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FRANKFURT U.S. missile maker Raytheon’s (RTN.N) cybersecurity unit could thrive were it to be listed separately, the head of the unit, Forcepoint, told German business daily Boersenzeitung in an interview published on Saturday.
“Raytheon has undertaken that Forcepoint will achieve for civilian cyber defense what Raytheon does for the defense of nation states, and we think that we could unleash enormous potential in our company via a stock exchange listing,” Matthew Moynahan said.
He said it was a little early to contemplate such a move, though, according to the newspaper.
Raytheon bought an 80 percent stake in Forcepoint, then known as Websense, from private equity firm Vista in 2015 for $1.9 billion and combined it with its own cybersecurity operations. Vista owns the other 20 percent.
Vista retains the right to exit the joint venture, including by requiring Raytheon to buy its 20 percent stake or by Forcepoint’s pursuing an IPO.
Forcepoint made sales of $566 million and operating income of $51 million in 2016.
(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; editing by John Stonestreet)
(NewsUSA) – Which jobs will be in demand in the coming years?
It’s a question that’s taken on greater urgency as the cost of higher education continues to rise much faster than incomes. And while no one’s recommending choosing a career based solely on market factors, a lot more philosophy majors might be employed today if they’d paid attention.
“Not all (college) degrees are created equal,” a report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce concluded.
One career that’s considered golden: doctors of chiropractic.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Handbook, chiropractic employment is expected to rise 28 percent through 2020 — much faster than the average for all jobs.
For those unaware, today’s chiropractors are at the frontline in providing non-invasive, drug-free relief from everything from back pain to migraines to a host of lifestyle issues. And while there’s a high degree of both personal and patient satisfaction, the educational requirements are among the most stringent of all health care professionals.
The typical applicant at an accredited chiropractic college has already acquired nearly four years of pre-medical undergraduate college education, including courses in biology, physics, psychology, organic and inorganic chemistry, and related lab work. He or she is then looking at four or five years of professional study in the healing sciences that in some cases — including anatomy, physiology, rehabilitation and nutrition — are even more intensive than that of medical doctors.
There’s also a minimum one-year, clinical-based program involving actual patient care. “That’s because of the hands-on nature of the profession and the intricate adjusting techniques that must be learned to help patients,” says Gerard Clum of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress.
For more information, visit www.considerchiropractic.org, or watch this video at http://youtu.be/wC1Nf0prgGs.
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A University of Oklahoma Civil Engineering and Environmental Science Professor Robert Nairn and his co-authors have conducted a collaborative study that suggests exposure to trace metals from potatoes grown in soil irrigated with waters from the Potosi mining region in Bolivia, home to the world’s largest silver deposit, may put residents at risk of non-cancer health illnesses.
“In this high mountain desert, water is a critically precious resource and the use of metal-polluted waters for irrigation may have substantial detrimental impacts on the lives of subsistence farmers,” said Bill Strosnider, researcher on the project.
Potatoes are the primary dietary staple in the surrounding communities. The lack of water for quality irrigation throughout this arid region results in farmers using contaminated waters, leading to health risks from contaminated potatoes eaten locally or shipped to outlying areas. For children, ingestion of arsenic through potatoes was 9.1 to 71.8 times higher than the minimum risk level and ingestion of cadmium was 3.0 to 31.5 times higher than the minimum risk level.
“The fact that the hazard quotients of risk were so high through only one exposure route is concerning,” said Robin Taylor Wilson, Penn State College of Medicine professor and lead epidemiologist for the study. “Children in this region are exposed to contaminants through routes other than potatoes. If we consider these additional routes of exposure, the estimated risks will likely be much higher, but without further research, there is no way of knowing how much higher these risks might be.”
The hazard quotient is the ratio of estimated specific exposure to a single chemical over a specified period to the estimated daily exposure level at which no adverse health effects are likely to occur. Hazard quotients about one suggest the possibility of adverse non-cancer health risks. The minimum risk levels are established by the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
“Our findings allow the research community insight into the potential human and environmental impact that vast active and abandoned mining operations may pose all across the Andean region,” said Alan Garrido, researcher on the project.
Originally posted 2017-05-24 17:11:43. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
Dam engineers and safety experts say the drama that unfolded in February at California’s Oroville dam, when trouble with the main and emergency spillways led to the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents, could be a good thing for dam safety in the U.S.
