at Scripps. “If you have water with organic matter next to the asbestos waste piles, such as a stream, you then have a pathway from the waste pile and possibly to human inhalation.”

Willenbring will present the new research during her presentation “The Fate of Asbestos in Soil: Remediation Prospects and Paradigms” at the 2016 American Chemical Society Meeting in Philadelphia on Monday, Aug. 22 at 2:10 p.m. in the Philadelphia Downtown Courtyard by Marriott Juniper’s Ballroom.

Asbestos is comprised of six naturally occurring minerals that are formed by thin fibers. Asbestos mining in the U.S. began in the late 19th century and was widely used in a variety of products from insulation to car brake pads.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency currently caps asbestos waste piles with soil to avoid human exposure to the toxic dust that causes a rare cancer called mesothelioma.

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Heavy Construction News – Discovery could benefit renewable energy, transportation, personal electronics — ScienceDaily

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Modern batteries power everything from cars to cell phones, but they are far from perfect — they catch fire, they perform poorly in cold weather and they have relatively short lifecycles, among other issues. Now researchers from the University of Houston have described a new class of material that addresses many of those concerns in Nature Materials.

The researchers, led by Yan Yao, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, report their use of quinones — an inexpensive, earth-abundant and easily recyclable material — to create stable anode composites for any aqueous rechargeable battery.

“This new material is cheap and chemically stable in such a corrosive environment,” said Yao, who is also a principal investigator with the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH, with an appointment to the chemical and biomolecular engineering faculty. The material also can be used to create a “drop-in replacement” for current battery anodes, allowing the new material to be used without changing existing battery manufacturing lines, he said.

“This can get to market much faster,” he said.

Yao and his lab, including research associate Yanliang Liang, who served as first author on the paper, began the work in 2013, after he was awarded $1 million from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Project Agency — Energy (ARPA-E) RANGE program to develop new battery technology. Other researchers involved in the project include Yan Jing, Saman Gheytani and Kuan-Yi Lee, all of UH, Ping Liu of the University of California-San Diego, and Antonio Faccheti of Northwestern University.

Energy storage is the key to wider adoption of electric cars, wind and solar power, along with other clean energy technologies. But the development of battery storage systems, which would be able to store energy until it is needed and then be recharged with additional generation, has been hampered by the lack of batteries that meet a variety of requirements: environmentally friendly, safe, inexpensive and long-lasting.

“Aqueous rechargeable batteries featuring low-cost and nonflammable water-based electrolytes are intrinsically safe and … (provide) robustness and cost advantages over competing lithium-ion batteries that use volatile organic electrolytes and are responsible for recent catastrophic explosions,” the researchers wrote. But state-of-the-art aqueous rechargeable batteries have a short lifespan, making them unsuitable for applications where it isn’t practical to replace them frequently.

The stumbling block, Yao said, has been the anode, the portion of the battery through which energy flows. Existing anode materials are intrinsically structurally and chemically unstable, meaning the battery is only efficient for a relatively short time.

They worked with quinones, an earth-abundant organic material which Yan said costs just $2 per kilogram, demonstrating the material’s benefits in three formulations.

The differing formulations offer evidence that the material is an effective anode for both acid batteries and alkaline batteries, such as those used in a car, as well as emerging aqueous metal-ion batteries, Liang said. That means the quinones-based anode will work regardless of which technology dominates in the future, he said.

The new material also allows the batteries to work across temperature ranges, Liang said, unlike some conventional aqueous batteries, which are notoriously balky in cold weather.

Yao said consumers would quickly notice one key difference in this change to existing battery technology. “One of these batteries, as a car battery, could last 10 years,” he said. In addition to slowing the deterioration of batteries for vehicles and stationary electricity storage batteries, it also would make battery disposal easier because the material does not contain heavy metals.

The researchers have filed for three patents for the technology and hope to find partners to commercialize the technology.

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“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.