“The Oroville event represents an opportunity,” says Martin McCann Jr., director of the National Performance of Dams Project and a civil engineering professor at Stanford University. “The dam didn’t fail. The spillway didn’t fail. No one got killed. So, let’s count our blessings and seize the opportunity.”
An expert panel of engineers this fall will present a forensics analysis to pinpoint the likely causes of the spillway failures. The more pressing concern is the lack of money to upgrade the 81,051 smaller, state-regulated dams, say dam engineers and officials.
In 2015, following a record rainfall, 51 of these smaller dams failed in South Carolina. Of the 90,000 dams in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ National Inventory of Dams, 58,000 are privately owned, and some, as in the state of Alabama, are not regulated at all. The Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) estimates the cost exceeds $64 billion to rehabilitate the nation’s non-federal and federal dams.
The combination of these factors—not just the threat of big dams such as Oroville—led the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) to give dams a D grade in its latest report card. “We watch our federal dams really well,” says Dusty Myers, president of the ASDSO and chief of Mississippi’s dam program. “Our states are really stressed.”
Dam engineering and regulation has come far since the 1970s, when a series of failures killed dozens of people and caused billions of dollars in damage. Subsequent reviews showed that dam safety laws and regulations were inadequate. In response to those reviews, ASDSO was created in 1984.
Oversight is “definitely stronger,” says Mark Ogden, a technical specialist at ASDSO who helped to write ASCE’s dam report card. “Some states didn’t have a program back then.” Since about 2010, ASDSO has put a new focus on learning lessons from previous dam failures. Along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the group has created damfailures.org to share information about past failures. They expect that the Oroville case will yield a wealth of new information.
“You want to know the physical cause of the problem” but also what human factors may have contributed, says Mark Baker, chairman of ASDSO’s dam-failure committee.
Even as improvements have been made, dams are posing an increasing risk because they are getting older—in the U.S., the average age is 56, and about 4,400 are more than 100 years old. Further, the dams were not built to today’s seismic standards, and real-life storms and new storm models show many dams are inadequate to handle heavy rainfall. Dam owners’ responsibility for public safety has expanded with the growing number of people building and living in the dam-failure flood path. In the national inventory, the number of dams considered “high hazard,” or exhibiting the potential for fatalities after a failure, has grown to 15,500 in 2017 from 10,213 in 2005.
“It’s not because we are doing anything wrong,” says Bob Beduhn, director of dams and levees for HDR. “It’s that we are allowing people to live within the flood plain of the dam.” Beduhn adds that there’s a disconnect in the national flood insurance program, which doesn’t necessarily require flood insurance in dam flood plains.
To tackle the ever-increasing number of dams that need work, federal agencies, utilities and a growing number of states are turning to a risk-based approach to analyze and address problems at the nation’s dams. “It would be impossible to rehabilitate all the dams at once,” says Roger Adams, chief of dam safety for Pennsylvania.
By employing a risk-based approach to its 700 dams, the Corps of Engineers has avoided $7 billion of work, says Eric Halpin, deputy for dam and levee safety for the Corps. “We couldn’t afford not to do it,” he says.
Major work is ongoing at several dams, including the Corps’ Isabella Dam in California, which was created in the 1950s in a remote area of the state, but now puts more than 300,000 people downstream in Bakersfield at risk. A risk analysis determined the dam needed seismic updates, had seepage issues and could be overtopped.
Other federal agencies, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates the Oroville Dam, are currently incorporating risk-based practices.
States and individual owners have been slower to adopt a risk-based approach because of costs and resistance from owners.
The cost issue may be a red herring. Dan Wade, director of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s water improvement program, says the risk-based analysis doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated. Where a large dam might have a 100-page risk-management plan, a small dam may need a three- to five-page plan. “It needs to fit the project,” Wade says. “We need to get past the concerns about cost.”
However, after the problems have been identified, the biggest problem of all—funding—comes next. “We can issue orders, but what happens if they can’t come up with the funding, especially on private dams? Those are the biggest struggles,” says Jon Garton, who manages the dam safety program in Iowa. Only about half the states have some type of low-interest loan program to help pay for rehabilitation.
The Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation bill, signed into law last year, established a $445-million fund to remediate high-hazard dams, but Congress has yet to appropriate any money for the fund. “The only way that work is going to uptick is if funding is provided some way,” says Craig Harris, western water division director for MWH, a unit of Stantec.
That’s not to say that work isn’t occurring. Communities that use their dams for water and recreation, utilities and states are spending billions to upgrade and maintain their dams.
“Many communities consider their dams forever after and spend a lot of money to make sure they are operated safely,” said Mike Manwaring, business development director for Stantec’s water and dam division
For the past decade or more, new seismic modeling has driven much of the dam work. Even before Oroville, there was a great emphasis on spillway work. Most dams and spillways were built based on old weather data. Now, more recent information shows that dams don’t have adequate capacity for downpours or their spillways are undersized.
While it may be impossible to build all dams to withstand the 1,000-year event that occurred in South Carolina in 2015, dams can be built to be more resilient, says Hermann Fritz, a Georgia Tech civil engineering professor who led the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance team that analyzed the South Carolina dam failures. For the most part, South Carolina provided a model for what is not being done in dam management, design and operations. For example, Fritz says, there were old, unknown materials that created seams and points of failure in dams. Turbines couldn’t be operated because power failed; gates had to be opened manually in the deluge; spillways weren’t designed properly; stop logs, meant to be removed in the event of a storm, had been cemented in.
“It showed all of the challenges of operation of these smaller dams,” he said.
In the end, the international team that has come together to analyze and learn the lessons from Oroville represents the path forward for national dam safety and the mind-set that supports it.
Says James Demby, senior technical policy adviser for FEMA’s National Dam Safety Program, “Dam safety is really a shared responsibility.”
Originally posted 2017-05-24 16:30:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
If you’ve been on the Internet lately, you’ve probably seen a cat selfie. Now, a Field Museum expedition to the Peruvian Amazon has elevated the animal selfie phenomenon to a whole new level. Earlier this year, a team of 25 scientists trekked to the unexplored reaches of Medio Putumayo-Algodón, Peru and spent 17 days conducting a rapid biological and social inventory of the area. As part of their efforts to document the region’s biodiversity, the team set up 14 motion-activated camera traps and used a drone to capture aerial footage of the rainforest. The results are amazing.
The camera traps revealed remarkable biodiversity in the area, showing animals like ocelots, giant armadillos, currassows, giant anteaters, tapirs, peccaries, and pacas up close and personal in their native habitat. Meanwhile, the aerial drone footage helped paint a picture of the overall landscape, sharing a never-before-seen look at the vast forest, which is only accessible by helicopter.
“No scientists have ever explored this area, let alone document it with cameras and drones,” explains Jon Markel, The Field Museum’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialist.
“These images are the first time this remote wilderness and the species that call it home are being recorded for science.”
During the inventory, biologists encountered an astonishing amount of wildlife, recording 1,820 plant, fish, amphibian, reptile, bird, and mammal species, including 19 species believed to be new to science. The team documented the largest number of frogs and snakes of any Field Museum rapid inventory, discovered large peat deposits, and found clay licks that provide salt essential to the health of local wildlife.
The social team worked with the nine indigenous groups living in the region to understand their use of the landscape and their aspirations for the future. They have a clear vision of wanting to protect these lands. However, the area is under threat from illegal mining and logging, as well as a proposed road.
“You can’t argue for the protection of an area without knowing what is there,” said Corine Vriesendorp, Director of The Field Museum’s rapid inventory program. “We discovered an intact forest inhabited by indigenous people for centuries and teeming with wildlife. We want it to survive and thrive long after our cameras are gone.”
Materials provided by Field Museum. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
Originally posted 2016-04-22 15:55:34. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
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Millions of native orchids are flourishing on the site of a former iron mine in New York’s Adirondacks, suggesting that former industrial sites — typically regarded as blighted landscapes — have untapped value in ecological restoration efforts.
Grete Bader, a graduate student at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in Syracuse, New York, who completed her master’s thesis on the site, said the plants are growing on a wetland that developed naturally on iron mine “tailings,” the waste left over from the process of separating the valuable part of an ore from the rock that has no economic value. She said that in addition to six types of native orchids, some of which have populations estimated at a million, the location supports New York state’s largest population of pink shinleaf, also called pink wintergreen, which is listed by New York as a threatened plant. The plant is rare in New York except at this location.
“The fact that this site restored itself from bare mine tailings to a diverse wetland plant community over the past 60 years is incredible, and the populations of orchids and pink shinleaf notably enhance its conservation value,” Bader said.