Rock Crushing Olympia | Call 1 888 260 7525

Rock Crushing Olympia

Welcome Olympia
Copenhaver Construction Inc. is a family owned and operated company. Established in 1992 we have continued to adapt and expand to meet the needs of our customers. From rock crushing to ready mix concrete, site prep to road construction, if you need some earth moved, hauled away or filled in, we are the one stop supplier you’re looking for. Please take a look at our products and services menu for information about what we have to offer. If you haven’t found what you need here, please feel free to call us at our office. Our helpful and knowledgeable staff is ready to assist you in any way we can. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Quick facts

Olympia is the capital of the U.S. state of Washington and the county seat of Thurston County. It was incorporated on January 28, 1859. The population was 46,478 as of the 2010 census. The city borders Lacey to the east and Tumwater to the south.
  • Population:
    • 49,218 (2014)
  • Elevation:
    • 29 m
  • Area:
    • 50.97 km²

What is Rock Crushing.

A crusher is a machine designed to reduce large rocks into smaller rocks, gravel, or rock dust.
Crushers may be used to reduce the size, or change the form, of waste materials so they can be more easily disposed of or recycled, or to reduce the size of a solid mix of raw materials (as in rock ore), so that pieces of different composition can be differentiated.
Crushing is the process of transferring a force amplified by mechanical advantage through a material made of molecules that bond together more strongly, and resist deformation more, than those in the material being crushed do.

Crushing devices hold material between two parallel or tangent solid surfaces, and apply sufficient force to bring the surfaces together to generate enough energy within the material being crushed so that its molecules separate from (fracturing), or change alignment in relation to (deformation), each other. The earliest crushers were hand-held stones, where the weight of the stone provided a boost to muscle power, used against a stone anvil. Querns and mortars are types of these crushing devices.

Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

Rock Crushing Olympia

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Wall St. at record highs as tech stocks bounce back | Reuters – News

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U.S. stocks were higher in early afternoon trading on Monday, with the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average hitting record highs as technology stocks rebounded after recent losses.

The S&P technology sector .SPLRCT is coming off its second straight weekly decline, triggered by fears of stretched valuations and investors moving money to other sectors. Tech stocks have led the S&P 500’s 9.4 percent rally this year.

Apple (AAPL.O) rose 2.5 percent, providing the biggest boost to the three major sectors. Facebook (FB.O) and Alphabet (GOOGL.O) were also higher.

The tech sector’s 1.37 percent rise led the gainers on the S&P 500, putting it on track for its biggest one-day percentage rise since March.

“Some of it is folks taking a second-look at names that may have been unduly punished in the rotation out of tech that started about 10 days ago,” said David Lefkowitz, senior equity strategist at UBS Wealth Management Americas in New York.

“There has been no change in the fundamentals for the tech sector. Earnings growth, earnings revisions and forward looking indicators remain healthy.”

At 12:47 p.m. ET (1647 GMT), the Dow .DJI was up 115.2 points, or 0.54 percent, at 21,499.48, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 17.37 points, or 0.71 percent, at 2,450.52.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 75.64 points, or 1.23 percent, at 6,227.39.

While the tech sector is at the high end of its valuation, Lefkowitz said they were nowhere near the bubble territory of the 90s.

The S&P tech sector is trading at about 18.7 times forward earnings, compared with the historical 10-year average of 14.5, according to Thomson Reuters Datastream.

New York Fed President William Dudley, a close ally of Fed Chair Janet Yellen, said U.S. inflation was a bit low but should rise alongside wages as the labor market continues to improve, allowing the Federal Reserve to continue gradually tightening U.S. monetary policy.

Yellen’s confidence as her team raised interest rates for the third time in six months last week surprised investors who had expected more caution about the economy following a set of weak U.S. economic data.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,808 to 1,049. On the Nasdaq, 1,888 issues rose and 916 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 49 new 52-week highs and 10 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 99 new highs and 87 new lows.

(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)


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Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Business News – Small Businesses Hold the Key to Employee Happiness – Business

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(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News – As the calendar flips to another year, many employees will consider starting the new year on the hunt for a new job. In today’s changing workforce, it is more important than ever for companies to realize that a salary alone is no longer enough to recruit or retain strong employees. According to a recent survey by Aflac, small businesses deserve a round of applause for their ability to keep employees happy. The report found that 85 percent of small-business employees are happy in their current job and more than half (51 percent) agree that most of or all of their happiness in their current job is because is a result of working for a small business.