The wetland of about 100 acres developed at a site that holds the aftermath of iron ore extraction at Benson Mines in the northwestern Adirondacks. The Benson Mines operations were most intense from about 1941 until the facility closed in 1978. During its heyday, it was one of the most productive iron mines in the country and the largest open-pit magnetite mine in the world, producing about a million metric tons of iron annually during peak operations.
Bader’s major professor, Dr. Donald Leopold, a Distinguished Teaching Professor at ESF, said the number of orchids at the site — with colorful names such as grass pink, rose pogonia and hooded ladies’ tresses — is “extraordinary.”
“It’s unlike anything I’ve seen in more than 40 years of research, often in orchid-rich habitats throughout the United States,” Leopold said. “Until Grete did her research I had thought that there were hundreds of thousands of individuals of these orchid species here but Grete’s more careful assessment suggests that there are actually a million or more of some species.”
While people typically think of tropical species when they hear the word “orchid,” there are about 60 distinct species of terrestrial orchids native to New York state. All of them are protected by state law because of their beauty; many are also quite rare. With their three-petal flowers and colors ranging from delicate yellow to rich purple, they are widely sought after by nature enthusiasts.
Bader’s study suggests that several factors contribute to the number of thriving unique plant species at the site, including a range of soil and water pH, and a variety of mycorrhizal fungi that have a symbiotic relationship with plants. In general, mycorrhizal fungi colonize a plant’s root system and increase the host’s ability to absorb water and nutrients. In turn, the fungi benefit from the effects of the plant’s photosynthesis.
Orchids and pink wintergreen are among the species that depend on mycorrhizal fungi for germination and establishment. The mycorrhizal relationship is unique in these plants because, as seedlings, they essentially act as parasites on their fungi.
Dr. Thomas Horton, an associate professor at ESF and an expert on mycorrhizal symbioses, said the site’s industrial past might actually have contributed to the thriving wildflower scene.
“All the orchids and the wintergreen are dependent on mycorrhizal fungi for seed germination. Without the fungi, there would be no plants. Yet after the deposit of the mine tailings, the belowground system had to develop from scratch and now we see that all the elements have returned for incredible floral displays. Indeed, it could be that the plants and fungi are so abundant because of the disturbance history, and I feel this adds a wonderful element to the site’s conservation value.”
Orchids have a unique biology. Their flowers are highly adapted to specific insect pollinators, in some cases deceiving the pollinators into doing their job without a nectar reward. And they are among the most noted examples of the reliance of plants on mycorrhizal fungi — for, in this case, the fungi are needed for seeds to germinate and seedlings to survive.
Industrial sites are typically regarded as blighted landscapes but this site suggests that these locations have tremendous conservation value. In addition to the extraordinary number of orchids, the site has an extensive cranberry mat and acres of lowbush blueberries. Additionally, the site is culturally significant because the mines were economically important to the region in the mid-1900s.
Leopold said there are benefits to adding properties like the Benson Mines site to the Adirondack Forest Preserve, the 2.6 million acres of state-owned land that lies within the Adirondack Park. “Everyone thinks about adding the beautiful, pristine land,” he said. “But sometimes properties like this one can be more beneficial for the state to purchase. They have great value, both immediate and long term, for conservation and recreation purposes.”
Originally posted 2016-04-27 13:51:01. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
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SeaWorld Entertainment Inc (SEAS.N) said on Friday it received a subpoena from the U.S. Department of Justice in connection with an investigation over disclosures made about the impact of the “Blackfish” documentary and trading in the company’s securities.
The investigation relates to the disclosures and public statements made by the company, certain executives and individuals on or before August 2014, the company said.
“Blackfish”, which was released in 2013, led to widespread criticism of the marine park operator as the documentary depicted the captivity and public exhibition of killer whales as inherently cruel.
Seaworld, which has reported falling revenues for the last three years, said in 2016 it would stop breeding killer whales in captivity.
The company said it has also received subpoenas from the staff of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and has set up a committee comprising independent directors to deal with these inquiries. (bit.ly/2rLd1QU)
Seaworld also said Chairman David D’Alessandro, who was voted out by at a shareholder meeting this month, will continue as the board’s non-executive chairman till Dec. 31.
Reuters reported this month that SeaWorld’s shareholders turned against D’Alessandro, opposing a bonus incentive payout to certain employees.
The board rejected D’Alessandro’s offer to resign immediately in view of certain challenges that the company was facing, including the federal investigations, Seaworld said in a regulatory filing.
SeaWorld’s shares were down 2.4 percent in after-market trading at $15.29.
(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)