The keys to happiness

Nearly a quarter of participants (23 percent) stated that the feeling of importance was the best part of working for a small business. Small businesses have the unique ability to make employees feel appreciated, respected and valued on a personal and professional level. In a small business environment, there are typically fewer layers between newcomers and leadership. This tight-knit structure of small businesses can create a family-like atmosphere that allows employees to feel that their opinions matter and that they play a significant role in the business’s mission.

Flexibility is also vital in creating employee happiness. According to the report, 30 percent of respondents noted that flexible scheduling was the best part of working for a small business. This can include working from home, leaving work early to play in a summer sports league or giving new parents an extra week of paid time off to help care for their newborn. A workplace that promotes healthy work-life balance can create happier, less stressed employees and can also increase employee productivity on the job.

Unlocking improvements

Although small businesses excel at keeping employees happy, there is always room for improvement. In a small-business community, money does not seem to be the only motivator. In fact, 65 percent of small-business employees indicate that an improvement in their benefits offerings would make them happier employees. By offering a robust benefits plan that includes voluntary benefits, small businesses can ensure that their employees are able to find the right benefits to meet their individual needs.

Learn more at aflac.com/smallbusiness.



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The Secrets to Success are Simple – Do What’s Right, the Right Way, at the Right Time -Self Help Tips


Realize your Potential

In order to succeed at anything, you need to see that you have the potential to reach your goals. For example, if you want to be a recording artist but have no singing ability, having success in this field is not likely. However, if you love working on cars and have a real talent for fixing engines and transmissions, and to you, success would mean working for NASCAR, you have potential to learn and achieve that success.

Don’t Look Back

Everyone has failures or mistakes from the past. To have success, you need to learn from your past and value those difficult lessons but do not every dwell on the past. Simply move forward and make better, more educated decisions from the lessons learned.

Dare to Dream

To succeed, you need to have dreams and aspirations. Be honest with yourself as to what you want out of life and what you want to give of your life. Allow your mind to dream and think big.

Don’t Give Up

To reach success, you have to persevere. re
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Heavy Construction News – Groundbreaking experimental method will speed up protein analysis substantially — ScienceDaily

Combining neutron and X-ray imaging gives clues to how ancient weapons were manufactured

An international team of scientists has for the first time used an X-ray free-electron laser to unravel the structure of an intact virus particle on the atomic level. The method used dramatically reduces the amount of virus material required, while also allowing the investigations to be carried out several times faster than before. This opens up entirely new research opportunities, as the research team lead by DESY scientist Alke Meents reports in the journal Nature Methods.

In the field known as structural biology, scientists examine the three-dimensional structure of biological molecules in order to work out how they function. This knowledge enhances our understanding of the fundamental biological processes taking place inside organisms, such as the way in which substances are transported in and out of a cell, and can also be used to develop new drugs.

“Knowing the three-dimensional structure of a molecule like a protein gives great insight into its biological behaviour,” explains co-author David Stuart, Director of Life Sciences at the synchrotron facility Diamond Light Source in the UK and a professor at the University of Oxford. “One example is how understanding the structure of a protein that a virus uses to ‘hook’ onto a cell could mean that we’re able to design a defence for the cell to make the virus incapable of attacking it.”

X-ray crystallography is by far the most prolific tool used by structural biologists and has already revealed the structures of thousands of biological molecules. Tiny crystals of the protein of interest are grown, and then illuminated using high-energy X-rays. The crystals diffract the X-rays in characteristic ways so that the resulting diffraction patterns can be used to deduce the spatial structure of the crystal — and hence of its components — on the atomic scale. However, protein crystals are nowhere near as stable and sturdy as salt crystals, for example. They are difficult to grow, often remaining tiny, and are easily damaged by the X-rays.

“X-ray lasers have opened up a new path to protein crystallography, because their extremely intense pulses can be used to analyse even extremely tiny crystals that would not produce a sufficiently bright diffraction image using other X-ray sources,” adds co-author Armin Wagner from Diamond Light Source. However, each of these microcrystals can only produce a single diffraction image before it evaporates as a result of the X-ray pulse. To perform the structural analysis, though, hundreds or even thousands of diffraction images are needed. In such experiments, scientists therefore inject a fine liquid jet of protein crystals through a pulsed X-ray laser, which releases a rapid sequence of extremely short bursts. Each time an X-ray pulse happens to strike a microcrystal, a diffraction image is produced and recorded.

This method is very successful and has already been used to determine the structure of more than 80 biomolecules. However, most of the sample material is wasted. “The hit rate is typically less than two per cent of pulses, so most of the precious microcrystals end up unused in the collection container,” says Meents, who is based at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL) in Hamburg, a cooperation of DESY, the University of Hamburg and the German Max Planck Society. The standard method therefore typically requires several hours of beamtime and significant amounts of sample material.

In order to use the limited beamtime and the precious sample material more efficiently, the team developed a new method. The scientists use a micro-patterned chip containing thousands of tiny pores to hold the protein crystals. The X-ray laser then scans the chip line by line, and ideally this allows a diffraction image to be recorded for each pulse of the laser.

The research team tested its method on two different virus samples using the LCLS X-ray laser at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in the US, which produces 120 pulses per second. They loaded their sample holder with a small amount of microcrystals of the bovine enterovirus 2 (BEV2), a virus that can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, and infertility in cattle, and which is very difficult to crystallise.

In this experiment, the scientists achieved a hit rate — where the X-ray laser successfully targeted the crystal — of up to nine per cent. Within just 14 minutes they had collected enough data to determine the correct structure of the virus — which was already known from experiments at other X-ray light sources — down to a scale of 0.23 nanometres (millionths of a millimetre).

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time the atomic structure of an intact virus particle has been determined using an X-ray laser,” Meents points out. “Whereas earlier methods at other X-ray light sources required crystals with a total volume of 3.5 nanolitres, we managed using crystals that were more than ten times smaller, having a total volume of just 0.23 nanolitres.”

This experiment was conducted at room temperature. While cooling the protein crystals would protect them to some extent from radiation damage, this is not generally feasible when working with extremely sensitive virus crystals. Crystals of isolated virus proteins can, however, be frozen, and in a second test, the researchers studied the viral protein polyhedrin that makes up a viral occlusion body for up to several thousands of virus particles of certain species. The virus particles use these containers to protect themselves against environmental influences and are therefore able to remain intact for much longer times.

For the second test, the scientist loaded their chip with polyhedrin crystals and examined them using the X-ray laser while keeping the chip at temperatures below minus 180 degrees Celsius. Here, the scientists achieved a hit rate of up to 90 per cent. In just ten minutes they had recorded more than enough diffraction images to determine the protein structure to within 0.24 nanometres. “For the structure of polyhedrin, we only had to scan a single chip which was loaded with four micrograms of protein crystals; that is orders of magnitude less than the amount that would normally be needed,” explains Meents.

“Our approach not only reduces the data collection time and the quantity of the sample needed, it also opens up the opportunity of analysing entire viruses using X-ray lasers,” Meents sums up. The scientists now want to increase the capacity of their chip by a factor of ten, from 22,500 to some 200,000 micropores, and further increase the scanning speed to up to one thousand samples per second. This would better exploit the potential of the new X-ray free-electron laser European XFEL, which is just going into operation in the Hamburg region and which will be able to produce up to 27,000 pulses per second. Furthermore, the next generation of chips will only expose those micropores that are currently being analysed, to prevent the remaining crystals from being damaged by scattered radiation from the X-ray laser.

Researchers from the University of Oxford, the University of Eastern Finland, the Swiss Paul Scherrer Institute, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the US and SLAC were also involved in the research. Diamond scientists have collaborated with the team at DESY, with much of the development and testing of the micro-patterned chip being done on Diamond’s I02 and I24 beamlines.


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I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.

Construction Videos – Bobcat 3D Grade Control System

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Bobcat Company and Trimble have partnered to produce the first-ever 3D grade control system solution for use with Bobcat® skid-steer loaders, compact track loaders and all-wheel steer loaders. This partnership offers both small and large contractors the ability to work on complex projects that require digital designs and 3D machine control.

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Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.